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Atul Gawande, a member of President-elect Joe Biden's coronavirus task force, told ABC's "This Week" on Sunday that the former vice president's team does not believe a nationwide shelter-in-place order is necessary to fight the spread of the coronavirus.

The big picture: Governors and state-level officials have so far made the call on how long stay-at-home orders should be in place to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus, not the federal government. Virus cases are currently soaring in practically every state.

Where it stands: States, including New Mexico and Oregon, are issuing new stay-at-home orders and telling businesses to close as coronavirus infections reach new highs across the country.

What he's saying: "We are not in support of a nationwide lockdown and believe there is not a scenario, unless — there simply isn't a scenario, because we can get this under control," Gawande said.

  • "The critical parts are understanding what we've learned since we did a nationwide lockdown in early April," he said.
  • "You can have targeted measures, building on mask-wearing to include widespread testing, can include dialing up and down capacity restrictions, and those measures need to happen in a more localized basis," he said, praising New York City for using ZIP codes to identify hotspots that need more COVID restrictions.
  • "We do not need to go into a nationwide shelter-in-place shutdown."

The bottom line: The U.S. has never controlled the coronavirus and isn't about to start.

Go deeper

Updated 20 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus may have been in U.S. in December 2019, study finds — Hospital crisis deepens as holiday season nears.
  2. Politics: Bipartisan group of senators unveil $908 billion COVID stimulus proposalFDA chief was called to West Wing to explain why agency hasn't moved faster on vaccine — The words that actually persuade people on the pandemic
  3. Vaccine: Moderna to file for FDA emergency use authorizationVaccinating rural America won't be easy — Being last in the vaccine queue is young people's next big COVID test.
  4. States: Cuomo orders emergency hospital protocols as New York's COVID capacity dwindles.
  5. World: European regulators to assess first COVID-19 vaccine by Dec. 29
  6. 🎧 Podcast: The state of play of the top vaccines.

Bipartisan group of lawmakers unveils $908 billion COVID stimulus proposal

Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) in the Capitol in 2018. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

A bipartisan group of lawmakers on Tuesday proposed a $908 billion coronavirus stimulus package, in one of the few concrete steps toward COVID relief made by Congress in several months.

Why it matters: Recent data shows that the economic recovery is floundering as coronavirus cases surge and hospitals threaten to be overwhelmed heading into what is likely to be a grim winter.

14 hours ago - Health

CDC panel: COVID vaccines should go to health workers, long-term care residents first

Hospital staff work in the COVID-19 intensive care unit in Houston. Photo: Go Nakamura via Getty

Health-care workers and nursing home residents should be at the front of the line to get coronavirus vaccines in the United States once they’re cleared and available for public use, an independent CDC panel recommended in a 13-1 emergency vote on Tuesday, per CNBC.

Why it matters: Recent developments in COVID-19 vaccines have accelerated the timeline for distribution as vaccines developed by Pfizer and Moderna undergo the federal approval process. States are preparing to begin distributing as soon as two weeks from now.