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Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in an interview with AP Tuesday that the United States does not yet have the testing and contact tracing capacity to reopen its economy.

The big picture: The Trump administration has been encouraged by data showing fewer deaths than models earlier predicted, and some aides have pushed for a May 1 reopening. But Fauci cautioned against that target, saying it's “a bit overly optimistic" for much of the country until there's rapid testing in place.

Last week, Surgeon General Jerome Adams also disagreed with others in the federal government that the 30-day campaign will be enough for all Americans to re-up their work and lifestyles.

  • Government projections show that lifting social distancing restrictions after just 30 days will lead to a dramatic infection spike this summer and death tolls that would rival having done nothing since the outbreak began, the New York Times reports.

What Fauci's saying:

  • “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."
  • Easing existing social distancing rules in much of the U.S. would need to happen on a “rolling” basis, he said, rather than all at once.
  • “We have to have something in place that is efficient and that we can rely on, and we’re not there yet."

What's next: Looking forward, Fauci said another wave of infections isn't predetermined. However, “if you mean it goes way down and then come September, October, November, we have another peak, I have to say I would not be surprised," he said.

  • "I would hope that if and when that occurs, that we jump all over it in a much, much more effective way than we have in these past few months.”

Go deeper... The latest coronavirus red flag: contact tracing

Go deeper

Scoop: Gina Haspel threatened to resign over plan to install Kash Patel as CIA deputy

CIA Director Gina Haspel. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

CIA Director Gina Haspel threatened to resign in early December after President Trump cooked up a hasty plan to install loyalist Kash Patel, a former aide to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), as her deputy, according to three senior administration officials with direct knowledge of the matter.

Why it matters: The revelation stunned national security officials and almost blew up the leadership of the world's most powerful spy agency. Only a series of coincidences — and last minute interventions from Vice President Mike Pence and White House counsel Pat Cipollone — stopped it.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus deaths reach 4,000 per day as hospitals remain in crisis mode — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden says, "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution — Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan — Widow of GOP congressman-elect who died of COVID-19 will run to fill his seat.
  3. Vaccine: Battling Black mistrust of the vaccines"Pharmacy deserts" could become vaccine deserts — Instacart to give $25 to shoppers who get vaccine.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode againFed chair: No interest rate hike coming any time soon —  Inflation rose more than expected in December.
  5. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.

John Weaver, Lincoln Project co-founder, acknowledges “inappropriate” messages

John Weaver aboard John McCain's campaign plane in February 2000. Photo: Robert Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images)

John Weaver, a veteran Republican operative who co-founded the Lincoln Project, declared in a statement to Axios on Friday that he sent “inappropriate,” sexually charged messages to multiple men.

  • “To the men I made uncomfortable through my messages that I viewed as consensual mutual conversations at the time: I am truly sorry. They were inappropriate and it was because of my failings that this discomfort was brought on you,” Weaver said.
  • “The truth is that I'm gay,” he added. “And that I have a wife and two kids who I love. My inability to reconcile those two truths has led to this agonizing place.”