President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence give a coronavirus task force briefing on March 19. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Officials on the White House coronavirus task force had no firm answers on Saturday when asked when doctors and nurses across the country would receive medical masks to protect themselves while treating patients with the novel coronavirus.

What they're saying: "Sooner than weeks, it's going to be days, I would hope. We're going to try to make it days to the best possible way that we can," Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, replied when reporters asked him about the timeline for delivering masks.

Why it matters: Hospitals around the country are running out of masks and other protective gear, and health care workers are taking desperate steps to protect themselves from exposure to COVID-19, Axios' Caitlin Owens.

Where it stands: The Department of Health and Human Services "just placed an order for hundreds of millions of N95 masks," Vice President Pence said on Saturday, saying the order cost half a billion dollars and was coordinated through FEMA. It was unclear when or with what company the order for the masks was placed.

The state of play: 141 people died in the U.S. from COVID-19 between Tuesday and Friday. Hospitals are urging the federal government to approve emergency aid as soon as possible, fearful of shutting down over lack of funds. More states are issuing stay-at-home orders to promote social distancing.

  • A "Phase 3" coronavirus stimulus package to bring relief to potentially millions of Americans facing unemployment is being hashed out on the Hill. Pence said on Saturday that members of the task force are working with Congress to pass the legislation on Monday.
  • White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow told reporters on Saturday that the new stimulus package would be between $1.3 trillion and $1.4 trillion, the New York Times' Emily Cochrane reports.

Go deeper: U.S. coronavirus cases surge by over 10,000 in three days

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Biden: The next president should decide on Ginsburg’s replacement

Joe Biden. Photo: Drew Angerer / Getty Images

Joe Biden is calling for the winner of November's presidential election to select Ruth Bader Ginsburg's replacement on the Supreme Court.

What he's saying: "[L]et me be clear: The voters should pick the president and the president should pick the justice for the Senate to consider," Biden said. "This was the position the Republican Senate took in 2016 when there were almost 10 months to go before the election. That's the position the United States Senate must take today, and the election's only 46 days off.

Trump, McConnell to move fast to replace Ginsburg

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Trump will move within days to nominate his third Supreme Court justice in just three-plus short years — and shape the court for literally decades to come, top Republican sources tell Axios.

Driving the news: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans are ready to move to confirm Trump's nominee before Election Day, just 46 days away, setting up one of the most consequential periods of our lifetimes, the sources say.

Updated 8 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 30,393,591 — Total deaths: 950,344— Total recoveries: 20,679,272Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 6,722,699 — Total deaths: 198,484 — Total recoveries: 2,556,465 — Total tests: 92,163,649Map.
  3. Politics: In reversal, CDC again recommends coronavirus testing for asymptomatic people.
  4. Health: Massive USPS face mask operation called off The risks of moving too fast on a vaccine.
  5. Business: Unemployment drop-off reverses course 1 million mortgage-holders fall through safety netHow the pandemic has deepened Boeing's 737 MAX crunch.
  6. Education: At least 42% of school employees are vulnerable.