Latest Morning Briefing Stories

Will Coronavirus Snowball Into A Pandemic? Some Optimistic It Can Be Avoided, But Others Aren’t So Sure

KHN Morning Briefing

Scientists map out the potential paths the coronavirus outbreak could take. Many say that although it’s likely to escalate, it could operate like other seasonal pathogens and die out when the hot and humid summer months hit. In other news, despite the fact that experts say surgical face masks don’t do much to help healthy people, there’s been a global rush on them. And where did this virus come from? It’s looking like the culprit is bats.

‘Aggressive Measures’ In Place To Contain Coronavirus Cases In U.S., Officials Promise

KHN Morning Briefing

Quarantines on military bases, travel restrictions, and other “aggressive” actions are among the efforts the United States government undertakes to ensure the coronavirus doesn’t spread within the country. So far there have only been 11 confirmed cases, but officials expect that number to increase. Meanwhile, HHS tells Congress it may need to transfer up to $136 million toward its battle against the virus.

Congressional Democrats Have Limited Options Of Blocking Administration’s Block Grant Medicaid Changes

KHN Morning Briefing

Any tough measures aimed at halting the Trump administration’s attempt to shift Medicaid funding into a block-grant system could imperil other bipartisan health efforts members want to pass this year. Meanwhile, because the new plan, dubbed “Healthy Adult Opportunity,” is optional for states, its impact could vary from region to region creating even more geographical health disparities in the country.

School Safety Tip Lines Meant To Curtail Mass Shootings Are Also Saving Lives Of Suicidal Teens

KHN Morning Briefing

Allowing students to report concerns through texts provides an anonymity that is saving lives, police officers say of SafeOregon, which has received nearly twice as many reports of potential suicides than threats on school since its inception in 2017. Public health news is on funds for rare diseases, dangers of data apps, doctors on TikTok, social media ads for alcohol, dementia, eye health, Down syndrome, technology for the deaf, and longevity, as well.

‘They Literally Take Food Off Their Table’: Critics Question The Data Behind Agriculture Department’s Recent Rules

KHN Morning Briefing

Critics call into question the Department of Agriculture’s decision-making process that has huge implications for struggling farmers, food stamp recipients and workers in dangerous meatpacking jobs, among other aspects of America’s food system. “They operate much more on anecdote and ideology than facts and data,” said Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-Maine).

Under ‘Medicare For All’ Model, Employers Wouldn’t Have To Pay For Health Insurance. But That Doesn’t Mean Wages Will Go Up.

KHN Morning Briefing

There are conflicting studies about whether employers trade off wages and health insurance costs dollar-for-dollar. That means if they’re no longer responsible for paying for insurance, it doesn’t necessarily mean workers will see a comparable pay bump. Meanwhile, a poll finds that a narrow majority of Americans still favors “Medicare for All” and voters get ready for the Iowa caucus.

As Coronavirus Cases Rise In China, Researchers Forecast Outbreak Is Headed In Direction Of Global Pandemic

KHN Morning Briefing

“It’s very, very transmissible, and it almost certainly is going to be a pandemic,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease. “But will it be catastrophic? I don’t know.” Meanwhile, Dr. Mike Ryan, the head of the WHO’s Emergencies Program, says it’s not too late to try to contain the virus. In other news on the outbreak: first death outside China reported; criticism mounts against China’s response in the early days of the crisis; a look at the hospital China built in just 10 days; and more.

Health Officials, Doctors Scramble To Counter Coronavirus Misinformation That’s Spreading As Fast As Outbreak

KHN Morning Briefing

As worries escalate, scared Americans are being inundated with a flood of false or misleading information about the virus. “It is much faster to make something up while waiting for information to come in,” says Johns Hopkins Associate Professor Mark Dredze. Meanwhile, scientists race to find out more about the virus, such as how it’s transmitted, how contagious it is, and whether an Ebola drug might work as a vaccine.

Coronavirus In The U.S.: Public Health Emergency Declared; Travel Restrictions Issued; Americans Quarantined; And More

KHN Morning Briefing

While U.S. health officials have declared a public health emergency over the coronavirus outbreak, they are still trying to minimize Americans’ fears and urging calm. “The risk is low … but our job is to keep that risk low,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. Media outlets take a look at how the outbreak is effecting air travel, U.S. hospitals, and Americans who were in Wuhan, China.

States Look For Big Ideas To Turn Around Health Care Deficiencies In Rural Areas

KHN Morning Briefing

As many struggling rural hospitals are forced to close, Pew looks at ways states are thinking about filling the gaps, including expanding Medicaid, sending mobile medical units into remote areas, expanding telemedicine and encouraging young people in rural communities to go into health professions. Public health news is on family separations at the border, recalls on surgical gowns, the faulty BMI formula, high climate change costs, and worms, as well.