Robert O'Brien with Trump. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images)

National security adviser Robert O’Brien claimed Wednesday that an initial cover-up of the coronavirus in China “cost the world community two months” and exacerbated the global outbreak.

Why it matters: In the face of a global crisis, the world’s two most powerful countries are pointing fingers at one another.

What he’s saying: Asked about China’s initial response, as well as spurious claims from some Chinese officials and media that the outbreak may not have started in China, O’Brien emphasized that “this virus did not originate in the United States, it originated in Wuhan.”

  • “Unfortunately, rather than using best practices, this outbreak in Wuhan was covered up,” O’Brien said, citing instances of doctors who were “silenced."
  • “It probably cost the world community two months to respond,” he continued, adding that if teams from the World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had been invited in early on, “I think we could have dramatically curtailed what happened in China and what’s now happening across the world.”
  • Speaking at the Heritage Foundation, O’Brien echoed other administration officials in saying President Trump’s “courageous decision” in late January to block air travel from China “bought the United States six to eight weeks to prepare for the virus.”

The flipside: As China begins to get its coronavirus outbreak under control, authorities are going on the offensive to rewrite the narrative that the global epidemic is Beijing's fault, Axios' Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian writes.

  • "The [Chinese Communist Party] is masterful at rewriting history and we’re watching them do it in real time," Bill Bishop, author of the Sinocism newsletter, told Axios.

Worth noting: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and others have been criticized for using the term “Wuhan virus,” with critics claiming it adds unnecessary stigma and is needlessly antagonistic toward China.

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Natural gas pipeline project cancelled after Supreme Court victory

Photo: Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Dominion Energy announced Sunday it has agreed to sell its natural gas transmission and storage network to Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway in a deal valued at $10 billion, including the assumption of debt.

Why it matters: The deal comes as Duke Energy Corp. and Dominion Energy announced they are canceling their plans for the $8 billion Atlantic Coast Pipeline following a Supreme Court ruling. The ruling removed major hurdles for the companies, but "recent developments have created an unacceptable layer of uncertainty and anticipated" for the project.

Trump campaign "strongly" encourages face masks at outdoor rally

Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

The Trump campaign will be providing face masks and hand sanitizer for all attendees at an upcoming rally Saturday in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

  • The campaign said in an email on Sunday that attendees are "strongly encouraged" to wear the masks.

Why it matters: The campaign's first coronavirus-era rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, was notable for its lack of masks.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 2 p.m. ET: 11,317,637 — Total deaths: 531,729 — Total recoveries — 6,111,910Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 2 p.m. ET: 2,852,807 — Total deaths: 129,718 — Total recoveries: 894,325 — Total tested: 34,858,427Map.
  3. States: Photos of America's pandemic July 4 ICU beds in Arizona hot spot near capacity — Houston mayor warns about hospitals
  4. Public health: U.S. coronavirus infections hit record highs for 3 straight days.
  5. Politics: Former Trump official Tom Bossert says face masks “are not enough”
  6. World: Mexican leaders call for tighter border control as infections rise in U.S.
  7. Sports: Sports return stalked by coronavirus
  8. 1 📽 thing: Drive-in movie theaters are making a comeback.