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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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.

Updated 23 hours ago - Health

World coronavirus updates

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

Australian officials in Victoria announced Wednesday some 300,000 people in suburbs north of the state capital Melbourne will go into lockdown for a month from midnight amid soaring cases, per the Guardian.

Zoom in: While other states have reported single-digit or zero cases for weeks, officials in Victoria are concerned there may be a second wave of infections, as it reported another 64 cases on Wednesday. The Australian army is conducting a massive suburban testing blitz in Melbourne. Victorian residents "will be confined to home except for grocery shopping, health appointments, work or caregiving, and exercise" under the new restrictions, the Guardian notes.

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.

Jun 6, 2020 - Health

Rich vs. poor hospitals

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The inequalities in American health care extend right into the hospital: Cash-strapped safety-net hospitals treat more people of color, while wealthier facilities treat more white patients.

Why it matters: Safety-net hospitals lack the money, equipment and other resources of their more affluent counterparts, which makes providing critical care more difficult and exacerbates disparities in health outcomes.

Pandemic re-emphasizes need for universal flu vaccine

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The quest for a universal flu vaccine in the U.S. is making "promising" progress, with the possibility of having one ready in five years.

Why it matters: Just because we're battling a coronavirus pandemic right now, doesn't mean a deadly influenza pandemic isn't waiting around the corner. Experts are aiming to create a vaccine that could target a broader array of flu strains in order to prepare for future pandemics.

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