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

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President Biden participates in a CNN Town Hall in Cincinnati, Ohio, on Wednesday. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden jabbed at Fox News during his CNN town hall Wednesday night, saying the network had "an altar call" over stepping up messaging on getting vaccinated against COVID-19.

Why it matters: Fox News has long been criticized for allowing some of its personalities to spread misinformation as they've railed against pandemic measures.

  • The network started pointing viewers in a public service announcement this week to a link on its website to locate their nearest coronavirus vaccines — though a spokesperson noted in an email to Axios that its vaccine PSAs were nothing new.
  • On Monday, Sean Hannity implored viewers to "take COVID seriously." Two other hosts on the most-watched U.S. cable news network also advocated for COVID-19 vaccinations on their shows.

What he's saying: "I'm not being a wise guy now, you know, one of those other networks is not a big fan of mine, one you talk about a lot, but if you notice, as they say in the southern part of my state," Biden said, without naming Fox.

  • "They've had an altar call, some of those guys. All of a sudden they're out there saying, let’s get vaccinated. Let’s get vaccinated. The very people before this were saying ... I shouldn't make fun of it. That's good."

What they're saying: While the network's current PSA on coronavirus vaccines received media attention this past week, a spokesperson for Fox News said there have been vaccine-focused PSAs dating back to February this year.

  • She also pointed Axios to a series of personalities promoting the COVID vaccine, which go back back to January.

Go deeper

Jul 22, 2021 - Health

Prominent Republicans find new enthusiasm for COVID-19 vaccines

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Some GOP lawmakers and media figures have been making a point to be publicly supportive of coronavirus vaccines as the Delta variant rips through parts of the country with low vaccination rates.

Why it matters: Vaccine resistance is much higher among Republicans than Democrats, and some party leaders have been openly hostile to the U.S. vaccination effort despite the effectiveness of the shots.

Jul 22, 2021 - Health

COVID cases are up 55% across the U.S.

Expand chart
Data: CSSE Johns Hopkins University; Note: Rhode Island and Iowa data is from CDC and from July 12-July 19; Map: Axios Visuals

Coronavirus infections are rising dramatically all over the U.S. as the highly contagious Delta variant spreads.

The big picture: Some “breakthrough” infections are happening to vaccinated people, but this rising tide of cases and hospitalizations is mainly a threat to those who aren’t vaccinated. And in some parts of the country, most people aren’t vaccinated — so the virus can still do serious damage.

Jul 21, 2021 - Politics & Policy

The Capitol petri dish

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Congress, staffers and reporters are wearing masks again as Capitol Hill faces a new wave of the coronavirus despite widespread vaccinations.

Why it matters: The Delta variant is surging, and Congress is a potential petri dish for the new variant. House and Senate leaders are weighing whether to reintroduce coronavirus protocols to the Capitol. While most lawmakers have been vaccinated, they fit high-risk profiles and work in close quarters.

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