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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.

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 42 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

California lifts coronavirus stay-at-home orders

Diners eat on the patio at Fish Camp in Huntington Beach, California. Photo: Jeff Gritchen/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) on Monday lifted stay-at-home orders across the state, saying "we're seeing a flattening of the curve."

Why it matters: The move, welcomed by many businesses, surprised some health care officials who fear lifting the restrictions may reverse the progress made in reducing the number of cases and hospitalizations, per AP.

20 hours ago - Health

First U.S. case of COVID-19 variant from Brazil confirmed in Minnesota

COVID-19 testing in Minnesota, where officials confirmed the first case of the P.1 variant in the U.S. Photo: Stephen Maturen via Getty

The first case of a coronavirus variant that originated in Brazil has reached the U.S. and was found in Minnesota, state officials announced Monday.

Why it matters: The P.1 variant is one of three spreading rapidly around the world, raising questions about the efficacy of vaccines on different COVID variants and the possibilities of new outbreaks.