Health

Why it matters: The U.S. faces a range of health care flashpoints — unaffordable drugs, opioids, vaping — as we debate whether to adopt universal care. For now, the Affordable Care Act is the law of the land, but Republicans want to issue it a final death blow.

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Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 a.m. ET: 20,952,811 — Total deaths: 760,235— Total recoveries: 13,015,397Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9 a.m. ET: 5,254,878 — Total deaths: 167,253 — Total recoveries: 1,774,648 — Total tests: 64,831,306Map.
  3. Health: The pandemic's toll on mental health — The kids who are most at risk.
  4. Business: How small businesses got stiffed — Unemployment starts moving in the right direction.
  5. Politics: Biden signals fall strategy with new ads.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: Economic data turns unreliable.
2 hours ago - Health

Fauci believes normalcy will return by "the end of 2021" with coronavirus vaccine

Photo: Erin Scott/Pool/Getty Images

Anthony Fauci told PBS NewsHour on Thursday that he expects the U.S. could "be as good [as] back to normal as we possibly can" by the end of 2021 if a coronavirus vaccine becomes widely available.

The big picture: Fauci made clear that this would not mean the virus is eradicated, saying, "We can get it under good enough control that it is so low that it doesn't interfere with the kind of normal life that we want to get the economy back, to get employment back."

The pandemic's toll on mental health

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

One in four Americans between 18 and 24 years old say they've considered suicide in the past month because of the pandemic, according to a survey from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention.

Why it matters: The findings confirm warnings from public health experts about the long-term mental health impacts from the pandemic.

6 hours ago - Health

The kids who are most at risk from the coronavirus

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The coronavirus isn't as deadly for children as it is for adults, but kids still get it and can still get seriously sick from it. The risk is higher for Black and Hispanic children.

Why it matters: In communities with high caseloads, cases among children could explode as schools reopen. And kids in the communities already hit hardest by the pandemic are the most at risk.

Updated 16 hours ago - Health

U.S. coronavirus updates

Data: The COVID Tracking Project; Note: Does not include probable deaths from New York City; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Two therapies are known to help treat patients who have contracted the coronavirus, and more may be announced by late September, NIAID director Anthony Fauci tells Axios.

Why it matters: Antibody drugs and various medicine cocktails against the virus are progressing and could provide some relief before vaccines become widely available.

Updated 16 hours ago - Health

World coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

New Zealand confirmed Thursday there are 13 local cases linked to the four who tested positive for COVID-19, ending 102 days of no community spread. Auckland locked down Wednesday for 72 hours and the rest of NZ is under lesser restrictions.

By the numbers: Over 751,000 people have died of the novel coronavirus globally and another 20.7 million have tested positive, per Johns Hopkins. More than 12.8 million have recovered from the virus.

Fauci's guidance on pre-vaccine coronavirus treatments

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Antibody drugs and various medicine cocktails against the coronavirus are progressing and may provide some relief before vaccines.

The big picture: Everyone wants to know how and when they can return to "normal" life, as vaccines are not expected to be ready for most Americans for at least a year. Two therapies are known to be helpful, and more could be announced by late September, NIAID Director Anthony Fauci tells Axios.

House Democrats to investigate scientist leading "Operation Warp Speed"

House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC) on July 31. Photo: Erin Scott/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

House Democrats on the committee charged with overseeing the federal government's response to the coronavirus announced an investigation Thursday into "Operation Warp Speed," the Trump administration's efforts to accelerate the development and distribution of a vaccine.

Why it matters: In an effort to quickly distribute a vaccine, the Trump administration has bought initial batches from a handful of pharmaceutical companies before knowing whether they are safe and effective, Axios' Bob Herman reports.

Georgia governor to drop lawsuit over Atlanta's mask mandate

Gov. Brian Kemp speaking in Atlanta on Aug. 10. Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) announced Thursday he plans to withdraw a lawsuit that sought to block Atlanta’s face mask mandates and coronavirus restrictions, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

Why it matters: The decision to withdraw the lawsuit ends the legal feud between Georgia's Republican governor and Atlanta's Democratic leadership, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms. Other Georgia cities will be able to keep their mask mandates in places for now, per AJC.

Biden calls for 3-month national mask mandate: "Be a patriot"

Joe Biden called on governors to issue a three-month mandatory outdoor mask mandate on Thursday, telling reporters after receiving a coronavirus briefing that experts say it could save over 40,000 lives.

Why it matters: Biden was more aggressive and specific than he has been in previous calls to wear a mask, arguing that it will allow children to return to school sooner, businesses to reopen and help "get our country back on track."

Kudlow calls "voting rights" part of "liberal left wishlist" for stimulus talks

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow dismissed "voting rights" as a non-starter request from Democrats in stalled talks over a coronavirus stimulus package, arguing on CNBC Thursday that it's part of a "liberal left wishlist" and that it's "not our game."

The big picture: President Trump vowed on Fox Business Thursday to block Democrats' demands for $3.6 billion for "universal" mail-in voting and $25 billion for the USPS in the stimulus package, baselessly claiming that funding that would help voters cast ballots remotely would lead to mass voter fraud.

Aug 13, 2020 - Sports

NFL says its coronavirus positive test rate is under 1%

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The NFL has conducted 109,075 coronavirus tests of players, coaches and staff through Tuesday, with a positive test rate of 0.46% overall and 0.81% among players, according to the league.

By the numbers: During the initial intake process, the league tested 9,983 people, with a positive test rate of 1.7% overall and 1.9% for players.

Aug 13, 2020 - Health

Unsealed lawsuit alleges Molina overbilled for children's mental health

Molina Healthcare headquarters in Long Beach, California Photo: Jeff Gritchen/Digital First Media/Orange County Register via Getty Images

A newly unsealed lawsuit accuses Molina Healthcare of cutting corners in its mental health services for children and defrauding Medicaid in the process.

The big picture: Molina provides Medicaid managed-care plans in more than a dozen states. The whistleblower suit accuses the company of overbilling specifically for children's behavioral health services, to the tune of at least $20 million across multiple federal, state and local agencies.

The pandemic is hitting city budgets harder than the Great Recession

Data: National League of Cities; Chart: Axios Visuals

With tax revenue in free-fall and expenditures dramatically rising, the coronavirus pandemic is on pace to hit cities' finances even harder than the Great Recession.

Why it matters: Almost all cities are required to balance their budgets, and at this rate they'll have no choice but to cut more services, layoff or furlough more workers and freeze capital projects.

Aug 13, 2020 - Health

Coronavirus cases are falling, but don't get too comfortable

Data: The COVID Tracking Project, state health departments; Map: Andrew Witherspoon, Danielle Alberti, Sara Wise/Axios

America's coronavirus outbreak is slowing down after a summer of explosive growth.

By the numbers: The U.S. is averaging roughly 52,000 new cases per day — still a lot of cases, but about 10.5% fewer than it was averaging last week.

Aug 13, 2020 - Health

We're doing a lot less coronavirus testing

Data: The COVID Tracking Project; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The U.S. is cutting back on coronavirus testing. Nationally, the number of tests performed each day is about 17% lower than it was at the end of July, and testing is also declining in hard-hit states.

Why it matters: This big reduction in testing has helped clear away delays that undermined the response to the pandemic. But doing fewer tests can also undermine the response to the pandemic.

Aug 13, 2020 - Health

U.S. records deadliest coronavirus day of the summer

Healthcare workers handling coronavirus tests in Los Angeles on August 11. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

The U.S. reported 1,485 deaths due to the coronavirus on Wednesday, COVID Tracking Project data shows.

Why it matters: It's the highest single-day COVID-19 death toll since May 15, when the country reported 1,507 deaths. The U.S. has seen a total of 157,758 deaths from the virus.

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