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

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Senator Chris Van Hollen and Axios Exectuive Editor Mike Allen. Photo: Chuck Kennedy for Axios

Thursday morning, Axios' Mike Allen sat down with leaders on both sides of the aisle to discuss America's national security and the impact it will have on the midterm elections.

Why it matters: The midterms are approaching and election security remains a question.

Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft
Sec. Ashcroft and Mike Allen. Photo: Chuck Kennedy for Axios

Sec. Ashcroft, who has claimed voter fraud is an exponentially greater threat than hacking, discussed the flaws he sees in our elections.

  • "The biggest vulnerability to our election system is the public's perception of it."
  • "The only way our elections are in trouble is if you don't vote."
Maryland Senator Chris Van Hollen
Senator Van Hollen. Photo: Chuck Kennedy for Axios

Senator Van Hollen, the author of the DETER Act, explained how the bill would prevent election interference.

  • "What the deter act does is very simple, it would say that the Director of National Intelligence — two weeks after every election — will do a review and determine whether there's been foreign interference. If the DNI determines there's been interference, you would have automatic, swift, and very tough penalties."
Former Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Advisor Lisa Monaco
Former Homeland Security Advisor and Counterterrorism Advisor Lisa Monaco and Mike Allen. Photo: Chuck Kennedy for Axios
  • "I think we're safer, but we are not safe ... We're more aware of the cybersecurity threat and information operations, but we also have tremendous gaps."
Former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich
Former Speaker Gingrich and Mike Allen. Photo: Chuck Kennedy for Axios
  • [Our elections are the] “Most secure in the world.”

Thank you Bank of America for sponsoring this event.

Go deeper

46 mins ago - Health

Study: Common antidepressant guards against COVID hospitalization

A COVID-19 intensive Care Unit in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil on May 27, 2021. Photo: Fabio Teixeira/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The readily available antidepressant fluvoxamine significantly reduced COVID-related hospitalizations, according to a large study published Wednesday.

Why it matters: The clinical trial suggests that a cheap, readily available drug could dramatically reduce serious illness and death when prescribed early.

By the numbers: Catholics, Biden and abortion

Expand chart
Reproduced from Pew Research Center; Chart: Axios Visuals

President Biden — the second Catholic U.S. president — will meet with Pope Francis at the Vatican on Friday, as some church leaders debate whether to deny Holy Communion to politicians who support abortion rights.

By the numbers: Overall, two in three U.S. Catholics believe Biden should be allowed to take Communion despite his stance on abortion, according to polling by Pew Research Center.

Texas House probes school library books dealing with race and sexuality

Photo: Brittany Murray/MediaNews Group/Long Beach Press-Telegram via Getty Images

Texas state Rep. Matt Krause, chair of the Texas House Committee on General Investigating, announced Wednesday that he's initiating a probe into schools' library books, according to a letter sent to the state's education agency and other superintendents.

Why it matters: The probe focuses on books that discuss race, sexuality or "make students feel discomfort, guilt, anguish or any other form of psychological distress because of their race or sex," Krause wrote in the letter.

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