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Anthony Fauci with President Trump on May 15. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in an interview with Stat News that his meetings with President Trump about the coronavirus have "dramatically decreased."

The big picture: Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease doctor and a key member of the White House's coronavirus task force, said he "was meeting with [the president] four times a week back, a month or so ago."

  • "We used to have task force meetings every single day, including Saturday and Sunday, and about 75% of the time after the task force meeting we’d meet with the president," Fauci said. "But as you probably noticed, that the task force meetings have not occurred as often lately."

Why it matters: The decline in Fauci's public appearances and meetings with Trump comes as the White House has sought to pivot to more of an economic message as states across the country continue to reopen. Axios reported in April that the top doctors on the task force would take a "back seat" to a more forward-looking, "what's next" message.

What he's saying: Fauci told Stat News he is cautiously optimistic about the development of a vaccine for the virus, saying it is an “aspirational," but "certainly doable" goal to have one by the end of the year. He also said he remains concerned about large gatherings of people as states reopen.

  • "I certainly have sensitivity for the need of the public to start getting to some form of normalization, given that we’ve been through more than three months of a very difficult time," Fauci said.
  • "But it’s a big country and the dynamics of the outbreak are different from one part of the country to another. If people want to get out, they’ve really got to gauge it with the level of the outbreak in their particular area."
  • "When I see a situation where there is a region, a state, a city, a county where there’s a considerable amount of viral activity there, and you see people crowding around bars — and there were several pictures of that, that was quite striking over the last couple of days — or on boardwalks, where they’re very, very close to each other, I do get concerned."

Go deeper: Coronavirus still has a foothold in the South

Go deeper

Updated Oct 7, 2020 - Health

World coronavirus updates

Expand chart
Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

New Zealand now has active no coronavirus cases in the community after the final six people linked to the Auckland cluster recovered, the country's Health Ministry confirmed in an email Wednesday.

The big picture: The country's second outbreak won't officially be declared closed until there have been "no new cases for two incubation periods," the ministry said. Auckland will join the rest of NZ in enjoying no domestic restrictions from late Wednesday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said, declaring that NZ had "beat the virus again."

Sep 8, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Biden campaign lays out standards for coronavirus vaccine transparency

Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

The Biden campaign called on President Trump on Tuesday to answer three specific questions before releasing a coronavirus vaccine, while simultaneously warning that Trump may seek to short-circuit the scientific process for the sake of his re-election. 

Why it matters: After Trump accused Joe Biden and Kamala Harris of being anti-vaxxers yesterday, the Biden campaign is trying to establish firm standards on what would allay its fears that Trump isn't accelerating a vaccine for political reasons. 

Sep 8, 2020 - Health

England to limit social gatherings to 6 as coronavirus cases surge

Photo: Dinendra Haria/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Group gatherings larger than six people will be banned in England as the country struggles with a rising number of coronavirus cases, the BBC reports.

Why it matters: England's deputy chief medical officer Jonathan Van Tam said this week that citizens had "relaxed too much" over the summer, warning of "a bumpy ride over the next few months" unless people started taking the virus seriously again.