Monday’s top stories
More than 72% of K-12 students are now attending schools that offer in-person or hybrid models of learning.
The big picture: The U.S. is seeing an almost-universal return of schools that were in-person as of November, as well as a gradual return in parts of the country that had been virtual for almost a year.
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Twitter announced Monday that it will label tweets with potentially misleading information about COVID-19 vaccines, and introduce a strike system that can lead to permanent account suspension.
The big picture: Tech companies are taking an increasingly aggressive stance against users who attempt to share misleading information about COVID-19 vaccines on their platforms.
Former President Trump and former first lady Melania Trump were both vaccinated at the White House in January, a Trump adviser tells Axios.
Why it matters: Trump declared at CPAC on Sunday that "everybody" should get the coronavirus vaccine — the first time he's encouraged his supporters, who have been more skeptical of getting vaccinated, to do so.
Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas announced Monday that the Biden administration will explore "lawful pathways" to allow migrant families separated under the Trump administration to reunite in the U.S.
Why it matters: Biden has pledged to reunite the hundreds of families still separated as a result of the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" policy, and signed an executive order last month creating a family separation task force chaired by Mayorkas.
CDC director Rochelle Walensky warned states on Monday that "now is not the time" to lift public health restrictions, as the recent dramatic declines in coronavirus cases and deaths "appear to be stalling."
Why it matters: While the average of 70,000 new infections and 2,000 daily deaths is nowhere near the extremely high levels recorded at the start of 2021, the figures are still a poor baseline to "stop a potential fourth surge" — especially with the threat posed by more contagious new variants, Walensky warned.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) on Monday introduced a bill in the Senate that would impose a new tax on the assets of America's wealthiest individuals.
Why it matters: The plan, which Warren introduced along with Reps. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) and Brendan Boyle (D-Pa.) is similar to a proposal that was the centerpiece of Warren's campaign for the presidency in 2020.
A court in Paris on Monday sentenced former French President Nicolas Sarkozy to one year in prison and a two-year suspended sentence after he was found guilty of trying to bribe a magistrate, AP reports.
Driving the news: Sarkozy, who was president from 2007 to 2012, is the first president in France’s modern history to have gone on trial for corruption, per AP. He was charged with corruption and influence-peddling.
Top NFL prospects would normally be gathering in Indianapolis this week for the annual Scouting Combine. But due to the pandemic, this year's event has been canceled.
What they're saying: No combine means no 40-yard dash times making headlines. Former scout and current NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah thinks that could be a glimpse of the future:
Johnson & Johnson CEO Alex Gorsky said Monday that he is "absolutely" confident that the company will be able to meet its distribution goals, which include 100 million doses by June and up to a billion by the end of 2021.
Driving the news: J&J is already in the process of shipping 3.9 million doses this week, just days after the FDA issued an emergency use authorization for the one-shot vaccine. Gorsky said he expects vaccines to be administered to Americans "literally within the next 24 to 48 hours."
While Fed chair Jerome Powell is brushing off the seismic rise in government bond yields and a corresponding decline in stock prices, a group of central bankers in the Pacific are starting to take action.
Driving the news: Bank of Japan governor Haruhiko Kuroda told parliament on Friday the BOJ would not allow yields on government debt to continue rising further above the BOJ's 0% target.
President Biden expressed support for a union vote by Amazon warehouse workers in Alabama in a two-minute video posted on Twitter Sunday, though he did not name the tech giant specifically.
Why it matters: A vote by workers at the Bessemer, Alabama, warehouse to join the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union would make the facility the first Amazon warehouse to unionize in the U.S., per NPR. The election will run through March 29.
Miami Mayor Francis Suarez is pushing to make bitcoin a part of his city's economic future, and in an interview with "Axios on HBO," he pushed back against the economic orthodoxy of people like Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen who say it's a bad idea.
Why it matters: Miami's inclusion of bitcoin as a way to pay city employees or as part of the city's emergency cash holdings, as Suarez has proposed, would add legitimacy to the cryptocurrency and further entrench it in the U.S. economic system.
Miami Mayor Francis Suarez's ambitions to attract Big Tech has generated a lot of headlines — but it will likely come with some negative impacts for current residents, for which the mayor admits there may not be solutions.
What he's saying: "Gentrification is real," Suarez told "Axios on HBO." But even with his efforts to promote affordable housing, he argues that "government has a limited amount of resources and a limited amount of ability to stop things that are market driven."
President Trump's haphazard war on Chinese tech has left the Biden administration with a raft of unfinished business involving efforts to restrict Chinese firms and products in U.S. markets.
Why it matters: The Chinese and American tech industries are joined at the hip in many ways, and that interdependence has shaped decades of prosperity. But now security concerns and economic rivalries are wrenching them apart.
President Biden has a thin, short path to success in his first six to nine months, top advisers tell Axios. His success, or failure, will dictate whether he can hold off both Republican critics — and activist Democrats who want him to go bigger, faster.
The big picture: Biden has to get vaccinations moving and the stimulus bill pumping, so the economy will start rocking, advisers said. That’s why he loaded his White House with veteran loyalists focused almost exclusively on these two topics.
Most states have not made much of their incarcerated populations eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.
The big picture: Jails and prisons have seen big outbreaks and a higher death rate than the general public, but with supplies still limited, most governors aren't putting prisoners at the top of the list for vaccines.
America has been hit by a series of catastrophic failures — and the only certainty is that more are on the way.
Why it matters: Our infrastructure is failing, and the less we invest in it now, the more it's going to continue to fail in the future.
Petaluma, California, has voted to outlaw new gas stations, the first of what climate activists hope will be numerous cities and counties to do so.
Why it matters: Expect more such ordinances, particularly in liberal towns. Grassroots groups are popping up with the mission of spreading this type of ban and forcing pollution cleanups at existing gas stations.
It wasn’t his first choice, but Sean Mahoney isn’t fighting a 150-mile proposed power line sending Canadian hydropower to New England as part of the region’s climate-change goals.
Why he matters: Mahoney, a senior expert at the nonprofit Conservation Law Foundation who lives in Maine, is seeking to compromise in a bitter battle over the proposal. Expect more fights like this as President Biden and other political leaders pursue zero-carbon economies over the next 30 years.
White House senior adviser Cedric Richmond told "Axios on HBO" that it's "doable" for President Biden to make first-term progress on breaking down barriers for people of color, while Congress studies reparations for slavery.
Why it matters: Biden said on the campaign trail that he supports the creation of a commission to study and develop proposals for reparations — direct payments for African Americans.