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Data: NewsWhip; Chart: Chris Canipe/Axios — Note: Hover over the weekly rank on desktop to see articles and interactions for each candidate and issues.

In the span of a week, Joe Biden usurped Bernie Sanders as the 2020 Democratic frontrunner, but also as the candidate getting the most online attention, according to data from NewsWhip exclusively provided to Axios.

The big picture: The 41 million interactions (likes, comments, shares) on Biden stories on social media last week is by far the highest level of attention any one candidate has received in the primary in a week, a reflection how much the race now centers around Biden.

Flashback: Just last week, Sanders was attracting more attention than the rest of what was then a five-person Democratic field combined. Sanders had 27.4m interactions, while Biden had just 9.4m.

  • For all of February, just as he held the advantage in polling, Sanders had more interactions. During the week of Feb. 16, he had 29.2m compared to Biden's 3.3m.

The big picture: In a reversal from the early stages of the race — when media cycles and engagement levels drove polling changes — it's now the election results that drive media coverage and interaction levels.

Between the lines: Top-performing stories about Biden included mainstream outlets reporting on fellow moderates dropping out of the race and endorsing him, as well as right-wing sites pouncing on his verbal gaffes and bouts of forgetfulness.

Our 2020 Attention Tracker is based on data from NewsWhip exclusively provided to Axios as part of a project that will regularly update throughout the 2020 campaign.

Go deeper: See all past editions of the tracker

Go deeper

Virginia lawmakers vote to legalize marijuana in 2024

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam. Photo: Alex Edelman/Getty Images

Lawmakers in Virginia on Saturday approved compromise legislation that would legalize marijuana in 2024, putting the state a step closer to becoming the first in the South to end prohibition on the drug, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports.

Why it matters: The legislation will make Virginia the 16th state to legalize marijuana, per Politico. It would add to a slate of laws that have seen Virginia move in a more progressive direction during the tenure of Gov. Ralph Northam.

Scammers seize on COVID confusion

Data: FTC; Chart: Sara Wise/Axios

Scamming has skyrocketed in the past year, and much of the increase is attributed to COVID-related scams, more recently around vaccines.

Why it matters: The pandemic has created a prime opportunity for scammers to target people who are already confused about the chaotic rollouts of things like stimulus payments, loans, contact tracing and vaccines. Data shows that older people who aren't digitally literate are the most vulnerable.

14 hours ago - Health

FDA authorizes Johnson & Johnson's one-shot COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use

Photo: Illustration by Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The Food and Drug Administration on Saturday issued an emergency use authorization for Johnson & Johnson's one-shot coronavirus vaccine.

Why it matters: The authorization of a third coronavirus vaccine in the U.S. will help speed up the vaccine rollout across the country, especially since the J&J shot only requires one dose as opposed to Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech's two-shot vaccines.