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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

2 hours ago - World

Iran rejects nuclear talks with U.S., for now

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif at Iran/EU talks in 2015. Photo: Carlos Barria/POOL/AFP via Getty

A spokesman for Iran’s Foreign Ministry said on Sunday that conditions are not ripe for informal nuclear talks between Iran, the U.S. and other world powers.

Why it matters: The Biden administration had proposed the talks as part of its efforts to negotiate a path back to the 2015 nuclear deal. The White House expressed disappointment with Iran's response, but said it remained willing to engage with Tehran.

2 hours ago - Health

U.S. sets weekend records for daily COVID vaccinations

A driver waits to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine in Inglewood, California on Feb. 26. Photo: Eric Thayer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Just over 2.4 million coronavirus vaccinations were reported to the CDC on Sunday, matching Saturday's record-high for inoculations as seen in Bloomberg's vaccine tracker.

Why it matters: Vaccinations are ramping up again after widespread delays caused by historic winter storms. Over 75 million vaccine doses have been administered thus far, with 7.5% of the population fully vaccinated and 15% having received at least one dose.

GOP Sen. Bill Cassidy: "We will lose" if we continue to idolize Trump

Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) told CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday he does not believe that former President Trump will, or should, be the Republican nominee for president in 2024.

What he's saying: Cassidy pointed out that "over the last four years, [Republicans] lost the House of Representatives, the Senate and the presidency. That has not happened ... since Herbert Hoover."