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Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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Anthony Fauci during the daily coronavirus task force briefing at the White House on Tuesday. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Anthony Fauci, director of the National Insitute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on Thursday he feels safe even as his security has been stepped up following "growing threats to his personal safety."

Why it matters: As the top U.S. infectious disease expert, Fauci plays a leading and highly visible role in the U.S. response to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Details: "The concerns include threats as well as unwelcome communications from fervent admirers," the Washington Post first reported on Wednesday.

Between the lines: It's unclear what the threats against Fauci entail, but he has risen to prominence as the scientific voice of reason during President Trump's daily coronavirus task force news briefings. The 79-year-old immunologist has at times stepped in to clarify, or even refute, some of Trump's statements.

  • The New York Times reported on Saturday that he had become "the target of an online conspiracy theory that he is mobilizing to undermine the president ... fanned by a right-wing chorus of Mr. Trump's supporters."

What they're saying: Asked at the daily coronavirus task force briefing whether he had his security increased, Fauci referred the question to the Health and Human Services Department's Office of Inspector General.

  • President Trump said Fauci "doesn't need security, everybody loves him," adding, "Besides that, they'd be in big trouble if they ever attacked him."
  • An HHS watchdog spokesperson told Axios they're unable to comment on providing protective services for Fauci.
  • An HHS spokesperson said when contacted by Axios about the threats, "Dr. Fauci is an integral part of the U.S. government’s response against COVID-19."
    • "Among other efforts, he is leading the development of a COVID-19 vaccine and he regularly appears at White House press briefings and media interviews. We do not have anything further to add at this time."

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

Go deeper

European Super League faces collapse after English soccer teams quit

Fans of Chelsea Football Club protest the European Super League outside Stamford Bridge soccer stadium in London, England. Photo: Rob Pinney/Getty Images

The European Super League announced in a statement Tuesday night it's "proposing a new competition" and considering the next steps after all six English soccer clubs pulled out of the breakaway tournament.

Why it matters: The announcement that 12 of the richest clubs in England, Spain and Italy would start a new league was met with backlash from fans, soccer stars and politicians. The British government had threatened to pass legislation to stop it from going ahead.

Corporate America finds downside to politics

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Corporate America is finding it can get messy when it steps into politics.

Why it matters: Urged on by shareholders, employees and its own company creeds, Big Business is taking increasing stands on controversial political issues during recent months — and now it's beginning to see the fallout.

Church groups say they can help the government more at border

A mural inside of Casa del Refugiado in El Paso, Texas. Photo: Stef Kight/Axios

Despite the separation between church and state, the federal government depends upon religious shelters to help it cope with migration at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Why it matters: The network supports the U.S. in times of crisis, but now some shelter leaders are complaining about expelling families to Mexico when they have capacity — and feel a higher calling — to accommodate them.

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