CDC director Robert Redfield. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Robert Redfield warned in an interview with the Washington Post Tuesday that the second wave of the coronavirus this winter could be even more deadly due to its alignment with the start of flu season.

Why it matters: Redfield urged state and federal officials to use this time to prepare by ramping up testing capacity and contact tracing. He also stressed the need for Americans to understand the importance of social distancing as states lift stay-at-home orders, calling protests against the restrictions "not helpful."

  • Simultaneous respiratory outbreaks would heighten the demand for medical resources like ventilators and protective equipment, putting a tremendous strain on the health care system.
  • Annual flu shots will also be increasingly important in order to minimize hospitalizations.

What he's saying: "There’s a possibility that the assault of the virus on our nation next winter will actually be even more difficult than the one we just went through. And when I’ve said this to others, they kind of put their head back, they don’t understand what I mean," Redfield told the Post.

Flashback: The 2009 H1N1 swine flu pandemic had its first wave in the spring, but experienced a larger second wave in the fall and winter.

The big picture: Redfield acknowledged the need for a massive testing and tracing effort, which public health experts agree is crucial for being able to reopen large parts of the country.

  • Redfield told the Post that the CDC is hiring at least 650 people to assist with contact tracing in states, and he said the agency is considering using Census Bureau workers and Peace Corps and AmeriCorps volunteers to create an "alternative workforce."
  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has previously said an "army" of tracers will be needed for the next phase of the coronavirus fight.

Go deeper

Trump launches "Embers Strategy" in coronavirus hotspots

President Trump during a news conference on July 23. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The Trump administration is sending increased personal protective equipment, coronavirus test kits and top health officials like Drs. Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx to coronavirus hotspots across the U.S. as part of a campaign called the “Embers Strategy," White House officials tell Axios.

Why it matters: The push is part of a larger effort to show that President Trump is taking the pandemic seriously, something White House officials describe as a "renewed focus."

Updated 11 hours ago - Health

World coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

Australian officials in Victoria announced another 19 deaths from COVID-19 on Monday morning local time, breaking the state and national record set the previous day of 17. Victoria also reported 322 new cases — the lowest in 13 days.

The big picture: Australia was on track to suppress the virus in May, but cases have been spiking in Victoria in recent weeks, where a state of disaster was declared last week, enabling officials to introduce restrictions including a night-time curfew in state capital Melbourne.

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 19,863,850 — Total deaths: 731,374 — Total recoveries — 12,117,346Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 5,044,864 — Total deaths: 162,938 — Total recoveries: 1,656,864 — Total tests: 61,792,571Map.
  3. Politics: Pelosi says states don't have the funds to comply with Trump's executive order on unemployment — Mnuchin says Trump executive orders were cleared by Justice Department.
  4. States: New York reports lowest rate of positive coronavirus test results since pandemic began
  5. Public health: Ex-FDA head: U.S. will "definitely" see 200,000 to 300,000 virus deaths by end of 2020. 
  6. Schools: 97,000 children test positive for coronavirus in two weeks — Nine test positive at Georgia school where photo showing packed hallway went viral .