Pfizer just got a large federal purchase order. Photo: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The Trump administration has agreed to pay Pfizer $1.95 billion for 100 million doses of the experimental coronavirus vaccine the company is developing along with German biotech company BioNTech. The deal also gives the government the right to buy another 500 million doses.

Why it matters: The federal government is betting that Pfizer and BioNTech's vaccine will effectively stave off the coronavirus and therefore is worth buying before more definitive clinical trial data come out. The Department of Health and Human Services made a similar deal for Novavax' vaccine.

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Updated 9 hours ago - Health

World coronavirus updates

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

The number of COVID-19 cases surpassed 20 million worldwide on Monday evening, Johns Hopkins data shows.

The big picture: World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a virtual press conference as the world approached the milestone that 750,000 deaths were set to be recorded this week. "Behind these statistics is a great deal of pain and suffering. Every life lost matters," he said. "But I want to be clear: there are green shoots of hope and... it's never too late to turn the outbreak around."

Aug 10, 2020 - World

Azar conveys Trump's "strong" support for Taiwan during historic visit

Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar speaks as Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen looks on during his visit to the Presidential Office in Taipei on Monday. Photo: Pei Chen/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar praised Taiwan during a visit Monday for being a "vital partner, a democratic success story, and a force for good in the world."

Why it matters: The highest-level visit by a U.S. cabinet official to Taiwan since 1979 shows the increasing importance of the island state, which China considers to be part of its territory. It comes at a time of heightened tension between the Trump administration and the Chinese government.

14 hours ago - Health

At least 48 local public health leaders have quit or been fired during pandemic

Former California public health director Dr. Sonia Angell on Feb. 27 in Sacramento, California. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

At least 48 local and state-level public health leaders have retired, resigned or been fired across 23 states since April, according to a review by the AP and Kaiser Health News.

Driving the news: California public health director Dr. Sonia Angell resigned on Sunday without explanation, a few days after the state fixed a delay in reporting coronavirus test results that had affected reopenings for schools and businesses, AP reports.