Ivanka Trump sought to humanize her father and his response to the coronavirus pandemic at the Republican National Convention Thursday, saying she has "seen the pain in his eyes when he receives updates on the lives that have been stolen by this plague."

Why it matters: RNC speakers spent little time discussing the pandemic over the course of four days of programming — especially compared to the Democratic convention, where it was a central focus. The most common references came as speakers pointed to the strong economy that Trump presided over before COVID-19 threw the world into chaos.

What she's saying: "I've been with my father and I have witnessed him make some of the most difficult decisions of his life."

  • "I sat with him in the Oval Office as he stopped travel to Europe," she said, diverting from Trump's usual point of first defense against accusations that he didn't do enough to stop the virus — that he slowed travel from China.
  • She attributed state and local decisions to shut down businesses, schools, and daily life in order to curb the spread of the virus to the White House, saying that Trump took the action "to save American lives."
  • "This is why our President rapidly mobilized the full force of government and the private sector to produce ventilators within weeks — to build the most robust testing system in the world — and to develop safe and effective treatments, and very soon a vaccine."

The bottom line: Early missteps allowed the coronavirus to spread throughout the U.S for weeks before state and local officials implemented strict lockdowns designed to keep the virus from spinning further out of control. The country has reported over 5 million COVID-19 cases and more than 180,00 deaths.

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Updated Sep 18, 2020 - Health

U.S. coronavirus updates

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Data: The COVID Tracking Project; Note: Does not include probable deaths from New York City; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

49% of U.S. adults said in a recent Pew survey they would not get a coronavirus vaccine if one were available today.

Why it matters: All major political and demographic groups said they are less likely to get a vaccine now than they were in May, although Republicans and Black adults are the least likely.

Former Pence aide says she plans to vote for Joe Biden

President Trump in the Oval Office on Sept. 17. Photo: Oliver Contreras-Pool/Getty Images

Vice President Pence's former lead staffer on the White House coronavirus pandemic response announced on Thursday that she plans to vote for Joe Biden in the 2020 election, accusing President Trump of taking actions "detrimental to keeping Americans safe."

What she's saying: "It was shocking to see the president saying that the virus was a hoax, saying that everything's okay when we know that it not. The truth is that he doesn't actually care about anyone else but himself," said Olivia Troye, Pence's former homeland security, counterterrorism and coronavirus adviser.

Updated Sep 18, 2020 - Health

World coronavirus updates

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

Though health workers represent less than 3% of the population in many countries, they account for around 14% of the coronavirus cases reported to the World Health Organization, WHO announced Thursday.

Why it matters: The WHO called on governments and health care leaders to address threats facing the health and safety of these workers, adding that the pandemic has highlighted how protecting them is needed to ensure a functioning health care system.