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

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Google.org granted $5 million to Opportunity Finance Network, which provides capital for underserved small and midsize businesses. Photo: Opportunity Finance Network.

Google's philanthropic arm is doubling its planned coronavirus response donations to a total of $100 million, Google.org head Jacquelline Fuller told Axios.

Why it matters: The effort is in addition to coronavirus-related moves by the corporate side and, in some cases, also comes with hands-on technical support from Google employees to help organizations with the technical aspects of their efforts.

In an interview, Fuller acknowledged that "there's an overwhelming need."

Overall, she said, Google.org is doling out about $1 billion over five years and looks for places where it can truly make a difference and for partnerships with organizations that can make its dollars go further, Fuller said.

With COVID-19, that's meant a range of actions:

  • Cash grants for those most in need, through GiveDirectly.
  • Working with organizations, such as Opportunity Finance Network, that help women-led and minority-led businesses that may have more challenges getting traditional funding.
  • Support for distance learning efforts, especially those that work in languages other than English, as more than 1 billion students around the world are out of school due to the pandemic.

Google.org has already given out $50 million in grants, with $25 million going toward economic relief and recovery, $15 million to health and science and $10 million to distance learning projects. Google.org is now pledging a further $50 million, as well as 50,000 hours from Google employees to help with coronavirus-specific efforts.Y

es, but: Some have criticized Google for not opening its purse strings further. With the cash grants, for example, the company donated a portion of the target amount, relying on donations from Google employees and others to reach its goal.

Go deeper

Updated Oct 7, 2020 - Health

World coronavirus updates

Expand chart
Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

New Zealand now has active no coronavirus cases in the community after the final six people linked to the Auckland cluster recovered, the country's Health Ministry confirmed in an email Wednesday.

The big picture: The country's second outbreak won't officially be declared closed until there have been "no new cases for two incubation periods," the ministry said. Auckland will join the rest of NZ in enjoying no domestic restrictions from late Wednesday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said, declaring that NZ had "beat the virus again."

Aug 13, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Biden calls for 3-month national mask mandate: "Be a patriot"

Joe Biden called on governors to issue a three-month mandatory outdoor mask mandate on Thursday, telling reporters after receiving a coronavirus briefing that experts say it could save over 40,000 lives.

Why it matters: Biden was more aggressive and specific than he has been in previous calls to wear a mask, arguing that it will allow children to return to school sooner, businesses to reopen and help "get our country back on track."

Updated 7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: The end of the Omicron wave is in sight — Transplants rebound from COVID lull — Omicron hits American hospitals disproportionately hard
  2. Vaccines: WHO: No evidence that healthy children, teens need boosters — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America — Starbucks drops worker vaccine or test requirement after SCOTUS ruling
  3. Politics: Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" by Biden on anti-mask school policies— Government website for free COVID tests launches early
  4. World: WHO: COVID health emergency could end this year — Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older
  5. Variant tracker