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Data: CDC; Chart: Harry Stevens/Axios

Measles cases today reached 971 in 26 states so far this year — eclipsing 1994's 963 cases reported for the entire year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Thursday.

Why it matters: Measles was declared "eradicated" in the U.S. in 2000, years after the development and implementation of the MMR vaccine, which is 97% effective with 2 doses. But the extremely contagious virus has crept back into American society, mainly via pockets of communities who refuse to use the vaccinations, experts have told Axios.

Context: Anti-vaccination sentiment has been fomented via misinformation — and some reports show this may be promulgated by Russians trying to affect the 2020 election.

  • Another problem, some experts say, is that the vaccine has been so effective that younger families no longer remember what it was like to have widespread measles, and they don't consider it a necessity.
  • But before widespread vaccination, around 3 to 4 million Americans got measles each year, leading to an estimated 400–500 deaths and 48,000 hospitalizations, per CDC.
"Outbreaks in New York City and Rockland County, New York have continued for nearly 7 months.  If these outbreaks continue through summer and fall, the United States may lose its measles elimination status. That loss would be a huge blow for the nation and erase the hard work done by all levels of public health."
— CDC press announcement

Go deeper: Follow Axios' coverage of the ongoing measles outbreak here.

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Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 32,471,119 — Total deaths: 987,593 — Total recoveries: 22,374,557Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 7,032,524 — Total deaths: 203,657 — Total recoveries: 2,727,335 — Total tests: 99,483,712Map.
  3. States: "We’re not closing anything going forward": Florida fully lifts COVID restaurant restrictions — Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam tests positive for coronavirus.
  4. Health: Young people accounted for 20% of cases this summer.
  5. Business: Coronavirus has made airports happier places The expiration of Pandemic Unemployment Assistance looms.
  6. Education: Where bringing students back to school is most risky.
Mike Allen, author of AM
6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Biden pushes unity message in new TV wave

A fresh Joe Biden ad, "New Start," signals an effort by his campaign to make unity a central theme, underscoring a new passage in his stump speech that says he won't be a president just for Democrats but for all Americans.

What he's saying: The ad — which began Friday night, and is a follow-up to "Fresh Start" — draws from a Biden speech earlier in the week in Manitowoc, Wisconsin:

Trump prepares to announce Amy Coney Barrett as Supreme Court replacement

Judge Amy Coney Barrett. Photo: Matt Cashore/Notre Dame University via Reuters

President Trump is preparing to nominate federal appeals court Judge Amy Coney Barrett of Indiana, a favorite of both the social conservative base and Republican elected officials, to succeed Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Republican sources tell Axios.

Why it matters: Barrett would push the already conservative court further and harder to the right, for decades to come, on the most important issues in American politics — from abortion to the limits of presidential power. If confirmed, she would give conservatives a 6-3 majority on the high court.