Jan 21, 2021

Axios PM

Today's PM — edited by Justin Green — is 466 words, a 2-minute read.

1 big thing: Biden unveils "wartime" COVID strategy

President Biden signs executive orders today. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

"It's gonna get worse before it gets better": President Biden expects 100,000 Americans to die from COVID-19 during his first 6 weeks in office.

  • The big picture: Biden said he's putting America on a wartime footing against the virus, signing 10 executive orders today.

The plan includes:

  1. More supplies: Orders new supplies of PPE, testing materials and vaccines through the Defense Production Act.
  2. More funding: Increases federal reimbursement for National Guard personnel and emergency supplies.
  3. More masks: Requires on federal property and for people who are in airports and using many forms of transportation.
  4. More data: Massive efforts for “real-time” federal data collection for schools, a public dashboard on cases, testing and vaccination, and hospital admissions.
  5. More guidance: Mandates masks on planes and requires COVID tests before flying. Requires negative test for international travelers before departing for the U.S.
  6. More help for schools: Orders the Department of Education and HHS to provide schools and local communities with resources to safely reopen schools.

The big picture: The executive orders are providing a more uniform approach in controlling the pandemic across state lines, Marisa Fernandez tells me.

  • The Trump administration left governors and public health departments to coordinate most of their own logistics.

Between the lines: Biden's mask rules "come as close to a national mask mandate as his federal powers allow, because only states and municipalities can require residents to wear masks at a local level," WashPost reports.

The bottom line: "You're going to be hearing a lot from Dr. Fauci again," Biden promised, saying that public health officials would be "free from political interference."

2. Biden's small business hurdle
Data: Alignable; Chart: Axios Visuals

For the first time in the history of Alignable's survey, at least 40% of respondents in 10 business categories said they couldn't afford to pay their rent, Axios Markets editor Dion Rabouin reports.

  • That's up from six categories in December and just two in November.
3. Catch up quick
  1. Facebook's independent Oversight Board will review its decision to indefinitely suspend former President Trump. Go deeper.
  2. President Biden will seek a five-year extension of the New START nuclear arms control pact with Russia before it expires on Feb. 5, senior officials told WashPost.
  3. High-risk traders are using Reddit and TikTok to scalp huge profits, and while the TikTok teens might not win in the long term, their short-term gains can be astonishing. Go deeper.
  4. There is no longer any U.S. county free of COVID-19, with the last holdouts falling in Alaska and Hawaii, The Wall Street Journal reports.
  5. 🎧 Axios Re:Cap digs into why net neutrality matters and what comes next with Nilay Patel, editor-in-chief of The Verge and host of the Decoder podcast. Listen here.
4. 1 fun thing: Amanda Gorman wins the inauguration
Data: NewsWhip; Chart: Axios Visuals

Poet Amanda Gorman by far generated the most average interactions on social media on Inauguration Day, according to exclusive data from NewsWhip.

  • Why it matters: Gorman's recital of "The Hill We Climb" represented a standout, double-take moment for viewers who otherwise witnessed a scripted, stage-crafted affair, Sara Fischer and Neal Rothschild report.

Go deeper: Watch her performance

Photo: Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images