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Deborah Birx, the White House's coronavirus response coordinator, speaks after a June briefing in Washington, D.C. Photo: Joshua Roberts/Getty Images

Deborah Birx, the White House's coronavirus response coordinator, told reporters Monday she would have liked to have seen the U.S. introduce stricter restrictions like Italy did to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

What she's saying: "I wish that when we went into lockdown, we looked like Italy," she said. "When Italy locked down, I mean, people weren't allowed out of their houses, they couldn't come out but once every two weeks to buy groceries for one hour and they had to have a certificate that said they were allowed. Americans don't react well to that kind of prohibition."

By the numbers: More than 170,000 people have died from the novel coronavirus in the U.S. and over 5.4 million have tested positive, according to Johns Hopkins.

  • In Italy, more than 35,400 people have died from the virus and over 254,200 people have tested positive.

The big picture: In the U.S., states imposed restrictions including stay-at-home orders in response to the pandemic earlier this year. The severity of restrictions varied. Meanwhile, Italy was the first European country to launch a nationwide lockdown in March.

  • In May, the country began to ease domestic travel restrictions and shops, restaurants and hairdressers resumed business with social distancing measures in place. It has since seen a resurgence of the virus after reopening its borders to other countries.
  • On Sunday, Italy closed nightclubs made wearing face coverings mandatory from 6pm to 6am after confirming 600 new infections on Saturday, and nearly 800 more on Sunday, per AP.

Go deeper

Updated Nov 26, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York coronavirus restrictions

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled late Wednesday that restrictions previously imposed on New York places of worship by Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) during the coronavirus pandemic violated the First Amendment.

Why it matters: The decision in a 5-4 vote heralds the first significant action by the new President Trump-appointed conservative Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who cast the deciding vote in favor of the Catholic Church and Orthodox Jewish synagogues.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Nov 25, 2020 - Health

COVID-19 shows a bright future for vaccines

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Promising results from COVID-19 vaccine trials offer hope not just that the pandemic could be ended sooner than expected, but that medicine itself may have a powerful new weapon.

Why it matters: Vaccines are, in the words of one expert, "the single most life-saving innovation ever," but progress had slowed in recent years. New gene-based technology that sped the arrival of the COVID vaccine will boost the overall field, and could even extend to mass killers like cancer.