Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday that while the government and the private sector are committing their "full power" to developing a coronavirus vaccine, it will not be the sole determinant of Americans' ability to return to normal life.

Why it matters: President Trump claimed at a press conference last week, "Vaccine or no vaccine, we're back." Azar explained that what Trump meant is that "traditional public health tools," like testing, surveillance and new treatments, will contribute to a "multifactorial approach" that allows the U.S. to safely reopen.

Yes, but: Most health experts agree that, despite what Trump says, the U.S. does not currently have the testing capacity or contact tracing infrastructure necessary to reopen the country without a possible surge in cases.

  • Anthony Fauci warned in testimony last week that the U.S. will "without a doubt" have more coronavirus infections and deaths in the fall and winter if effective testing, contact tracing and social distancing measures are not scaled up to adequate levels
  • Adm. Brett Giroir, the federal government's testing coordinator, says that the U.S. should have the capacity to test more than 25 million people per month by August or September. He claimed that as of now, states have enough testing to begin a gradual "phase one" reopening.

The big picture: In terms of developing a vaccine, Trump's claims that the U.S. will have one by the end of the year is more ambitious than most experts' projections.

  • Rick Bright, the former director of a key vaccine agency, testified last week that even a 12- to 18-month timeline is "aggressive" and that the U.S. does not have a plan to distribute a vaccine for the coronavirus in a "fair and equitable manner" when one becomes available.

Go deeper: The race to make vaccines faster

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Updated Aug 4, 2020 - Health

The states where face coverings are mandatory

Data: Compiled by Axios; Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves issued a statewide mask mandate on Tuesday for people in public, as well as teachers and students going back to school.

The big picture: 34 states, in addition to the District of Columbia, have issued some form of a mask mandate as infections surge across the country.

20 hours ago - Health

HRW chief praises Apple, Google's contact tracing as privacy "gold standard"

Axios' Kim Hart and Kenneth Roth. Photo: Axios

The Bluetooth-based contact tracing system designed by Apple and Google is a current "gold standard" for prioritizing privacy when tracking the spread of the virus, Human Rights Watch executive director Kenneth Roth told Axios' Kim Hart at a virtual event Thursday.

Why it matters: Without a vaccine, promptly notifying those who have possibly been exposed to the coronavirus and encouraging self-quarantine is one of the best mitigation tools available.

Updated 13 hours ago - Health

World coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

An uptick in coronavirus cases in Europe is stoking fears that some countries, including France and Germany, could see a second wave, The New York Times reports.

The big picture: Both Germany and France have reported their highest number of new daily COVID-19 cases in months this past week. Some coronavirus mitigation efforts, like social distancing, aren't being enforced as strongly as they previously were.