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Former Homeland Security adviser Thomas Bossert. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Former President Trump Homeland Security adviser Tom Bossert sounded the alarm on the rapid spike in the spread of the coronavirus in a series of tweets Sunday, saying that "Masks are important, but not enough."

Why it matters: It's a different tone than much of the Trump administration, as cases are spiking in a number of states around the country. Trump baselessly claimed during his Independence Day remarks that 99% of coronavirus cases "are totally harmless."

What he's saying: Bossert shared data on the rising number of new cases in some states...

  • "TX: Cases as of 7/4 (191.8K); cases as of 6/20 (107.7K). Increase of 84K over 2 weeks. Assuming case ascertainment of 20%, true number of cases = 416K. Population of TX = 29M, so roughly 1.4% of population is currently infectious."
  • "AZ: Cases as of 7/4 (94.6K); cases as of 6/20 (49.8K). Increase of 44.8K over 2 weeks. Assuming case ascertainment of 20%, true number of cases = 220K. Population of AZ = 7.3M, so roughly 3% of population is currently infectious."
  • "CA: Cases as of 7/4 (254.7K); cases as of 6/20 (169.3K). Increase of 85.4K over 2 weeks. Assuming case ascertainment of 20%, true number of cases = 427K. Population of CA = 40M, so roughly 1% of population is currently infectious."
  • "GA: Cases as of 7/4 (93.3K); cases as of 6/20 (63.8K). Increase of 30K over 2 weeks. Assuming case ascertainment of 20%, true number of cases = 150K. Population of GA = 10.6M, so roughly 1.4% of population is currently infectious."

The bottom line: He then shared a study by the Imperial College of London that suggests that wearing masks should be accompanied by other preventative measures to stop the spread of the virus. "Masks are important, but not enough," he wrote.

  • "What are the hundreds of thousands of infectious people in these states doing right now? Isolating? Are their family members quarantining themselves? How many days does it take for them to notify people with whom they have been in close contact? Are they even notifying others?"

Go deeper

Updated 8 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Health: First known U.S. case of Omicron variant identified in California — America probably won't lead the effort to understand Omicron — CDC prepares tougher testing rules for international travelers.
  2. Politics: Omicron travel bans are sign of what's to come — Meta removes accounts linked to COVID disinformation effort by China.
  3. Vaccines: Omicron adds urgency to vaccinating world — Omicron fuels the case for COVID boosters — Moderna loses patent battles tied to COVID vaccine.
  4. World: Germany approves new restrictions for unvaccinated people — Omicron variant detected in more countriesWHO advises people 60 or older to postpone travel due to Omicron
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
30 mins ago - World

COVID cases surge in South Africa in sign Omicron wave is coming

Recreated from Our World in Data; Chart: Axios Visuals

South Africa alerted the world to the Omicron variant. Now data out of South Africa may serve as a warning of what we're facing.

Driving the news: South Africa recorded 11,535 new cases Thursday with 22.4% of tests coming back positive — up from an average of about 300 new cases, with a 2% test positivity rate 10 days earlier. The country's top public health officials expect that exponential rise to continue as Omicron rapidly becomes the dominant variant.

BuzzFeed to go public, after shareholders approve SPAC deal

Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for BuzzFeed

BuzzFeed is set to become publicly traded on Monday, after shareholders of a SPAC called 890 Fifth Avenue Partners voted to approve a previously-announced merger.

Yes, but: The vast majority of the money the SPAC raised in January was yanked, a signal that investors aren't very optimistic about BuzzFeed's future prospects.

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