Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen during a press conference at the Justice Department. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen advised law enforcement officials in a memorandum Tuesday they may use "terrorism-related statutes" in cases involving "the purposeful exposure and infection of others with COVID-19," per Politico and the Washington Post.

"Because coronavirus appears to meet the statutory definition of a 'biological agent,' under federal law such acts potentially could implicate the Nation’s terrorism-related statutes."
— Excerpt from Rosen's memo, per WashPost

The big picture: The novel coronavirus had killed 796 people and infected more than 55,000 others by early Wednesday, per Johns Hopkins data. All levels of government are racing to try and contain the spread of the virus and impact on economies by introducing a range of measures, from social distancing to stay-at-home orders.

Between the lines: WashPost notes that Rosen's memo to Department of Justice leaders, U.S. Attorneys and law enforcement agency chiefs appears to be "theoretical" at this stage.

Of note: The Justice Department filed its first COVID-19 enforcement action on Sunday, against a website it says was offering a fraudulent coronavirus vaccine.

  • Assistant Attorney General Jody Hunt of the Department of Justice's Civil Division said in a statement, "The Department of Justice will not tolerate criminal exploitation of this national emergency for personal gain." Axios has contacted the DOJ for comment on the memo.

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Biden enters final stretch with huge cash advantage over Trump

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden in Wilmington, Delaware, on Monday. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden had $177.3 million in the bank at the end of September, per the latest Federal Election Commission filings.

Why it matters: President Trump's re-election campaign reported having $63.1 million in the bank at the end of last month.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Americans feel Trump's sickness makes him harder to trustFlorida breaks record for in-person early voting — McConnell urges White House not to strike stimulus deal before election — Republican senators defend Fauci as Trump escalates attacks.
  2. Health: The next wave is gaining steam.
  3. Education: Schools haven't become hotspots — University of Michigan students ordered to shelter-in-place.
  4. World: Ireland moving back into lockdown — Argentina becomes 5th country to report 1 million infections.

Court allows North Carolina mail-in ballots deadline extension

An absentee ballot election worker stuffs ballot applications at the Mecklenburg County Board of Elections office in Charlotte, North Carolina, in September. Photo: Logan Cyrus/AFP via Getty Images

North Carolina can accept absentee ballots that are postmarked Nov. 3 on Election Day until Nov. 12, a federal appeals court decided Tuesday in a 12-3 majority ruling.

Why it matters: The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals' ruling against state and national Republican leaders settles a lawsuit brought by a group representing retirees, and it could see scores of additional votes counted in the key battleground state.