CEO DailyCFO DailyBroadsheetData SheetTerm Sheet

Will a coronavirus travel ban work?

March 12, 2020, 2:47 PM UTC

This is the web version of Brainstorm Health Daily, Fortune’s daily newsletter on the top health care news. To get it delivered daily to your in-box, sign up here.

Hello, readers.

The latest chapter in the ongoing coronavirus saga was written last night as President Donald Trump announced a travel ban from most European countries to the United States.

This ban applies to more than two dozen nations in Europe’s Schengen region, although some countries (such as the U.K.) have exemptions. Given the severity of the move, it’s worth asking—will it actually do anything?

Probably not, according to World Health Organization (WHO) experts, as my colleague David Meyer reports.

As he notes, the WHO has consistently and emphatically pushed back against the notion that travel restrictions will have any kind of significant effect on COVID-19 containment. And at this point, frankly, it’s just too late for such a policy to matter.

“Now the focus should be on identifying patients, isolating them, treating them and contact tracing. That should be the focus now for any country where the virus has already set foot,” a WHO spokesperson told David.

I’ve often said that public health prudence is a far superior philosophy to public health panic. But for that prudence to manifest itself, it’s critical to understand the nuances of the situation and the nature of the threat.

Right now, one of the biggest concerns is that as the virus continues to spread across the U.S., the strain on our fragmented health care system—including a lack of sufficient hospital beds—could be immense. And that’s an issue we’re going to have to grapple with.

Read on for the day’s news.

Sy Mukherjee
sayak.mukherjee@fortune.com
@the_sy_guy

DIGITAL HEALTH

CVS branches into new digital health partnerships. CVS Health is already offering telemedicine services via partnerships with Teladoc and its MinuteClinic app. Now, it's partnering with Livongo and Hinge Health through the pharmacy giant's Health Points Solutions Management vendor. That includes services for chronic disease management, musculoskeletal health, and a digital sleep management tool. (HIT Consultant)

INDICATIONS

Massive cancer conference postponed over coronavirus. Another major health care conference has been canceled over coronavirus fears—AACR, one of the largest cancer meetings in the country. This follows on the heels of the HIMSS health IT conference's cancellation as well as other major events such as South by Southwest. (Healio)

AstraZeneca cancer drug combo flops in late-stage trial. AstraZeneca's and partner Merck's efforts to combine the cancer drug Lynparza and an experimental compound called cediranib failed to best chemotherapy in a late-stage trial of ovarian cancer patients. This was part of a collaboration two years in the making and is a blow to the firms, which appeared confident in the combination therapy's efficacy following earlier-stage studies. (BioSpace)

THE BIG PICTURE

Aging and inequality. Kaiser Health News takes a fascinating look at the relationship between aging and inequality. "Seniors in urban areas and on the coasts are surviving longer than their counterparts in rural areas and the nation’s interior," writes Judith Graham. The entire story is well worth the read. (Kaiser Health News)

REQUIRED READING

The bond bubble may be next to burstby Ben Carlson

NBA suspends season until further notice over coronavirusby The Associated Press

Even after a giant fall, stocks are still expensive by historical standardsby Shawn Tully

Welcome to your first bear market. Here's what it meansby Erik Sherman

Sign up for other Fortune newsletters.