Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The U.S. still can't perform many of the public health measures we'd need in order to keep coronavirus infections tightly contained in a reopened economy.

The big picture: Extreme social distancing has bought us some time, but much of the country still lacks some of the critical systems needed to handle waves of new infections once those restrictions begin to lift.

"We have to have something in place that is efficient and that we can rely on, and we’re not there yet,” Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told The Associated Press yesterday.

  • “I’ll guarantee you, once you start pulling back there will be infections. It’s how you deal with the infections that’s going count,” he added.

We would need to be testing people who aren't exhibiting any symptoms — not limiting tests to the sickest patients.

  • The U.S. is now testing more than 100,000 people a day, but it’s still not enough.

We would need thousands of health care workers across the country to track down, test and potentially isolate people who have interacted with confirmed coronavirus patients.

  • We have barely begun building up that workforce.

We would need a plan for how to transition recovering coronavirus patients from hospitals to post-acute care, raising the risk of the virus spreading through nursing homes, assisted living facilities and rehab centers.

The bottom line: Given how much it has cost to lock the U.S. down once, it’s unlikely we’ll get another chance to get this right.

Go deeper: We can't just flip the switch on the coronavirus

Go deeper

Updated 24 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Politics: The swing states where the pandemic is raging — Pence no longer expected to attend Barrett confirmation vote after COVID exposure.
  2. Health: 13 states set single-day case records last week — U.S. reports over 80,000 new cases for second consecutive day.
  3. Business: Where stimulus is needed most.
  4. Education: The dangerous instability of school re-openings.
  5. World: Restrictions grow across Europe.
  6. Media: Fox News president and several hosts advised to quarantine.
Dave Lawler, author of World
50 mins ago - World

U.S.-brokered ceasefire collapses in Nagorno-Karabakh

Volunteer fighters in Stepanakert, the capital of Nagorno-Karabakh. Photo: Aris Messinis/AFP via Getty Images

A U.S.-brokered ceasefire between Armenia and Azerbaijan in the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh crumbled within hours on Monday, leaving the month-old war rumbling on.

Why it matters: Nearly 5,000 people have been killed, according to Vladimir Putin’s rough estimate, including more than 100 civilians. Between 70,000 and 100,000 more are believed to have fled the fighting.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
3 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Japan's big new climate goal

Climate protest in Tokyo in November 2019. Photo: Carl Court/Getty Images

Japan's new prime minister said on Monday the nation will seek to become carbon neutral by 2050, a move that will require huge changes in its fossil fuel-heavy energy mix in order to succeed.

Why it matters: Japan is the world's fifth-largest source of carbon emissions. The new goal announced by Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga is stronger than the country's previous target of becoming carbon neutral as early as possible in the latter half of the century.

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