Sen. Rand Paul. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

The Trump administration is urging commercial labs to prioritize testing inpatients for the novel coronavirus, Vice President Mike Pence said Sunday, a reflection of how we're prioritizing America's woefully inadequate supply of diagnostic tests.

Why it matters: A high-profile example of the pitfalls of this strategy — which essentially means that only the sickest patients get tested — is Sen. Rand Paul's positive diagnosis. Paul is asymptomatic, but recently was in close contact with other senators, leading them to self-quarantine.

  • That's how this is supposed to work; it cuts off the virus's line of transmission by keeping everyone who has been exposed quarantined at home. But it's impossible to do this across the population when we don't know who is infected.
  • Our next-best option is for everyone to stay home and assume that they have the virus. But plenty of people have been ignoring social distancing guidance.

The big picture: As researchers learn more about the virus, it's becoming more apparent that asymptomatic carriers are likely important to its spread.

The latest: Our testing issues are no longer about a lack of labs making them. The latest problem is that even as our testing capability ramps up, we face shortages of the supplies used to make and conduct the tests.

  • There are also concerns that people seeking tests who aren't severely ill will waste resources beyond the tests themselves, like personal protective equipment, and expose non-infected people.

What they're saying: "We are in a new phase of this fight. Only one thing matters now: treatment of the gravely ill," tweeted Mark Levin, chair of New York City Council health committee.

Go deeper ... Report: Data suggests 33% of coronavirus cases in China were asymptomatic

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 32,471,119 — Total deaths: 987,593 — Total recoveries: 22,374,557Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 7,032,524 — Total deaths: 203,657 — Total recoveries: 2,727,335 — Total tests: 99,483,712Map.
  3. States: "We’re not closing anything going forward": Florida fully lifts COVID restaurant restrictions — Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam tests positive for coronavirus.
  4. Health: Young people accounted for 20% of cases this summer.
  5. Business: Coronavirus has made airports happier places The expiration of Pandemic Unemployment Assistance looms.
  6. Education: Where bringing students back to school is most risky.
Mike Allen, author of AM
4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Biden pushes unity message in new TV wave

A fresh Joe Biden ad, "New Start," signals an effort by his campaign to make unity a central theme, underscoring a new passage in his stump speech that says he won't be a president just for Democrats but for all Americans.

What he's saying: The ad — which began Friday night, and is a follow-up to "Fresh Start" — draws from a Biden speech earlier in the week in Manitowoc, Wisconsin:

Trump prepares to announce Amy Coney Barrett as Supreme Court replacement

Judge Amy Coney Barrett. Photo: Matt Cashore/Notre Dame University via Reuters

President Trump is preparing to nominate federal appeals court Judge Amy Coney Barrett of Indiana, a favorite of both the social conservative base and Republican elected officials, to succeed Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Republican sources tell Axios.

Why it matters: Barrett would push the already conservative court further and harder to the right, for decades to come, on the most important issues in American politics — from abortion to the limits of presidential power. If confirmed, she would give conservatives a 6-3 majority on the high court.