Photo: Al Drago - Pool/Getty Images

Straight talk from Anthony Fauci:

  1. America doesn't have the coronavirus under control.
  2. Outbreaks in various parts of America put "the entire country at risk."
  3. He wouldn't "be surprised" if we hit 100K new cases a day, up from 40K.

Why it matters: Suppression of the virus has failed, and the U.S. is missing presidential leadership on social distancing and face masks.

Fauci before the Senate HELP Committee:

  • "I can't make an accurate prediction, but it is going to be very disturbing, I will guarantee you that, because when you have an outbreak in one part of the country even though in other parts of the country they're doing well, they are vulnerable."
  • "We can't just focus on those areas that are having the surge. It puts the entire country at risk."
  • Fauci further warned against states skipping steps on reopening.
  • Video.

The big picture: Top leaders are beating the drum in favor of face masks, including...

  • VP Mike Pence
  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell
  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
  • Former VP Joe Biden

Not on that list: President Trump

  • Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) specifically urged Trump on Sunday to wear a mask in order to "help to get rid of this political debate," Axios' Jacob Knutson reports.

Between the lines: Hospitalizations and deaths are a lagging indicator, so by the time the fresh outbreaks reach crisis levels, it'll already be too late.

The bottom line: Bars are "really not good, really not good. ... We really have got to stop that," Fauci told Congress today.

Go deeper

Sep 18, 2020 - Health

CDC again recommends coronavirus testing for asymptomatic people

CDC director Robert Redfield testifies at a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing on Sept. 16. Photo: Anna Moneymaker-Pool/Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its previously revised guidance for coronavirus testing on Friday to say that testing asymptomatic people who were exposed to COVID-19 is recommended for treatment and contact tracing.

Why it matters: The CDC's modification in August to recommend against testing for asymptomatic people was not written by scientists and posted despite their "serious objections," New York Times first reported. CNN confirmed that the agency's update was published outside the agency's "normal review process."

Rep. Brooks: We need to better prepare for pandemics

Axios' Margaret Talev (L) and Rep. Susan Brooks (R). Photo: Axios

Insufficient stockpiles and a lack of personal protective equipment during the COVID-19 pandemic should serve as a warning for America on future preparedness, Rep. Susan Brooks (R-Ind.) said at an Axios virtual event on Friday.

What they're saying: "Congress had been beefing up for years — the appropriations for preparedness — it certainly was not enough, and we recognize that," Brooks said.

Sep 18, 2020 - Health

Rep. Khanna: COVID-19 could change the perception of public health care

Rep. Khanna and Axios' Margaret Talev

The universal experience of COVID-19 could change how opponents view Medicare for All, Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) said at an Axios virtual event on Friday.

What they're saying: "The pandemic has reminded us of our shared humanity with other American citizens. It's no longer possible to think, 'Oh, we're not part of those who get sick.' Now almost everyone knows, unfortunately, someone who has been hospitalized, someone who had a serious bout with COVID," Khanna said.