Dr. Scott Gottlieb warned that the United States is only “at the beginning of the steep part of the epidemic” as the number of coronavirus infections and hospitalizations across the country break grim records.

In an interview on CNBC’s “The News with Shepard Smith” on Friday, the former FDA chief said, “You’ll see cases start to accelerate into the coming weeks, I think the inflection point really is going to be Thanksgiving.”

The U.S. hit 9 million confirmed cases of the virus on Friday, more than any other country. Thursday marked a single-day record by logging 90,456 new cases, according to the latest NBC News tally. For context, that is more than one new case every second. Gottlieb explained that this surge was more confluent across the entire country, as opposed to earlier this year when it was focused first in New York, and then, the South. 

“The reason why it doesn’t feel very bad in most parts of the country right now is because it’s moderately bad everywhere,” Gottlieb said. 

In Illinois, cases have skyrocketed to more than 6,900 in one day, according to Johns Hopkins. It more than tripled the number of what was added one month

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If they’ve been listening to President Donald Trump, seniors may be expecting a $200 debit card in the mail any day now to help them pay for prescription drugs.

He promised as much this month, saying his administration soon will mail the drug cards to more than 35 million Medicare beneficiaries.

But the cards — if they are ever sent — would be of little help. Policy experts say that what Medicare beneficiaries really need, as well as younger Americans, are sweeping federal changes to close the gap between what their health insurance pays and what drugs cost them.

The nation’s 46.5 million enrollees in Medicare’s Part D prescription drug program — except for those who qualify for low-income subsidies — face unlimited out-of-pocket exposure to drug costs even though the Affordable Care Act finally closed the infamous “doughnut hole.” After Part D enrollees have spent $6,550 and reached the catastrophic threshold in a given year, they still must pay 5% coinsurance on the list price of their drugs.

Congress was considering legislation to lower drug prices and cap out-of-pocket costs until early this year, when the COVID-19 pandemic

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A big thanks to our readers who participated in our second annual KHN Halloween Haiku Contest. Your entries — like our health care system — ranged from eerie and haunting to downright spooky. And, based on a review by our expert panel of judges, here’s the winner and a sampling of finalists. Also, keep an eye on KHN’s social media accounts (Twitter, Instagram and Facebook) for more of our favorites. Enjoy!

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WINNER

Boo! It’s the virus

Glad you are trick or treating

What luck, I am too

— JK

Inspiration: How Families Are Keeping Halloween From Turning Into a COVID Nightmare

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FINALISTS

Ghost of the mandate

lives on, haunting the high court,

sending chills down spines.

— Barbara Armstrong

Inspiration: Potential Impact of California v. Texas Decision on Key Provisions of the Affordable Care Act


Ah, Trump’s “beautiful”

health care plan. Real? Or just an

invisible ghost?

— Shefali Luthra

Inspiration: Back to the Future: Trump’s History of Promising a Health Plan That Never Comes


If sickness scares you

Wait for the debt collectors

Liens and lawsuits lurk

— Arielle Levin Becker

Inspiration: UVA Health Still Squeezing Money From Patients — By Seizing Their Home Equity


Shivers down

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Covid cases, hospitalizations continue to surge as U.S. reaches ‘critical point’ in pandemic

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