Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Apple Podcasts has launched an updated News category in the U.S., Canada, U.K., and Australia, a spokesperson tells Axios.

Why it matters: Podcast consumption for the news as a category is skyrocketing, according to data from podcast analytics company Podtrac.

Details: Beginning Tuesday, Apple's editorial team will recommend new collections and shows inside of the News category within Apple Podcasts, which will feature information around coronavirus and the U.S. presidential election.

  • Earlier this month, Apple Podcasts launched "COVID-19: Essential Listening,” a collection of the best news, science, health, and culture podcasts around the topic.
  • Apple also has built voice commands through Siri that play the latest news around the pandemic from sources like CNN or the BBC when asked for information around key words like "COVID-19,” “coronavirus,”or “health."

By the numbers: According to a spokesperson, Apple Podcasts now has 1 million shows in more than 100 languages and 175 countries and regions.

What's next: Similar news podcast recommendations will roll out to additional countries and regions in the future.

Go deeper: Podcast downloads drop during coronavirus outbreak

Go deeper

Aug 5, 2020 - Health

Virginia launches contact tracing app using specs from Apple and Google

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Virginia's health department released a coronavirus contact tracing app on Wednesday that relies on a Bluetooth-based system designed by Apple and Google.

Why it matters: Adoption of COVID-19 tracing tech in the U.S. has been limited compared to other countries — and tracking who has possibly been exposed to the virus (and promptly notifying them) is crucial to stem the spread.

Updated 18 hours ago - Health

World coronavirus updates

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Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

A coalition of 156 countries agreed Monday to a "landmark" agreement aimed at the fair distribution of COVID-19 vaccines around the globe, the World Health Organization announced Monday.

The big picture: 64 higher-income countries, including European Union members, are among the signatories to the deal, known as "COVAX." The U.S. is not participating in the scheme.

Coronavirus hotspots begin to improve

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Data: The COVID Tracking Project, state health departments; Map: Andrew Witherspoon, Danielle Alberti, Sara Wise/Axios

Coronavirus infections are falling or holding steady in most of the country, including the hard-hit hotspots of Arizona, California and Florida.

The big picture: A decline in new infections is always good news, but don't be fooled: the U.S. still has a very long way to go to recover from this summer's surge.

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