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Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Trump has not attended a White House coronavirus task force meeting in “several months,” NIAID director Anthony Fauci told MSNBC on Friday.

Why it matters: At the beginning of the pandemic, the task force, led by Vice President Mike Pence, met every day, but in the "last several weeks," members have held virtual meetings once a week, Fauci said, even as the number of new cases continues to surge in the country.

  • The U.S. recorded more than 71,000 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, its highest daily total since July, per NPR.

What he's saying: Fauci told MSNBC’s Chuck Todd that in Trump's absence, Pence conveys information from meetings to the White House.

  • “I definitely don’t have his ear as much as Scott Atlas right now. That has been a changing situation," Fauci said.
  • Atlas — who is a radiologist, not an epidemiologist — has become one of the president's favorite coronavirus advisers who has frequently clashed with other members of the task force over his controversial views and false claims.
  • Fauci added that the high number of new infections means the U.S. is in a "precarious place to be for a number of reasons."
  • He warned that several states "are having upticks in case positivities, which are in fact leading to increases in hospitalizations, which will ultimately lead to an increase in deaths."

The White House told Axios that “the president is routinely briefed about the coronavirus each and every day. The relevant information is brought to him on the big decisions, and then he moves forward in the way that's best for our country."

Worth noting: Trump has attacked the nation's top infectious disease expert throughout the pandemic, including calling him a “disaster” in his latest tirade on Monday.

Go deeper: Republican senators defend Fauci as Trump escalates attacks

Go deeper

22 hours ago - Health

U.S. exceeds 100,000 COVID-related hospitalizations for the first time

People wait outside the Emergency room of the Garfield Medical Center in Monterey Park, California on Dec 1. Photo: Frederic J. Brown/Getty Images

More than 100,200 Americans were hospitalized as of Wednesday due to the coronavirus for the first time since the outbreak began in early 2020, per the COVID Tracking Project.

The big picture: The milestone comes as health officials anticipated cases to surge due to holiday travel and gatherings. The impact of the holiday remains notable, as many states across the country are only reporting partial data.

20 hours ago - Health

WH coronavirus task force: States must "flatten the curve" to sustain health system

A walk-up Covid-19 testing site in San Fernando, California, on Nov. 24, ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday.

The White House coronavirus task force warned states "the COVID risk to all Americans is at a historic high" and to brace for another surge following Thanksgiving, per a report that emerged Wednesday.

Driving the news: "If you are under 40, you need to assume you became infected during the Thanksgiving period if you gathered beyond your immediate household," said the report, dated Nov. 29, first published by the Center for Public Integrity.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Health: Study: Increased COVID-19 testing can reduce transmission — Hospitalizations top 100,000 for the first time.
  2. Vaccine: Obama, Bush and Clinton willing to take vaccine in public — Vaccine shipment companies targeted by cyberattacks, IBM says.
  3. Politics: Fauci to meet with Biden transition for first time.
  4. Transportation: Delta will become first U.S. airline to launch COVID-19 contact tracing program.
  5. World: Azar's UN remarks to take aim at China.
  6. Sports: Tokyo Olympics weighs health tracking app in order to allow fan attendance.