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Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

An anti-coronavirus edict will keep a group of high-profile speakers from taking the podium at this year's college commencement ceremonies: Biden administration Cabinet members.

Why it matters: Speakers who'd normally serve as the new administration's face to the public — or sell President Biden's array of new policies — are banned from speaking in person because the White House doesn't want to encourage super-spreader events.

  • “The White House and administration remain vigilant to the public health challenges posed by the pandemic, and we’re taking every step necessary to prevent the spread of the virus and model leadership for the country,” a White House official told Axios in a statement.
  • Members can still speak virtually.

But, but, but: The rules don’t apply equally to everyone.

  • The president himself is scheduled to deliver the keynote address in person during the U.S. Coast Guard Academy's graduation ceremony May 19.
  • Tradition has the commander in chief rotate annually among the four service academies.
  • Coast Guard officials said this year's exercise will again be closed to the public, and the number of guests will be greatly reduced from past years because of the pandemic, the Associated Press reported.

Vice President Kamala Harris will deliver the keynote address at the Naval Academy’s commissioning ceremony this month, a White House official told the Capital Gazette.

  • The ceremony will be in person but at limited capacity.
  • In addition, first lady Jill Biden will deliver a commencement address at George Mason University next Friday — but virtually.

Between the lines: The Centers for Disease Control's latest guidance says people can gather outside or conduct activities outdoors without wearing a mask.

  • The exception is certain crowded settings and venues, such as concerts.

Go deeper

Biden expected to announce new eviction ban

Photo: Bloomberg / Contributor

President Biden is expected to reveal a new, more "targeted" ban on evictions, three sources familiar with the matter confirmed to Axios.

Why it matters: The Biden administration allowed the previous eviction moratorium to expire on Saturday night — putting millions of people at risk of homelessness.

Updated 7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Pfizer and Moderna boosters overwhelmingly prevent Omicron hospitalizations, CDC finds — Omicron pushes COVID deaths toward 2,000 per day — The pandemic-proof health care giant.
  2. Vaccines: The case for Operation Warp Speed 2.0 — Starbucks drops worker vaccine or test requirement after SCOTUS ruling — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America.
  3. Politics: Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" by Biden on anti-mask school policies — Federal judge blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for federal workers.
  4. World: American Airlines flight to London forced to turn around over mask dispute — WHO: COVID health emergency could end this year — Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older — Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults.
  5. Variant tracker

Arizona governor sues Biden administration over COVID funds tied to mandates

A teacher prepares a hallway barrier to help students maintain social distancing at John B. Wright Elementary School in Tucson, Arizona, on Aug. 14, 2020. Photo: Cheney Orr/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) filed a lawsuit Friday against the Biden administration for ordering the state to stop allocating federal COVID relief funds to schools that don't comply with public health recommendations such as masking, the Arizona Republic reports.

Why it matters: The Treasury Department said last week that the state would have to pay back the money if Ducey does not redesignate the $173 million programs to ensure they don't "undermine efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19."