Here's a partial timeline of some of the moments where President Trump's cues preceded shifts in behavior.

March 16: The president announces his “15 days to slow the spread” shutdown guidelines, aiming to reopen the country before Easter.

March 21: Trump tweets that hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin have “a real chance to be one of the biggest game changers in the history of medicine.”

March 29: Trump extends his shutdown guidelines through the end of April as cases continue to rise.

April 3: CDC recommends wearing face masks in public to slow the spread.

April 13: Trump tweets that the “decision to open up the states” lies with him, not governors.

April 17: Trump calls for America to “LIBERATE” states under strict lockdowns, namely including Michigan.

April 22: The president says at a press conference that he “strongly” disagrees with GOP Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp’s decision to reopen some non-essential businesses, including barber shops and gyms.

April 23: At a coronavirus briefing, Trump questions whether disinfectants could be injected into coronavirus patients as treatment, but later claims he was being sarcastic.

May 6: Senior official tells Axios that Trump will begin publicly questioning the U.S. death toll, which he thinks is exaggerated. "We have to get our country open again," Trump said. 

May 18: Trump says he’s taking hydroxychloroquine as a preventative measure for the virus after weeks of promoting it as a viable therapeutic.

May 21: Despite a “very distinct possibility” of a second wave, Trump says he’s “not going to close the country” twice.

May 23: Over Memorial Day weekend, Trump goes golfing for the first time since early March.

May 26: Trump mocks Joe Biden for wearing a mask to a Memorial Day event, and accuses a reporter of trying to be "politically correct" by wearing a mask at a news conference.

June 12: Trump and the Republican National Committee move the majority of the Republican National Convention from Charlotte, N.C., to Jacksonville, Fla., in order to avoid distancing requirements.

June 17: Trump tells The Wall Street Journal that wearing a mask is a "double-edged sword."

June 20: Trump holds a campaign rally in Tulsa. At event, campaign conducts temperature checks but does not require social distancing or masks.

July 1: Trump tells Fox Business Network that "masks are good," that people have seen him wearing one and that they make him look like the Lone Ranger.

July 2: Trump says the pandemic is getting "under control." Trump says the U.S. economy is "roaring back."

July 6: Trump says "schools must open in the fall."

July 7: Trump informs the United Nations and Congress that America will formally withdraw from the World Health Organization due to “repeated missteps” by the group.

July 11: Trump wears a mask for first time before cameras, on a visit to Walter Reed National Medical Center.

July 20: Trump tweets photo of himself wearing a face mask and calls it "patriotic."

July 21: Trump says the pandemic will probably get worse before it gets better, tells people to wear masks because they "have an impact."

July 23: Trump announces he's canceled the Republican National Convention events that were to be held in Jacksonville, Fla., next month, citing a need to protect public health. But he reiterates call for schools to reopen, saying permanent closures could devastate the economy and lead to "greater mortality and irreversible harm."

Go deeper

The president's pandemic cues

Data: Axios/Ipsos polling; Chart: Danielle Alberti

President Trump's words and actions have shaped Republicans' perceptions and behavior on everything from wearing face masks to worrying about economic collapse, in an analysis of our Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index since the pandemic began.

Why it matters: When Trump talks, his base listens. That carries profound implications for efforts to limit the spread in the U.S., especially when he contradicts public health officials or state and local leaders.

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Axios-Ipsos poll: Fear of voting

Data: Axios/Ipsos poll; Note: ±3.0% margin of error for the total sample; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Democrats are twice as likely as Republicans to worry about in-person voting — with nearly two in three seeing it as a large or moderate risk to their health — according to this week's installment of the Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

Why it matters: This could pose a significant disadvantage for Joe Biden and other Democratic candidates in November if the pattern holds — especially in states where high infection rates persist, or where there are significant hurdles to mail-in, absentee or early voting.

Trump: Coronavirus is "under control"

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  • “They are dying, that's true. And you have — it is what it is. But that doesn't mean we aren't doing everything we can. It's under control as much as you can control it. This is a horrible plague,” he told Axios' Jonathan Swan.