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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Four in 10 voters named the pandemic as their top issue in the presidential race, according to AP VoteCast. Another three in 10 said the economy and jobs were most important.

Why it matters: Voters were more likely to say that the government should focus on limiting the spread of the virus, even if it damages the economy, than to say the economy should be prioritized above all else.

  • About half of voters said the pandemic isn't at all under control, and six in 10 said the economy is in poor shape.
  • An overwhelming majority said that the virus has impacted them personally, and about two in 10 said a close friend or family member has died from the virus.

The backdrop: Coronavirus hospitalizations surged as Americans cast their votes, with Missouri, Oklahoma, Iowa, Indiana, Nebraska, North Dakota and New Mexico all reporting record high hospitalizations this week, AP reports.

  • Wisconsin reported a record 5,771 new coronavirus cases Tuesday. Hospitals in Iowa and Missouri are warning they could soon be overwhelmed.

Go deeper

Jan 30, 2021 - World

Science helps New Zealand avoid another coronavirus lockdown

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (L) visits a lab at Auckland University in December. Photo: Phil Walter/Getty Images

New Zealand has avoided locking down for a second time over COVID-19 community cases because of a swift, science-led response.

Why it matters: The Health Ministry said in an email to Axios Friday there's "no evidence of community transmission" despite three people testing positive after leaving managed hotel isolation. That means Kiwis can continue to visit bars, restaurants and events as much of the world remains on lockdown.

Jan 30, 2021 - World

Germany to impose travel restrictions to curb spread of coronavirus variants

Border police officers check passports and COVID-19 tests at Frankfurt Airport. Photo: Thomas Lohnes via Getty Images

Germany announced Friday that it was imposing new travel restrictions in an effort to curb the spread of more contagious coronavirus variants.

Details: All non-German residents traveling from countries deemed "areas of variant concern," including the United Kingdom, South Africa, Portugal, Ireland, Brazil, Lesotho and Eswatini, will be banned from entering the country, even if they test negative for the coronavirus.

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.