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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

Restaurant software meets the pandemic moment

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Food delivery companies have predictably done well during the pandemic. But restaurant software providers are also having a moment as eateries race to handle the avalanche of online orders resulting from severe in-person dining restrictions.

Driving the news: Olo filed last week for an IPO and Toast is rumored to be preparing to do the same very soon.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
2 hours ago - Technology

How the automation economy can turn human workers into robots

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

More than outright destroying jobs, automation is changing employment in ways that will weigh on workers.

The big picture: Right now, we should be less worried about robots taking human jobs than people in low-skilled positions being forced to work like robots.

House passes $1.9 trillion COVID relief package

Photo: Screenshot via C-SPAN

The House approved President Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID relief package on a 219-212 vote early Saturday morning, sending it to the Senate for a possible rewrite before it gets to Biden's desk.

The big picture: The vote was a critical first step for the package, which includes $1,400 cash payments for many Americans, a national vaccination program, ramped-up COVID testing and contact tracing, state and local funding and money to help schools reopen.