Situational awareness: The U.S. is facing its first coronavirus-related drug shortage, CNN reports.
🚨 "Axios on HBO" returns with a bang: Roger Stone on his Christian salvation (clip); an in-depth interview with Weinstein prosecutor Cy Vance; and Kerry, Dukakis, others on Super Tuesday drama — Sunday 6pm ET/PT.
Today's word count is 888, or a 3-minute read.
President Trump during Wednesday's coronavirus press conference. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
1. The Department of Health and Human Services sent more than a dozen workers to receive the first Americans evacuated from Wuhan without training or protective gear, according to a whistleblower complaint reported by the Washington Post.
2. Scientists and experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institute of Health have been instructed not to speak to the press regarding COVID-19 without White House clearance, the New York Times reports.
3. California confirmed 33 more cases, some whom came from the Diamond Princess cruise ship or Wuhan, Gov. Gavin Newsom confirmed Thursday.
4. Testing is getting better — 40 state and local health departments are finally able to conduct their own tests for the virus, up from 13 due to the flawed kits sent out weeks ago. Another 93 jurisdictions will receive the kit by Monday, per HHS.
— Compiled by Axios' Marisa Fernandez
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
In just a matter of weeks, top economists and investment bank analysts have gone from expecting the coronavirus outbreak to have minimal impact on the U.S. economy to warning that an outright recession may be on the horizon, Axios' Dion Rabouin reports.
What's happening: The spread of confirmed coronavirus cases in Europe, the Middle East and the U.S., and the speed at which they are being discovered, has set the table for the outbreak to have a larger and much costlier impact on the U.S. and the rest of the world.
Between the lines: The outbreak threatens consumer-oriented businesses like restaurants, bars and travel, which have held up the U.S. economy as business investment has turned negative and the manufacturing sector has fallen into recession, largely as a result of the U.S.-China trade war.
What they're saying: Business investment, which had declined through the last three quarters of 2019, could be further hit, Constance Hunter, chief economist at KPMG, tells Axios.
Fears about the coronavirus haven't shattered every stock. Look at the telehealth firm Teladoc, Axios' Bob Herman writes.
Driving the news: Teladoc's stock price has soared 19% this week and is now valued at almost $10 billion, because apparently Wall Street believes we will only see doctors on our iPads or on the phone as we avoid the outside world.
Reality check: Teladoc is getting more people to use digital checkups, but the company is not remotely close to turning a profit.
State health agencies already had enough problems, and now they face the prospect of the coronavirus — which would further stretch their limited resources, Politico reports.
Between the lines: State and local health departments are underfunded and already trying to address a bad flu season, vaping-related illnesses and the opioid epidemic.
Details: State and local officials are stocking up on medical supplies, making quarantine plans and even preparing to postpone work on long-term problems like addiction should an outbreak hit.
The big picture: "The officials say it's part of a longstanding pattern in both red and blue states: agencies that routinely are the stepchildren in state government being suddenly thrust into a new emergency with tight budgets and multiple missions," Politico writes.
The Federal Trade Commission and Pennsylvania's attorney general want to block the proposed merger between Jefferson Health and Einstein Health Network.
Why it matters: Yesterday was the first time in more than three years that the FTC has challenged a large hospital merger, and this action could force Jefferson and Einstein to abandon their plans.
Flashback: The FTC hasn't opposed a major hospital merger since 2016, when it urged Tennessee and Virginia officials to block the merger between Mountain States Health Alliance and Wellmont — a deal that ultimately went through and created what's known today as Ballad Health.
What they're saying: Jefferson and Einstein would control 60% of inpatient services in northern Philadelphia and at least 70% of inpatient rehab services in the broader Philadelphia area, the FTC said.
We're failing to address seniors' social isolation, a serious public health threat, according to a new report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine.
Details: The report concluded that almost a quarter of Americans 65 and older who live in community settings have few relationships or infrequent social contact, the Wall Street Journal reports.
It calls for HHS to create a national resource center for treating the issue, and for health care providers to monitor their patients for signs of loneliness.