Photo: "Axios on HBO"

Former Vice President Joe Biden told "Axios on HBO" he is skeptical former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg will get traction with Democratic voters. 

Why it matters: Aides tell us Biden was hacked off that Bloomberg jumped into the race after promising he would not. Bloomberg has made it clear via advisers that Biden’s weakness prompted his entrance.

Biden told "Axios on HBO": “I think [voters] are going to look and make a judgment. What is he bringing in? What's he adding to the race?"

  • Biden added that he is a "skeptic" of Bloomberg's candidacy and believes voters share that opinion.

Between the lines: Biden declined to endorse Sen. Elizabeth Warren's accusation that Bloomberg is trying to buy the election.

  • "I agree that he has decided he is better off spending his own money — which is unlimited amounts of money — than going out and trying to raise any money. ... I think it's something that the American people have to take a hard look at and make a judgment whether there is any real risk."

The big picture: Bloomberg has surged to fifth in the RealClearPolitics polling average for 2020 Democrats, but he still trails Biden by nearly 24 percentage points.

  • Biden has held a commanding lead for all but a few weeks of the cycle, and the only other person to hold a lead is Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who has since faded back into the third slot.

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Case growth outpacing testing in coronavirus hotspots

Data: The COVID Tracking Project. Note: Vermont and Hawaii were not included because they have fewer than 20 cases per day. Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The United States' alarming rise in coronavirus cases isn't due to increased testing — particularly not where cases have grown fastest over the last month.

Why it matters: The U.S. doesn't yet know what it looks like when a pandemic rages on relatively unchecked after the health system has become overwhelmed. It may be about to find out.

The impending retail apocalypse

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Because of the coronavirus and people's buying habits moving online, retail stores are closing everywhere — often for good.

Why it matters: Malls are going belly up. Familiar names like J.C. Penney, Neiman Marcus and J. Crew have filed for bankruptcy. Increasingly, Americans' shopping choices will boil down to a handful of internet Everything Stores and survival-of-the-fittest national chains.

Biden campaign using Instagram to mobilize celebrity supporters

Collins appears on the Build live interview series in November 2019. Photo: Gary Gershoff/Getty Images

The Biden campaign is launching a new initiative today that will draft Hollywood celebrities for Instagram Live chats with campaign officials and other Biden supporters.

Why it matters: The campaign, called #TeamJoeTalks, is an attempt to open up a new front on social media, drawing on celebrities’ Instagram followers to help find and motivate voters while large parts of the country remain locked down.