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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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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 4 p.m. ET: 1,407,123— Total deaths: 81,103 — Total recoveries: 297,934Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 4 p.m. ET: 386,800 — Total deaths: 12,285 — Total recoveries: 20,191Map.
  3. Federal government latest: Trump removes watchdog overseeing rollout of $2 trillion coronavirus bill — Senate looks to increase coronavirus relief for small businesses this week
  4. Public health latest: Testing capacity is still lagging far behind demand.
  5. World latest: China reopens Wuhan after 10-week coronavirus lockdown.
  6. Wisconsin primary in photos: Thousands gathered to cast ballots in-person during the height of the coronavirus crisis in the U.S.
  7. What should I do? Pets, moving and personal health. Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

America's food heroes

Photos: Charlie Riedel/AP (L); Brent Stirton/Getty Images

The people who grow, process and keep food stocked on shelves are doing heroic work in these conditions, often for bottom-barrel pay.

Why it matters: Millions of Americans don't have the luxury of working from home, and it's essential that food workers keep working so we can keep eating.

Go deeperArrow19 mins ago - Health

Farmworkers risk coronavirus to keep supermarkets stocked with fresh food

Agricultural workers have become essential workers in the race to maintain Americas food supply while simultaneously staying healthy. Photo: Brent Stirton/Getty Images

The U.S. food system depends on up to 2.7 million farmworkers, most of whom are undocumented, to pick fresh fruits and vegetables, Michael Haedicke, an agricultural sociologist at Drake University, writes.

Driving the news: Their living and working conditions do not lend themselves to social distancing.

Go deeperArrow42 mins ago - Health

In photos: Wisconsin votes as coronavirus crisis intensifies

Elections Chief Inspector Mary Magdalen Moser runs a polling location in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on April 7. Photo: Derek R. Henkle/AFP via Getty Images

Thousands of Wisconsin residents gathered to cast ballots in-person on Tuesday in the state's primary election during the height of the coronavirus crisis in the U.S.

Why it matters: More than 300 million Americans in nearly all states are being asked to stay home as the U.S. faces surging death tolls from COVID-19. Without a vaccine, stay-at-home orders and lockdowns to enforce social distancing are among the few ways to slow the spread of the virus.

World coronavirus updates: Wuhan ends lockdown as other governments tighten restrictions

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

China has lifted its lockdown of Wuhan, where the novel coronavirus outbreak was first reported, as other governments around the world tighten restrictions to stop the spread.

The big picture: The virus is confirmed to have killed almost 80,000 people and infected 1.3 million globally as of Tuesday, per Johns Hopkins data. Spain has reported the most cases outside the U.S. (more than 136,000) and Italy the most deaths (over 16,000) as half the planet's population is now on lockdown.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Health

Study finds link between air pollution and increased COVID-19 death rates

Photo: Kena Betancur/Getty Images

Coronavirus patients in more polluted parts of the United States are more likely to die from the illness than those in cleaner areas, according to a new Harvard University analysis of 3,080 counties across the country.

Why it matters: The study indicates a correlation between long-term exposure to air pollution and heightened death rates associated with the virus. Its findings could impact how medical resources necessary to respond to the virus are being distributed throughout the U.S., per the New York Times.

Go deeperArrow2 hours ago - Health

U.S. coronavirus updates: Death toll at 11,000

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

New York death toll surged to its highest one-day total as recorded deaths from the novel coronavirus surpassed 11,000 in the U.S. on Tuesday, per Johns Hopkins data.

Why it matters: State officials have stressed the lockdowns need to continue even if cities begin to see slight improvements from social distancing. Several hot spots, including New York, New Orleans, and Detroit, are expected to peak in the coming days.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 3 hours ago - Health

China reopens Wuhan after 10-week coronavirus lockdown

People wearing facemasks stand near Yangtze River in Wuhan. Photo: Hector Retamal/AFP via Getty Images

China has lifted its lockdown of Wuhan, the city in Hubei province where the coronavirus outbreak was first reported in December, according to the New York Times.

Why it matters: As cases surged in January, China took the draconian step of sealing off the city of 11 million and shutting down its economy — a response that was viewed at the time as only possible in an authoritarian system, but which has since been adopted by governments around the world.

Go deeperArrow3 hours ago - Health

Senate looks to increase coronavirus relief for small businesses this week

Photo: Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced Tuesday he will be working with Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to increase funding for the Payroll Protection Program, the federal backstop to help small businesses maintain operations and keep workers employed amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Why it matters: The $350 billion lending program — which opened for business last Friday — has had a highly problematic rollout, with banks and small businesses alike expressing frustration about system crashes and a lack of direction from the federal government. As the program proceeds, it's become clear that the initial funding wouldn't be nearly enough.

Quorum Health files for bankruptcy

Quorum Health is in dire straits. Photo: RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Quorum Health, the chain of small community hospitals spun out by Community Health Systems, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and secured $300 million to keep operations going throughout the process.

The bottom line: Quorum said none of its 23 hospitals will close, and employees will be paid and available to provide care during the coronavirus pandemic. But the company, which has been crushed by debt and was nearly bought out by one of its private equity owners, will remain in a precarious financial position even once it emerges from bankruptcy.

Quorum Health files for bankruptcy

Quorum Health is in dire straits. Photo: RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Quorum Health, the chain of small community hospitals spun out by Community Health Systems, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and secured $300 million to keep operations going throughout the process.

The bottom line: Quorum said none of its 23 hospitals will close, and employees will be paid and available to provide care during the coronavirus pandemic. But the company, which has been crushed by debt and was nearly bought out by one of its private equity owners, will remain in a precarious financial position even once it emerges from bankruptcy.

Cuomo projects plateau in hospitalizations as coronavirus deaths surge

As the New York death toll surged to its highest one-day total on Tuesday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo projected that the state is reaching a plateau in coronavirus hospitalizations due to strict social distancing measures.

The big picture: Daily ICU admissions, intubations and the three-day hospitalization rate have all decreased, Cuomo said Tuesday. The daily death toll jumped to 731, totaling 5,489 — the "largest single-day increase" — but Cuomo cautioned that number of deaths is a "lagging indicator" due to the length that most critical patients are in the hospital for.

Go deeperArrow5 hours ago - Health

YouTube pulls coronavirus misinformation videos

YouTube Chief Product Officer Neal Mohan. Photo: Steve Jennings/Getty Images for TechCrunch

YouTube's product chief tells Axios that the Google-owned video site has removed thousands of COVID-19 videos — including some from the Brazilian president's channel — for violating policies related to the spread of medical misinformation.

Why it matters: Though criticized in the past for allowing misinformation to flourish, Facebook, Google and Twitter have all been taking a tougher stand when it comes to the coronavirus.

IEA boss won't let Big Oil off the hook

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Freya Ingrid Morales/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

International Energy Agency executive director Fatih Birol has a tough job these days — responding to an unprecedented crisis now without losing sight of an existential one that must be tackled over decades.

Driving the news: He spoke to Axios yesterday about his work to help stabilize oil markets and ensure coronavirus doesn't sap governments' and companies' work on global warming.

Intel pledges $50 million to coronavirus relief

Photo: Intel

Intel announced Tuesday a $50 million coronavirus relief program designed to support more research, technology for patient care, and help for lower income students' distance-learning needs.

Why it matters: Intel's donation comes on top of an earlier $10 million pledge and amid other large donations from Apple, Microsoft, Cisco, Google, Facebook and others.

Hyperlocal news site Patch is making money during the coronavirus crisis

Patch, the hyperlocal (and profitable) digital news platform, had its strongest month ever in March for both revenue and traffic, according to president Warren St. John.

Why it matters: The digital-only local news platform is an anomaly compared other local news publishers which are struggling amid steep advertising losses.

Snapchat launches augmented reality donations for coronavirus relief

Photo: Snapchat

Snapchat launched its first donation tool today to help users donate to coronavirus relief efforts, a spokesperson tells Axios.

Why it matters: It uses augmented reality. Snap users can scan 23 international currency notes across 33 countries using the Snapchat app, triggering an AR visualization of how a potential donation could support the World Health Organization’s response efforts.

Go deeper...Exclusive: Snapchat expedites wellness push in response to virus

Here's which local newsrooms are getting that Facebook cash

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Facebook will release today a list of the 400 local newsrooms receiving grants from its Facebook Journalism Project's "Community Network" program to support coronavirus news coverage. 

Why it matters: Local newsrooms desperately need the money. Facebook said it received over 200 applications within the first 48 hours of the program being announced.

Online shopping demand has never been higher amid coronavirus lockdowns

Data: Parse.ly; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

New data from Parse.ly shows that demand for shopping-related content online is up far more than any other type of web traffic.

Why it matters: The coronavirus pandemic has created a new reality for media publishers: the need to convert an influx of traffic into consumer dollars instead of ad dollars.

No one knows when the coronavirus sports shutdown will end

Data: Morning Consult National Tracking Poll of 1,512 self-reported sports fans, April 3-5, 2020; MOE ± 3%; Chart: Axios Visuals

It's been 26 days since the sports world effectively shuttered, and fans are eager to start watching games again, but not quite as eager to attend them.

The state of play: According to a new Morning Consult poll, 51% of fans think live sports will return between June and September, while only 8% think the void will bleed into 2021.

Go deeperArrow8 hours ago - Sports

Americans think the stock market will still rise as the rest of the economy sinks

Adapted from Federal Reserve Bank of New York; Chart: Axios Visuals

Americans are more worried than ever about losing their jobs, their household income and the equity in their homes, but one thing they are not worried about is the stock market.

The state of play: The Fed's latest survey of consumer expectations shows "a significant deterioration in households’ expectations regarding their labor market and financial situation, a decline seen across all age, education, and income groups," but respondents also reported an unprecedented spike in expectations for the stock market to rise.

The coronavirus outbreak will forever change the world economy

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Both the U.S. and global economies are set to be permanently altered by the coronavirus outbreak and the measures that have been taken in response to it, experts say.

The state of play: "Fundamentally there are going to be huge changes in household consumption patterns, business patterns and global supply chains," Kevin Warsh, a former Fed governor and current economics lecturer at Stanford, said during a Reuters teleconference.

America's funeral homes buckle under the coronavirus

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Morgues, funeral homes and cemeteries in hot spots across America cannot keep up with the staggering death toll of the coronavirus pandemic.

Why it matters: The U.S. has seen more than 10,000 deaths from the virus, and at least tens of thousands more lives are projected to be lost. The numbers are creating unprecedented bottlenecks in the funeral industry — and social distancing is changing the way the families say goodbye to their loved ones.

Go deeperArrow11 hours ago - Health

Feds relax Medicare Advantage regulations amid pandemic

An older coronavirus patient at a New York City hospital. Photo: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Federal payments to Medicare Advantage companies will increase by 1.66% in 2021, and several of the insurance program's policies are being waived or changed due to the coronavirus outbreak, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services said Monday.

The bottom line: Medicare Advantage continues to grow at a lofty rate, and the Trump administration is protecting those health insurers through the pandemic and into next year.

Go deeperArrow11 hours ago - Health

Public wants federal government, not states, in charge on coronavirus

Data: KFF Health Tracking Poll, March 25-30, 2020; Chart: Axios Visuals

President Trump has repeatedly said that he sees the federal government’s role as “backup” to the states on the response to coronavirus. But Americans want the federal government — not states — to take the lead, according to our latest KFF tracking poll.

Why it matters: States have so far been the ones issuing specific directives about social distancing, and are also trying to source health care supplies.

Go deeperArrow12 hours ago - Health

Navarro memos warning of mass coronavirus death circulated in January

Image from a Feb 23rd memo to President Trump

In late January, President Trump's economic adviser Peter Navarro warned his White House colleagues the novel coronavirus could take more than half a million American lives and cost close to $6 trillion, according to memos obtained by Axios.

The state of play: By late February, Navarro was even more alarmed, and he warned his colleagues, in another memo, that up to 2 million Americans could die of the virus.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 12 hours ago - Health

We're still behind on coronavirus testing

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Coronavirus testing capacity is still lagging far enough behind demand that the U.S. continues to only test the sickest patients — a bad omen for future efforts to return to normal life.

Why it matters: Diagnostic testing is the cornerstone of any containment strategy. To even begin talking about resuming social and economic activity, we would have to get testing right first.

Go deeperArrow12 hours ago - Health

Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index: The virus hits home

Data: Ipsos/Axios poll; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

The share of Americans who know someone who's tested positive has more than tripled in just a few weeks, to 14%, according to the latest installment of our Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

  • It's still highest in the Northeast, but last week alone it doubled in the South — and it's becoming most pronounced among people who still must leave home to work.
Go deeperArrow12 hours ago - Health

Boris Johnson in intensive care as coronavirus symptoms worsen

Photo: Peter Summers/Getty Images

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is being treated in the intensive care unit of St. Thomas' Hospital in London due to increasingly severe coronavirus symptoms.

What they're saying: Cabinet minister Michael Gove told LBC radio on Tuesday morning Johnson was not on a ventilator. "The prime minister has received some oxygen support and he is kept under, of course, close supervision," he said.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 14 hours ago - World

Some auto insurers giving customers refunds as drivers stay home

Light traffic on the freeways in Los Angeles on Monday evening. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Auto insurers Allstate and American Family Insurance announced Monday they're giving back some $800 million in premiums to customers in recognition that many are not driving much during the novel coronavirus outbreak.

Why it matters: The payments their customers will receive are not vast amounts, but the "nature of the action is exemplary — and rare — given the context of a pandemic," notes the New York Times, which surveyed nine other auto insurance firms to see if they would follow their rivals' lead.

Go deeperArrow15 hours ago - Health

Wisconsin Supreme Court blocks governor from delaying state's primary

Tony Evers. Photo: Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

Wisconsin's Supreme Court on Monday blocked an executive order by Gov. Tony Evers (D) that attempted to delay in-person voting for the state's primary election — currently scheduled for Tuesday — until June 9.

Driving the news: Judges ruled 4-2 along ideological lines that Evers does not have the power as governor to unilaterally postpone the election, despite the fact that the state has a stay-at-home order in place due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 18 hours ago - Health
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