Today's word count is 1,226, or a 5-minute read.
Today's word count is 1,226, or a 5-minute read.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
A pandemic would normally be a time when public health expertise and data are in urgent demand — yet President Trump and his administration have been going all out to undermine them, Axios' David Nather reports.
Why it matters: There's a new example almost every day of this administration trying to marginalize the experts and data that most administrations lean on and defer to in the middle of a global crisis.
Here's how it has been happening just in the past few weeks:
The other side: The White House insists there's no problem. "President Trump has always acted on the science and valued the input of public health experts throughout this crisis," said White House deputy press secretary Sarah Matthews.
The coronavirus continues to spread nearly unchecked across almost the entire country: 37 states saw their caseloads increase over the past week, and only two states experienced a meaningful improvement, Axios' Sam Baker and Andrew Witherspoon report.
Why it matters: These rapidly escalating outbreaks will translate into thousands of deaths and make it all the harder to safely reopen schools or otherwise reclaim some sense of normalcy.
By the numbers: New infections rose by at least 10% last week in 37 states, spanning every region of the country. Six states and the District of Columbia experienced spikes greater than 50%.
Between the lines: Even some of the states that may not immediately register as bad news are still, in fact, in a bad spot.
What's next: Experts hope this outbreak won't be as deadly as the virus' initial attack on the New York area, in part because more young people are getting sick now.
Go deeper: We're losing the war on the coronavirus
Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) announced on Wednesday he has tested positive for the coronavirus and will self-isolate, Tulsa World reports. The 47-year-old Stitt is believed to be the first governor in the U.S. to test positive.
Four months after the first lockdowns, there's a real possibility of a nationwide consensus on face masks. As is increasingly the case in our fractured society, states and businesses led the way, finally followed by the federal government.
Alabama's Republican Gov. Kay Ivey issued a statewide mask mandate on Wednesday as coronavirus cases continued to soar across the South, saying at a press conference: "We're pleading with the people of Alabama to wear a mask."
139 clients were exposed to two symptomatic hair stylists with COVID-19, but face coverings on both the stylists and customers resulted in no reported secondary cases, a study released Tuesday from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows.
UnitedHealth Group registered more than $6.6 billion in profits in the second quarter — by far the conglomerate's highest quarterly profit ever, according to an analysis of company financial data from FactSet.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
The debate over whether and how much to re-open schools in the fall has put teachers in the precarious position of choosing between their own safety and the pressures from some parents and local officials, Axios' Kim Hart and Marisa Fernandez report.
Why it matters: Teachers are the core of K-12 education. The people we depend on to educate our society's children may end up bearing the brunt of both the risk and the workload.
What's happening: With coronavirus cases spiking in many parts of the U.S., districts are weighing the feasibility of keeping classes all virtual, as Los Angeles and San Diego are doing, or conducting a rotation in-person and remote lessons.
While all back-to-school options have pros and cons, there are specific worries for teachers.
The war against plastic is losing, for now, to the war against the coronavirus, Axios' Amy Harder reports.
Where it stands: Reusable everything, from bags to utensils, is considered a potential spreader of COVID-19, so businesses across the spectrum are swapping multi-use products for single-use alternatives, most of which is plastic.
Why it matters: Plastic was polluting virtually everywhere on Earth before the pandemic, prompting a global outcry to improve recycling or get off the petroleum-derived material altogether.
By the numbers: Forecasts suggest a big — but temporary — spike in plastic use, according to data from Wood Mackenzie on flexible packaging, a material that's made from plastic 90% of the time. It's used for storing items like food and medical equipment.
Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios
The Federal Communications Commission is expected on Thursday to designate 988 as the new nationwide number to reach a suicide prevention and mental health crisis hotline, Axios' Margaret Harding McGill reports.
Why it matters: The change should make it easier for Americans to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which connects to a network of local crisis centers. Surveys and experts suggest a rise in people undergoing mental health crises since the start of the pandemic.
Yes, but: The 988 code will not be active immediately after the FCC votes on establishing it at a Thursday morning meeting.