Today's word count is 987, or a 4-minute read.
Today's word count is 987, or a 4-minute read.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
A month after the Trump administration changed how hospital data is reported, the public release of this data "has slowed to a crawl," the Wall Street Journal reports.
The big picture: This is the latest example of how the world's wealthiest country just can't get it together.
Testing and case data — which tell the story of where people are getting sick — have been a problem for the last six months. This latest fiasco blurs the picture of how many people are getting very sick at a given time, which until now has been a more reliable measure of the pandemic.
Driving the news: The Department of Health and Human Services last month ordered states to report coronavirus hospitalization data directly to the agency, rather than to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as they'd been doing.
What they're saying: "The transition has been a disaster," Jeffrey Engel, senior adviser to the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists, told the WSJ. "What HHS said was that the CDC was not nimble enough and couldn't handle new data elements, and that's simply not true."
The other side: HHS officials told the WSJ that the new system has a more complete set of data, but that the quality-control process has led to some delays as the new system gets up and running.
The bottom line: We're doing a terrible job handling the pandemic, at least relative to other wealthy countries. The fact that we don't have a good idea of what's happening in real time — and it's getting worse — is one of the major contributors to that failure.
The 10 highest-selling drugs in the U.S. last year gave away more than $23 billion in rebates to insurance intermediaries, but still netted $50 billion in sales, Axios' Bob Herman reports.
By the numbers: Humira, the rheumatoid arthritis blockbuster made by AbbVie, continues to generate more revenue than any other drug, due to AbbVie extending U.S. patents and consequently retaining higher U.S. prices.
Between the lines: Drugs that have more competitors usually offer higher insurance rebates than drugs with few or no competitors.
The Big Ten and Pac-12 announced Tuesday that they've voted to postpone their 2020 fall sports seasons, including football, due to risks posed by the coronavirus pandemic, hoping instead to play in the spring.
A record 137 people have died from the coronavirus in Georgia on Tuesday, surpassing the state's record from last week, according to the Georgia Health Department.
President Trump's executive action calling on states to provide 25% of an additional $400 in weekly unemployment benefits poses "significant administrative burdens and costs," according to a bipartisan letter from the leaders of the National Governors Association.
Mexico reported Tuesday 6,686 new cases and a "near-record" 926 additional deaths from COVID-19 in 24 hours, AP notes.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Tuesday it's too early to say whether next month's elections will be postponed, after four members of the same family tested positive for COVID-19. Auckland is locking down and the rest of the country faces lesser restrictions for 72 hours.
Israel has called on its army to take over COVID-19 testing operations, per the Washington Post. The military's expanded role includes the deployment of 3,000 additional soldiers and civilian staff.
Russia's announcement Tuesday that it had approved a vaccine for COVID-19 was met with skepticism by vaccine and health care experts around the world, including medicinal chemist, author and expert on drug development Derek Lowe, who joined the "Axios Re:Cap" podcast yesterday.
Why it matters: The vaccine, dubbed "Sputnik V," has barely started Phase 3 clinical trials and is being panned as a publicity stunt.
What's happening: Russia announced it had approved the vaccine and that the country plans to inoculate health care workers, teachers and others in the coming months.
What they're saying: "We are speeding up everything that can possibly be sped up," Lowe said. "We're right on the ragged edge already. So the idea that we need to press the gas pedal down even further and cut a bunch more corners to try to catch up, in quotation marks, with the Russian vaccine is a terrible idea."
The U.S. government has agreed to buy 100 million doses of Moderna's experimental coronavirus vaccine for $1.5 billion, or $15 per dose, Bob writes.
Why it matters: The Trump administration, through Operation Warp Speed, has now bought initial batches of vaccines from Moderna, GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi, Pfizer, Novavax, Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca before knowing whether they are safe and effective.
Editor's note: The second item and chart have been corrected to show there was roughly $50 billion (not $58 billion) in U.S. net sales. We had previously included international sales for Biktarvy, Enbrel, Januvia, Remicade and Stelara.