Why it matters: The U.S. faces a range of health care flashpoints — unaffordable drugs, opioids, vaping — as we debate whether to adopt universal care. For now, the Affordable Care Act is the law of the land, but Republicans want to issue it a final death blow.
Lebanon reported on Tuesday seven deaths from COVID-19 and a record 309 new cases, taking the total number of infections to over 7,100.
Why it matters: The World Organization official Tarik Jarasevic told a United Nations briefing in Geneva Tuesday that the displacement of some 300,000 people from the deadly explosion in Beirut's port could lead to a surge in cases. A UN report warns the emergency "has caused many COVID-19 precautionary measures to be relaxed, raising the prospects of even higher transmission rates and a large caseload in coming weeks," Reuters notes.
President Trump said during an interview with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt Tuesday he'd love to hold campaign rallies, but he "can't because of the covid. ... you can’t have people sitting next to each other."
Why it matters: Trump is known for electrifying crowds at rallies, connecting with his most loyal supporters on a massive scale. But Trump stressed to Hewitt and in a separate radio interview earlier Tuesday that it wouldn't work. "You can’t have empty seats," Trump told with Fox News Radio.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said it's too early to say whether next month's elections will be postponed after she announced Tuesday four people had tested positive for COVID-19 after no local cases for 102 days.
Zoom in: NZ's most populous city, Auckland, has gone on lockdown for 72 hours and the rest of the country is under lesser restrictions.
NIAID director Anthony Fauci cast doubt during a National Geographic discussion due to air this week on the effectiveness of Russia's registered coronavirus vaccine touted by President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday.
Why it matters: "Having a vaccine ... and proving that a vaccine is safe and effective are two different things," Fauci told told ABC News' Deborah Roberts in the discussion, expected to air on Thursday. His comments add to the weight of skepticism from scientists around the world on the Russia vaccine. There is no published scientific to support support Putin's claims.
Russia announced Tuesday that it approved a vaccine for COVID-19 and has plans to inoculate health care workers, teachers and others in the coming months, despite barely starting Phase 3 clinical trials.
Axios Re:Cap digs into the ramifications of this announcement for the global vaccine race with Derek Lowe, medicinal chemist, author and expert on drug development and the pharmaceutical industry.
The U.S. government has agreed to buy 100 million doses of Moderna's experimental coronavirus vaccine for $1.5 billion, or $15 per dose.
Why it matters: The Trump administration, through Operation Warp Speed, has now bought initial batches of vaccines from Moderna, GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi, Pfizer, Novavax, Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca before knowing whether they are safe and effective. The federal government also appears to own some of the patent rights associated with Moderna's vaccine.
A record 137 people have died from the coronavirus in Georgia on Tuesday, surpassing the state's record from last week, according to the Georgia Health Department.
By the numbers: Georgia is one of several states in the South that saw spikes in daily deaths on Tuesday, including Florida which had a record 276 deaths. Alabama and Tennessee recorded their second-highest daily death tolls at 50 and 38, respectively.
The Big Ten and Pac-12 announced Tuesday that they've voted to postpone their 2020 fall sports seasons, including football, due to risks posed by the coronavirus pandemic, hoping instead to play in the spring.
Why it matters: The move from two of the most prominent conferences in college sports will almost certainly prompt other Power Five leagues to follow suit.
Why it matters: That's likely a drop in testing, compared to July, and not enough to meet national demand. The Trump administration has said it's up to states to develop their own plans for diagnostic testing. Those plans, when put together, still don't present an effective mitigation strategy, at least in light of the size of today's outbreak.
The big picture: The state also recorded over 5,800 new cases — on the low side for a state that is one of the domestic epicenters for the virus.
Travelers from 31 states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands are now required to quarantine for 14 days when traveling to New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.
What's new: Hawaii, South Dakota and the Virgin Islands were added to the travel advisory list on Tuesday, while Alaska, Ohio, New Mexico and Rhode Island were removed, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.
President Trump's executive action calling on states to provide 25% of an additional $400 in weekly unemployment benefits poses "significant administrative burdens and costs," according to a bipartisan letter from the leaders of the National Governors Association.
Why it matters: Many states have had their budgets decimated by the coronavirus pandemic and cannot afford pitching in an $100 extra per unemployed resident. Several state unemployment offices told Axios that they don't even know how the program works, and that any changes to state unemployment systems would take weeks to implement.
Russian President Vladimir Putin announced Tuesday that his country has registered a coronavirus vaccine and said that one of his daughters has already been inoculated, AP reports.
Why it matters: Scientists around the world are skeptical about Russia's claims. There is no published scientific data to back up Putin's claims that Russia has a viable vaccine — or that it produces any sort of immunity without significant side effects.
AUCKLAND, New Zealand — Auckland is locking down and the rest of New Zealand faces lesser restrictions for 72 hours after a four members of the same family tested positive for COVID-19, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced Tuesday.
Why it matters: It's the first cases not in managed isolation for 102 days, Ardern said at a news briefing.
Moderna said in new financial filings that it "cannot be certain that we were the first to make the inventions claimed in our patents or pending patent applications" — including the company's experimental coronavirus vaccine.
Why it matters: This disclosure comes six weeks after Axios and Public Citizen highlighted how the National Institutes of Health may hold joint ownership claims for this particular vaccine.
We've hit a tipping point in the pandemic: Half of Americans now know someone who's tested positive, according to this week's installment of the Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index.
Why it matters: In practical terms, this data shows it's everybody's problem now.
The U.S. plans to test around 600,000 people for the coronavirus every day this month, according to plans that states submitted to the Department of Health and Human Services.
Yes, but: That's likely a drop in testing, compared to July, and it's not enough to meet national demand. By December, states said they plan to ramp up to around a collective 850,000 people tested a day — which also likely will not be enough.
Chief Minister Michael Gunner told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation Tuesday the Northern Territory would keep border restrictions in place for Aussie coronavirus hot spots for at least 18 months, stressing it's important to protect the NT's Aboriginal population.
Driving the news: Victoria declared a disaster last week. The state confirmed Tuesday another 331 infections, taking the total number of active cases to 7880, and 19 more deaths — equaling the national daily record it set the previous day. New South Wales (NSW) reported 22 new cases. The NT has three active cases. "We have got an indefinite ban on Victoria," Gunner said. He couldn't give a date on when the NT would ease restrictions on NSW capital Sydney as case numbers were "bubbling away."
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp on Monday said the responsibility should be on schools to enforce a mandate on face coverings, the Atlanta-Journal Constitution reports.