All Public health stories

The pandemic's coming health surveillance state

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

COVID-19 became a pandemic because too many of the countries struck by the virus failed to detect and suppress outbreaks as fast as possible. But the coronavirus could usher in an era of intense health surveillance.

Why it matters: From location-detecting smartphones to facial recognition cameras, we have the potential to track the spread of disease in near real-time. But the public health benefits will need to be weighed against the loss of privacy.

Go deeperArrowMar 21, 2020 - Health

A coronavirus guide for individual investors

The longest bull market of all time is over — so, what now? That's the question facing millions of individual investors in the U.S. and around the world.

The bottom line: How worried you should be depends entirely on your time horizon, and when you might need to start spending the money y0u have saved up in the market.

Florida Gov. DeSantis to spring breakers: "The party is over"

Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis told "Fox & Friends" Thursday that the state's beaches have either closed or if open, must abide by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines on crowds and distancing for the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Why it matters: College students traveled in droves to the open beaches in Florida for spring break — ignoring the federal government's encouragement to maintain social distance and abstain from nonessential travel.

Go deeperArrowMar 19, 2020 - Health

The coronavirus is an endurance test with no clear end

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Two aspects make the COVID-19 pandemic unlike any disaster we've experienced in memory: its global nature and its unknown duration.

Why it matters: As the coronavirus spreads across the country, we'll need to fight a medical war on all fronts at the same time, stressing our ability to respond. And we may need to keep up that fight — and the disruptive social distancing accompanying it — for months or longer.

Go deeperArrowMar 18, 2020 - Health

How to protect the homeless from the coronavirus

Puerta del Sol square in Madrid on Monday. Photo: Pierre-Philippe Marcou/AFP via Getty Images

People experiencing homelessness don't have access to the recommended precautions to stave off the coronavirus.

The state of play: They often don't have access to places to wash their hands, many sleep outside in crowded encampments, and social distancing is next to impossible in crowded shelters.

Go deeperArrowMar 18, 2020 - Health

Rural residents' access to health care amid coronavirus

Jen Lingo, R.N., walks a resident of the assisted living center in Dayton General Hospital back to her room. Dayton, a small town in rural southeast Washington, has an aging population, had its first positive test for Coronavirus and is waiting on results of more tests. Photo: Nick Otto for the Washington Post

The novel coronavirus can spread faster in densely populated cities than in rural areas, but rural America has a higher-risk population and fewer safety-net programs for people who get sick.

By the numbers: Rural residents are, overall, older than urban dwellers and are therefore more susceptible to this virus. Per Census Bureau data, 17.5% of the rural population is 65 or older.

Go deeperArrowMar 18, 2020 - Health

Medicare issues new telehealth flexibility amid coronavirus crisis

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Medicare said yesterday that it will temporarily pay providers for a much broader range of telehealth services.

Why it matters: This will allow seniors — who are particularly vulnerable to the coronavirus — to avoid going to hospitals or doctors' offices for routine care that can be provided virtually. This, in turn, reduces their exposure to the virus.

Go deeperArrowMar 18, 2020 - Health

Media wrestles with public trust as coronavirus intensifies

Data: Axios/Ipsos survey, margin of error of ±3.2 percentage points; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

Roughly half the country says they don't trust traditional media, like cable TV and newspapers, very much or at all to accurately deliver information about the novel coronavirus, according to a new Axios/Ipsos poll. That number sinks even lower for digital media and online news companies.

Why it matters: While the government and health officials are able to provide important safety and procedural information about the virus, it's the role of the media to provide key research and analysis that enriches the public's understanding. The lack of trust in the media means society could be less informed.

Go deeperArrowMar 18, 2020 - Health

Multiple medical shortages threaten coronavirus response

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Experts and lawmakers are beginning to call for extraordinary measures to alleviate medical shortages that could cripple the U.S. response to the coronavirus.

Why it matters: These shortages affect both testing and treatment, and if they persist, could also thin the ranks of health care workers able to help treat coronavirus patients. And the only solution may be for the federal government to get involved.

Go deeperArrowMar 18, 2020 - Health

Fauci on coronavirus: "We'll be thankful that we're overreacting"

"For a while, life is not going to be how it used to be in the United States," Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday. "We have to just accept that if we want to do what's best for the American public."

Why it matters: Fauci pulled a "full Ginsburg" — appearing on all five major Sunday morning talk shows — in an effort to ensure that Americans understand the ramifications of the coronavirus pandemic if the public does not practice social distancing.

Go deeperArrowMar 15, 2020 - Health