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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

House passes $768 billion defense spending bill

Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The House approved a $768 billion National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for the 2022 fiscal year in a bipartisan 316-113 vote on Thursday.

Why it matters: The annual bill, which authorizes Pentagon spending levels and guides policy for the department, would require women to register for the military draft, among other provisions.

5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Republicans’ secret lobbying

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

The five Senate Republicans who helped negotiate and draft the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill have been privately courting their Republican colleagues to pass the measure in the House.

Why it matters: House GOP leaders are actively urging their members to oppose the bill. The senators are working to undercut that effort as Monday shapes up as a do-or-die moment for the bipartisan bill.

CBC members nix border visit

A Haitian migrant carries a toddler on his shoulders today as he crosses the Rio Grande River. Photo: Pedro Pardo/AFP via Getty Images

Several members of the Congressional Black Caucus weighed visiting the U.S.-Mexico border this week to investigate the conditions faced by Haitian migrants and protest allegations of inhumane treatment by U.S. agents.

Why it matters: It's a thorny proposition both in terms of timing and messaging. Going assures a new wave of negative headlines for President Biden amid sinking popularity. And with congressional deadlines in the coming days over infrastructure, a possible government shutdown and debt-limit crisis, Democrats can't afford to lose any votes in the House.