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Wednesday’s release of the Consumer Price Index confirmed that inflation is up, with prices jumping 6.2% in the last year. It’s the largest increase the U.S. has experienced in three decades, and it’s certain to impact not just how consumers are spending but also how they vote. 

Axios Re:Cap host Felix Salmon digs into what these numbers could mean and how they might sway consumers and voters with Axios political reporter Hans Nichols.

Go deeper

New heights for old cars

Data: Manheim Used Vehicle Value Index (Cox Automotive). Chart: Axios Visual

At the risk of sounding like a broken record: Used car prices are still going up.

Driving the news: Wholesale vehicle prices, or what dealers pay, rose 3.9% in November, putting the year-over-year increase at 43.5%.

COVID cases and deaths are on the rise

Expand chart
Data: N.Y. Times; Cartogram: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

COVID-19 cases and deaths are rising all across the U.S. even before the Omicron variant takes hold.

Why it matters: The holidays — and the inevitable spread of Omicron — will only heighten the risks that unvaccinated Americans face from COVID, in all its forms.

Updated 1 hour ago - Health

New Zealand aims to create smoke-free generation with tobacco ban

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern at a December news conference in Auckland, New Zealand. Photo: Phil Walter/Getty Images

New Zealand officials announced Thursday legislative plans to outlaw smoking by making it illegal to sell or supply tobacco products to the next generation as part of a lifetime ban.

Why it matters: "People aged 14 when the law comes into effect will never be able to legally purchase tobacco," Associate Health Minister Ayesha Verrall said in a statement announcing the proposed law, part of the Smokefree 2025 Action Plan.