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Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff (right) speaks with volunteers of the nonprofit Dreaming out Loud at a farm in Northeast Washington on his first solo outing. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Vice President Kamala Harris' husband Doug Emhoff used his first official outing as second gentleman Thursday to learn about and raise awareness for food insecurity, Washington Post reports.

Why it matters: The farm that Emhoff visited at Washington, D.C.'s Kelly Miller Middle School has shifted its focus during the COVID-19 pandemic to help get food to people who are vulnerable to hunger. "Food security is a racial justice issue," said Christopher Bradshaw, executive director of Dreaming Out Loud, the nonprofit that runs the farm.

What he's saying: Emhoff told reporters that food insecurity is "something everyone needs to be concerned about," the Post reports.

  • He added that he would raise what he learned on Thursday with Harris.

The big picture: Early in the pandemic a UN report noted that those struggling with food insecurity often have higher rates of underlying health conditions, which can weaken immune systems and "increase the risk of people developing severe COVID-19 symptoms."

  • Though the report's analysis predated the coronavirus crisis, its implications for vulnerable populations were clear.
  • Rates of food insecurity among Black households with children were nearly twice as high as they are among white households with children during the first few months of the pandemic, according to a report from Northwestern University's Institute for Policy Research.
  • Rates for Hispanic respondents were 60% higher than they are among white households.

Go deeper

Jan 28, 2021 - Health

Fauci: COVID vaccine rollout needs to prioritize people of color

Anthony Fauci. Photo: Alex Wong via Getty Images

Infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci highlighted the need to address racial disparities in the COVID-19 vaccination process, per an interview with The New England Journal of Medicine on Wednesday.

What he’s saying: "I think that's the one thing we really got to be careful of. We don't want in the beginning ... most of the people who are getting it are otherwise, well, middle-class white people."

Tina Reed, author of Vitals
56 mins ago - Health

Gottlieb: CDC hampered U.S. response to COVID

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

The CDC moved too slowly at several points in the coronavirus pandemic, ultimately hindering the U.S. response, former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb writes in a new book, Uncontrolled Spread.

The big picture: The book argues that American intelligence agencies should have a much bigger role in pandemic preparedness, even if that's sometimes at the expense of public health agencies like the CDC.

911's digital makeover

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

A next-generation 911 would allow the nation's 6,000 911 centers to accept texts, videos and photos.

The big picture: U.S. emergency communications have remained stubbornly analog, but Congress is about to take another run at dragging 911 into the digital age.

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