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Twenty million U.S. seniors lack a high-speed wired connection to the internet, according to a new study by the nonprofit Older Adults Technology Services (OATS), which works to get seniors access to the internet.

Why it matters: Internet access has long been critical for seniors, but has become absolutely essential during the pandemic for access to healthcare, online shopping, social outlets and more.

By the numbers:

  • Black seniors are 2.5 times likelier and Latinos more than 3.3 times likelier than whites to lack fixed internet access.
  • Medicaid enrollees are more than 2.7 times likelier to lack fixed Internet access.
  • Rural Americans are 1.6 times likelier to lack fixed internet access.

Between the lines: While many of those without wired internet have a smartphone, the group notes that a larger screen is often needed to fully utilize internet-based services.

What they're saying: "Getting older adults online has never been more urgent," OATS said in its report. "The COVID-19 crisis has disrupted our nation's systems for social support, communications, and health care, demonstrating that home-based internet and digital skills are an essential lifeline for older adults."

What's next: OATS has a goal to get 1 million more seniors online this year.

Go deeper

The mad dash for COVID vaccines among Minnesota seniors

Data: Minnesota Department of Health; Chart: Michelle McGhee/Axios

Minnesota's system for scheduling COVID-19 vaccination appointments for citizens 65 and older again saw extraordinary demand this week.

By the numbers: More than 226,000 seniors entered the lottery for one of just 9,425 doses available at state pilot sites this week, MDH told Axios.

Updated 46 mins ago - Energy & Environment

Thousands without power as "hazardous" winter storm lashes East Coast

Satellite imagery of the Northeastern U.S. taken by NOAA on Jan. 17. Photo: NOAA

A major winter storm lashed much of the East Coast Sunday and Monday, causing widespread power outages and disrupting travel over the holiday weekend.

The latest: Authorities in North Carolina confirmed that two people died in a car crash and that they responded 600 vehicle accidents during the storm on Sunday, per the Washington Post.

2 hours ago - Health

CDC director says COVID-19 messaging should have been clearer

Rochelle Walensky. Photo: Stefani Reynolds-Pool/Getty Images

Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal that the messaging around the COVID-19 pandemic and changing guidance should have been clearer.

State of play: Walensky is being coached by media experts and is planning to have more press briefings by herself in order to ensure that CDC is seen as an independent, scientific entity, rather than as a political one, the Journal reports.