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Virtual doctor visits shrivel

One pandemic-era phenomenon that may have peaked: virtual doctor visits.

What's new: Nearly one-quarter of American adults had a virtual doctor appointment within the past month, according to the latest Census Bureau survey.


  • The share has steadily eased — slightly, by a total of 1 percentage point — since the Census Bureau began asking the question in April.

Telemedicine was already shriveling up at this time last year, when it accounted for 21% of doctor visits, per electronic record health company Epic.

  • Compare that to 69% in April 2020, near the onset of the pandemic.

The big picture: Patients are returning for the care pushed off when the pandemic hit, quarterly earnings reports out this week from hospital operators show.

  • Almost none of that care could have been done virtually, but it's one sign America's hesitancy about in-person care is ebbing.

What to watch: Medicare is proposing coverage of certain telehealth services be extended through 2023.

  • It's part of a test run to evaluate what "should be permanently" added to the coverage list — one factor that could encourage its use.

The intrigue: Insurers want telehealth to stick around. It's cheaper for them than paying out claims for pricier, in-person visits, as Axios' Bob Herman notes.

What's next: Fresh updates on virtual care use as the economy opens back up are coming.

  • Publicly traded telehealth companies — like Teladoc, Amwell and LifeMD — start to roll out quarterly results as early as next week.

The bottom line: Way more people are taking advantage of telehealth now compared to pre-pandemic times.

  • It provided more options and flexibility for care, but that care has its limits.

Axios' Bob Herman contributed reporting.

American Carissa Moore wins first-ever women's Olympic gold in surfing

Team USA's Carissa Moore won gold in the first-ever Olympic women's surfing final, at the Tokyo Games on Tuesday.

The big picture: Brazil's Italo Ferreira won the gold medal in the inaugural men's Olympic surfing contest. The finals were brought forward a day due to the threat of Tropical Storm Nepartak.

Editor's note: This a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.

Activist Tong Ying-kit found guilty of terrorism in first Hong Kong security law trial

Tong Ying-kit, the first person to be charged and tried under Hong Kong's national security law was found guilty of terrorism and inciting secession by three judges Tuesday, per Bloomberg.

Editor's note: This a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.

Naomi Osaka eliminated from Olympic tennis tournament in Tokyo

Tennis superstar Naomi Osaka was eliminated from the Olympics after losing her Tokyo tennis tournament match 6-1, 6-4 in the third round to Czech Marketa Vondrousova on Tuesday.

Editor's note: This a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.

Extreme drought pushes 2 major U.S. lakes to historic lows

Two significant U.S. lakes, one of which is a major reservoir, are experiencing historic lows amid a drought that scientists have linked to climate change.

What's happening: Lake Powell, the second largest reservoir in the U.S., has fallen 3,554 feet in elevation, leaving the crucial reservoir on the Colorado River, at 33% capacity — the lowest since it was filled over half a century ago, new U.S. Bureau of Reclamation data shows.

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North and South Korea restart hotline and pledge to improve ties

North and South Korea's leaders have pledged to improve relations and resumed previously suspended communication channels between the two countries, per Reuters.

Details: South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un agreed to "restore mutual confidence and develop their relationships again as soon as possible," South Korea's Blue House spokesperson Park Soo Hyun said in a televised briefing, AP notes.

  • This followed an exchange of letters between the two leaders since April.

Go deeper: Kim Jong Un says prepare for "dialogue and confrontation" with U.S.

Editor's note: This a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.

U.S. teen Lydia Jacoby wins Olympic gold medal in 100m breaststroke at Tokyo Games

Team USA's 17-year-old swimmer Lydia Jacoby has won the Olympic gold medal in the women's 100-meter breaststroke at the Tokyo Games.

Of note: The Alaskan is the first American woman to win an Olympic gold medal in Tokyo, and she beat Lilly King into second place.

Editor's note: This a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.

Pelosi expected to extend proxy voting as Delta variant surges

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is expected to extend proxy voting through the fall — and potentially until the end of the year — Democratic lawmakers and aides tell Axios.

Why it matters: The spread of the Delta variant has alarmed both members and staffers anxious about interacting with the unvaccinated. Pelosi’s anticipated move — continuing an emergency COVID-19 measure enacted last year so lawmakers could vote remotely — is aimed at allaying those concerns.

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Jan. 6 panel to paint haunting scene of Capitol attack with graphic footage

The Jan. 6 select committee will paint a haunting picture of what unfolded during the attack on the Capitol during its first public hearing on Tuesday, Axios is told.

Why it matters: The nine-member panel will not only hear from four police officers on the grounds that day, but show graphic video footage similar to the chilling 13-minute video Democrats aired during Donald Trump's second impeachment trial.

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