Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios Pro Rata

Dive into the world of dealmakers across VC, PE and M&A with Axios Pro Rata. Delivered daily to your inbox by Dan Primack and Kia Kokalitcheva.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Nashville news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Nashville newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Columbus news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Columbus newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Dallas news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Dallas newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Austin news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Austin newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Atlanta news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Atlanta newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Philadelphia news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Philadelphia newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Chicago news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Chicago newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top DC news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios DC newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers. Photo: Morry Gash-Pool via Getty Images

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) on Thursday issued a new statewide mask mandate almost immediately after the state Legislature voted to repeal his previous order.

Why it matters: Evers' attempts to combat COVID-19 have faced pushback from Republicans since early in the pandemic. Even with a new order, the Legislature could again vote to repeal the mask requirement.

What he's saying: "Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, I promised I would: never play politics with your health, trust and follow science and public health experts, and never stop doing everything I can to keep you healthy and safe. I haven't broken those promises and I won't start today," Evers said in a video released Thursday afternoon.

  • He added that his efforts to protect Wisconsinites have been met with "lawsuits, political rhetoric, and obstruction," citing the Legislature's vote Thursday.
  • "We know that as we work to get shots in arms as quickly as we have vaccines available, no amount of vaccine in the world could bring back the lives we stand to lose if we have no statewide mitigation strategy in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Wisconsin.
  • "Wearing a mask is the most basic thing we can do to keep each other safe. Wearing a mask saves lives."

Context: 5,992 people have died from the virus in Wisconsin to date, per state data. Now, coronavirus variants pose fresh risks. The previous mandate remained in effect since August.

  • Republicans, who control both the state Assembly and Senate, argue that Evers overstepped his authority by extending the mask mandate without legislative approval.
  • The governor says that the unusual circumstances posed by the pandemic give him the authority to issue such orders.

The big picture: Health experts have urged states to adopt mask mandates as the U.S. counts 26.6 million cases, per Johns Hopkins University.

  • "Adopting universal masking policies can help avert future lockdowns, especially if combined with other non-pharmaceutical interventions such as social distancing, hand hygiene, and adequate ventilation," per the CDC.
  • Nearly 60 organizations, including groups representing American Indian tribes, hospitals, schools and businesses, have opposed to the repeal.
  • This is not the first time Republican lawmakers have challenged Evers' attempts to manage the pandemic. Last year, Republican legislators persuaded the state Supreme Court to throw out his stay-at-home order.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to include Gov. Evers' new mandate.

Go deeper

U.K. to test mixing COVID-19 vaccines in world-first trial

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson holds a bottle of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine as he visits a COVID-19 vaccination centre in Batley, West Yorkshire, England, on Monday. Photo:Jon Super - WPA Pool/Getty Images

The United Kingdom on Thursday launched a new clinical study to test the effects of mixing COVID-19 vaccines.

Why it matters: Per a statement from Oxford University virologist Matthew Snape, chief investigator of the world-first study: "If we do show that these vaccines can be used interchangeably in the same schedule this will greatly increase the flexibility of vaccine delivery."

Updated Feb 4, 2021 - Sports

Over 500 Australian Open tennis players and staff isolate after COVID case

Serena Williams, pictured signing autographs for fans after beating Bulgaria's Tsvetana Pironkova in their Yarra Valley Classic women's singles tennis match in Melbourne on Wednesday, won't have to isolate. Photo: William West/AFP via Getty Images

One COVID-19 case contracted at a Melbourne quarantine hotel has caused 507 tennis players and staff to go into isolation until they return a negative test result, four days out from the Australian Open beginning.

Why it matters: The first community case in the state of Victoria for 28 days has resulted in new restrictions implemented and the cancelation of all of Thursday's scheduled warm-up games.

Coronavirus cases are falling all across the country

Expand chart
Data: The COVID Tracking Project, state health departments; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

New coronavirus infections slowed by nearly 16% over the past week, continuing a trend of rapid improvement.

The big picture: The U.S. still has a ton of coronavirus, and there’s still the potential for dark days ahead. But this is progress, and the improvement is significant. If this trend keeps going, the country will be in a far better and safer position as vaccines continue to roll out.

You’ve caught up. Now what?

Sign up for Mike Allen’s daily Axios AM and PM newsletters to get smarter, faster on the news that matters.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!