A pregnant woman wearing a surgical mask. Photo: Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

A new report shows that the COVID-19 pandemic has led a third of U.S. women surveyed to report that they want to delay childbearing or have fewer children.

Why it matters: Natural disasters and economic recessions often lead to a decline in fertility rates, and COVID-19 has aspects of both. With the pandemic and lockdown policies already putting enormous pressure on working parents, reproduction could take a major hit.

By the numbers: This week the Guttmacher Institute released a survey of over 2,000 cisgender women of childbearing age who were asked about how the pandemic has affected their sexual and reproductive health.

  • 34% of women surveyed said they wanted to delay childbearing or have fewer children because of the affects of the pandemic.
  • Those numbers were higher for Black and Hispanic women, who have been infected by COVID-19 at higher rates than white women and absorbed a bigger economic hit because of the recession.

Be smart: While these changes in fertility preferences rival those seen after the Great Recession of 2008, COVID-19 has additional elements that could make a possible baby bust even more long-lasting.

  • A recent study from the CDC found that pregnant women may be at higher risk of severe illness if they contract COVID-19, and on Thursday the agency added pregnant women to the list of those most at risk from the disease.
  • Lockdowns and fears of infection made it harder for pregnant women to get prenatal care or even have partners and family members with them during delivery.
  • With schools and many day care centers around the U.S. still closed because of coronavirus, working parents face enormous uncertainty about the future of accessible child care.

Go deeper... Deep dive: Kids + coronavirus

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Young people accounted for 20% of coronavirus cases this summer

Hundreds of beachgoers pack in without social distancing in July. Photo: Matthew J. Lee/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

People in their 20s accounted for more than 20% of all COVID-19 cases between June and August, analysis from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows, bringing the median age of coronavirus patients to 37, down from 46 in the spring.

Why it matters: Young people are less vulnerable to serious illness, but they contributed to community spread over the summer, the analysis says — meaning they likely infected older, higher-risk people, especially in the South.

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
18 hours ago - Health

Where bringing students back to school is most risky

Data: Coders Against COVID; Note: Rhode Island and Puerto Rico did not meet minimum testing thresholds for analysis. Values may not add to 100% due to rounding; Cartogram: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Schools in Southern and Midwestern states are most at risk of coronavirus transmission, according to an analysis by Coders Against COVID that uses risk indicators developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The big picture: Thankfully, schools have not yet become coronavirus hotspots, the Washington Post reported this week, and rates of infection are lower than in the surrounding communities. But that doesn't mean schools are in the clear, especially heading into winter.

Updated Sep 25, 2020 - Health

World coronavirus updates

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Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

The number of deaths from COVID-19 surpassed 980,000 worldwide on Thursday.

By the numbers: Globally, more than 32 million million people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, Johns Hopkins data shows.