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Is the campaign over?

President Trump's COVID-19 diagnosis could bring both presidential campaigns and national politics to a screeching halt with a month left in the election.

The big question: Is this a temporary disruption, or will it effectively ground the president, Vice President Mike Pence, and the Democratic ticket of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris?

  • And will the Senate confirmation hearings for Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court — which were supposed to begin Oct. 12 — be delayed because of lawmakers' proximity to Trump and other White House officials who may have been exposed?

Driving the news: Trump's planned roundtable today with supporters in D.C. and flight to Florida for a campaign rally already have been called off.

  • Biden, who was in proximity to Trump only days ago on the debate stage, had been scheduled to campaign in Michigan. The campaign has yet to make a public statement on his next steps, but Harris is continuing with her planned travel to Las Vegas Friday, Axios' Alexi McCammond reports.
  • Pence, who is tested daily, and Second Lady Karen Pence both tested negative Friday, a spokesman said on Twitter.
  • Trump planned to keep a scheduled midday phone call on COVID-19 support for vulnerable seniors.
  • Officials also announced that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin tested negative — and more announcements in that vein were expected to follow to offer assurances to lawmakers and the public.

What's next: The vice presidential debate was set for Oct. 7 in Utah. It's not immediately clear whether that will go forward as scheduled. The remaining debates between Trump and Biden were set for Oct. 15 and Oct. 22.

Flashback: In 2008, Sen. John McCain's decision as the Republican presidential nominee to temporarily step off the campaign trail in late September to attend to the growing financial crisis marked a turning point from which he could not recover.

Universal mask use could save 130,000 lives in U.S.

Nearly 130,000 fewer people will die of COVID-19 this winter if 95% of Americans wear face masks in public, according to research published Friday.

Why it matters: “Increasing mask use is one of the best strategies that we have right now to delay the imposition of social distancing mandates," Dr. Christopher Murray of the University of Washington told the N.Y. Times.

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Israel and Sudan begin normalization process after call with Trump

Sudan and Israel announced today that they will “end the state of belligerence” between them and start the process of normalizing ties.

Driving the news: The announcement came after a phone call hosted by President Trump with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, and the head of Sudan's governing council, Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan.

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We're all guinea pigs for Tesla's latest self-driving tech

Tesla is beta-testing its latest self-driving technology with a small group of early adopters, a move that alarms experts and makes every road user — including other motorists, pedestrians and cyclists — unwitting subjects in its ongoing safety experiment.

Why it matters: Tesla hailed the limited rollout of its "full self-driving" beta software as a key milestone, but the warnings on the car's touchscreen underscore the risk in using its own customers — rather than trained safety drivers — to validate the technology.

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Trump removes Sudan from state sponsors of terrorism list

President Trump signed Friday an order to remove Sudan from the State Department’s state sponsors of terrorism list, senior U.S. officials tell me.

Why it matters: Trump’s signature paves the way for the U.S. and Sudan to move forward on a larger deal — which will also include a Sudanese announcement on normalizing its relations with Israel.

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Big Ten football is back

The Big Ten football season kicks off tonight after months of a "will they, won't they" narrative.

The state of play: Each team will play eight regular season games, culminating in a ninth, cross-divisional matchup on Dec. 19 (i.e. the Big Ten Championship, but also No. 2 East vs. No. 2 West, etc.).

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Child care crisis is denting the labor market

Reproduced from Pew Research Center; Chart: Axios Visuals

New data from the Pew Research Center shows that parents are being hit especially hard by the coronavirus pandemic, and as far as job losses go, mothers and fathers are faring equally poorly.

Why it matters: Economists have been warning for months that the pandemic could do long-term damage to the economy as people remain unemployed for longer stretches of time.

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"This guy": Trump-Biden personal venom was on full display during final debate

Joe Biden twice referred to President Trump as "this guy," and Trump called the former vice president's family "like a vacuum cleaner" for foreign money.

Why it matters: The personal venom — during Thursday's final presidential debate, in Nashville — was a reminder that even during a more normal debate, nothing this year is normal.

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Trump's hopes of nuclear deal with Putin come down to the wire

A surprise offer from Vladimir Putin has the U.S. and Russia once again circling a potential pre-election nuclear deal.

The big picture: The last treaty constraining the U.S. and Russia, New START, is due to expire on Feb. 5, 2021, two weeks after the next U.S. presidential inauguration. For the first time since the height of the Cold War, the nuclear guardrails could come off.

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