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

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2019 Honda Civic. Photo: Honda

After a string of high-end German luxury cars, this week I'm driving the 2019 Honda Civic Touring edition, with an appealing price tag of $27,300.

Why it matters: The Civic comes with standard safety and assisted-driving features that are similar to those found in the German luxury models. Like Toyota, Honda has made assisted-driving features standard across its lineup for no extra cost.

  • That means you can buy a Civic for as little as $19,450 and get important safety features like adaptive cruise control, low-speed follow (for traffic jams), emergency braking and lane-keeping assistance — all for free.
  • Other mass-market brands like Chevrolet and Ford are now racing to make the technology standard as well.

Yes, but: My impression is that Honda's lower-end technology may not be quite as responsive as those in the higher-priced European models.

  • For example, while using adaptive cruise control on the highway, it seemed to take a moment longer for the car to recognize that another car had pulled in front and to slow down.
  • Likewise, when the car in front changed lanes, the Civic lagged when making the decision to resume its cruising speed.

The bottom line: It's still a lot of driver-assistance technology for the money, and most people will be pleasantly surprised by what their little Civic can do.

Go deeper: See what else Joann has been driving

Go deeper

Scoop: CDC lets child migrant shelters fill to 100% despite COVID concern

Intensive care tents at overflow shelter in Carrizo Springs, Texas. Photo: Sergio Flores/The Washington Post via Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control is allowing shelters handling child migrants who cross the U.S.-Mexico border to expand to full capacity, abandoning a requirement they stay near 50% to inhibit the spread of the coronavirus, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: The fact the country's premier health advisory agency is permitting a change in COVID-19 protocols indicates the scale of the immigration crisis. A draft memo obtained by Axios conceded "facilities should plan for and expect to have COVID-19 cases."

8 Senate Democrats vote against adding $15 minimum wage to COVID relief

Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Eight Democratic senators on Friday voted against Sen. Bernie Sanders' amendment to ignore a ruling by the Senate parliamentarian and add a $15 minimum wage provision to the $1.9 trillion COVID relief package.

The state of play: The vote was held open for hours on Friday afternoon — even after every senator had voted — due to a standoff in negotiations over the next amendments that the Senate will take up.

CDC: Easing mask mandates led to higher COVID cases and deaths

Customer at a supermarket chain in Austin, Texas. Montinique Monroe/Getty Images

Easing mask restrictions and on-site dining have increased COVID-19 cases and deaths, according to a study out Friday from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Why it matters: The report's findings converge with actions from governors this week easing mask mandates and announcing plans to reopen nonessential businesses like restaurants.

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