Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Health care's third-quarter earnings season has started, and if the quarter is anything like the previous one, the industry will continue to fare relatively well even amid the broader economic turmoil.

The bottom line: The coronavirus dominated the spring and summer, which forced people to put off care, but people have resumed getting procedures and seeing their doctors.

Between the lines: The second quarter was extremely profitable for health insurers — UnitedHealth Group, for example, posted its highest-ever profit.

  • Health insurers still aren't paying as many medical claims as before the pandemic, which likely will keep their profit figures at high levels.

Yes, but: The persistent amount of coronavirus cases is no longer stunting all demand for pharmaceuticals, surgeries, medical devices, hospital stays, doctor visits and other health care services.

  • The highest net profit margins in Q2 belonged to pharmaceutical companies and hospitals, according to the Axios health care earnings tracker.
  • Almost all hospital systems we track posted a net profit in Q2, due largely to the rebounding stock market boosting their investment portfolios. But patient volumes have also continued to increase since their low point in the spring.
  • Orlando Health, an eight-hospital system, ended June sitting on $2.7 billion and an 8% operating margin — and also received $82 million in taxpayer bailout funds to offset the coronavirus.
  • Hospital executives "expect a sharp recovery [in volumes] over the next twelve months," according to a new SVB Leerink survey.
  • Medical device sales are "recovering faster than expected," Johnson & Johnson executives said on their Q3 investor call yesterday.

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Oct 20, 2020 - World

Argentina becomes 5th country to report 1 million coronavirus cases

High school students at an improvised classroom in the yard of their school in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on Oct. 13. Photo: Juan Mabromata/AFP via Getty Images

Argentina's health ministry reported 12,982 new coronavirus cases Monday night, taking the country's total to 1,002,662.

Why it matters: Argentina is the fifth country to surpass 1 million COVID-19 cases, after Russia (over 1.4 million), Brazil (more than 5.2 million), India (7.5-plus) and the U.S. (over 8.2 million), per Johns Hopkins. "It means one in every 45 Argentinians have had the virus," the Guardian notes. The country reported Monday that the virus had killed another 451 people, taking the death toll to over 26,000.

Editor's note: The headline of this story has been corrected to show Argentina passed 1 million cases not 5 million.

23 hours ago - Health

Axios-Ipsos poll: Trump's sickness makes him harder to trust

Data: Axios/Ipsos poll; Note: ±3.3% margin of error; Chart: Axios Visuals

Large shares of women, seniors and independents now say they're less likely to trust President Trump for accurate information about COVID-19 since he caught it himself, according to the latest installment of the Axios/Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

The big picture: Week 28 of our national survey has most Americans rejecting ideas that Trump has floated around hydroxychloriquine as a virus treatment, how herd immunity works or any imminent availability of a vaccine.

8 hours ago - Health

California issues more rigid COVID-19 guidelines for theme park re-openings

Photo: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

California health officials on Tuesday told theme parks like Disneyland and Universal Studios Hollywood that they can reopen once daily coronavirus cases in their respective counties drop below one per 100,000 people.

Why it matters: Disney and Universal, both of which hoped to reopen when their counties reached "moderate" spread, have been negatively impacted by the pandemic. Deadline reported that Universal Studios Hollywood laid off over 2,200 employees since July and Disney laid off 28,000 employees in September.