Mar 29, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Fauci says 100,000 to 200,000 Americans could die from coronavirus

Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday that models suggest the coronavirus will infect millions of Americans and could kill 100,000–200,000, though he stressed that the projections are "such a moving target."

Why it matters: Fauci has been the coronavirus task force's most outspoken advocate for emergency social distancing measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus, sometimes contradicting President Trump's more optimistic outlook.

  • The U.S. reached more than 100,000 confirmed cases and over 2,000 coronavirus deaths on Saturday. The global death toll has topped 30,000, with over 680,000 cases worldwide.

What he's saying:

"There are things called models, and when someone creates a model, they put in various assumptions. And the model is only as good and as accurate as your assumptions.
And whenever the modelers come in, they give a worst-case scenario and a best-case scenario. Generally, the reality is somewhere in the middle. I've never seen a model of the diseases that I've dealt with where the worst-case scenario actually came out. They always overshoot."

The big picture: Fauci again emphasized on CNN that Trump's plan to lift social distancing guidelines by Easter, or April 12, is not set in stone and that it will depend heavily on the availability of new tests that can give coronavirus results in 15 minutes.

  • These real-time tests will allow health officials to identify patients, isolate them and do "contact tracing" to locate people they interacted with, Fauci said.
  • He added that he doubts social distancing restrictions will be eased at the end of the White House's "15 Days to Slow the Spread" initiative this week, as Trump has suggested.

Of note: Trump has clashed with some Democratic governors like Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and said that he wants them to be more "appreciative" of the federal government.

  • Fauci said he believes New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo when he says he needs 30,000 ventilators to treat patients in his state — despite Trump's claims to the contrary — and committed the federal government to ensuring that Cuomo and other governors receive the supplies they need.
  • "I think the reality, not the rhetoric, is that people who need things will get what they need," Fauci told CNN's Jake Tapper.

Go deeper

17 hours ago - Health

Protests against police brutality threaten coronavirus response

Protesters in Philadelphia on June 1. Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

Protests against police brutality have prompted the closure of coronavirus test sites across the country, including in Pennsylvania, Florida, California and Illinois, Politico reports.

Why it matters: This adds to concerns that the protests themselves create an environment in which the virus can easily spread, particularly if and when protesters aren't wearing masks or social distancing.

19 hours ago - Health

Controlling the coronavirus in nursing homes won't be easy

Data: FREOPP.org; Map: Naema Ahmed/Axios

The structural issues that have plagued U.S. nursing homes for years will make it difficult for them to prevent coronavirus infections and deaths, even though we now understand the high-risk nature of the facilities.

Driving the news: Within the 80% of nursing homes that have reported coronavirus data to the federal government, nearly 26,000 residents died, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced yesterday.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 6,377,596 — Total deaths: 380,180 — Total recoveries — 2,728,363Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 1,831,806 — Total deaths: 106,180 — Total recoveries: 463,868 — Total tested: 17,757,838Map.
  3. 2020: N.C. governor says GOP should plan for a "scaled-down convention."
  4. Public health: Protests against police brutality threaten coronavirus response — Controlling the virus in nursing homes won't be easy.
  5. Business: More than 1 in 6 black workers lost jobs between February and April.
  6. Tech: Zoom revenues and profit soar as pandemic propels videoconferencing.