Collins appears on the BUILD live interview series in November 2019. Photo: Gary Gershoff/Getty Images

The Biden campaign is launching a new initiative today that will draft Hollywood celebrities for Instagram Live chats with campaign officials and other Biden supporters.

Why it matters: The campaign, called #TeamJoeTalks, is an attempt to open up a new front on social media, drawing on celebrities’ Instagram followers to help find and motivate voters while large parts of the country remain locked down.

  • "They all have audiences that we are tapping into," said Adrienne Elrod, who joined the Biden campaign last month to manage outreach initiatives with high-profile supporters. "People are still at home, living on their phones."

Driving the news: You may not know TV actor Misha Collins, but his 4.2 million Instagram followers certainly do. He'll interview Biden senior adviser Karine Jean-Pierre this afternoon.

  • Remember Bradley Whitford, who played the brainy Josh Lyman as deputy chief of staff on "The West Wing?" He’ll chat with potential VP pick Stacey Abrams about voting rights.
  • Other names lined up: Actor Debra Messing, celebrity chef Tom Colicchio, and former presidential candidate Andrew Yang.

Between the lines: Campaigns have always tried to leverage a celebrity's popularity to drive support for a candidate, but they typically did so in traditional campaign venues: pre-rally concerts, big-dollar fundraisers or local events.

  • But trying to corral a celebrity's Instagram followers — and meet them where they are — is another example of how technology is altering campaigns.
  • The goal is to do one a day for the rest of the month and beyond.
  • Conversations are short — only 20 minutes — and both the celebrities and the campaign will promote the chats beforehand.

The big picture: The Trump campaign is proud of its digital presence and all but chuckles at any attempt to take on @realDonaldTrump in the asymmetrical warfare of social media.

  • "The Trump campaign is speaking to their base," said Elrod. "We are expanding our reach, tapping into our supporters' networks and growing support for the Vice President's message.”

Be smart: In the modern era, we’ve never had two candidates who aren’t just diametrically opposed on most policy issues, but are running totally different campaigns.

  • It's also rare to have this many celebrities working to get the incumbent out of office, with so many ways to reach their fans.

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Data: Axios/Ipsos poll; Note: ±3.0% margin of error for the total sample; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Democrats are twice as likely as Republicans to worry about in-person voting — with nearly two in three seeing it as a large or moderate risk to their health — according to this week's installment of the Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

Why it matters: This could pose a significant disadvantage for Joe Biden and other Democratic candidates in November if the pattern holds — especially in states where high infection rates persist, or where there are significant hurdles to mail-in, absentee or early voting.

Trump: Coronavirus is "under control"

President Trump said in an interview with “Axios on HBO” that he thinks the coronavirus is as well-controlled in the U.S. as it can be, despite dramatic surges in new infections over the course of the summer and more than 150,000 American deaths.

  • “They are dying, that's true. And you have — it is what it is. But that doesn't mean we aren't doing everything we can. It's under control as much as you can control it. This is a horrible plague,” he told Axios' Jonathan Swan.
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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

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  4. Politics: White House will require staff to undergo randomized coronavirus testing — Pelosi says Birx "enabled" Trump on misinformation.
  5. Sports: 13 members of St. Louis Cardinals test positive, prompting MLB to cancel Tigers series — Former FDA chief says MLB outbreaks should be warning sign for schools.
  6. 1 🎥 thing: "Tenet" may be the first major film to get a global pandemic release.