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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is looking at data that suggests "3 feet are okay under certain circumstances," for social distancing guidelines, NIAID Director Anthony Fauci said on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday.

Why it matters: One of the biggest hurdles for school administrators and a barrier to reopening is making sure students stay the recommended 6 feet apart. Fauci said "it won't be very long" for the CDC to potentially adjust official guidelines on social distancing policies, if the data suggests 3 feet of distance won't negatively affect people's safety.

Driving the news: A new study on Massachusetts public schools by the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) found "no substantial difference" in the number of cases in school districts that implemented a 3-foot distancing policy among students versus a 6-foot policy.

  • According to Fauci, the CDC is launching their own study. "When the data shows that there is an ability to be 3 feet, they will act accordingly."
  • Fauci added, "I talk to the CDC, to Dr. Walensky every single day. She is acutely aware of the accumulation of data and the fact that her team will be acting on the data the way they always do."

Go deeper

1 dead as severe storms pummel the South

A tree that fell on a home carport damaged a vehicle during a storm in Central, Louisiana. No injuries were reported, according to Central Fire Department. Photo: Central Fire Department/Twitter

Strong storms lashed the South early Saturday, spawning at least one tornado and unleashing powerful winds and hail. And forecasters warned more severe weather was expected to hit parts of the region in the coming hours.

Details: Thousands of customers lost power in Florida, Mississippi, Arkansas, Texas and Louisiana, according to tracking site poweroutage.us. An F3 tornado that hit St Landry Parish, Louisiana, killed one person and wounded seven others.

Scoop: Biden eyes Russia adviser criticized as soft on Kremlin

Photo: Alexander Shcherbak\TASS via Getty Images

President Biden is considering appointing Matthew Rojansky, head of the Wilson Center's Kennan Institute, as Russia director on the National Security Council, according to a source familiar with the situation.

Why it matters: Rojansky has been praised for his scholarship on Russia and is frequently cited in U.S. media for his expert commentary. But his work has drawn criticism — including in a 2018 open letter from Ukrainian alumni of Kennan that blasted the think tank he runs as an "unwitting tool of Russia’s political interference."

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus cases hold steady at 65,000 per day — CDC declares racism "a serious public health threat" — WHO official: Brazil is dealing with "raging inferno" of a COVID outbreak.
  2. Vaccines: America may be close to hitting a vaccine wall — Pfizer asks FDA to expand COVID vaccine authorization to adolescents — CDC says Johnson & Johnson vaccine supply will drop 80% next week.
  3. Economy: Treasury says over 156 million stimulus payments sent out since March — More government spending expected as IMF projects 6% global GDP growth.
  4. Politics: Supreme Court ends California's coronavirus restrictions on home religious meetings.
  5. World: Iran tightens COVID restrictions amid fourth wave of pandemic.
  6. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.