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A screenshot of Anthony Fauci. Photo: CBS/"60 Minutes."

NIAID director Anthony Fauci told CBS' "60 Minutes" in an interview broadcast Sunday he's "absolutely not" surprised that President Trump contracted Covid-19 after seeing him on TV in a crowded place with "almost nobody wearing a mask."

The big picture: Fauci said after watching the footage, he thought: "'Oh my goodness. Nothing good can come outta that, that's gotta be a problem.' And then sure enough, it turned out to be a superspreader event." Fauci appeared to be referencing the Sept 26. Rose Garden celebration of Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett.

A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

What else he's saying: During the wide-ranging interview, CBS' Jon LaPook asked whether the White House had been controlling when he can speak to news outlets, following remarks by ABC's Jon Karl earlier this month that the Trump administration refused to allow Fauci or other coronavirus task force health experts on"This Week."

  • "I think you'd have to be honest and say yes," Fauci replied. "There has been a restriction… but, it isn't consistent."

On the Trump campaign ad that featured Fauci's remarks out of context and without his permission, which has been running in key battleground states this week despite the NIAID director's objections, he said: "I got really ticked off.

On wearing masks to protect against COVID-19, Fauci said studies show that, contrary to what scientists first thought, "masks really do work in preventing infection."

  • "When you find out you're wrong, it's a manifestation of your honesty to say, 'Hey, I was wrong. I did subsequent experiments and now it's this way,'" he said.
  • "I do not and nor will I ever, publicly endorse any political candidate," he said.

On whether there should be a national lockdown to combat the coronavirus, Fauci said things would have to "get really, really bad" before he'd advocate for one.

  • "[T]he country is fatigued with restrictions," he said. "So we wanna use public health measures not to get in the way of opening the economy, but to being a safe gateway to opening the economy."

Of note: The Trump administration did not immediately respond to Axios' invitation for comment. But the president said at a rally Sunday that if his Democratic presidential rival Joe Biden were elected there'd be more coronavirus pandemic lockdowns because "he'll listen to the scientists."

Go deeper: Fauci: We had a superspreader event at the White House

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

Go deeper

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Contact tracing fizzles across America — New clues emerge on long COVID — Omicron is finally burning out — It's very difficult to get access to antiviral COVID treatments — Axios-Ipsos poll: Omicron's big numbersAnother wave of death — FDA limits use of Regeneron and Lilly antibody treatments.
  2. Vaccines: Pfizer begins clinical trial for Omicron-specific vaccine — The shifting definition of fully vaccinated.
  3. Politics: Virginia AG says public colleges can't mandate COVID vaccines —Alaska governor joins Texas lawsuit over National Guard vaccine mandate — Navy discharges 45 sailors for refusing vaccine — Spotify to remove Neil Young's music after his Joe Rogan ultimatum — White House: 60M households have ordered free COVID-19 rapid tests.
  4. World: U.K. to lift travel testing requirement for fully vaccinated — Beijing Olympic Committee lowers testing threshold ahead of Games.
  5. Variant tracker

Scammers have stolen over $130 million in coronavirus-related schemes

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Over 100,000 Americans have collectively reported roughly $132 million in fraud losses from scams related to the coronavirus and government stimulus checks since the March start of the pandemic, according to the Federal Trade Commission.

Why it matters: Coronavirus-related fraud complaints peaked in May when the IRS began sending its first round of stimulus checks. Congress recently proposed a second round of stimulus.

Jan 26, 2021 - Health

U.K. surpasses 100,000 COVID-19 deaths

Photo: Owen Humphreys/PA Images via Getty Images

The U.K. on Tuesday surpassed 100,000 coronavirus deaths almost a year after the first two cases were reported in the country, according to government figures.

Why it matters: It is the first European country and fifth country in the world to reach the threshold. The country reported 100,162 deaths on Tuesday.