Jul 15, 2020

Axios PM

Good afternoon: Today's PM — edited by Justin Green — is 500 words, a 2-minute read.

🥃 The new dietary guidelines for Americans will suggest that men limit themselves to one drink a day versus the previous guidance of two. (AP)

1 big thing: Emerging consensus on masks

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Four months after the first lockdowns, there's a real possibility of a nationwide consensus on face masks.

Why it matters: As is increasingly the case in our fractured society, states and businesses led the way, finally followed by the federal government.

  • 25 states plus D.C. have mask mandates in public spaces. Alabama is the latest to join those ranks. (Map)
  • Walmart is the latest major retailer to require masks in stores, joining Costco and Starbucks.
  • The federal government has been all over the place, with the CDC recommending against masks early in the pandemic and President Trump refusing to wear a mask in public until last weekend.

The big picture: 62% of respondents in the most recent Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index said they’re wearing a mask “all the time” outside the home, up from 53% two weeks ago.

  • Republicans jumped from 35% to 45%.

Between the lines: Enforcement will mostly fall on entry-level workers to meet the portion of Americans who still see face coverings as a political statement and not a public health preventative practice, Axios' Marisa Fernandez tells me.

  • Videos across the country have surfaced showing customers berating retail staffers over masks and temperature checks.
  • Walmart will have "Health Ambassadors" stationed near the entrances of stores to remind customers without masks of the new requirements, Axios' Ursula Perano reports.

The bottom line: As the pandemic becomes more immediately real across the country, resisting one of the easiest interventions against it makes less and less sense.

2. Pic du jour: View from the Eiffel Tower
Photo: Eliot Blondet/ABACA via Reuters 

Champ de Mars, seen today from the top of the Eiffel Tower during the reopening of its third floor. 

3. Catch up quick
  1. Apple won a major court case against the EU, shielding the tech giant from having to pay $14.8 billion in back taxes to Ireland. Go deeper.
  2. UnitedHealth Group registered more than $6.6 billion in profits in the second quarter — by far the conglomerate's highest quarterly profit ever. Go deeper.
  3. Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) announced he has tested positive for the coronavirus and will self-isolate, Tulsa World reports.
  4. President Trump said White House trade adviser Peter Navarro was speaking for himself when he wrote a USA Today op-ed attacking Anthony Fauci, and that he "shouldn't be doing that." Go deeper.
  5. Meanwhile, Fauci said the White House effort to discredit him is "bizarre." Go deeper.
  6. Bonus: 😷Mark Zuckerberg announces that he’ll interview Fauci live online, tomorrow @ 2 p.m. PT, with a little friendlier reception than the good doctor is getting elsewhere: “I’m grateful for Dr. Fauci's leadership and looking forward to hearing from him.”
4. 1 fun thing: See a comet tonight

Comet NEOWISE seen from the International Space Station. Photo: NASA

A bright comet is gracing skies around the world this month, and from dark areas in the Northern Hemisphere, it's visible with the naked eye, Axios' Miriam Kramer writes.

How to spot it: Comet NEOWISE is now visible in the evening sky and will be most visible from now through Sunday.

  • Moonlight isn't a limiting factor right now, and the comet is still close enough to shine relatively brightly.
  • Observers should be able to see it with the naked eye from dark areas, but it's best viewed through binoculars, where details of its tail and nucleus can really be appreciated.
5. Another fun thing!

Lin-Manuel Miranda breaks down how he wrote "My Shot" for his hit musical "Hamilton."