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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.

Go deeper: Follow our earnings tracker

Go deeper

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Jan 21, 2021 - Health

Fighting COVID-19's effects on gender equality

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Women around the world have borne a disproportionate brunt of the social and economic effects of COVID-19.

Why it matters: Women in the U.S. and around the world already faced an unequal playing field before the pandemic. As countries prepare for the post-COVID-19 world, they need to take special care to ensure the virus doesn't permanently set back the cause of gender equality.

Biden unveils "wartime" COVID strategy

Biden signs executive orders on Jan. 21. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

"It's gonna get worse before it gets better": President Biden expects 100,000 Americans to die from COVID-19 during his first six weeks in office.

The big picture: Biden said he's putting America on a wartime footing against the virus, signing 10 executive orders today alone.