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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

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Bipartisan group of senators seeks coronavirus stimulus deal

Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine). Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

At least eight Republican and Democratic senators have formed an informal working group aimed at securing new coronavirus spending during the lame-duck session, a move favored by President-elect Biden, two sources familiar with the group tell Axios.

Why it matters: It may be the most significant bipartisan step toward COVID relief in months.

FCC chairman to depart in January

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Ajit Pai will leave his post as chairman of the Federal Communications Commission on Jan. 20, the agency said today.

Why it matters: Pai's Inauguration Day departure is in keeping with agency tradition, and could set up the Biden administration with a 2-1 Democratic majority at the FCC if the Senate fails to confirm another Trump nominee during the lame-duck period.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
3 hours ago - Economy & Business

GM's shrinking deal with Nikola

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

General Motors will no longer take an equity stake in Nikola Corp. or build its pickup truck, under a revised deal that still envisions GM as a key tech supplier for Nikola's planned line of electric and fuel cell heavy trucks.

Driving the news: The revised agreement Monday is smaller in scope than a draft partnership rolled out in September that had included a $2 billion stake in the startup and an agreement to build its Badger pickup.