Infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci on Wednesday called conspiracy theories suggesting the novel coronavirus death toll is inflated because sick people are dying with the virus — not because of it — "nothing but distractions."

What they're saying: Fauci said at the White House press briefing, "You will always have conspiracy theories when you have very challenging public health crises. They are nothing but distractions."

  • Deborah Birx, the White House's coronavirus response coordinator, also noted on the "co-morbidities": "Those individuals will have an underlying condition. But that underlying condition did not cause their acute death when it's related to a COVID infection."
  • "In fact, it's the opposite," she added. "Having an underlying condition and getting this virus we know is particularly damaging to those individuals."

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11 mins ago - Sports

Factions form with college football season in the balance

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

With college football on the brink, Monday saw an outpouring of support for playing a fall season from numerous parties, including President Trump, Ohio State coach Ryan Day and Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh.

Yes, but: Monday also saw the Mountain West Conference become the second FBS league to postpone fall sports, and the Big Ten and Pac-12 are expected to make the same decision as early as this morning.

Democrats announce full list of convention speakers

Barack and Michelle Obama at a 2017 Obama Foundation event. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Former President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama will headline two nights of the Democratic National Convention, according to a full list of speakers released by the party on Tuesday.

Our thought bubble, via Axios' Margaret Talev: It signals how much the Democratic Party is still the party of Barack Obama — and how strongly Biden’s team feels the Obamas can validate his vice presidential choice and energize the party’s base.

The hard seltzer wars are heating up

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Competition in the hard seltzer market is heating up in the closing weeks of summer, as big companies like Constellation Brands, AB InBev and Molson Coors have entered the market and Coca-Cola is poised to join the fray in 2021.

Why it matters: The coronavirus pandemic has increased alcohol sales overall and hard seltzers are exploding in popularity and look to have staying power, boasting record high sales in recent weeks.