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Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CNN Tuesday that the White House coronavirus task force will hold an "active discussion" about broadening the use of medical masks to protect against coronavirus.

Why it matters: Such a guidance shift would be a huge change in messaging from the Trump administration, which initially advised against healthy people using masks.

  • Currently, only sick people and health care workers are advised to wear masks due to shortages of personal protective equipment.
  • Fauci also said that part of the administration's hesitation regarding broadening the guidance was ensuring that enough of a supply remains for at-risk populations, like health care workers.

What he's saying:

"When we get in a situation where we have enough masks, I believe there will be some very serious consideration about more broadening this recommendation of using masks. We're not there yet, but I think we're close to coming to some determination. Because if, in fact, a person who may or may not be infected wants to prevent infecting someone else, one of the best ways to do that is with a mask, so perhaps that's the way to go. And again, I say, Jim, that's under very active consideration. We'll be discussing it today, this afternoon, at the task force meeting."

The big picture: Scientists and researchers have suggested that the administration could post guidelines about creating do-it-yourself masks — such as a bandana or cloth over one's face — for asymptomatic people.

  • A report from the Washington Post out Tuesday cited internal CDC talks on possibly recommending the public use DIY cloth masks as protective gear.
  • Former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb told CBS' "Face the Nation" on Sunday that "we should be putting out guidelines from the CDC on how you can develop a mask on your own.”

Go deeper: Fauci says 100,000 to 200,000 Americans could die from coronavirus

Go deeper

Off the Rails

Episode 4: Trump turns on Barr

Photo illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photos: Drew Angerer, Pool/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. Axios takes you inside the collapse of a president with a special series.

Episode 4: Trump torches what is arguably the most consequential relationship in his Cabinet.

Attorney General Bill Barr stood behind a chair in the private dining room next to the Oval Office, looming over Donald Trump. The president sat at the head of the table. It was Dec. 1, nearly a month after the election, and Barr had some sharp advice to get off his chest. The president's theories about a stolen election, Barr told Trump, were "bullshit."

In photos: Protests outside fortified capitols draw only small groups

Armed members of the far-right extremist group the Boogaloo Bois near the Michigan Capitol Building in Lansing on Jan. 17. About 20 protesters showed up, AP notes. Photo: Seth Herald/AFP via Getty Images

Small groups of protesters gathered outside fortified statehouses across the U.S. over the weekend ahead of President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration Wednesday.

The big picture: Some protests attracted armed members of far-right extremist groups but there were no reports of clashes, as had been feared. The National Guard and law enforcement outnumbered demonstrators, as security was heightened around the U.S. to avoid a repeat of the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riots, per AP.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
8 hours ago - World

China's economy grows 6.5% in Q4 as country rebounds from coronavirus

A technician installs and checks service robots to be be used for food and medicine delivery in Jiaxing, Zhejiang Province, China, on Sunday. Photo: Hu Xuejun/VCG via Getty Images

China's economy grew at a 6.5% pace in the final quarter of 2020, the national statistics bureau announced Monday local time, topping off a year in which it grew in three of four quarters and by 2.3% in total.

Why it matters: No other major economy managed positive growth in 2020. Although the COVID-19 pandemic was first detected in China, the country got the virus under control and became one of the main positive drivers of the global economy even as the rest of the world was largely under lockdown.