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 - Health
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 - Health
Pandemic re-emphasizes need for universal flu vaccine

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

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

Everything's deadlier in the South.

May 11, 2019 - Health

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Updated 8 hours ago - Health

World coronavirus updates

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

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced all domestic pandemic restrictions will be lifted in New Zealand from midnight Monday except in Auckland, where they'll be eased late Wednesday.

The big picture: Ardern delayed the country's election until Oct. 17 as authorities work to stamp out a coronavirus cluster in Auckland, after the re-emergence of COVID-19. There have been single-digit or zero domestic cases in NZ's most populous city since the government reintroduced restrictions.

Trump health appointees reportedly interfered with CDC COVID-19 reports

Former Trump campaign official Michael Caputo arrives at the Hart Senate Office building. Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Trump-appointed health department aides interfered with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s weekly COVID-19 reports “in what officials characterized as an attempt to intimidate the reports’ authors and water down their communications to health professionals,” Politico’s Dan Diamond reported late on Friday.

What it says: "[E]mails from communications aides to CDC Director Robert Redfield and other senior officials openly complained that the agency’s reports would undermine President Donald Trump's optimistic messages,” reports Diamond, citing emails reviewed by Politico and three people familiar with the matter.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Sep 9, 2020 - Health

No more pandemic blue skies

Smoggy air above the San Francisco Bay area on Aug. 22, 2020. Photo: Jose Carlos Fajardo/MediaNews Group/The Mercury News via Getty Images

After months of cleaner air because of lockdowns, air pollution in many major cities has nearly returned to pre-pandemic levels — and in a few cases, exceeded it.

Why it matters: Smoggy skies are a major, if under-recognized, danger to human health and a substantial drag on the economy. If the lockdowns demonstrated what city life could be like with cleaner air, the fact that pollution has rebounded before the global economy has, underscores how difficult it is to stop.

Senate Democratic probe finds mail-order pharmacies reported USPS drug delivery delays

Photo: Noam Galai/Getty Images

An investigation by Senate Democrats published Wednesday found that there were "significant" U.S. Postal Service delays this summer for mail-order prescription drugs, according to information provided by five major pharmacies.

Why it matters: Demand for mailed prescriptions has increased during the coronavirus pandemic, per the report by Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bob Casey (D-Pa.).

Pandemic is threatening a decade of progress in child mortality rates

Data: PATH estimates from disrupted maternal, newborn and child health services, drawing on modeling from Lancet Global Health; Chart: Axios Visuals

Within a mere eight months, COVID-19 has damaged years of global progress in children's health and other areas by disrupting essential health services in many countries.

Why it matters: These disrupted services will result in a myriad of near- and long-term health problems. The global health organization PATH points to a projected increase in deaths in children under the age of 5 that could erase up to a decade of progress, according to preliminary findings shared first with Axios.

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
Sep 4, 2020 - Health

The coronavirus pandemic is driving skyrocketing rates of depression

Adapted from Ettman, et al., 2020, "Prevalence of Depression Symptoms in US Adults Before and During the COVID-19 Pandemic"; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Americans are reporting symptoms of depression three times more than they were before the pandemic, according to a recent study published in JAMA.

Why it matters: The downstream effects of the coronavirus on our health, and particularly our mental health, are getting worse.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Aug 29, 2020 - Health

The shifting geography of telemedicine

Data shows that while telemedicine has boomed during the pandemic, its growth has varied depending on different states' lockdown policies.

Why it matters: As the pandemic begins to come under control, how lasting the telemedicine boom will be depends ultimately on whether the services can truly replace doctors.

Aug 29, 2020 - World

Europe fears second coronavirus wave as cases surge

A representation of the coronavirus at a Berlin protest against Germany's virus restrictions on Aug. 28. Photo: Abdulhamid Hosbas/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Several European countries have reported a jump in new coronavirus cases in recent weeks after a drop in cases over June and July, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

Why it matters: The surge could indicate that Europe is on the verge of a second wave, though currently fewer people are dying from the virus and new cases have needed less medical treatment than those who got it in the spring, according to the Washington Post.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Aug 22, 2020 - Health

Better testing can fight more than the pandemic

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

New coronavirus diagnostics could eventually enable near-constant testing — and herald a future where even common infections no longer go undiagnosed.

Why it matters: Rapid testing could be especially important during the winter, when it will become vital to quickly distinguish between an ordinary cold or flu and a new disease like COVID-19.

Aug 21, 2020 - Health

Delta Air Lines adds widespread virus testing to reassure travelers

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A widely available coronavirus vaccine would go a long way toward rebuilding public confidence in air travel, but until it arrives, Delta Air Lines believes widespread, proactive COVID-19 testing for employees will help win passengers' trust.

What's happening: In partnership with the Mayo Clinic and Quest Diagnostics, Delta plans to test every one of its 75,000 employees for both active COVID-19 and antibodies by the end of the month.

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