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Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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A car with both Uber and Lyft signs. Photo: Richard Vogel / AP

Uber's latest move to make its drivers happier is a new fee it will apply when it takes longer than 8 or 11 minutes (depending on the city) to pick up a passenger. This is seemingly designed to make drivers feel less like they're wasting time and gas before they even get to the passenger. The fee will be calculated based on both time and distance.

Why it matters: While Uber told The Verge that it aims to help passengers by incentivizing drivers to go the longer distance to pick them up (if they live in the suburbs, for example), this is could backfire. For one, passengers might opt to not take an Uber ride given the higher fees—and say, hail a Lyft ride, or drive themselves.

It's also not clear how this will play out in urban areas when there's a lot of traffic or a driver shortage. Uber already uses its "surge pricing" mechanism to mitigate some of these situations, so passengers aren't likely to appreciate paying an extra fee just because a sporting event caused traffic and a delayed pick-up.

More: Uber is also rolling out a new passenger cancellation fee. Drivers will now earn either the standard fixed rate fee, or a fee based on time and distance—whichever one is greater.

Go deeper

House passes $1.9 trillion COVID relief package

Photo: Screenshot via C-SPAN

The House approved President Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID relief package on a 219-212 vote early Saturday morning, sending it to the Senate for a possible rewrite before it gets to Biden's desk.

The big picture: The vote was a critical first step for the package, which includes $1,400 cash payments for many Americans, a national vaccination program, ramped-up COVID testing and contact tracing, state and local funding and money to help schools reopen.

10 hours ago - Health

Biden says it's "not the time to relax" after touring vaccination site

President Biden speaking after visiting a FEMA Covid-19 vaccination facility in Houston on Feb. 26. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden said Friday that "it's not the time to relax" coronavirus mitigation efforts and warned that the number of cases and hospitalizations could rise again as new variants of the virus emerge.

Why it matters: Biden, who made the remarks after touring a vaccination site in Houston, echoed CDC director Rochelle Walensky, who said earlier on Friday that while the U.S. has seen a recent drop in cases and hospitalizations, "these declines follow the highest peak we have experienced in the pandemic."

Updated 10 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: Most COVID-19 survivors can weather risk of reinfection, study says — "Twindemic" averted as flu reports plummet amid coronavirus crisis
  2. Vaccine: FDA advisory panel endorses J&J COVID vaccine for emergency use — About 20% of U.S. adults have received first vaccine dose, White House says — New data reignites the debate over coronavirus vaccine strategy.
  3. Economy: What's really going on with the labor market.
  4. Local: All adult Minnesotans will likely be eligible for COVID-19 vaccine by summer — Another wealthy Florida community receives special access to COVID-19 vaccine.
  5. Sports: Poll weighs impact of athlete vaccination.