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Biden delivers remarks in Wilmington. Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

President-elect Biden, who has vowed to be clear-eyed and straight about the pandemic, plans a renewed warning in remarks on COVID-19 in Wilmington today, a transition official tells Axios.

Driving the news: Echoing a CDC forecast from last week, Biden is expected to say that, tragically, the infection rates and the number of deaths are expected to increase in the coming weeks.

  • Biden plans to call out the Trump administration for falling short on the pace of vaccine distribution, and will discuss his own plan to get people vaccinated as quickly as possible. 

Why it matters: Although Americans have been getting blunt talk from their governors and from doctors on TV, President Trump has been AWOL on COVID since the election.

  • Biden is intentionally filling the vacuum, addressing the nation in terms that aim to balance hope and realism.

With a bluntness that has been missing from this administration, Biden talked Dec. 14 about "this dark winter of the pandemic," then said last week: "Our darkest days in the battle against COVID are ahead of us, not behind us."

  • Biden has said he has a plan to aim to administer 100 million vaccine shots in his first 100 days (by May 1).

Dr. Anthony Fauci, who'll be Biden's chief medical adviser on COVID, on Sunday repeated his grim "surge upon a surge" prediction for post-Christmas cases.

  • Fauci told Dana Bash on CNN's State of the Union: "I share the concern of President-elect Biden that as we get into the next few weeks, it might actually get worse."

What we're watching: Straight talk is easier when it's on Trump's watch. Biden's test will be to be just as blunt after he takes the oath.

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Go deeper

Updated 18 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Health: First known U.S. case of Omicron variant identified in California — America probably won't lead the effort to understand Omicron — CDC prepares tougher testing rules for international travelers.
  2. Politics: Omicron travel bans are sign of what's to come — Meta removes accounts linked to COVID disinformation effort by China.
  3. Vaccines: Omicron adds urgency to vaccinating world — Omicron fuels the case for COVID boosters — Moderna loses patent battles tied to COVID vaccine.
  4. World: Germany approves new restrictions for unvaccinated people — Omicron variant detected in more countriesWHO advises people 60 or older to postpone travel due to Omicron
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
Jan 29, 2021 - Health

Ex-CDC director Tom Frieden on the next COVID-19 vaccines

Americans fortunate enough to receive COVID vaccines now, outside of clinical trials, are getting shots made by either Pfizer or Moderna. But newly released data from Novavax and Johnson & Johnson suggests that more vaccines could be on the way, with J&J's requiring a single dose.

Axios Re:Cap digs into the news and why it matters with Tom Frieden, former head of the CDC, as COVID-19 variants spread globally.

Jan 29, 2021 - Health

WHO says most pregnant women can now receive coronavirus vaccine

A doctor administering Moderna's coronavirus vaccine at a university hospital in Essen, Germany, on Jan. 18. Photo: Lukas Schulze/Getty Images

The World Health Organization has altered its guidance for pregnant women who wish to receive the coronavirus vaccine, saying now that those at high risk of exposure to the COVID-19 or who have comorbidities that increase their risk of severe disease, may be vaccinated.

Why it matters: The WHO drew backlash for its previous guidance that did not recommend pregnant women be inoculated with vaccines made by Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna, even though data indicated that pregnancy increased the risk of developing severe illness from the virus.