Today's word count is 1,326, or a 5-minute read.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
It feels like some big, terrible switch got flipped when the coronavirus upended our lives — so it's natural to want to simply flip it back. But that is not how the return to normalcy will go, Axios' Sam Baker reports.
The big picture: Even as the number of illnesses and deaths in the U.S. start to fall and we start to think about leaving the house again, the way forward will likely be slow and uneven.
What's next: Nationally, the number of coronavirus deaths in the U.S. is projected to hit its peak within the next few days. But many big cities will see their own peaks significantly later — for them, the worst is yet to come.
The future will come in waves — waves of recovery, waves of more bad news, and waves of returning to some semblance of normal life.
The real turning point won't come until there's a proven, widely available treatment or, even better, a widely available vaccine.
Commercial labs are in a precarious financial position, as the overwhelming demand for coronavirus tests is not close to making up the revenue of other tests that aren't being ordered, Axios' Bob Herman reports.
Why it matters: Commercial labs are anchoring coronavirus testing, and testing remains paramount to mitigating the spread of the coronavirus.
By the numbers: The U.S. is testing about 150,000 people a day, but that testing capacity has barely expanded in April.
What they're saying: The surging coronavirus demand is pinching them at a time when other revenue is drying up.
Yes, but: Labs won other sought-after policies, like deferred Medicare cuts, and billions of lab dollars have been squandered on stock buybacks.
Roughly 16 million Americans have filed for jobless benefits over the past three weeks due to the pandemic's growing economic repercussions.
Hospitals, doctors' offices, suppliers and other health care facilities have now received $51 billion in "advance payments" from Medicare, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services said Thursday.
The U.S. has expelled more than 6,000 migrants using new powers enabling the federal government to almost immediately turn back border-crossers under the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention emergency public health order that went into effect on March 21, according to new Customs and Border Protection data.
799 people died from the coronavirus in New York over the past 24 hours, a record high for the third straight day that brings the state's total death toll to 7,067.
The Federal Reserve announced Thursday that it will support the coronavirus-hit economy with up to $2.3 trillion in loans to businesses, state and city governments — made possible in part by Treasury funds set aside in the government stimulus package.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told NBC's "Today" on Thursday that he's hopeful that social-distancing measures in place across the U.S. will reduce the total number of coronavirus deaths.
As the coronavirus spread beyond China, some of the earliest outbreaks were traced to religious services or pilgrimages, Axios' Dave Lawler reports.
OPEC+, led by mega-producers Saudi Arabia and Russia, reached a tentative agreement Thursday to impose large cuts in oil production as the coronavirus pandemic fuels an unprecedented collapse in demand, per Bloomberg and Reuters.
Europeans and Americans are desperate to move beyond the worst of the crisis and return to something approximating normality, but the World Health Organization is cautioning that moving too fast will undermine the sacrifices made so far.
U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been moved out of intensive care, but is continuing to be monitored at St. Thomas' Hospital in London, according to a Downing Street spokesperson.
Angela Merkel has managed to unify Germany during the coronavirus crisis, but her response is proving far more divisive at the EU level.
Coronavirus lockdowns have led to a decline in murders in some of the world's most violent countries, the Los Angeles Times reports.
In terms of regulatory flexibility, the Food and Drug Administration's approach to coronavirus antibody testing is a 180-degree turn from its approach to diagnostic testing.
The big picture: The antibody tests, also known as serological tests, essentially detect whether someone's immune system has reacted to the coronavirus, helping determine whether they have had it — regardless of whether they had symptoms.
By the numbers: Only one test has received an emergency use authorization from the FDA , but more than 80 test developers have notified the agency that they have non-authorized tests available for use, which is allowed.
Yes, but: The FDA's rationale for keeping a close hold on who was making coronavirus tests was that it was important for the tests to be accurate.
Former Vice President Joe Biden yesterday proposed lowering the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 60.
What they're saying: "This could be the start of a gradual expansion of Medicare, sort of 'Medicare for more' rather than Medicare for All," the Kaiser Family Foundation's Larry Levitt told me. "There is clear symbolic importance to this proposal, since it establishes Medicare as the mechanism for expanding coverage."
The big picture: Biden's health care plan would have already allowed Americans 60 and older to choose coverage from a public option.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
Early missteps allowed the novel coronavirus to spread throughout the U.S for weeks before state and local officials implemented strict lockdowns designed to keep the pandemic from spinning further out of control.
Why it matters: The U.S. missed the boat on the kind of swift, early response that would have been most effective, and has been scrambling to catch up ever since.