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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.

Go deeper

Dec 3, 2020 - Health

U.S. exceeds 100,000 COVID-related hospitalizations for the first time

People wait outside the Emergency room of the Garfield Medical Center in Monterey Park, California on Dec 1. Photo: Frederic J. Brown/Getty Images

More than 100,200 Americans were hospitalized as of Wednesday due to the coronavirus for the first time since the outbreak began in early 2020, per the COVID Tracking Project.

The big picture: The milestone comes as health officials anticipated cases to surge due to holiday travel and gatherings. The impact of the holiday remains notable, as many states across the country are only reporting partial data.

J&J and Merck to partner for COVID vaccine production to boost supply

Empty vials that contained a dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine against the COVID-19. Photo: Phill Magakoe/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden will announce Tuesday that pharmaceutical giant Merck will help Johnson & Johnson manufacture its newly authorized coronavirus vaccine to boost supply, a senior administration official tells Axios.

The big picture: The development has the potential to vastly increase supply, possibly doubling what the J&J could make on its own, the official said. The company has run into challenges while trying to expand its vaccine production to a global scale.

Casinos throw cash at sports betting media

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Casinos are investing millions on sports betting content to lure bettors to their online and in-person sportsbooks.

Why it matters: It’s a mini gold rush for some sports media companies that were struggling in the pandemic.