Oct 29, 2020

Axios PM

Good afternoon: Today's PM — edited by Justin Green — is 463 words, a 2-minute read.

Situational awareness: 💸 Tech earnings so far today:

  • Alphabet revenue up 14% year-over-year. Go deeper.
  • Facebook revenue up 22%, with jumps in daily and monthly active users.
  • Twitter ad revenue up 15%, but user growth fell.
  • Amazon sales up 37%.
1 big thing: States beg for Warp Speed billions

A COVID-19 drive-thru testing center yesterday at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens. Photo: David Santiago/Miami Herald via AP

Operation Warp Speed has an Achilles' heel: States need billions to distribute vaccines — and many say they don't have the cash.

Why it matters: The first emergency use authorizations could come as soon as next month, but vaccines require funding for workers, shipping and handling, and for reserving spaces for vaccination sites.

  • Warp Speed is the $10 billion initiative to accelerate the COVID-19 vaccine timeline. Early projections said it would take years to develop and distribute a vaccine, but it increasingly looks like one will be approved for use this year.

The big picture: CDC director Robert Redfield has estimated that price tag at $6 billion.

  • States have thus far gotten $200 million, with another $140 million on the way before the New Year, reports WashPost.
  • "It’s kind of like setting up tent poles without having the tent," Maine CDC director Nirav Shah told reporters.

Between the lines: The CDC is asking states to identify sites that can handle a vaccine that needs to be stored at -94°F.

  • That matches up with the specs for Pfizer's vaccine candidate. The company laid out a timeline earlier this month that said it could request an emergency use authorization by late February.

How it works: Pfizer has a facility in Michigan where vaccine vials will be packed into dry ice pods, NPR reports.

  • These "pods will be loaded into boxes that can keep these ultra-cold temperatures for up to 10 days. And they'll be moved around the country in cargo planes and trucks by carriers like UPS and FedEx."

The bottom line: “As far as trying to reach all populations with an effective vaccine, that’s going to be a real challenge,” said Mississippi's state health director Thomas Dobbs.

2. Chart du jour
Data: ESPN/FiveThirtyEight; Chart: Axios Visuals

Nine team owners have contributed to the Trump campaign or Trump super PACs, Axios sports editor Kendall Baker reports. See the list.

3. Catch up quick
Screenshot: CNN
  1. Joe Biden pledged to form a task force dedicated to finding the parents of 545 children separated from their families at the southern border. Go deeper.
  2. The U.S. economy grew at a 33.1% annualized pace in the third quarter, but it remains 3.5% smaller than it was at the end of 2019. Go deeper.
  3. The parent company to Business Insider closed an all-cash deal to buy a majority stake in media startup Morning Brew, with a valuation of around $75 million. Go deeper.
  4. Apollo Global Management CEO Leon Black said he made a "terrible mistake" by employing Jeffrey Epstein Go deeper.
  5. VMI will remove a statue of Stonewall Jackson amid allegations of an enduring racist culture, per WashPost.
  6. 🎧 Axios Re:Cap digs into the state of global vaccine development. Listen here.
4. 1 🐈 thing

Daniel Schweitzer and spouse Jeff Patterson care for their five foster kittens and cat in San Francisco, Calif. Photo: Lea Suzuki/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

It's National Cat Day, and 34% of pet owners are spending more on their furry friends than before COVID-19 hit, USA Today reports.

  • "[S]ome 46% of all Americans are considering getting a pet. And among Americans who have been laid off or furloughed during the pandemic, it's 69%."