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Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CNN Monday that President Trump decided to extend social distancing restrictions for another 30 days after viewing models projecting coronavirus deaths over the weekend.

Why it matters: The models project that the virus will infect millions of Americans and could kill 100,000 to 200,000 even with current guidelines in place, Fauci said Sunday.

What he's saying:

"[The president's] first goal is to prevent suffering and death. And we made it very clear to him that if we pulled back on what we were doing and didn't extend [the guidelines], there would be more avoidable suffering and avoidable death. So, it was a pretty clear decision on his part.
"We showed him the data, he looked at the data, and he got it right away. It was a pretty clear picture. Dr. Deborah Birx and I went in together into the Oval Office and leaned over the desk and said, 'Here are the data. Take a look.' He looked at them. He understood them, and he just shook his head and said, 'I guess we got to do it.'"
— Dr. Anthony Fauci

The big picture: Fauci said he believes it would have been the wrong decision to relax restrictions.

  • Last week, Trump suggested reopening parts of the economy on Easter (April 12) despite warnings from health officials that loosening restrictions could cause the number of coronavirus cases to skyrocket.
  • "We're not economists. We're sensitive that the idea that the economy could suffer, but it was patently obvious looking at the data that at the end of the day if we try to push back prematurely not only would we lose lives, but it would hurt the economy," Fauci told CNN.

Go deeper ... The next American struggle: Waiting out the coronavirus

Go deeper

Scoop: Gina Haspel threatened to resign over plan to install Kash Patel as CIA deputy

CIA Director Gina Haspel. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

CIA Director Gina Haspel threatened to resign in early December after President Trump cooked up a hasty plan to install loyalist Kash Patel, a former aide to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), as her deputy, according to three senior administration officials with direct knowledge of the matter.

Why it matters: The revelation stunned national security officials and almost blew up the leadership of the world's most powerful spy agency. Only a series of coincidences — and last minute interventions from Vice President Mike Pence and White House counsel Pat Cipollone — stopped it.

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus deaths reach 4,000 per day as hospitals remain in crisis mode — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden says, "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution — Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan — Widow of GOP congressman-elect who died of COVID-19 will run to fill his seat.
  3. Vaccine: Battling Black mistrust of the vaccines"Pharmacy deserts" could become vaccine deserts — Instacart to give $25 to shoppers who get vaccine.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode againFed chair: No interest rate hike coming any time soon —  Inflation rose more than expected in December.
  5. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.

John Weaver, Lincoln Project co-founder, acknowledges “inappropriate” messages

John Weaver aboard John McCain's campaign plane in February 2000. Photo: Robert Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images)

John Weaver, a veteran Republican operative who co-founded the Lincoln Project, declared in a statement to Axios on Friday that he sent “inappropriate,” sexually charged messages to multiple men.

  • “To the men I made uncomfortable through my messages that I viewed as consensual mutual conversations at the time: I am truly sorry. They were inappropriate and it was because of my failings that this discomfort was brought on you,” Weaver said.
  • “The truth is that I'm gay,” he added. “And that I have a wife and two kids who I love. My inability to reconcile those two truths has led to this agonizing place.”