Public health

The big picture

How the world could monitor for potential pandemic viruses

Global monitoring is key to UN strategy for preventing future pandemics.

Jul 9, 2020
Saving the elderly from coronavirus

America and much of the world is aging rapidly and is in need of technologies to care for the elderly.

Jun 17, 2020
Pandemic re-emphasizes need for universal flu vaccine

There's been "promising progress" in the quest for the universal flu vaccine.

Jun 4, 2020
Chart: The mortality rate ranking for each state, by disease

Everything's deadlier in the South.

May 11, 2019

All Public health stories

McEnany denies White House issued "opposition research" on Fauci

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany denied Monday that the White House released "opposition research" on Anthony Fauci’s handling of the coronavirus, despite the fact that multiple media outlets received a statement from an unnamed White House official that listed the times Fauci was "wrong on things" in the pandemic's early days.

The big picture: McEnany painted the statement as "a direct answer to what was a direct question" for a Washington Post piece, but the administration forwarded that document to other outlets, including CNN, which described it as "[resembling] opposition research on a political opponent."

Updated Jul 10, 2020 - Health

World coronavirus updates

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

Hong Kong's secondary schools, primary schools and kindergartens will close on Monday, education secretary Kevin Yeung announced Friday.

What's happening: Hong Kong reported 147 new coronavirus infections over the past week, the Financial Times reports. 88 of those infections were reportedly locally transmitted.

Big Pharma launches $1B venture to incentivize new antibiotics

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

A group of large drug companies launched a $1 billion AMR Action Fund Thursday in collaboration with policymakers, philanthropists and development banks to push the development of two to four new antibiotics by 2030.

Why it matters: Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a growing problem — possibly killing up to 20 million people annually by 2050 — but a severe lack of R&D market incentives has hampered efforts to develop a robust antibiotic pipeline to address the issue.

What we're watching: A swine flu threat emerges in China

A masked worker checks the pigs in a hog pen in southwest China in February 2020. Photo: Feature China/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

A flu virus found in pigs in China has pandemic potential and should be "urgently" monitored, researchers warn in a study in the peer-reviewed journal PNAS this week.

Threat alert: While it has not been transmitted from human to human, the virus is raising concern because it is a genetic mix of strains that have devastated humans before and there are indications it has "acquired increased human infectivity," the researchers say.

Jul 2, 2020 - Health

5 states saw 27% spike in heart-related deaths in first 3 months of coronavirus pandemic

Photo: Getty Images

The U.S. has seen far more deaths from heart disease during the coronavirus pandemic when compared to historical averages, according to a Washington Post analysis of federal data.

By the numbers: Five states hit the hardest in the pandemic's early days — Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey and New York — saw 8,300 more deaths from heart problems during March, April and May than usual, marking a 27% jump.

The racial gap in pollution exposure

Reproduced from the Rhodium Group; Chart: Axios Visuals

A new research note underscores how the COVID-19 pandemic is disproportionately hitting U.S. communities of color who already face higher exposure to pollution.

Jun 27, 2020 - Health

Why coronavirus contact tracing is failing

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Government virus expert Anthony Fauci told reporters in a press briefing on Friday that contact tracing efforts to contain the coronavirus are "not working."

Why it matters: Without a vaccine, contact tracing of cases is the best tool available to stem the spread of an outbreak. But understaffed public health agencies, privacy concerns, disappointing technology, and the sheer size of the pandemic are limiting the technique's effectiveness.

Planned Parenthood names Alexis McGill Johnson as president, CEO

Alexis McGill Johnson speaks at a rally against white supremacy in Lafayette Square in 2019. Photo: Marlena Sloss/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Planned Parenthood interim president Alexis McGill Johnson will take over the role permanently and also become CEO, the organization announced Friday.

Why it matters: Johnson is a civil rights and social justice activist and is Planned Parenthood's second Black president, according to The Daily Beast, which first reported the promotion. The organization has long refuted claims by anti-abortion activists that it was founded on racist ideals because its founder, Margaret Sanger, was a proponent of eugenics.

Gates Foundation vets form global health-focused venture capital fund

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

The Gates Foundation is best known for its philanthropy, but it has also spawned a venture capital fund whose mission is to show that investing in global health care issues can also yield returns.

Driving the news: Adjuvant Capital, founded by veterans of the Gates Foundation-sponsored Global Health Investment Fund, is raising a fund that will be at least $200 million, according to SEC filings.