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Sen. Lisa Murkowski in June. Photo: Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images

At least seven GOP senators have said they will not attend next month's Republican National Convention in Jacksonville, Fla., and more are rethinking their visits.

Why it matters: For some, like 86-year-old Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and 80-year-old Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), the decision not to attend underscores broader concerns about holding mass gatherings in the coronavirus era. For others, like Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), the nominating convention for President Trump is politically unsavory.

Full list:

What to watch: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell described the RNC's timing during a pandemic "a challenging situation," and he said he will determine in late August whether the convention will be safe.

  • Sen Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.) said Thursday he's considering not attending, WISN reports.

The big picture: New coronavirus cases in Florida have surged in recent weeks, with the state reporting over 15,000 new cases in a single day last weekend.

Go deeper

The top Republicans who aren't voting for Trump in 2020

Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said last week that he cannot support President Trump's re-election.

Why it matters: Hogan, a moderate governor in a blue state, joins other prominent Republicans who have publicly said they will either not vote for Trump's re-election this November or will back Biden.

1 hour ago - Health

Pfizer-BioNTech: Booster doses more effective at blocking Omicron

Prepared doses of the BioNtech-Pfizer Covid-19 coronavirus vaccine in Germany on Dec. 7. Photo: Thomas Kienzle/AFP via Getty Images

Pfizer and BioNTech said Wednesday that two doses of their COVID-19 vaccine were significantly less effective at neutralizing the Omicron variant in early lab tests, but a three-dose regimen was more effective.

Why it matters: Omicron, which has been labeled a variant of concern by the World Health Organization after being identified by scientists in South Africa last month, has forced vaccine makers to reassess the effectiveness of their vaccines against this specific new form of coronavirus.

Mike Allen, author of AM
1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Biden unveils "Building a Better America" branding

President Biden speaks on infrastructure while visiting a bridge in Woodstock, N.H., last month. Photo: John Tully/Getty Images

President Biden today launched a new website and unveiled bold new branding as part of a nationwide tour to sell the benefits of his infrastructure package.

Why it matters: The White House says passage of the new law shows the ability to "forge bipartisan consensus and prove our democracy can deliver big wins" even in these toxic times.