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Poll: Biden beats Trump on health care, but it's not the top issue

Reproduced from the Kaiser Family Foundation; Chart: Axios Visuals

Swing voters in three swing states prefer Joe Biden over President Trump on health care and the coronavirus — but those aren't their most important issues, according to the latest KFF-Cook Political Report poll.

The big picture: The economy is the most important issue to these voters, and they give the advantage there to Trump. But Biden dominates the next tier of issues in this poll of swing voters in Arizona, Florida and North Carolina.

Coronavirus cases increase in 17 states

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Data: The COVID Tracking Project, state health departments; Map: Andrew Witherspoon, Sara Wise/Axios

Coronavirus infections ticked up slightly over the past week, thanks to scattered outbreaks in every region of the country.

Where it stands: The U.S. has been making halting, uneven progress against the virus since August. Overall, we're moving in the right direction, but we're often taking two steps forward and one step back.

Facebook, Instagram attach "false information" stamp to Tucker Carlson coronavirus clip

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Facebook and Instagram have placed a ”False Information” label on a post from the Fox News show "Tucker Carlson Tonight" in which Carlson interviews Li-Meng Yan, a Chinese virologist, who has previously claimed the coronavirus "is not from nature," on Wednesday.

Why it matters: Facebook has made headlines in recent months for taking increasing action on posts from politicians and political groups containing misinformation. It's added fewer labels to high-profile media companies, which is what makes this label noteworthy.

Sep 16, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Trump contradicts CDC chief on when vaccine will be widely available

President Trump claimed at a press briefing on Wednesday that CDC director Robert Redfield was wrong when he testified to Congress that a coronavirus vaccine won't be available for widespread distribution until the second or third quarter of 2021.

Why it matters: Trump has already faced criticism for allegations that his administration has politicized the coronavirus response and is seeking rapid approval and distribution of a vaccine in order to boost his re-election campaign.

Biden: "I trust vaccines, I trust scientists, but I don’t trust Donald Trump"

In remarks in Delaware on Wednesday, Joe Biden made clear that he trusts the scientists on a coronavirus vaccine but not President Trump, laying out a list of three criteria he wants the administration to meet to ensure the process is not politicized.

Why it matters: Republicans have been criticizing Biden and other Democrats as being anti-vaccine in the wake of recent comments about whether they’d take a vaccine approved by the Trump administration on an expedited timetable.

McEnany says herd immunity has never been COVID strategy, despite Trump comments

Trump and George Stephanopoulos at an ABC town hall on Sept. 15. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters that "herd immunity has never been a strategy" for the Trump administration's response to the coronavirus, after the president claimed on Tuesday that the coronavirus would disappear when people develop "a herd mentality."

Why it matters: A state of herd immunity, in which widespread outbreaks are prevented because enough people in a community are immune to a disease, would likely cause mass death if not pursued by way of a vaccine. The magic number often cited for herd immunity is a minimum of 60% of the population.

Updated Sep 16, 2020 - Health

Top HHS spokesperson takes leave of absence after accusing scientists of "sedition"

Michael Caputo in Washington, D.C. in May 2018. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Department of Health and Human Services spokesperson Michael Caputo is taking a 60 day leave of absence "to focus on his health and the well-being of his family," the agency said in a statement on Wednesday.

Driving the news: Caputo baselessly accused career scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in a Facebook livestream on Sunday of gathering a "resistance unit" for "sedition" against President Trump, the New York Times reported on Tuesday. He apologized to staff on Tuesday, according to Politico.

Sep 16, 2020 - Health

CDC director suggests face masks offer more COVID-19 protection than vaccine would

CDC director Robert Redfield suggested in a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing on Wednesday that face masks are "more guaranteed" to protect against the coronavirus than a vaccine, citing the potential for some people to not become immune to the virus after receiving the shot.

What he's saying: "These face masks are the most important, powerful public health tool we have. And I will continue to appeal for all Americans, all individuals in our country, to embrace these face coverings. I've said if we did it for 6, 8, 10, 12 weeks, we'd bring this pandemic under control," he said.

NYC mayor to furlough employees for a week, including himself

Bill de Blasio attends the 9/11 Memorial & Museum on Sept. 11. Photo: Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Wednesday that all employees in his office, including himself, will be subject to a one-week furlough sometime between October and March.

The big picture: The pandemic is on pace to hit cities' finances even harder than the Great Recession. Many face no choice but to cut services, layoff or furlough workers and freeze capital projects.

Sep 16, 2020 - Sports

Big Ten to begin football season in October

An Ohio State-Rutgers football game in 2016. Photo: Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The Big Ten announced Wednesday that it will begin its football season during the weekend of Oct. 23-24, backed by daily coronavirus testing for all on-field personnel and enhanced cardiac screenings.

Why it matters: The conference was the first Power 5 league to postpone its 2020 fall sports seasons because of coronavirus concerns.