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

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Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

A large collection of nonprofits is sending an open letter today calling on the incoming Biden-Harris administration to do a better job of both educating the public on misinformation and taking stronger action to protect the health care system, voting process and other critical institutions.

Why it matters: Misinformation amplified on social media has worn down the factual foundations of democracy and led to an upsurge in conspiracy theories on everything from the 2020 election results to how COVID-19 spreads.

Details: The letter makes a number of proposals, including adding a disinformation expert to the COVID-19 vaccine effort, creating a national site for debunking misinformation modeled on CISA’s “Rumor Control” site and tapping the Education Department to develop media literacy standards.

  • The groups also want the Justice Department to apply the Voting Rights Act to online voter suppression efforts.
  • Signatories include dozens of mostly left-leaning groups, ranging from Common Cause to Greenpeace USA to New America's Open Technology Institute and the Secure Elections Network.

Between the lines: Organizers, which include Accountable Tech, MapLight and Avaaz, say the goal of the effort was to figure out what's doable in an administration with a lot on its plate — understanding that tech priorities may not be first in line.

What they're saying: "Your administration faces urgent and unprecedented challenges, from steering us past a deadly pandemic to reversing the decay of our democratic institutions," the groups wrote in the letter.

  • "It’s a daunting to-do list, and our intention is not to add new items. Rather, we encourage you to recognize disinformation as a ubiquitous and foundational impediment to tackling those challenges."

Go deeper

Trump's four-year information war

Photo illustration: Brendan Lynch. Photos: Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images

Last week's riot at the Capitol was many things, but perhaps chiefly it was the culmination of four years of information warfare waged against the country from within the Oval Office.

Why it matters: A sprawling disinformation campaign led by President Trump — and buttressed by his allies in the media, online and in Congress — has severely destabilized the U.S. and makes further acts of violence and would-be insurrection a near certainty.

The next political battleground: school boards

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The debate over coronavirus precautions and school reopening has fueled a surge of new candidates for school boards across the country.

Why it matters: What was traditionally a nonpartisan, hyper-local role is now at center of a swirling national political debate. Conservative and progressive parents have clashed over when and how to reopen classrooms — and it's pushed some of them to run for office themselves.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
3 hours ago - Economy & Business

The wild ride of pandemic consumer prices

Data: U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics; Chart: Michelle McGhee/Axios

Consumer prices have been more volatile over the past year than at any point in decades — for good reason.

Why it matters: Congress has tasked the Federal Reserve with ensuring price stability when it comes to consumer prices overall. But the price of a broad basket of goods and services can be pretty steady even if the various components inside that basket are gyrating wildly.

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