Aug 12, 2020

Axios PM

By Mike Allen
Mike Allen

Good afternoon: Today's PM — edited by Justin Green — is 399 words, a 1.5-minute read.

🤝 The first Biden-Harris appearance as a presidential ticket is underway in Wilmington, Delaware.

  • "I have no doubt that I picked the right person to join me," Biden said.
  • "Kamala is smart, tough, experienced. She’s a proven fighter for the backbone of this country."
1 big thing: The real American response to COVID-19

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Which is the real American response to COVID-19? The bungled testing policies, the politically driven rush to reopen, the tragic racial divide seen in the sick and the dead? Or the warp-speed work to develop a vaccine in a year when most past efforts took decades?

The bad: The U.S. ranks 31st out of 36 countries in its assessment of government responses to COVID-19, according to a new index.

  • That puts it below developed countries like New Zealand and Denmark, and also lower than nations with fewer resources like Ghana, Kenya and South Africa.

The good: Resources and expertise from U.S. companies and the National Institutes of Health have been key to the astonishingly fast effort to create a vaccine.

  • Massachusetts-based biotech company Moderna and the NIH announced at the end of July that they had begun phase 3 of the clinical trial.
  • Anthony Fauci has said he expects "tens of millions" of doses to be available by early 2021, a little over a year after the novel coronavirus was discovered.
  • If that turns out to be the case, "the Covid-19 vaccine could take a place alongside the Apollo missions as one of history’s greatest scientific achievements," epidemiologist Michael Kinch recently wrote in STAT.

The bottom line: America's two-sided response serves as an X-ray of the country itself — still capable of world-beating feats at the high end, but increasingly struggling with what should be the simple business of governing itself.

2. Pics du jour
Photo: Daniel Acker/Getty Images

Above: Surreal images from Iowa, where Monday's surprise derecho winds could have damaged as much as 10 million acres of corn, state officials told press today.

Below: Footage from Illinois, where the winds toppled a church steeple.

Photo: Mark Hume/Chicago Tribune via AP
3. Catch up quick
Screenshot: Douglas Emhoff/Twitter
  1. Democrats and the Trump administration remain "miles apart" on negotiations over a coronavirus stimulus deal, said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Video.
  2. New Jersey will allow the reopening of in-person learning for private and public K-12 schools and universities in September. Go deeper.
  3. The Trump administration is threatening to veto a resolution to extend the UN's long-standing peacekeeping mission in southern Lebanon if its mandate isn't changed. Go deeper.
  4. A federal appeals court upheld FCC rules limiting municipalities' ability to negotiate with telecom companies such as AT&T and Verizon on 5G antennas on city streets and neighborhoods. Go deeper.
3. 1 viral thing
Screenshot: Twitter

Author Sarah Cooper, best known for her viral lip-sync impersonations of President Trump on TikTok, will star in a Netflix comedy special this fall.

The big picture: Cooper, who wrote a pair of best-selling books prior to her internet fame, has seen her platform grow to over 500,000 followers on TikTok and over two million on Twitter.

Mike Allen