Jul 14, 2020

Axios PM

Good afternoon: Today's PM — edited by Justin Green — is 433 words, a 2-minute read.

Situational awareness: In a rare backtrack, the Trump administration is dropping its plan to forbid entrance to foreign students whose campuses go online-only. Go deeper.

1 big thing: Cleanest trains in memory

A contractor cleans a subway car at the 96th Street station in NYC. Photo: John Minchillo/AP

Transit authorities are busting out every trick in the book to coax riders back on trains and buses.

Why it matters: In regular times, riding on a subway car is dramatically safer than driving a car to the office. But social distancing is next to impossible on mass transit, especially during an airborne pandemic.

  • Officials are hoping to keep essential workers healthy, including transit staff. The CDC has recommended to employers that employees use cars instead of transit, but that's not an option for many.
  • Add in office reopenings and the start of school, and this fall gets dicey fast.

The laundry list at play via AP:

  • Ultraviolet light in Moscow and Shanghai.
  • Ozone gas in Hungary and the Czech Republic.
  • "Dry fogging" in Dallas.
  • Hydrogen peroxide solution in Hong Kong.
  • New York is also considering testing low levels of far-UVC light, which a study suggested last month could kill human coronavirus without harming eyes and skin.

The bottom line: These projects come at a steep cost, with NYC's MTA estimating it could cost hundreds of millions of dollars.

  • The city, like many others, has added more subway cars and signage to help people distance as much as possible.
  • The MTA warned last month that it could run out of cash by August without another big round of stimulus spending.
2. Pic du jour
Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden spoke today at the Chase Center in Wilmington, Delaware.

  • Biden expanded his energy and climate plans today with a call for spending $2 trillion over four years on climate-friendly infrastructure.
3. Catch up quick
  1. A federal judge has denied bail to Ghislaine Maxwell, who pleaded not guilty to charges that she conspired with billionaire Jeffrey Epstein to sexually abuse underage girls. Read more.
  2. If everyone in the U.S. wore a mask, the coronavirus pandemic could be "under control" within four to eight weeks, said CDC director Robert Redfield. Go deeper.
  3. 4 former CDC directors blasted the Trump administration's "repeated efforts to subvert" agency guidelines related to reopening schools, accusing the White House of undermining science with "partisan potshots." Go deeper.
  4. Speaker Nancy Pelosi would "absolutely" be willing to forgo the House's August recess to reach a deal for another coronavirus stimulus package, she said today.
  5. 🎧 The "Axios Re:Cap" podcast is ready for you. Today's episode digs into what's driving the recent spike in gun sales. Listen here.
4. 1 calendar thing

A double rainbow appears in the sky over the skyline of lower Manhattan. Photo: Gary Hershorn/Getty Images

2020 is canceled, the AP reports: "Giving up on 2020, looking toward 2021."

  • No Olympics, no awards shows, no weddings, no summer camp, no graduations. Nothing to look forward to except a new Netflix show or your newfound love of regrowing scallions or baking bread.

Why it matters: Experts who study human behavior say the human desire to pin failures, hopes and dreams on a period of time like a calendar year has primitive roots connected to our attachment to routine.