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Ericsson

In the latest blow to the upcoming Mobile World Congress, Ericsson said Friday it is pulling out of the trade show amid concerns about the spread of the coronavirus.

Why it matters: Korean phone maker LG already pulled out and China's ZTE cancelled a press conference, raising the question of whether others will cancel plans.

The company, one of the big three cellular equipment firms, along with Nokia and Huawei, is one of the largest exhibitors at the annual Barcelona event, which is slated to take place at the end of this month.

What they're saying:

  • Ericsson: "Ericsson appreciates that GSMA have done everything they can to control the risk," the cellular equipment giant said in a statement. "However, as one of the largest exhibitors, Ericsson has thousands of visitors in its hall each day and even if the risk is low, the company cannot guarantee the health and safety of its employees and visitors."
  • GSMA, the trade group that puts on Mobile World Congress, has previously said it expected only "minimal" impact from the virus. In a statement on Friday, it said Ericsson's move will have "some impact on our presence at this time and will potentially have further impact."

Update: Nvidia said late Friday that it, too, is pulling out of the show. "We won’t be sending our employees to this year’s event," the company said in a statement. "Given public health risks around the coronavirus, ensuring the safety of our colleagues, partners and customers is our highest concern."

Go deeper

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
3 hours ago - Health

Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan

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President-elect Joe Biden has picked former FDA chief David Kessler to lead Operation Warp Speed, a day after unveiling a nearly $2 trillion pandemic relief plan that includes $400 billion for directly combatting the virus.

Why it matters: Biden's transition team said Kessler has been advising the president-elect since the beginning of the pandemic, and hopes his involvement will help accelerate vaccination, the New York Times reports. Operation Warp Speed's current director, Moncef Slaoui, will stay on as a consultant.

The case of the missing relief money

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A chunk of stimulus payments is missing in action, thanks to a mix up that put as many as 13 million checks into invalid bank accounts.

Why it matters: The IRS (by law) was supposed to get all payments out by Friday. Now the onus could shift to Americans to claim the money on their tax refund — further delaying relief to struggling, lower-income Americans.

The post-Trump GOP, gutted

McConnell (L), McCarthy (R) and Trump. Photo: Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images

Republicans will emerge from the Trump era gutted financially, institutionally and structurally.

The big picture: The losses are stark and substantial.