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Biden set to immediately ramp up federal pandemic response

On his first full day on the job, President Biden will move quickly to translate his promise of a stronger federal response to the pandemic into policy — starting with 10 executive orders and other directives.

Why it matters: The hands-on federal effort marks a significant change from the Trump administration, which put states in charge of many of the logistical details of their pandemic responses.

What they're saying: “For almost a year now, Americans could not look to the federal government for any strategy, let alone a comprehensive approach," Biden's coronavirus task force coordinator, Jeff Zients, told reporters.

  • "That all changes" with the new administration, he said.

Details: Biden's executive actions will direct agencies to boost supply chains — including by using the Defense Production Act.

  • They'll also establish a federal board to increase coronavirus testing capacity and access, establish an equity task force, and order the Departments of Education and Health and Human Services to provide guidance on how to safely reopen schools.

The big picture: The new administration is taking steps that public experts have been calling for.

  • But putting the pandemic behind us would require a lot of cooperation from the public, and it's far from clear that Biden will have that, no matter what he does.

Between the lines: Almost nothing will be as important — or high-pressure — as the vaccination effort.

  • Biden wants to increase the number of vaccination sites, expand the supply of doses and ask states to expand eligibility for vaccinations.
  • But the Trump administration had already begun sending out most available vaccine doses to states, meaning there's no quick way to boost the supply in the immediate term.
  • In many states, demand is simply overwhelming supply.

Go deeper: The public health presidency

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Why the startup world needs to ditch "unicorns" for "dragons"

When Aileen Lee originally coined the term "unicorn" in late 2013, she was describing the 39 "U.S.-based software companies started since 2003 and valued at over $1 billion by public or private market investors."

Flashback: It got redefined in early 2015 by yours truly and Erin Griffith, in a cover story for Fortune, as any privately-held startup valued at $1 billion or more. At the time, we counted 80 of them.

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Scoop: Facebook's new moves to lower News Feed's political volume

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Why it matters: The changes could reduce traffic to some news publishers, particularly companies that post a lot of political content.

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Scoop: Amazon quietly getting into live audio business

Amazon is investing heavily in a new live audio feature that's similar to other live audio offerings like Clubhouse, Twitter Spaces and Spotify's new live audio platform, sources tell Axios.

Why it matters: As with Amazon's efforts in podcasting and music subscriptions, the company sees live audio as a way to bolster the types of content it can offer through its voice assistant, Alexa, and its smart speaker products.

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Hurricane Ida exposes America's precarious energy infrastructure

The powerful hurricane that plunged New Orleans into darkness for what could be weeks is the latest sign that U.S. power systems are not ready for a warmer, more volatile world.

The big picture: “Our current infrastructure is not adequate when it comes to these kinds of weather extremes,” Joshua Rhodes, a University of Texas energy expert, tells Axios.

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"We must go further": 70% of adults in European Union are fully vaccinated

About 70% of adults in the European Union are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, said Tuesday.

Why it matters: The milestone makes the E.U. one of the world's leaders in inoculations, after an initially lagging vaccine campaign, the New York Times notes.

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What Elizabeth Holmes jurors will be asked ahead of fraud trial

Jury selection begins today in USA v. Elizabeth Holmes, with the actual jury trial to get underway on Sept. 8.

Why it matters: Theranos was the biggest fraud in Silicon Valley history, putting both hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of patients' health at risk.

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