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Memo from the White House physician. Photo: Wayne Partlow/AP

The coronavirus' threat to America is no longer confined by geography or demographics.

Why it matters: With the positive test for President Trump, the risks are real and immediate.

National security: Administration officials recognize that China and other powers know the U.S. is distracted, and could use this as a window for adventurism or even aggression.

  • Hotspots around the world are on fire, including China's escalation of territorial disputes in the South China Sea — as well as a border standoff between China and India the world's two most populous countries.

Economic: After summer signs of life, the economy is struggling again, with tens of thousands of layoffs this week by Disney and airlines.

  • Now, with markets racked by uncertainty, businesses won't be getting the signals they need to encourage reopening — let alone return to semi-normal.

Social: So many Americans had gotten lazy about virus protection, in part because huge swaths of the public felt untouched by it.

  • That's gone. The virus penetrated the most secure house in the world. Anyone who feels safe from the virus is foolish.
  • Any stigma that went with masks — always unfounded — should vanish.

Political: With 32 days to go before an election that both sides call the most vital in American history, the incumbent, age 74, is temporarily off the campaign trail.

  • The challenger — Joe Biden, 77 — has been super-cautious about his public appearances, and now has a host of new questions about his own plans.
  • Everything, including the three remaining debates, is now on uncharted terrain.

What's next: Those are all risks now.  If the president were to show symptoms, the disruption would multiply even further.

  • The next Trump-Biden debate is 13 days away — 14 days from the moment Trump said he'd quarantine.

Go deeper:

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Go deeper

Jan 8, 2021 - Health

Biden to release nearly all available COVID-19 vaccine doses to the public

Photo: Joshua Roberts/Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden plans to release nearly all available coronavirus vaccine doses when he takes office, CNN reports.

Why it matters: Releasing nearly all doses would allow more people to get vaccinated with at least one dose. At the moment, the Trump administration is withholding half of U.S. vaccine production to ensure recipients receive their second dose, which is required by both the Moderna and Pfizer shots to ensure 95% efficacy.

Updated 26 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Concerns grow over CDC's isolation guidelines — Experts warn of more COVID-19 variants after Omicron.
  2. Vaccines: America's vaccination drive runs out of gas — Puerto Rico expands booster shot requirements.
  3. Politics: Joint Chiefs chair Gen. Mark Milley tests positive for COVID-19 — Vivek Murthy calls SCOTUS vaccine mandate block "a setback for public health."
  4. Economy: Report: World's 10 richest men doubled wealth during pandemicAmerica's labor shortage is bigger than the pandemic.
  5. States: America struggles to keep schools open — Youngkin ends mandates for masks in schools and COVID vaccinations for state workers.
  6. World: Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older — French parliament passes COVID vaccine passport legislation.
  7. Variant tracker

Joint Chiefs chair Gen. Mark Milley tests positive for COVID-19

Photo: Olivier Douliery - Pool/Getty Images

Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, tested positive for COVID-19 on Sunday.

State of play: Joint Staff spokesperson Col. Dave Butler said in a statement that Milley — who is fully vaccinated and has received a booster shot — is experiencing "very minor symptoms" and is "working remotely and isolating himself."