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President Biden's chief medical adviser Anthony Fauci acknowledged on CNN's "New Day" Friday that the Trump administration's resistance to following the science on coronavirus policy "very likely" cost lives.

Why it matters: Fauci, the government's top infectious diseases expert, clashed on numerous occasions with former President Trump after contradicting him on scientific issues like the efficacy of masks and the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine in combating COVID-19.

  • Fauci was sidelined toward the end of the Trump presidency in favor of advisers like Scott Atlas, who frequently pushed coronavirus misinformation.
  • At his first press briefing under the new Biden administration on Thursday, Fauci said it was "somewhat liberating" to be able to publicly provide scientific evidence without fear of being censored.

What he's saying: "You know, it very likely did," Fauci responded when asked by CNN's John Berman whether the Trump administration's "lack of facts" cost lives.

  • "You can see that when you're starting to go down paths that are not based on any science at all — and we've been there before, I don't want to rehash it — that is not helpful at all," he continued.
  • "And particularly when you're in the situation of almost being in a crisis with the number of cases and hospitalizations and deaths that we have, when you start talking about things that make no sense medically and no sense scientifically, that clearly is not helpful."

The big picture: The White House released a 198-page COVID-19 strategy on Thursday that included plans to increase the use of masks and trigger the Defense Production Act for vaccine production. Biden described the coming coronavirus response as a "wartime undertaking."

  • "We have a serious opponent here. The president made the analogy of a war. Yeah, if you look at the numbers, over 400,000 people dead, that's quite comparable to World War II," Fauci said on CNN.
  • "That's the reason why we've really got to restore trust and restore a unified approach."
Graphic: The White House

Go deeper: Biden unveils "wartime" COVID strategy

Go deeper

Jan 30, 2021 - World

Science helps New Zealand avoid another coronavirus lockdown

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (L) visits a lab at Auckland University in December. Photo: Phil Walter/Getty Images

New Zealand has avoided locking down for a second time over COVID-19 community cases because of a swift, science-led response.

Why it matters: The Health Ministry said in an email to Axios Friday there's "no evidence of community transmission" despite three people testing positive after leaving managed hotel isolation. That means Kiwis can continue to visit bars, restaurants and events as much of the world remains on lockdown.

Jan 30, 2021 - World

Germany to impose travel restrictions to curb spread of coronavirus variants

Border police officers check passports and COVID-19 tests at Frankfurt Airport. Photo: Thomas Lohnes via Getty Images

Germany announced Friday that it was imposing new travel restrictions in an effort to curb the spread of more contagious coronavirus variants.

Details: All non-German residents traveling from countries deemed "areas of variant concern," including the United Kingdom, South Africa, Portugal, Ireland, Brazil, Lesotho and Eswatini, will be banned from entering the country, even if they test negative for the coronavirus.

California wildfire explodes in size, destroys historic town

Battalion Chief Sergio Mora looks on as the Dixie fire burns through downtown Greenville, Calif. on Aug. 4, 2021. Photo: Josh EdelsonAFP via Getty Images

The small Sierra town of Greenville, California, was heavily damaged on Wednesday night into early Thursday as the Dixie Fire surged northward amid high winds, extremely dry air and hot temperatures.

The latest: The Dixie Fire, California's biggest blaze, continued to threaten communities in Plumas County into Thursday night, as more mandatory evacuation orders were issued in the region.