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Note: States with looser restrictions defined as CO, FL, GA, MS, MT, SC. States with tighter restrictions defined as CA, CT, NJ, NY, VT, WA. Data: Second Measure; Chart: Axios Visuals

Data shows that while telemedicine has boomed during the pandemic, its growth has varied depending on different states' lockdown policies.

Why it matters: As the pandemic begins to come under control, how lasting the telemedicine boom will be depends ultimately on whether the services can truly replace doctors.

By the numbers: A report from the consumer analytics company Second Measure demonstrates that the demand for telehealth services has skyrocketed since pandemic lockdowns began.

  • Year-over-year growth reached a five-year high of 287% in the week of May 11 and has since averaged weekly year-over-year growth of over 150%.
  • Not surprisingly, consumers have largely turned to telehealth because doctors' offices were closed or because they feared that in-person visits could expose them to the coronavirus.

Yes, but: Growth has actually been stronger in states that had looser COVID-19 restrictions than in stricter states, a trend that grew more pronounced in recent months.

  • One possible explanation is that as the coronavirus came under control in states with stricter restrictions like New York, consumers began to feel more comfortable going back to a doctor's office, notes Liyin Yeo of Second Measure.
  • The more recent increase in telemedicine use in looser states like Georgia also coincided with a spike in COVID-19 cases, which may have discouraged consumers from in-person visits while making them more likely to need virtual care.

The bottom line: The pandemic will end — eventually — and when it does, we'll see whether telemedicine remains the future of health care.

Go deeper: Breaking the language barrier in telemedicine

Go deeper

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
Oct 26, 2020 - Health

The swing states where the pandemic is raging

Data: The COVID Tracking Project, The Cook Political Report; Table: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Several states that are likely to decide which party controls Washington next year have exceptionally large coronavirus outbreaks or are seeing cases spike.

Why it matters: Most voters have already made up their minds. But for those few holdouts, the state of the pandemic could ultimately help them make a decision as they head to the polls — and that's not likely to help President Trump.

Scoop: USAID chief tests positive for coronavirus

An Air Force cargo jet delivers USAID supplies to Russia earlier this year. Photo: Mikhail Metzel/TASS via Getty Images)

The acting administrator of the United States Agency for International Development informed senior staff Wednesday he has tested positive for coronavirus, two sources familiar with the call tell Axios.

Why it matters: John Barsa, who staffers say rarely wears a mask in their office, is the latest in a series of top administration officials to contract the virus. His positive diagnosis comes amid broader turmoil at the agency following the election.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
2 hours ago - Health

COVID-19 shows a bright future for vaccines

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Promising results from COVID-19 vaccine trials offer hope not just that the pandemic could be ended sooner than expected, but that medicine itself may have a powerful new weapon.

Why it matters: Vaccines are, in the words of one expert, "the single most life-saving innovation ever," but progress had slowed in recent years. New gene-based technology that sped the arrival of the COVID vaccine will boost the overall field, and could even extend to mass killers like cancer.