All Public health stories

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.

What's needed to prevent a COVID-flu nightmare

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

With the flu season just around the corner, medical experts are worried about the likelihood of battling a COVID-19 pandemic and the influenza season at the same time.

The big picture: There are two main scenarios: a winter from hell with overwhelmed hospitals, unknown effects from virus co-infections, misdiagnoses resulting in wrong treatments, and a surge in deaths, or a flu season mitigated by COVID-19 measures and other steps people still have time to take.

Aug 19, 2020 - Health

Slower mail could leave patients without prescription drugs they need

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Slowdowns in mail delivery could have serious consequences for the millions of Americans who get prescription drugs — in some cases, lifesaving treatments — through the mail.

Why it matters: Treatments for cancer, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and other complex diseases increasingly are sent in the mail. And the coronavirus pandemic has spurred more people to get their routine prescriptions mailed to their homes, as a safer alternative to visiting a pharmacy.

CDC warns of uptick of rare polio-like illness in kids

Electron microscope photo of EV-D68, a suspect in causing AFM. Photo: Cynthia S. Goldsmith, Yiting Zhang/CDC

The CDC on Tuesday warned of an expected uptick in cases of acute flaccid myelitis (AFM), a rare polio-like illness that can disable and sometimes kill children.

Why it matters: The agency cautioned parents to overcome any reluctance driven by the coronavirus pandemic and urgently bring their kids to the hospital should they suspect a case — especially if they exhibit a telltale symptom like limb weakness.

Fauci: COVID-19 is "almost your worst nightmare"

Anthony Fauci, using a baseball analogy for the fight against COVID-19, warns the U.S. may not be halfway through and "certainly we're not winning the game right now." Photo: Al Drago/AFP via Getty Images

The unique characteristics of this pandemic may not allow people to completely eradicate it, but public health measures and good vaccines should bring "very good control," NIAID director Anthony Fauci said Wednesday.

Driving the news: "We are living, right now, through a historic pandemic outbreak. And, we are, right now, in a situation where we do not see any particular end in sight," Fauci told a panel hosted by the not-for-profit TB Alliance.

FCC poised to establish 988 as suicide hotline number

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The Federal Communications Commission is expected on Thursday to designate 988 as the new nationwide number to reach a suicide prevention and mental health crisis hotline.

Why it matters: The change should make it easier for Americans to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which connects to a network of local crisis centers. Surveys and experts suggest a rise in people undergoing mental health crises since the start of the pandemic.

The burden on teachers

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The debate over whether and how much to re-open schools in the fall has put teachers in the precarious position of choosing between their own safety and the pressures from some parents and local officials.

Why it matters: Teachers are the core of K-12 education. The people we depend on to educate our society's children may end up bearing the brunt of both the risk and the workload.

Jul 15, 2020 - Health

Austin Mayor Steve Adler calls for caution when reopening economies

Photo: Axios screenshot

Austin, Texas, Mayor Steve Adler cautioned states against loosening restrictions meant to stem the spread of coronavirus without having proper measures in place, at an Axios virtual event on Wednesday.

The big picture: Adler called on jurisdictions to "be innovative and adaptive and creative" when they reopen, to ensure people's safety.

McEnany denies White House issued "opposition research" on Fauci

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany denied Monday that the White House released "opposition research" on Anthony Fauci’s handling of the coronavirus, despite the fact that multiple media outlets received a statement from an unnamed White House official that listed the times Fauci was "wrong on things" in the pandemic's early days.

The big picture: McEnany painted the statement as "a direct answer to what was a direct question" for a Washington Post piece, but the administration forwarded that document to other outlets, including CNN, which described it as "[resembling] opposition research on a political opponent."

How the world could monitor for potential pandemic viruses

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The spillover of pathogens from animals to humans — driven mainly by human behaviors like urbanization and the demand to eat meat — is increasing and will continue wreaking havoc unless global action is taken.

Driving the news: The United Nations Environment Program issued a report this week outlining steps to prevent spillovers and encouraging governments to adopt a "One Health" approach to humans, animals and the environment.