Photo: Sara D. Davis/Getty Images

Mandy Cohen, North Carolina's health and human services secretary, sent a letter Friday to the RNC asking for clarification about how it plans to hold August's national convention in Charlotte, including whether it would honor President Trump's wish to hold his nominating event "without social distancing or face coverings for attendees."

Why it matters: The RNC sent Gov. Roy Cooper a letter Thursday outlining the safety steps it planned to take for the event, which Trump has threatened to move. This latest letter from state officials puts the ball back into the RNC's court as they decide how to move forward.

Read the letter:

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Updated Sep 25, 2020 - Health

U.S. coronavirus updates

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Data: The COVID Tracking Project; Note: Does not include probable deaths from New York City; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the state will move forward with its own review of coronavirus vaccines even if the Food and Drug Administration approves one or more for distribution and public use.

Why it matters: The motion could sow further public doubt that the federal government could release a vaccine based on political motives rather than safety and efficacy.

Updated Aug 26, 2020 - Axios Events

Watch: America's road ahead

RNC week: Axios co-founder Mike Allen hosted a conversation on the future of the Republican party featuring Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson and Miami Mayor Francis Suarez.

Secretary Carson discussed 'Opportunity Zones' and economic development that is happening despite the coronavirus pandemic. Citing a new Council of Economic Advisers report, he says $75 billion dollars have come into qualified opportunity funds, leading to a decrease in poverty by 11%, and an increase in property values by 1.1%.

  • On the success of these programs: "These are the kinds of things that are win-win situations."

Mayor Suarez talked about how the Republican Party can expand with younger voters, saying leadership needs to "stop ceding ground on issues that are important issues to my generation."

  • On environmental issues: "The sea level is rising, which is something that we're seeing in our city. It has...a huge economic impact. I think the Republican Party shouldn't abandon an issue like that, they should integrate it."
  • On immigration: "Miami is a microcosm of what the United States looks like and will look like over the course of the next few decades. I think we should embrace the fact that we are a country of immigrants. That's something that should strengthen us."

Ronna McDaniel discussed the RNC's virtual programming and the party's messaging going into the November election.

  • On the immediate impact of the RNC: "[CSPAN] has had several voters call in and say: I'm switching, I'm going from Democrat to Republican because of this convention, because we're humanizing the policies we're connecting with the American people."
  • The effectiveness of focusing on individuals: "When that door knockers...are able to connect with a voter on a personal level and bypass the noise, that's how you change votes. And I think that's going to be critical heading into Election Day."

Thank you Bank of America for sponsoring this event.

Aug 28, 2020 - Economy & Business

Biden narrowly beats Trump in convention speech ratings

Data: Nielsen; Note: Night one of the 2008 and 2012 conventions were pushed due to hurricanes; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

About 23.8 million people watched President Trump's speech at the Republican National Convention Thursday, according to early figures from Nielsen. That's about 3% fewer viewers than the 24.6 million who tuned into Joe Biden's speech at the Democratic National Convention last week.

The big picture: TV ratings for the RNC were down about 21% on average this year across all four nights compared to 2016. They were also down 10% compared to the 2020 DNC.