Wednesday's top stories
Stocks rose Wednesday on promising new COVID-19 vaccine data from Moderna Therapeutics, although much of the optimism is outpacing the science.
Axios Re:Cap digs into what Moderna said, what it didn't say, and what comes next in the vaccine race with Richard Besser, former acting director of the CDC and current CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
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The Trinity nuclear test 75 years ago represented our first reckoning with a technology that could potentially destroy us.
Why it matters: Nuclear weapons are still with us, even as we grapple with potentially dangerous and unpredictable new technologies like gene editing and artificial intelligence. How we handle the challenges they present will help decide what kind of future we have — and whether we have a future at all.
62% of registered voters say President Trump is hurting efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus, compared to 31% who say he's helping, according to a Quinnipiac University poll out Wednesday.
The big picture: 36% of Americans approve of Trump's overall job performance, and 60% disapprove — his worst net approval rating since August 2017 and a 6-point drop from June. The poll has Joe Biden with a 15% advantage nationally over Trump, widening his lead from last month by 7 points.
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was discharged from Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore on Wednesday after being hospitalized Tuesday morning for a possible infection, according to the Supreme Court. "She is at home and doing well," a spokesperson said.
Why it matters: The 87-year-old liberal justice has battled health complications for years, including a cancer diagnosis that she beat in January of this year. In May, Ginsburg was hospitalized and received nonsurgical treatment for a gallbladder condition.
Four months after the first lockdowns, there's a real possibility of a nationwide consensus on face masks.
Why it matters: As is increasingly the case in our fractured society, states and businesses led the way, finally followed by the federal government.
Anthony Fauci told The Atlantic on Wednesday that efforts by certain White House officials to discredit him are "bizarre" and that it "ultimately hurts the president" to undermine a top health official in the middle of a pandemic.
Driving the news: Fauci's comments come on the heels of a USA Today op-ed by White House trade adviser Peter Navarro, who claimed that Fauci has been "wrong about everything" related to the coronavirus that the two have interacted on. Fauci told The Atlantic: “I can’t explain Peter Navarro. He’s in a world by himself.”
Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) announced on Wednesday he has tested positive for the coronavirus and will self-isolate, Tulsa World reports.
Why it matters: The 47-year-old Stitt is believed to be the first governor in the U.S. to test positive. He attended President Trump's rally in Tulsa last month, which the county's health department director said likely contributed to a surge in cases in the region.
Walmart will require all customers to wear face masks beginning next week in all of its 5,000 company-owned stores, in addition to its Sam's Club locations, the company announced Wednesday.
Why it matters: Walmart is the largest retailer in the U.S. and the latest in a string of national chains — including Costco and Starbucks — to mandate masks for customers.
Why it matters: In a normal administration, Navarro's actions would almost certainly result in his dismissal — but the White House did not immediately indicate any disciplinary action against him. It also further obscures the administration's support of Fauci, days after it put out a statement listing the times he was "wrong on things" in the coronavirus pandemic's early days.
Joe Biden is offering hints about how he’d try to thread the political needle to move big climate and energy plans through Congress.
Why it matters: If the 2020 election opens a path to moving substantial legislation, it's likely to be a fraught and narrow one that could vanish entirely in the 2022 midterm elections.
In 2018 President Trump granted the Central Intelligence Agency expansive legal authorities to carry out covert actions in cyberspace, providing the agency with powers it has sought since the George W. Bush administration, former U.S. officials directly familiar with the matter told Yahoo News.
Why it matters: The CIA has conducted disruptive covert cyber operations against Iran and Russia since the signing of this presidential finding, said former officials.
Tech was the first industry to send its workers home when COVID-19 first hit the U.S., and it has been among the most cautious in bringing workers back. Even still, many companies are realizing that their reopening plans from as recently as a few weeks ago are now too optimistic.
Why it matters: Crafting reopening plans gave tech firms a chance to bolster their leadership and model the beginnings of a path back to normalcy for other office workers. Their decision to pause those plans is the latest sign that normalcy is likely to remain elusive in the U.S.
The coronavirus pandemic has changed the game for U.S. businesses, pushing forward years-long shifts in workplaces, technology and buying habits — and forcing small businesses to fight just to survive.
Why it matters: These changes are providing an almost insurmountable advantage to big companies, which are positioned to come out of the recession stronger and with greater market share than ever.
College students overwhelmingly plan to return to campus this fall if their schools are open — and they claim they'll sit out the fun even if it's available, according to a new College Reaction/Axios poll.
Why it matters: For many, even an experience devoid of the trappings of college life is still a lot better than the alternative.
Florida is the new domestic epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, and it's on track to keep getting worse.
By the numbers: Of the 20 U.S. metro areas with the highest daily case growth, nine are in Florida, according to Nephron Research.
The Trump administration is cutting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention out of the process of collecting coronavirus data, The New York Times reports.
Why it matters: The new database will not be open to the public, according to the Times, and comes amid repeated efforts by the Trump administration to sideline the CDC.
Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions has lost the Republican nomination for Senate to Tommy Tuberville in Alabama in Tuesday night’s primary runoff, AP reports.
Why it matters: Sessions had been the underdog in the race against former Auburn University head football coach Tommy Tuberville, who had the backing of President Trump. Tuberville will now face off against Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.) in November, who is considered to have one of the most vulnerable Democratic Senate seats in the country.
Rep. Steve Watkins (R-Kan.) has been charged with three felonies and a misdemeanor relating to an investigation into whether he illegally voted in a 2019 municipal election, The Kansas City Star reports.
The state of play: Watkins, a first-term congressman, was first investigated by the Shawnee County Sheriff's Office after allegations arose that he listed a UPS store in Topeka as his registration address to vote in the 2019 municipal election.