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Photo: Joshua Roberts/Getty Images

Rare words from an incoming president: "Our darkest days in the battle against COVID are ahead of us, not behind us," President-elect Biden warned Tuesday afternoon during remarks in Wilmington.

Why it matters: Biden is promising to tell America the truth, which includes the reality of many more horrific months, no matter who is in charge.

  • If we're lucky, vaccinations will provide enough herd immunity to allow some normality by this summer or fall.

Another blunt reality: Most of the benefits in the $900 billion coronavirus rescue package expire months before America has any hope of being back to normal.

  • The $300 boost for unemployment benefits expires in March.
  • The new $284 billion round of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) is meant to last 3 months.
  • There's no new funding earmarked for state and local governments.

The other side: There's funding for schools and childcare and mass transit and vaccination distribution, which helps bail out the above from those obligations.

  • The entertainment sector got $15 billion, helping out theaters and museums and live entertainment venues.
  • $600 checks will start showing up next week for individuals making under $75,000 (phases out for incomes above that), with an extra $600 per child.

The bottom line: Georgia's Jan. 5 Senate runoffs could be the difference between a big stimulus under Biden, or more trouble for parts of the U.S. hospitality sector.

Go deeper: Inside the $900 billion stimulus compromise

Go deeper

Jan 29, 2021 - Health

J&J says its one-shot vaccine is 66% effective against moderate to severe COVID

Photo: Thiago Prudêncio/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Johnson & Johnson announced Friday that its single-shot coronavirus vaccine was 66% effective in protecting against moderate to severe COVID-19 disease in Phase 3 trials, which was comprised of nearly 44,000 participants across eight countries.

Between the lines: The vaccine was 72% effective in the U.S., but only 57% effective in South Africa, where a more contagious variant has been spreading. It prevented 85% of severe infections and 100% of hospitalizations and deaths, according to the company.

Updated 7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: CDC director says number of U.S. Omicron cases "likely to rise" — Two years of COVID-19 — Prior coronavirus infections may not protect well against Omicron.
  2. Vaccines: Data demonstrates most-vaccinated counties less vulnerable to worst of COVID — Omicron adds urgency to vaccinating world — Omicron fuels the case for COVID boosters.
  3. Politics: Nevada to impose insurance surcharge on unvaccinated state workers — New Jersey GOP lawmakers defy statehouse COVID policy — Oklahoma sues Biden administration over Pentagon vaccine mandate.
  4. World: Vaccine mandates lose steam in the U.S. while Europe doubles downWHO: Delta health measures help fight Omicron — COVID cases surge in South Africa in sign Omicron wave is coming.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
Jan 29, 2021 - Health

WHO says most pregnant women can now receive coronavirus vaccine

A doctor administering Moderna's coronavirus vaccine at a university hospital in Essen, Germany, on Jan. 18. Photo: Lukas Schulze/Getty Images

The World Health Organization has altered its guidance for pregnant women who wish to receive the coronavirus vaccine, saying now that those at high risk of exposure to the COVID-19 or who have comorbidities that increase their risk of severe disease, may be vaccinated.

Why it matters: The WHO drew backlash for its previous guidance that did not recommend pregnant women be inoculated with vaccines made by Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna, even though data indicated that pregnancy increased the risk of developing severe illness from the virus.