James Lagasse, 84, watches a nursing home employee make his bed in Dover-Foxcroft, Maine. Photo: Marlena Sloss/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Two trends in Maine show the precarious future for the U.S., which seems woefully unequipped to handle a rapidly aging population.

What's happening: 1/5 of residents are now 65+, with 15 states expected to follow by 2026, the Washington Post reports. And nursing homes are closing and struggling to find long-term care workers. That’s not helped by Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance — which have limited offerings for long-term care coverage.

The big picture: America's 85 and older population will spike 200+% between 2015 and 2050, while the under 65 population will increase just 12%, per the Post.

  • That trend includes aging health care workers, who are disproportionately older in rural areas.

Between the lines: “The U.S. is just starting this journey, and Maine is at the leading edge,” Maine Council on Aging's Jess Maurer told the Post. “As we are living longer, all the systems that have always worked for us may have to be changed.”

  • That includes the need for nearly 8 million more long-term care workers in the years to come, the Post cites.
  • It could also increase pressure for expansions of visas for medical professionals to immigrate to the U.S.
  • The systemic nature of this problem could also require a more expansive Medicare benefit for the elderly.

The bottom line: These trends have been coming for a long time, with our political system proving itself woefully inadequate for the challenge. Now it's left to our children and theirs to pick up the tab.

Go deeper: The global aging trend is leading to millions of empty homes

Go deeper

Biden releases 2019 tax returns ahead of debate

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Joe Biden's campaign released his 2019 tax returns on Tuesday, showing that he and his wife, Jill, paid nearly $300,000 in federal taxes last year.

Why it matters: The release, timed just hours before the first presidential debate, comes days after a bombshell New York Times report said that President Trump paid only $750 in federal taxes in 2016 and 2017. Biden's team is hoping to make the tax contrast a sticking point during their showdown.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 2:15 p.m. ET: 33,454,037 — Total deaths: 1,003,571 — Total recoveries: 23,204,219Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 2:15 p.m. ET: 7,165,067 — Total deaths: 205,476 — Total recoveries: 2,794,608 — Total tests: 102,342,416Map.
  3. Health: Americans won't take Trump's word on the vaccine, Axios-Ipsos poll finds.
  4. States: NYC's coronavirus positivity rate spikes to highest since June.
  5. Sports: Tennessee Titans close facility amid NFL's first coronavirus outbreak.
  6. World: U.K. beats previous record for new coronavirus cases.

NYC's coronavirus positivity rate spikes to highest since June

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio. Photo: Noam Galai/Getty Images

New York City's coronavirus positivity rate has ticked up to 3.25%, its highest since June, Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a news conference on Tuesday.

Why it matters: The jump — from 1.93% on Monday — came on the first day that public elementary classrooms reopened in the city after months of closures, but guidelines state that all public schools will have to shut if the citywide seven-day positivity rate stays above 3%.