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Photo: Alex Wong / Staff/Getty Images

The White House is working with the Ad Council, a nonprofit that produces public services announcements (PSAs), and many of the country's top TV and radio networks to develop a set of coronavirus-related PSAs, it announced Wednesday.

Why it matters: The Trump administration is pulling out all stops to make sure the public is aware of safety measures and precautions around the novel coronavirus. TV ads are particularly important to this effort, given that most people are stuck at home and, presumably, watching more television.

Details: All PSAs will run during airtime that will be donated by the media and coordinated through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Health and Human Services, the White House said. All of the spots will direct audiences to visit coronavirus.gov.

  • NBCUniversal, which includes cable networks like Bravo, MSNBC, CNBC and others, as well as broadcasters including NBC and Telemundo, will also produce TV and digital spots in English and Spanish.
  • ViacomCBS will do the same across its portfolio of brands, which includes CBS, MTV, VH1, Comedy Central and others. Its children's channel, Nickelodeon, will also develop service content on appropriate topics for kids, such as handwashing.
  • iHeartMedia will run audio PSAs across its network of radio stations.
  • ABC/Walt Disney Television will promote messaging for parents and families across its platforms, which include Disney Channel, ABC, ESPN and more.

The PSAs will cover topics such as social distancing, personal hygiene and mental health.

Included in the PSAs will be first lady Melania Trump, Surgeon General Jerome Adams, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Anthony Fauci, response coordinator for the White House Coronavirus Task Force Deborah Birx and other administration officials.

Between the lines: Federal Communications Commission chair Ajit Pai last week urged broadcasters to air public service announcements featuring prominent personalities.

  • The National Association of Broadcasters, which represents hundreds of local stations, started airing a COVID-19 campaign last week.
  • Sources say that NAB President and CEO Gordon Smith was on call with the participating TV networks, Vice President Mike Pence and others about this campaign.

Be smart: The White House says the campaign will benefit high-risk populations, which tend to be the elderly. Television, in particular, is a good medium for reaching that demographic.

Go deeper

Biden's Day 1 challenges: Systemic racism

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Kirsty O'Connor (PA Images)/Getty Images

Advocates are pushing President-elect Biden to tackle systemic racism with a Day 1 agenda that includes ending the detention of migrant children and expanding DACA, announcing a Justice Department investigation of rogue police departments and returning some public lands to Indigenous tribes.

Why it matters: Biden has said the fight against systemic racism will be one of the top goals of his presidency — but the expectations may be so high that he won't be able to meet them.

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
2 hours ago - Health

Most Americans are still vulnerable to the coronavirus

Adapted from Bajema, et al., 2020, "Estimated SARS-CoV-2 Seroprevalence in the US as of September 2020"; Cartogram: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

As of September, the vast majority of Americans did not have coronavirus antibodies, according to a new study published in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Why it matters: As the coronavirus spreads rapidly throughout most of the country, most people remain vulnerable to it.

Trump set to appear at Pennsylvania GOP hearing on voter fraud claims

President Trumpat the White House on Tuesday. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Trump is due to join his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, Wednesday at a Republican-led state Senate Majority Policy Committee hearing to discuss alleged election irregularities.

Why it matters: This would be his first trip outside of the DMV since Election Day and comes shortly after GSA ascertained the results, formally signing off on a transition to President-elect Biden.

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