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Former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

A few buzzy zingers and testy exchanges during Night 2 of the second round of Democratic debates on Wednesday caused ratings to tick up from the previous evening.

By the numbers: More than 10 million people tuned into the second night on live television, according to preliminary numbers from Nielsen. That's higher than the 8.7 million that watched the night before.

  • An additional 3.1 million live-streamed the event on CNN’s digital properties, up from 2.7 million that live-streamed the program Tuesday.

Yes, but: Both debate nights for the second round saw audiences shrink compared to round 1, which aired in June and drew 15.3 million viewers Night 1, and another 18.1 million on Night 2.

It’s worth noting that the second round of Democratic primary debates attracted less viewership than the first round during the 2016 election cycle as well.

  • And CNN’s debate coverage only aired on CNN, while the first round of debates this cycle aired live across 3 networks: MSNBC, NBC and Telemundo.

Between the lines: CNN says Wednesday‘s debate surpassed Tuesday’s to become the network's second-highest Democratic primary debate for live viewership on record, next to its October 2015 Democratic debate in Las Vegas. It adds it was also its second most-watched debate on livestream.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
1 hour ago - Health

Schools face an uphill battle to reopen during the pandemic

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

President Biden's plan to accelerate the reopening of K-8 schools faces major challenges from a still out-of-control pandemic and more contagious coronavirus variants.

Why it matters: The longer American kids miss in-person schooling, the further they fall behind. But the uncertain state of the science on the role young children play in the pandemic continues to complicate efforts to reopen schools.

Focus group: Former Trump voters say he should never hold office again

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

"Relief" is the top emotion some swing voters who used to support Donald Trump say they felt as they watched President Biden's swearing-in, followed by "hope."

Why it matters: For voters on the bubble between parties, this moment is less about excitement for Biden or liberal politics than exhaustion and disgust with Trump and a craving for national healing. Most said Trump should be prohibited from ever holding office again.

Updated 15 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Health: Most vulnerable Americans aren't getting enough vaccine information — Fauci says Trump administration's lack of facts on COVID "very likely" cost lives.
  2. Politics: Biden unveils "wartime" COVID strategyBiden's COVID-19 bubble.
  3. Vaccine: Florida requiring proof of residency to get vaccine — CDC extends interval between vaccine doses for exceptional cases.
  4. World: Hong Kong to put tens of thousands on lockdown as cases surge.
  5. Sports: 2021 Tokyo Olympics hang in the balance.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: Carbon Health's CEO on unsticking the vaccine bottleneck.