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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

Updated 20 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: Fauci: Unvaccinated kids must wear masks in school this fall — CDC says schools should still universally require masks and physical distancing.
  2. Politics: New York to lift mask mandate for vaccinated people — CDC director says politics didn't play a role in abrupt mask policy shift.
  3. Vaccines: Sanofi, GSK COVID vaccine shows strong immune response in phase 2 trials — Vaccine-hesitant Americans cite inaccurate side effects.
  4. Business: How retailers are responding to the latest CDC guidance — Delta to require all new employees be vaccinated — Target, CVS and other stores ease mask requirements after CDC guidance.
  5. World: Taiwan raises COVID-19 alert level amid surge in cases — Biden administration to send 20 million U.S.-authorized vaccine doses abroad.
  6. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
2 hours ago - World

Biden backs Gaza ceasefire for first time in call with Netanyahu

Biden with Netanyahu in 2010. Photo: Debbi Hill/Pool/ Getty Images

President Biden expressed support for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas in a call on Thursday evening with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the White House said in a statement.

Why it matters: This is the first time since the beginning of the crisis last Monday that Biden or anyone in his administration has publicly backed a ceasefire. It will increase pressure on Israel to seek an end to the conflict, which Netanyahu has insisted will continue until Hamas' ability to attack Israel is further degraded.

4 hours ago - World

Schumer: "I want to see a ceasefire"

Photo: Sarah Silbiger/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) told reporters Monday he wants to "see a ceasefire reach quickly and mourn the loss of life."

Why it matters: Schumer is a staunch defender of Israel and has maintained that Israel should be able to defend itself.