Sep 1, 2020

Axios PM

By Mike Allen
Mike Allen

Good afternoon: Today's PM — edited by Justin Green — is 517 words, a 2.5-minute read.

1 big thing: America's "huge gamble" on COVID vaccine

President Trump tours vandalized property in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

The Trump administration has decided to prioritize its own citizens on a coronavirus vaccine, betting it will win the race for a vaccine without any help from foreign countries.

Why it matters: Other rich countries and groups of countries — the U.K., EU, Japan — are pursuing a diversified approach of spending big on their own access, in addition to signaling support for cooperative efforts, write Axios' Marisa Fernandez and Dave Lawler.

  • The U.S. has purchased a combined 800 million doses of six vaccines, with the option to buy 1 billion more, per Nature.
  • “America is taking a huge gamble by taking a go-it-alone strategy,” global health law professor Lawrence Gostin told WashPost.

The big picture: 172 countries have submitted “expressions of interest” in the COVAX initiative, which would have richer countries fund at least nine vaccine candidates and then globally distribute them according to need if one succeeds.

  • Distribution will be based on population size, with health care workers and vulnerable people prioritized.
  • The groups behind COVAX are aiming to avoid a higher-stakes repeat of the 2009 H1N1 vaccine, which was secured almost entirely by rich countries.

The other side: The Trump administration has compared its approach to that of an airplane passenger securing their oxygen mask before helping others, Thomas Bollyky and Chad Bown write in Foreign Affairs.

  • “The United States will continue to engage our international partners to ensure we defeat this virus, but we will not be constrained by multilateral organizations influenced by the corrupt World Health Organization and China,” said Judd Deere, a spokesperson for the White House.
2. Americans say government making pandemic worse
Data: Axios/Ipsos survey of 1,100 U.S. adults, Aug. 28–31; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

Most Americans think the federal government is making the coronavirus pandemic worse, according to the latest installment of the Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index, writes Axios' Sam Baker.

The big picture: When the Axios-Ipsos index launched in late March, more than half of Americans said they trusted the federal government to look out for their best interests.

  • This week, it’s at just 32%, and it's been stuck in the low 30s for months.
  • Americans continue to trust Joe Biden more than Donald Trump to give them accurate information about the virus, though neither breaks 50%.
Bonus: Pics du jour
Online-only Whole Foods Market in Brooklyn. Photos via Amazon

There's now an online-only Whole Foods in Brooklyn, part of the effort to scale up grocery pickup and delivery that has surged during the pandemic.

3. Catch up quick
  1. New York City is delaying the reopening of its schools by 10 days as part of a deal to avert a teachers' strike. Go deeper.
  2. Facebook took down fake accounts and pages associated with Russian operatives who sought to trick freelance journalists into writing stories on their behalf. Go deeper.
  3. Apple and Google are expanding their digital coronavirus exposure notification system so that it can notify people without the regional health authority needing to create a separate app. Go deeper.
4. Uber requiring face masks 🤳

Luis Hidalgo, wearing a face mask, watches as Joel Rios installs a plastic barrier in his car. Photo: Seth Wenig/AP

Upcoming Uber rule: If a driver reports that a rider wasn't wearing a mask, the rider will have to provide Uber with a selfie with one strapped on the next time they summon a car, AP reports.

  • Why it matters: Drivers are already required by Uber to verify they're wearing a mask, and this gives them a tool to crack down on uncooperative passengers.

What's next: "The mask verification feature will roll out to the US and Canada by the end of September, and across Latin America and other countries after that," the company announced today.

Mike Allen