The big picture

While US hospitalizations are falling, COVID-19 variants concern experts

The average daily death rate over the past week remains above 3,000.

Jan 31, 2021 - Health
2020 was bad — but not nearly the worst

As bad as this year was, humanity is still far better off than it has been for nearly all of our history.

Dec 24, 2020 - Health
The states where face coverings are mandatory

More than 35 states across the country have mandated facial coverings.

Updated Dec 8, 2020 - Health
Key information about the effective COVID-19 vaccines

Three major candidates now reporting efficacy rates of more than 90%.

Updated Nov 30, 2020 - Health
U.S. coronavirus updates

See where the virus has spread.

Updated Oct 16, 2020 - Health
Better testing can fight more than the pandemic

New technologies like saliva-based diagnostics and CRISPR have opened the door to rapid COVID-19 tests

Aug 22, 2020 - Health

All Coronavirus stories

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
2 hours ago - Health

The end of quarantine

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Long quarantines were a necessary tool to slow the COVID-19 pandemic during its first phases, but better and faster tests — plus vaccines — mean they can be scaled back considerably.

Why it matters: Quick tests and regular surveillance methods that identify who is actually infectious can take the place of the two-week or longer isolation periods that have been common for travelers and people who might have been exposed to the virus, speeding the safe reopening of schools and workplaces.

3 hours ago - Health

CDC updates guidance on airborne COVID-19

A patron eats lunch in March at Philippe The Original near downtown Los Angeles. Photo: Al Seib/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

The CDC acknowledged Friday that airborne spread of COVID-19 among people more than 6 feet apart "has been repeatedly documented."

Why it matters: This is "a change from the agency’s previous position that most infections were acquired through 'close contact, not airborne transmission,'" the N.Y. Times reports.

Updated 16 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus cases hit a seven-month low — Majority back vaccine proof requirements for travel, schools and work — The race to avoid a possible "monster" COVID variant.
  2. Politics: Oklahoma secures $2.6 million refund for hydroxychloroquine purchase — Why Biden's latest vaccine goal is his hardest yet.
  3. Vaccines: Pfizer begins application for full FDA approval of COVID-19 vaccine — Moderna says its COVID booster shot shows promise against variants.
  4. Economy: U.S. adds just 266,000 jobs in April, far below expectations — Americans' return to the skies could benefit smaller airlines.
  5. World: WHO authorizes China's Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use — Mixed response in Europe to Biden's vaccine patents bombshell.
  6. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.

Oklahoma secures $2.6 million refund for hydroxychloroquine purchase

Photo: George Frey/AFP via Getty Images

Oklahoma has secured a $2.6 million refund for a malaria drug purchase once touted by former President Trump as a treatment for COVID-19, the state's attorney general announced Friday.

Why it matters: Trump repeatedly promoted hydroxychloroquine last year despite health officials warning that the drug should not be prescribed for treating COVID-19 outside of research or hospital settings due to serious side effects. Oklahoma purchased 1.2 million hydroxychloroquine pills in April 2020, per AP.

22 hours ago - Health

WHO authorizes China's Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use

A medical worker administering a coronavirus vaccine in Nanjing, China, on May 7, 2021. Photo: Costfoto/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

The World Health Organization authorized China’s Sinopharm’s COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use on Friday, making it the sixth vaccine to receive clearance from the global health agency.

Why it matters: The authorization will allow COVAX, the WHO's initiative to equitably develop and distribute coronavirus vaccines, to purchase Sinopharm's vaccine and bolster its supply, according to the New York Times.

May 7, 2021 - Health

Amazon postpones Prime Day sales in India and Canada over coronavirus surge

Healthcare workers conducting COVID-19 tests in Mumbai on May 6, 2021. Photo: Pratik Chorge/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

Amazon told CNBC Thursday it is delaying its annual Prime Day sales in Canada and India as both countries struggle to control surges in new coronavirus cases.

Why it matters: In an email reviewed by Bloomberg, the company said the delay was needed to protect "the health and safety of our employees and customers," though Amazon didn’t give a rescheduled date in either country.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
May 7, 2021 - Economy & Business

Americans' return to the skies could benefit smaller airlines

Data: CivicScience; Chart: Axios Visuals

Americans are slowly getting ready to fly again, with 44% of U.S. adults now saying they plan to fly in the next six months, data from CivicScience show.

By the numbers: That’s a 1 percentage-point bump from March and an 8 percentage-point increase from September. However, it's still well below pre-pandemic levels.

May 7, 2021 - Health

Former FDA head Gottlieb: CDC should consider lifting indoor mask mandates

Former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said on CNBC Thursday night that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention should consider lifting indoor mask mandates since vaccination rates have rapidly increased in the U.S.

Why it matters: The CDC said late last month that people who have been fully vaccinated against the virus don't have to wear masks outdoors and had previously said that vaccinated people can take fewer precautions in certain situations.

May 7, 2021 - Health

Pfizer begins application for full FDA approval of COVID-19 vaccine

Photo: Christof Stache/AFP via Getty Images

Pfizer and BioNTech announced Friday that they have initiated the process of applying for full FDA approval of their COVID-19 vaccine for people 16 and older.

Why it matters: It's the first coronavirus vaccine to seek a Biologics License Application (BLA), which requires at least six months of data, according to CNBC.

May 7, 2021 - Health

Majority back vaccine proof requirements for travel, schools and work

Expand chart
Data: Verywell; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

Most Americans support requiring proof they've been vaccinated against COVID-19 before traveling, going to school or going to work, a recent survey by Verywell found.

Why it matters: The idea of vaccine "passports" emerged early as a potential tool to reopen economies. But they've turned into a political flashpoint in several Republican-led states — and raised plenty of logistical challenges.

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