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Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

The United States recorded more than half a million new COVID-19 vaccine shots on Friday, the highest number since July 1, White House deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said.

Why it matters: The Delta variant is continuing to spread across the United States and it now comprises over 80% of the coronavirus cases in the country, Jean-Pierre said. A report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted that "vaccination is the most important strategy to prevent severe illness and death."

  • Coronavirus cases have been increasing since around late June, according to CDC data.

State of play: Jean-Pierre also reported that the number of people getting vaccination shots is up by 30%.

What they're saying: "This is an encouraging sign, but we need everyone across the country to have a conversation with someone they know who is unvaccinated about getting the shot," Jean-Pierre said during the press briefing.

  • "This is how we will stop the spread of the Delta variant," she added.

Of note: Jean-Pierre clarified that "a national vaccine requirement is not under consideration" by the Biden administration.

Go deeper: CDC: Delta variant may cause mild COVID among fully vaccinated people

Go deeper

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Nov 5, 2021 - Health

New COVID pill shows the need for widescale testing

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Pfizer's new COVID-19 antiviral is highly effective when given early in the course of an infection — underscoring the importance of cheap, easily accessible COVID-19 tests, including at-home rapid versions.

Driving the news: Pfizer's oral antiviral drug reduced the risk of hospitalization or death from COVID-19 by 89%, according to interim results from a mid-to-late-stage study announced by the company on Friday, my colleague Rebecca Falconer writes.

Updated 50 mins ago - Health

The case for Operation Warp Speed 2.0

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Omicron's blitz around the world has underscored the need for a new arsenal of COVID vaccines and therapeutics, experts say — and that may require an effort akin to Operation Warp Speed 2.0.

Why it matters: The virus will continue to evolve, potentially in a way that further escapes vaccine protection, and the best way to prevent more global disruptions to everyday life is to have tools ready to combat whatever comes next.

Ina Fried, author of Login
1 hour ago - Technology
Column / Signal Boost

Microsoft's metaverse maneuvering

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Microsoft is pitching investors and regulators that its $68 billion Activision Blizzard deal is all about the metaverse, that nebulous buzzword taking the tech world by storm.

What they're saying: By my colleague Stephen Totilo's count, Nadella used the word "metaverse" at least five times in his conference call discussing the deal. Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick mentioned the metaverse four times, while Microsoft gaming chief Phil Spencer used the term twice.

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