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U.S. reports highest number of single-day coronavirus deaths since May

Almost 66,000 new COVID-19 cases and more than 1,400 deaths from the virus were reported in the U.S. on Wednesday, per the COVID Tracking Project.

Why it matters: The toll marks the highest number of deaths from COVID-19 in a single day since May 15, according to the COVID Tracking Project's data. The U.S. coronavirus death toll surpassed 150,000 earlier Wednesday. "The rise in deaths is largely driven by the southern states, which reported 962 deaths today," it noted.


OK, our daily update is published. States reported 840k tests completed, nearly 66k new cases, and hospitalizations ticked up. The major observation, however, is that states reported more than 1400 deaths today, the most since May 15. pic.twitter.com/PGCu7Z4pXC

— The COVID Tracking Project (@COVID19Tracking) July 29, 2020

Driving the news: A total of 773 deaths were reported by coronavirus hot-spot states Arizona, California, Florida and Texas, according to the tracking project.

  • Florida reported on Wednesday a state record of 216 coronavirus-related deaths in 24 hours.

Of note: In Texas, a change in counting methods for deaths and Hurricane Hanna striking the state over the weekend may have caused some backlog and influenced the large number of deaths (313) reported on Wednesday, the tracking project notes.

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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

Facebook plans to announce that it will de-emphasize political posts and current events content in the News Feed based on negative user feedback, Axios has learned. It also plans to expand tests to limit the amount of political content that people see in their News Feeds to more countries outside of the U.S.

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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