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

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Photo: FREDERIC J. BROWN / Getty Images

United Airlines on Wednesday became the first major U.S. airline to ask all passengers to complete a health self-assessment during the check-in process amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Why it matters: To reassure the public it's safe to fly, battered airlines are stepping up their cleaning and disinfection procedures. Most carriers are requiring employees and passengers to wear masks and now United is going a step further by asking travelers to confirm they are healthy.

How it works: Whether checking in online, at a kiosk or in person at the airport, passengers would be required to accept United's "Ready-to-Fly" checklist that includes confirmation that you:

  • will wear a face mask.
  • haven't been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the last 21 days.
  • haven't had symptoms or been in close contact with someone who tested positive in the past 14 days.
  • haven't been denied boarding by another airline for medical reasons.

The bottom line: United says customers that are unable to confirm these requirements and choose not to travel will be able to reschedule their flights.

  • The company didn't respond to a request for more details on what happens if passengers refuse to answer, or refuse to wear a mask onboard the plane.

Go deeper

Updated Oct 16, 2020 - Health

U.S. coronavirus updates

Expand chart
Data: The COVID Tracking Project; Note: Does not include probable deaths from New York City; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The U.S. surpassed 8 million coronavirus cases on Friday, per Johns Hopkins data.

The big picture: Coronavirus infections jumped by almost 17% over the past week as the number of new cases across the country increased in 38 states and Washington, D.C., according to a seven-day average tracked by Axios.

DOJ pressed to enforce Al Jazeera foreign agent ruling

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The Justice Department is being pressed to enforce its own demand that the U.S. arm of Qatari broadcaster Al Jazeera register as a foreign agent.

Why it matters: The launch of Al Jazeera's new right-of-center U.S. media venture, Rightly, has refocused attention on the media company's alleged links to Doha, and DOJ's efforts to crack down on media outlets viewed as foreign interest mouthpieces.

Poll: Immigration is America's most-polarizing issue

Data: The American Aspirations Index/Populace; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

Immigration was found to be the most polarizing issue in America based on new polling from Populace.

Why it matters: Americans have surprisingly similar priorities for the U.S., but immigration stands out as one of the few issues with clear partisan differences. It underscores the challenge for advocates and lawmakers hoping to pass immigration reform in the coming weeks amid narrow margins in Congress.