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

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Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

A startling new report from Imperial College London warns that 2.2 million Americans and 510,000 Britons could die from coronavirus if extreme action isn't taken to change the course of the outbreak.

Why it matters: The report's dire warnings prompted a quick course correction from both the American and British governments on their strategies, but its strict recommendations and long timeline — 18 months — to stem the tide could have far-reaching implications for both populations and economies.

What they found: The report states the effectiveness of "mitigation," which includes isolating only the sick and those linked to them while advocating social distancing for at-risk groups, is limited. It instead recommends "suppression," a much more wide-ranging tactic to curb coronavirus' spread.

  • The researchers say that suppression "will minimally require a combination of social distancing of the entire population, home isolation of cases and household quarantine of their family members." It also recommends school closures.
  • The report notes that this strategy could have to be in place until a vaccine is developed, which could take 18 months — saying it is "the only viable strategy at the current time."

Worth noting: While China and South Korea have managed to suppress the outbreak using similarly draconian strategies, the report admits that it's not yet clear if suppression's successes can last in the long-term.

The state of play: The findings caused a messaging shift on both sides of the Atlantic.

The big picture: The New York Times reported that the Imperial College researchers "had shared their projections with the White House task force about a week ago and that an early copy of the report was sent over the weekend."

  • The BBC called the report the "crucial piece of evidence" that spurred Downing Street to act, saying the researchers "first realized the scale of the problem in China" and noting their "advice is heavily influential in government."

The bottom line: The report admits that "no public health intervention with such disruptive effects on society has been previously attempted for such a long duration of time."

  • "How populations and societies will respond remains unclear," it concludes.

Go deeper

Asymptotic Florida students exposed to COVID no longer have to quarantine

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis during a September news conference in Viera, Fla. Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) announced Wednesday an emergency order allowing parents to decide whether their children should quarantine or stay in school if they're exposed to COVID-19, provided they're asymptomatic.

Why it matters: People infected with COVID-19 can spread the coronavirus starting from two days before they display symptoms, according to the CDC. Quarantine helps prevent the virus' spread, per the CDC.

Federal judge says Florida ban on "sanctuary cities" racially motivated

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

A federal judge on Tuesday struck down parts of a Florida law aimed at banning local governments from establishing "sanctuary city" policies, arguing in part that the law is racially motivated and that it has the support of hate groups.

Why it matters: In a 110-page ruling issued Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Beth Bloom said the law — signed and championed by Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) — violates the Constitution's Equal Protection Clause because it was adopted with discriminatory motives.

Biden steps into the breach

Sen. Joe Manchin heads to a meeting with President Biden today. Photo: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

President Biden ramped up the pressure on his fellow Democrats Wednesday, calling a series of lawmakers to the White House in the hope of ending infighting and getting them in line.

Why it matters: Divisions within the party are threatening to derail Biden's top priorities. After several weeks of letting negotiations play out, the president is finally asserting his power to ensure his own party doesn't block his agenda.