Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Charlotte news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Biden delivers remarks in Wilmington. Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

President-elect Biden, who has vowed to be clear-eyed and straight about the pandemic, plans a renewed warning in remarks on COVID-19 in Wilmington today, a transition official tells Axios.

Driving the news: Echoing a CDC forecast from last week, Biden is expected to say that, tragically, the infection rates and the number of deaths are expected to increase in the coming weeks.

  • Biden plans to call out the Trump administration for falling short on the pace of vaccine distribution, and will discuss his own plan to get people vaccinated as quickly as possible. 

Why it matters: Although Americans have been getting blunt talk from their governors and from doctors on TV, President Trump has been AWOL on COVID since the election.

  • Biden is intentionally filling the vacuum, addressing the nation in terms that aim to balance hope and realism.

With a bluntness that has been missing from this administration, Biden talked Dec. 14 about "this dark winter of the pandemic," then said last week: "Our darkest days in the battle against COVID are ahead of us, not behind us."

  • Biden has said he has a plan to aim to administer 100 million vaccine shots in his first 100 days (by May 1).

Dr. Anthony Fauci, who'll be Biden's chief medical adviser on COVID, on Sunday repeated his grim "surge upon a surge" prediction for post-Christmas cases.

  • Fauci told Dana Bash on CNN's State of the Union: "I share the concern of President-elect Biden that as we get into the next few weeks, it might actually get worse."

What we're watching: Straight talk is easier when it's on Trump's watch. Biden's test will be to be just as blunt after he takes the oath.

Subscribe to Axios AM/PM for a daily rundown of what's new and why it matters, directly from Mike Allen.
Please enter a valid email.
Please enter a valid email.
Server error. Please try a different email.
Subscribed! Look for Axios AM and PM in your inbox tomorrow or read the latest Axios AM now.

Go deeper

Updated Jan 18, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: CDC director defends agency's response to pandemic — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Empire State Building among hundreds to light up in Biden inauguration coronavirus tribute.
  3. Vaccine: Fauci: 100 million doses in 100 days is "absolutely" doable.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode again.
  5. Tech: Kids' screen time sees a big increase.

Inaugural address: Biden vows to be "a president for all Americans"

Moments after taking the oath of office, President Biden sought to soothe a nation riven by political divisions and a global pandemic, while warning that "we have far to go" to heal the country and defeat a "virus that silently stalks the the country."

Why it matters: From the same steps that a pro-Trump mob launched an assault on Congress two weeks earlier, the new president paid deference to the endurance of American political institutions.

Biden embarks on a consequential presidency

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Donald Trump tried everything to delegitimize the rival who vanquished him. In reality, he's set Joe Biden on course to be a far more consequential U.S. president than he might otherwise have become.

The big picture: President Biden now confronts not just a pandemic, but massive political divisions and an assault on truth — and the aftermath of the assault on the Capitol two weeks ago that threatened democracy itself.