Air China employees at LAX Tom Bradley International Terminal on Feb. 2 in Los Angeles, California. Photo: David McNew/Getty Images

Nearly 40,000 Americans and authorized travelers have come into the U.S. from China since President Trump imposed travel restrictions more than two months ago, the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: Trump has suggested that his action to ban foreigners from entering the U.S. if they were in China before early February has contributed to lower COVID-19 cases and fatalities in the U.S.

  • "I cut off China very early. And if I didn’t, we would have a chart that you wouldn’t believe," Trump said at a briefing on Friday, referring to White House models on where the virus has spread in the U.S. and how many deaths have occurred.

Details: 279 flights from China have arrived in the U.S. since Trump's travel restrictions were announced, "and screening procedures have been uneven," the Times notes.

The big picture: At least 430,000 people have flown to the U.S. from China since Dec. 31, when China first informed the World Health Organization about cases of novel coronavirus in Wuhan, the Times reports.

  • Most passengers arrived in January at airports in San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, Seattle, Newark, Chicago and Detroit.
  • "Thousands of them flew directly from Wuhan," the original epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak, per the NYT.

Go deeper... Timeline: The early days of China's coronavirus outbreak and cover-up

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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

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  5. World: Spain becomes first nation in Western Europe to exceed 1 million cases.

U.S. officials: Iran and Russia aim to interfere in election

Iran and Russia have obtained voter registration information that can be used to undermine confidence in the U.S. election system, Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe announced at a press conference Wednesday evening.

Why it matters: The revelation comes roughly two weeks before Election Day. Ratcliffe said Iran has sent threatening emails to Democratic voters this week in states across the U.S. and spread videos claiming that people can vote more than once.

Obama: Trump emboldens people to be "cruel and divisive and racist"

Former President Barack Obama. Photo: ALEX EDELMAN / Getty Images

In his first campaign rally appearance on behalf of Joe Biden, former President Barack Obama urged Americans to vote, saying "we can't afford another four years" of a Trump presidency.

Why it matters via Axios' Hans Nichols: With less than two weeks until Election Day, Obama made his case for Biden in Pennsylvania, a state that Trump's campaign knows he needs to win.