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
World coronavirus updates

See where it has spread.

Updated Sep 25, 2020 - Health
America's halfway coronavirus response

Remote work has been great for some, but helped perpetuate an unevenly shared experience of the pandemic.

Sep 23, 2020 - Health

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Sep 23, 2020 - Health

Poll: 51% of Republicans trust Trump on coronavirus more than the CDC

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Americans' political affiliations could determine which source they trust for information about the coronavirus, with 51% of Republicans saying they trust President Trump over CDC scientists, according to a Quinnipiac poll out Tuesday.

Why it matters: It's another indication of how partisan politics have consumed the national conversation about the virus, and how Trump's attacks on his own health officials have affected public opinion.

Sep 22, 2020 - Health

CDC releases holiday season guidance to curb COVID-19 spread

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued holiday-specific guidelines this week to limit COVID-19 risks posed by gatherings and celebrations prior to the fall and winter holidays.

Why it matters: With the flu season just around the corner, medical experts are worried about the likelihood of battling COVID-19 and influenza at the same time. The coronavirus has now killed 200,000 Americans, and the U.S. is averaging roughly 830 per day. Cases and deaths could worsen again as the weather gets colder and people move indoors.

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.

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