Public health

The big picture

Paul Farmer on the coronavirus: "This is another caregivers' disease"

An interview with Paul Farmer, founder of Partners in Health.

Mar 9, 2020
One year on — No end in sight for deadly Ebola outbreak

More than 1,800 people have died.

Aug 1, 2019
Chart: The mortality rate ranking for each state, by disease

Everything's deadlier in the South.

May 11, 2019
The stark disparities in how infectious diseases kill Americans

More men still die from infectious diseases than women.

Updated Apr 5, 2018

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Updated Jul 3, 2020 - Health

World coronavirus updates

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

England announced on Friday it is dropping its mandatory 14-day quarantine for visitors from more than 50 countries, but for the U.S., which has seen coronavirus cases increase sharply.

The big picture: The European Union also extended its ban on travelers from the U.S. and other countries that don't have infections under control like Russia and Brazil.

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.

Jun 17, 2020 - Health

Saving the elderly from coronavirus

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

As the elderly, especially those in nursing homes, bear the brunt of deaths from COVID-19, new approaches and tools to keep them safe are emerging.

Why it matters: Seniors are much more susceptible to the novel coronavirus, and the conditions in many long-term care homes facilitate the spread of COVID-19. Independent of the current pandemic, America and much of the world is aging rapidly and is in need of technologies to care for them.

NIH expands its COVID-19 research in underrepresented communities

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

In an effort to better understand how COVID-19 affects underrepresented communities, the National Institutes of Health is expanding antibody testing, surveying personal impacts and collecting electronic health data.

Why it matters: Underrepresented communities have experienced a large portion of severe complications and death from the pandemic, but researchers don't know all the reasons why. NIH hopes to learn more on this, while also shedding light on when the coronavirus entered the country.

Jun 6, 2020 - Health

How racism threatens the response to the coronavirus pandemic

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Stanton Sharpe/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

A complex public undertaking like the coronavirus response depends a lot on public trust. But a legacy of systemic racism across multiple institutions has eroded that trust in many minority communities.

The big picture: Health care has its own sordid history, from the Tuskegee Study to hospitals' patient-dumping practices to substandard care for black mothers and babies.

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