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

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Updated 6 hours ago - Health

World coronavirus updates

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

The number of COVID-19 cases surpassed 20 million worldwide on Monday evening, Johns Hopkins data shows.

The big picture: World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a virtual press conference as the world approached the milestone that 750,000 deaths were set to be recorded this week. "Behind these statistics is a great deal of pain and suffering. Every life lost matters," he said. "But I want to be clear: there are green shoots of hope and... it's never too late to turn the outbreak around."

CDC warns of uptick of rare polio-like illness in kids

Electron microscope photo of EV-D68, a suspect in causing AFM. Photo: Cynthia S. Goldsmith, Yiting Zhang/CDC

The CDC on Tuesday warned of an expected uptick in cases of acute flaccid myelitis (AFM), a rare polio-like illness that can disable and sometimes kill children.

Why it matters: The agency cautioned parents to overcome any reluctance driven by the coronavirus pandemic and urgently bring their kids to the hospital should they suspect a case — especially if they exhibit a telltale symptom like limb weakness.

Fauci: COVID-19 is "almost your worst nightmare"

Anthony Fauci, using a baseball analogy for the fight against COVID-19, warns the U.S. may not be halfway through and "certainly we're not winning the game right now." Photo: Al Drago/AFP via Getty Images

The unique characteristics of this pandemic may not allow people to completely eradicate it, but public health measures and good vaccines should bring "very good control," NIAID director Anthony Fauci said Wednesday.

Driving the news: "We are living, right now, through a historic pandemic outbreak. And, we are, right now, in a situation where we do not see any particular end in sight," Fauci told a panel hosted by the not-for-profit TB Alliance.

FCC poised to establish 988 as suicide hotline number

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The Federal Communications Commission is expected on Thursday to designate 988 as the new nationwide number to reach a suicide prevention and mental health crisis hotline.

Why it matters: The change should make it easier for Americans to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which connects to a network of local crisis centers. Surveys and experts suggest a rise in people undergoing mental health crises since the start of the pandemic.

The burden on teachers

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The debate over whether and how much to re-open schools in the fall has put teachers in the precarious position of choosing between their own safety and the pressures from some parents and local officials.

Why it matters: Teachers are the core of K-12 education. The people we depend on to educate our society's children may end up bearing the brunt of both the risk and the workload.

Jul 15, 2020 - Health

Austin Mayor Steve Adler calls for caution when reopening economies

Photo: Axios screenshot

Austin, Texas, Mayor Steve Adler cautioned states against loosening restrictions meant to stem the spread of coronavirus without having proper measures in place, at an Axios virtual event on Wednesday.

The big picture: Adler called on jurisdictions to "be innovative and adaptive and creative" when they reopen, to ensure people's safety.

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."

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.

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