Good morning. Happy Friday. There is no way that this week was only five days long.
📺 This week on "Axios on HBO:" A peek into Biden's secret governing plan, HUD Secretary Ben Carson on cutting housing programs and why Trump should tweet less (clip); tennis great Billie Jean King and more top women athletes on leveling the playing field. Watch Sunday 6pm ET/PT on all HBO platforms.
Today's word count is 1,038, or a 4-minute read.
Many of the novel coronavirus stories getting shared the most on social media are packaged to drive fear rather than build understanding about the illness, according to NewsWhip data provided to Axios.
Why it matters: Social media greases and amplifies dramatic headlines, while more functional or nuanced information gets squashed, Axios' Neal Rothschild and Sara Fischer write.
Details: The English-language story shared the most on Facebook since the outbreak began was "Coronavirus declared global health emergency" from the BBC.
The big picture: Interest in the coronavirus has taken off in the last two weeks.
New research from scientists at Northeastern University suggests that contagions can spread faster in some cases due to misinformation spreading online.
The bottom line: "Social media presents a mixed bag," says Scarpino. "We know social media is promoting panic, and people are taking advantage of that by spreading misinformation, but it's also helping to spread good, reliable information that empowers people to make the right decisions."
Both health insurers and regulators are working to make sure that coronavirus diagnostic tests will be covered. But that doesn't necessarily mean coronavirus treatment will be affordable.
Yes, but: State insurance commissioners don't have the authority to regulate self-insured plans, which cover 61% of workers with employer-provided health benefits, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.
And while state regulators are addressing the provider visit associated with testing, insurers themselves generally aren't.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
Not since the aftermath of 9/11 has there been such a fear of flying, Axios' Joann Muller reports.
Why it matters: The novel coronavirus has the airline industry bracing for the worst downturn since the Great Recession.
What's happening: Travel agents are being inundated with calls and emails from panicked clients canceling trips and seeking refunds.
Citing a collapse in travel bookings, airlines are slashing capacity and making emergency cost cuts, even offering employees unpaid furloughs.
The public's fear of flying may be overblown, fanned by a wave of cancellations of big trade shows, conferences and events — anywhere there are large groups of people.
New annual financial documents for large health care companies are rolling in with a familiar tune: executives took home large paydays in 2019 that mostly came from large stock gains, Axios' Bob Herman reports.
The bottom line: The health care system is a firehose of spending, and a good chunk of that money always makes its way to the top.
By the numbers: 10 major health care companies have filed preliminary or final disclosures outlining executive pay in 2019. The CEOs at those firms made more than $300 million collectively, according to our updated tracker of health care executive compensation.
What we're watching: Filings will continue to be released over the next two months. Follow along.
Go deeper: What health care executives made in 2018
The Colorado legislature introduced its public option bill yesterday, taking one step further in one of the country's most timely health policy experiments.
Between the lines: The bill takes on hospitals as part of how it lowers costs, which is likely what Democrats would end up trying to do should they win the presidency.
Details: The bill establishes hospital reimbursement rates beginning at 155% of Medicare, with the option of adjustments for certain hospitals, per the Public Option Institute.