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Expand chart
Data: Alfonso YN, US public health neglected: flat or declining spending left states ill equipped to respond to COVID-19; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

Public health spending in most of the country stayed flat or declined in the decade following the Great Recession, "leaving states ill equipped to respond to COVID-19 and other emerging health needs," according to a new study published in Health Affairs.

By the numbers: The study found that public health spending dropped from $80.40 per capita in 2008 to $75.83 in 2018.

  • The only category of spending that saw an overall increase was injury prevention, which includes substance abuse.
  • The estimated per capita cost of the coronavirus pandemic is $50,000, per the study.

The bottom line: "Without institutional reform, states are susceptible to continued neglect of public health with only short-term emergency infusions of federal funding in the midst of a crisis such as COVID-19," the authors write.

  • "Without substantial and sustained investment by states and ongoing robust federal support, the US may well continue its 'default' approach to public health funding: 'neglect, panic, repeat.'"

Go deeper

Mar 25, 2021 - Health

Pfizer and Moderna vaccines safe for pregnant women, study says

A health worker administers a dose of the Pfizer-BioNtech COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine to a pregnant woman. Photo: Jack Guez/AFP via Getty Images

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are deemed safe and effective for pregnant women, according to a pre-print study out Thursday in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Why it matters: The study, which has yet to be peer reviewed, is in line with statements from health officials and the World Health Organization that pregnant and lactating women may take the vaccine.

WHO: Pandemic is prolonging countdown to halt tuberculosis

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Various organizations including the World Health Organization are saying early data indicate there may be a significant increase in diseases like tuberculosis in the years ahead due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Why it matters: 12 years of progress for worldwide programs to halt TB have been lost over the past 12 months of the pandemic — endangering the goal of eliminating the disease by 2030, some experts say.