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NIAID director Anthony Fauci during a May Senate hearing in Washington, D.C. Photo: Susan Walsh/AP/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden's chief medical adviser, Anthony Fauci, told CNN Saturday he's "certain" smallpox and polio would still be in the U.S. if vaccine misinformation spread like it has over COVID-19.

Why it matters: Facebook doubled down in its defense Saturday against Biden's comments that social media platforms were "killing people" by allowing coronavirus vaccine misinformation on their sites.

What he's saying: "If we had had the pushback for vaccines the way we're seeing on certain media, I don't think it would've been possible at all to not only eradicate smallpox, we probably would still have smallpox," Fauci told CNN's Jim Acosta.

  • "And we probably would still have polio in this country if we had the kind of false information that's being spread now."

The other side: Guy Rosen, Facebook’s vice president of integrity, said in a blog post Saturday that "data shows that 85% of Facebook users in the US have been or want to be vaccinated against COVID-19" and that Facebook wasn't the reason Biden's goal of vaccinating 70% of Americans "was missed."

Go deeper

Oct 18, 2021 - Health

Over 30 states have limited officials' public health powers

Photo: Ringo Chiu/AFP via Getty Images

Republican lawmakers in more than 30 U.S. states have weakened health officials' authority to implement policies to protect the public against the coronavirus, the New York Times reports.

The big picture: Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, lawmakers in all 50 states have introduced bills to curb state and local officials' public health authority.

Updated 1 hour ago - World

North Korea claims latest missile test new weapon launched from submarine

North Korean state media claims the country's military fired this missile on Tuesday. Photo: Korean Central News Agency

North Korean state media announced that a detected ballistic missile launch off its east coast on Tuesday was a newly developed weapon test-fired from a submarine.

Why it matters: Pyongyang's latest in a series of recent missile launches into the sea happened hours after U.S. officials emphasized their commitment to restart negotiations on North Korea's nuclear weapons program, which have stalled since talks broke down during the Trump administration, AP notes.

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Manchin's massive means test

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) is offering progressives a trade: He'll vote for their cherished social programs if they accept strict income caps for the recipients, people familiar with the matter tell Axios.

Why it matters: Manchin’s plan to use so-called means-testing for everything from paid family medical leave to elder and disabled care would drastically shrink the size and scope of the programs. It also would bring a key moderate vote to the progressive cause.

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