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President Trump attacked CNN for continuing to cover the coronavirus pandemic, calling the network "dumb b*stards" at a campaign rally in Prescott, Arizona on Monday.

Why it matters: The president's attacks on the media and Anthony Fauci, the government's top infectious-disease expert, come as coronavirus cases and hospitalizations are again surging across the country, just two weeks out from Election Day.

  • It's an unusual closing argument in an election campaign that has been dominated this year by the pandemic, which has infected more than 8.1 million Americans, killed over 219,000, and massively disrupted the U.S. and global economy.
  • Over 65% of Americans are either "very" or "somewhat" concerned about contracting the coronavirus, while 57.5% say they disapprove of Trump's handling of the pandemic, according to FiveThirtyEight's average of polls.

What he's saying: “You turn on CNN, that’s all they cover: COVID, COVID, pandemic, COVID, COVID … that’s all they cover. You know why? They’re trying to talk everyone out of voting. People are not buying it CNN, you dumb b*stards," Trump said to a crowd of cheering supporters.

  • Turning to Joe Biden, Trump accused his Democratic challenger of wanting to "listen to Dr. Fauci" — a riff on an apparent attack on Saturday in which the president said Biden will "listen to the scientists" if elected.
  • Trump also questioned whether CNN anchor Chris Cuomo, whom the president calls "Fredo," really had the coronavirus. Cuomo tested positive for the virus in late March.

Go deeper

Operation Warp Speed leader: COVID vaccine push is "isolated from a political environment"

Moncef Slaoui in the Rose Garden on Nov. 13. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Moncef Slaoui, the White House's top scientific adviser to Operation Warp Speed, told Chuck Todd on "Meet the Press" on Sunday that the Trump administration's efforts to accelerate the development of a coronavirus vaccine is "isolated from a political environment" and that a change in administration "doesn't, frankly, make a difference" on its efficacy.

Why it matters: Slaoui told ABC's George Stephanopoulos on Sunday that he has not yet had contact with Joe Biden's transition team, as the president-elect prepares to inherit one of the country's biggest crises ahead of an expected vaccine distribution effort that would require massive logistical cooperation between states and the federal government.

Updated 18 hours ago - World

Oxford University says its coronavirus vaccine is up to 90% effective

A scientist working during at the Oxford Vaccine Group's laboratory facility at the Churchill Hospital in Oxford, England, in June. Photo: Steve Parsons/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

The University of Oxford announced Monday that a COVID-19 vaccine it's developed with AstraZeneca is 70.4% effective in preventing people from developing symptoms, per interim data from Phase 3 trials.

Why it matters: The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is shown to work in different age groups and can be stored at fridge temperature. It is much cheaper than other vaccines in development and is part of the global COVAX initiative, designed to ensure doses go where they're most needed.

Updated 13 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Sen. Kelly Loeffler to return to campaign trail after 2nd negative test

Sen. Kelly Loeffler addresses supporters during a rally on Thursday. Photo: Jessica McGowan/Getty Images

Sen. Kelly Loeffler's (R-Ga.) campaign announced Monday that she "looks forward to getting back out on the campaign trail" after testing negative for COVID-19 for a second time, following earlier conflicting results.

Why it matters: Loeffler has been campaigning at events ahead of a Jan. 5 runoff in elections that'll decide which party holds the Senate majority. Vice President Mike Pence was with her on Friday.