Get the latest market trends in your inbox

Stay on top of the latest market trends and economic insights with the Axios Markets newsletter. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Minneapolis-St. Paul

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa-St. Petersburg news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa-St. Petersburg

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

White House coronavirus response coordinator Debbie Brix, Vice President Mike Pence and President Trump during a task force meeting this month. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Health officials and two state governors are pushing back after President Trump's suggested Monday that physical distancing restrictions introduced to clamp down on the spread of the novel coronavirus will be lifted "fairly soon."

The big picture: Trump told a briefing, "If it were up to the doctors, they may say let's keep it shut down — let's shut down the entire world." The president added that the U.S. "wasn't built to be shut down."

  • Trump said Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a member of the Trump administration task force, "doesn't not agree" with him on easing restrictions.
  • Fauci, who wasn't at Monday's briefing, told CBS' "Face the Nation" Sunday: "The things that we're seeing in this country, this physical separation at the same time as we're preventing an influx of cases coming in, I think that's going to go a long way to preventing us from becoming another Italy."

What they're saying: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) tweeted, "If it's public health versus the economy, the only choice is public health. You cannot put a value on human life."

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), who announced Monday the "soft closure" of state beaches and parks to curb the spread of the virus, told reporters of Trump's suggestion, "We clearly are operating under a different set of assumptions. ... we're moving in different direction."

  • He added he has "no trepidation whatever he does from a national prism will get in the way of our state’s efforts."

Tom Inglesby, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, said in a Twitter thread to drop all the measures in place would be to accept that coronavirus patients "will get sick in extraordinary numbers all over the country, far beyond what the U.S. health care system could bear."

  • "Anyone advising the end of social distancing now, needs to fully understand what the country will look like if we do that. COVID would spread widely, rapidly, terribly, could kill potentially millions in the yr ahead with huge social and economic impact across the country," Inglesby said.

Arthur Caplan, a professor of bioethics at NYU Langone Medical Center, told the New York Times, "You can't call off the best weapon we have, which is social isolation, even out of economic desperation, unless you're willing to be responsible for a mountain of deaths."

  • Caplan added 30 days of restrictions "makes more sense than 15 days." "Can't we try to put people's lives first for at least a month?" he said.

Howard Koh, a Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health professor and former Obama administration public health official, told Politico it's "way too early to even consider rolling back any guidelines."

  • "With cases and deaths rising by the day, the country must double down, not lighten up, on social distancing and related measures," he added.

Scott Gottlieb, former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner, said in a Twitter thread, "There’s a strong and understandable desire to return to better times and a functioning economy. But it should not be lost on anyone that there's no such thing as a functioning economy and society so long as covid-19 continues to spread uncontrolled in our biggest cities.

The state of play: COVID-19 had infected more than 46,000 people and killed 593 others in the U.S. by Tuesday morning, per Johns Hopkins data. The U.S. has the third-highest number of cases in the world, behind Italy (almost 64,000 infections) and China (over 81,000 cases).

Go deeper

Scoop: FDA chief called to West Wing

Stephen Hahn. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows has summoned FDA commissioner Stephen Hahn to the West Wing for a 9:30am meeting Tuesday to explain why he hasn't moved faster to approve the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine, two senior administration officials told Axios.

Why it matters: The meeting is shaping up to be tense, with Hahn using what the White House will likely view as kamikaze language in a preemptive statement to Axios: "Let me be clear — our career scientists have to make the decision and they will take the time that’s needed to make the right call on this important decision."

Scoop: Schumer's regrets

Photo illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images   

Chuck Schumer told party donors during recent calls that the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the fact that Cal Cunningham "couldn't keep his zipper up" crushed Democrats' chances of regaining the Senate, sources with direct knowledge of the conversations tell Axios.

Why it matters: Democrats are hoping for a 50-50 split by winning two upcoming special elections in Georgia. But their best chance for an outright Senate majority ended when Cunningham lost in North Carolina and Sen. Susan Collins won in Maine.

Trump's coronavirus adviser Scott Atlas resigns

Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty

Scott Atlas, a controversial member of the White House coronavirus task force, handed in his resignation on Monday, according to three administration officials who discussed Atlas' resignation with Axios.

Why it matters: President Trump brought in Atlas as a counterpoint to NIAID director Anthony Fauci, whose warnings about the pandemic were dismissed by the Trump administration. With Trump now fixated on election fraud conspiracy theories, Atlas' detail comes to a natural end.

Get Axios AM in your inbox

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!