Today's word count is 1,374, or a 5-minute read.
Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios
Now that there are glimmers of hope for a coronavirus vaccine, governments, NGOs and others are hashing out plans for how vaccines could be distributed once they are available — and deciding who will get them first, Axios' Eileen Drage O'Reilly reports.
Why it matters: Potential game-changer vaccines will be sought after by everyone from global powers to local providers.
How it works: In his May 15 announcement of Operation Warp Speed (OWS) — the official effort to accelerate the fight against the pandemic — President Trump said that "when a vaccine is ready, the U.S. government will deploy every plane, truck, and soldier required to help distribute it to the American people as quickly as possible."
Who gets the first vaccines will need to be prioritized under a rolling immunization protocol, which may initially target front-line health workers and high-risk groups.
The big picture: All nations — including developing nations with few funds — will need access to vaccines to build herd immunity.
The bottom line: "We've never faced anything of this scale, and urgency and complexity before. ... The pressures to get the vaccine out are simply going to be extraordinary," Morrison says.
The epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic has moved from China to Europe to the U.S. and now to Latin America, Axios' Dave Lawler reports.
Why it matters: Up until now, the pandemic has struck hardest in relatively affluent countries. But it's now spreading fastest in countries where it will be even harder to track, treat and contain.
Driving the news: Brazil is now recording more deaths each day than any other country, surpassing the U.S. for the first time over the past three days.
A Tyson pork processing plant in Iowa is experiencing a coronavirus outbreak with 555 confirmed positive cases among more than 2,500 employees, the state Health Department confirmed on Thursday to the Des Moines Register.
San Francisco officials unveiled reopening plans Thursday mandating residents wear face masks or coverings in essentially all public places and stand at least six feet away from one another.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order giving power to private businesses to deny service to people without masks.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi lambasted Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Thursday for delaying moving forward on the next coronavirus relief package.
Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Hillary Clinton's vice presidential pick in 2016, announced Thursday that both he and his wife, Anne Holton, tested positive for coronavirus antibodies after suffering from flu-like symptoms in March and April.
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, when asked this week how his country had avoided a major COVID-19 outbreak, said: "It was obvious to me after talking to our public health experts that we would be moving into some sort of lockdown. I chose to do it earlier rather than later."
Twitter slapped a fact-check label on a pair of months-old tweets from a Chinese government spokesperson that falsely suggested that the coronavirus originated in the U.S. and was brought to Wuhan by the U.S. military, directing users to "get the facts about COVID-19."
New Zealand has a single novel coronavirus case after reporting a week of no new infections, the Ministry of Health confirmed on Friday local time.
Turkey will lift restrictions on intercity travel and allow several public places to reopen June 1, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday, per Reuters.
Prescription fills of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine soared in March, after they were put in the political spotlight by President Trump, according to a new study in JAMA.
Why it matters: The evidence suggests that the drug is not an effective treatment for the coronavirus, and is even dangerous for some patients.
Between the lines: The drug's notoriety exploded in mid-March, when the administration secured millions of donated doses of the drug and President Trump publicly touted it.
By the numbers: During the week of March 15–21, hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine fills increased from 2019 levels by 1,977% for short-term prescriptions, by 179% for medium-term prescriptions, and by 182% for long-term prescriptions.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
A small percentage of people — called superspreaders — may be responsible for a large number of COVID-19 infections, research is starting to indicate, Eileen reports.
Why it matters: While there's no method to detect who these people are before they infect others, there are ways to control behaviors that cause superspreading events — a key issue as states start to reopen and debate what types of events are OK.
The latest: Three recent studies by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, Tel Aviv University and the Institute for Disease Modeling in Washington, which have not yet been peer-reviewed, came to similar conclusions: Roughly 10% of COVID-19 cases appear to have caused around 80% of new infections.
It reflects the law of the "vital few," where a small number (between 5% and 20%) are responsible for the majority of cases, says Eric Topol, executive vice president of Scripps Research, who's also tweeted about it.
What's happening: Why some people are superspreaders remains unknown. The person's genetics, immune system, how much virus they shed, and their behavior (such as how they speak, if they wash their hands often, if they socialize with large groups) likely play a role.
The bottom line: Understanding how superspreading works could help to fine-tune responses to the coronavirus pandemic — and curb it.
As the coronavirus pandemic wears on, almost half of all African American, Latino, and low-income Americans are having trouble paying their bills, including medical bills, the Kaiser Family Foundation's Drew Altman writes in today's column.
Why it matters: The findings from the latest KFF polling suggest that even if Congress’ relief efforts are helping, they’re not nearly enough.
By the numbers: Almost a third (31%) of the American people say they've experienced problems paying the rent or mortgage, or for food, utilities, credit card bills or medical costs as a result of the coronavirus.
Drew's thought bubble: This pain would surely be worse without Washington's relief efforts. Even so, the hardship is real, and that strengthens the case for more aid and better targeting to the families that need it most.