Good morning. Do you need a reason to not watch the Super Bowl? Here ya go.
Today's word count is 661, or a 2-minute read.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
If you're freaking out about coronavirus but you didn’t get a flu shot, you’ve got it backwards, Axios' Bob Herman reports.
The big picture: A novel outbreak will always command more attention than a common illness, and the coronavirus is a serious health threat.
By the numbers: This new strain of coronavirus has killed 106 people so far, all of them in China. Almost 4,700 total cases have been reported worldwide, although experts believe that total is underestimated.
Between the lines: James Lawler, an infectious disease physician at the University of Nebraska, said pandemic viruses like the coronavirus cause more anxiety because, unlike the flu, there are not any initial countermeasures like vaccines, antivirals, diagnostic testing and monitoring systems.
The bottom line: The coronavirus has upended the lives of many Chinese citizens, and it warrants a strong public-health response.
China agreed on Tuesday to allow international experts, which is expected to include Americans, to work on the ground with their scientists on the coronavirus, Axios' Eileen Drage O'Reilly reports.
Why it matters: While China quickly provided global access to the virus genome, the epidemiology of how the virus works is hard to determine from outside China with little public data.
Details: The World Health Organization announced it will organize the international group "as soon as possible to work with Chinese counterparts on increasing understanding of the outbreak to guide global response efforts."
The latest: The risk to Americans right now remains low, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said. But officials are taking aggressive actions in preparation.
Go deeper: What's happening with the coronavirus
Photo: Erik McGregor/LightRocket via Getty Images
An unnamed company allegedly offered $1 million in kickbacks to electronic health record company Practice Fusion, in exchange for Practice Fusion engineering its software to encourage more prescriptions of that company's opioids, federal prosecutors said this week.
Turns out, that opioid manufacturer was Purdue Pharma, Reuters reports.
Why it matters, per Bob:
The big picture: Purdue is already in a lot of trouble, and this does nothing to help.
It's well known that drug prices matter a lot heading into the 2020 election, but Democratic candidates are making an especially big deal about insulin, STAT reports.
Between the lines: In some cases, there is arguably a justification for why a drug is very expensive. Insulin — which is a very old drug — is not one of those cases. That makes it easy political fodder.
What they're saying: "Insulin is one of the clearest examples of drug manufacturer price-gouging, and grassroots groups have done a really phenomenal job explaining the issue and outlining why insulin is a real problem," Maura Calsyn, managing director of health policy at the Center for American Progress, told STAT.
Flashback to earlier this week: Insulin has also caught the Trump administration's attention, and a proposal is in the works to lower seniors' out-of-pocket costs for the drug.
The U.S. deficit will top $1 trillion this year, the Congressional Budget Office said yesterday.
By the numbers: Medicare spending is projected to increase from $835 billion in 2020 to $1.7 trillion in 2030.