Feb 10, 2021

Axios PM

Good afternoon: Today's PM — edited by Justin Green, is 429 words, a 1.5-minute read.

Situational awareness: President Biden used a visit to the Pentagon to announce a new department-wide task force to “chart a strong path forward on China-related matters.” Go deeper.

1 big thing: 2 masks are better than 1

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Wearing a mask properly or even adding a second mask can cut COVID-19 transmission by up to 96.5%, the CDC said today.

Why it matters: This is the next-best protection for Americans who won't be vaccinated before the U.K. variant becomes our dominant strain, Axios' Marisa Fernandez reports.

Options include:

  1. Wearing a cloth mask over a surgical mask.
  2. Knotting the ear loops of a surgical mask and tucking in extra material.
  3. Wearing a "mask fitter" device for a closer fit.

From the CDC guidance:

  • "Check for gaps by cupping your hands around the outside edges of the mask."
  • "Make sure no air is flowing from the area near your eyes or from the sides of the mask."
  • "If the mask has a good fit, you will feel warm air come through the front of the mask and may be able to see the mask material move in and out with each breath."

The bottom line: "[I]t’s very clear evidence that the more of us who wear masks and the better the mask fits, the more each of us benefit individually," said Dr. John Brooks, who led the CDC study.

2. Pic du jour
Photo: Joshua Roberts/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Above: Trump attorney Bruce Castor arrives prior to the start of opening arguments.

Below: Impeachment managers focused today on how Trump laid the groundwork for his supporters to believe "the big lie" — that the election would be stolen — for months leading up to the attack.

Go deeper: Live updates

Screenshot: CNN
3. Catch up quick
  1. Prosecutors in Georgia launched an investigation into former President Trump’s efforts to overturn the state's 2020 election results. Go deeper.
  2. The NBA required all teams to play the national anthem after Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said he'd stopped playing the anthem. Go deeper.
  3. Federal authorities are investigating counterfeit N95 masks that have been sold to hospitals, government agencies and medical facilities in at least five states, AP reports.
  4. The Chicago Teachers Union approved a tentative agreement to get back on the "path to reopening school classrooms safely." Go deeper.
  5. 🎧 Axios Re:Cap talks with Victoria Grace, CEO of a $300 million SPAC called Queen's Gambit Growth Capital. Listen here.
4. 1 space race thing: China reaches Mars
A view of the planet Mars is captured by China's Tianwen-1 Mars probe from a distance of 1.37 million miles. Photo: CNSA/Xinhua via AP

China's first homegrown Mars mission has successfully made it into orbit around the Red Planet, Axios' Miriam Kramer reports.

  • The mission will eventually release a rover down to the Martian surface.
  • If that rover is a success, it will make China only the second nation after the U.S. to operate a rover on the world's surface.

The big picture: China has a human spaceflight program, operates satellites and has plans to build an Earth-orbiting space station in the near future.