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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

All of a sudden, it feels like we're hurtling toward a coronavirus vaccine — with the first doses potentially being administered before the 2020 election.

Why it matters: The question of whether politics influence the Trump administration's actions looms larger than ever. Just as important is the question of whether we'll be ready for this complicated effort in less than two months.

Driving the news: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urged governors last week to do everything possible to get vaccine distribution sites operational by Nov. 1, McClatchy reported Wednesday.

  • A few hours later, the New York Times published CDC guidance on how to distribute early doses of two vaccines, including who should receive priority.
  • The vaccines, described as "Vaccine A" and "Vaccine B," match the descriptions of vaccines being developed by Pfizer and Moderna, which are furthest along in clinical trials. Both require two doses and must be stored at sub-zero temperatures.

What they're saying: "This timeline of the initial deployment at the end of October is deeply worrisome for the politicization of public health and the potential safety ramifications," epidemiologist Saskia Popescu told NYT. "It's hard not to see this as a push for a pre-election vaccine."

The bottom line: None of the logistical hurdles in vaccine distribution are insurmountable, in theory. But the U.S. has a dismal track record so far with even moderately difficult problems during this pandemic.

Go deeper

Nov 28, 2020 - Health

U.S. public school enrollment drops as pandemic persists

Photo: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

Public schools across the country are seeing a drop in enrollment numbers as schools have shifted to remote and hybrid learning programs to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic, the New York Times reports.

The state of play: Some parents are opting to keep their children at home or finding models that provide in-person coursework.

17 hours ago - Sports

NBA announces new coronavirus protocols

The Los Angeles Lakers play the Miami Heat in Game Six of the 2020 NBA Finals. Photo: Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images

The NBA has laid out new coronavirus protocols, including restrictions on when players can return to play after testing positive for COVID-19, ESPN first reported Saturday.

Why it matters: The protocols, which must still be ratified by the league and the National Basketball Players Association, come as players prepare for training camps next week, AP notes. The preseason begins Dec. 11 and the 72-game regular-season starts Dec. 22.

12 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Colorado governor and partner test positive for coronavirus

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis during a 2019 press conference in Highlands Ranch, Colorado. Photo: Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) tweeted Saturday night that he and his partner, Marlon Reis, tested positive for COVID-19.

The big picture: He said they're both "asymptomatic, feeling well, and will continue to isolate at home." On Nov. 9, Polis extended a 30-day mask mandate to combat a rise in cases. The state has confirmed 225,283 coronavirus infections since the pandemic began. Since September, the governors of Wyoming, Nevada, Virginia and Missouri have also tested positive for the virus.