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

Gulf Coast braces for Zeta after storm strengthens into hurricane

Hurricane Zeta's forecast path. Photo: National Hurricane Center

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) declared a state of emergency Monday as Zeta strengthened into a hurricane and threatened Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula as it moved towards the U.S. Gulf Coast.

The state of play: Zeta was expected to make landfall on the northern part of the Yucatan Peninsula Monday night, bringing with it a "dangerous storm surge" and "heavy rainfall" as it moved into the Gulf of Mexico, the National Hurricane Service said.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Politics: The swing states where the pandemic is raging — Pence no longer expected to attend Barrett confirmation vote after COVID exposure.
  2. Health: 13 states set single-day case records last week
  3. Business: Where stimulus is needed most.
  4. Education: The dangerous instability of school re-openings.
  5. World: Restrictions grow across Europe.
  6. Media: Fox News president and several hosts advised to quarantine.

Supreme Court rejects request to extend Wisconsin absentee ballot deadline

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The Supreme Court in a 5-3 decision Monday rejected an effort by Wisconsin Democrats and civil rights groups to extend the state's deadline for counting absentee ballots to six days after Election Day, as long as they were postmarked by Nov. 3.

Why it matters: All ballots must now be received by 8 p.m. on Election Day in Wisconsin, a critical swing state in the presidential election.