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President Trump said Wednesday that the reason health experts like Deborah Birx and Anthony Fauci no longer attend his coronavirus press briefings is because they brief him on "everything they know as of this point in time" and he passes the information on to the public.

Why it matters: Before they were canceled in April, Trump's daily briefings grew infamous for being rife with misinformation, which his health experts would be forced to carefully contradict.

  • On Wednesday, Trump said that he would be "comfortable" with his son and grandchildren returning to school in the fall and claimed that "a lot of people are saying" children don't transmit the virus easily.
  • The science is not yet conclusive on the role of children in spreading COVID-19. A recent study out South Korea found that children between the ages of 10 and 19 can spread the coronavirus at least as effectively as adults do.

The exchange:

REPORTER: "I don't think we really got an explanation yesterday on why the health experts are no longer joining you these briefings. Can you explain why?"
TRUMP: "Because they are briefing me. I am meeting with them. I just spoke to Dr. Fauci, Dr. Birx is right outside. And they are giving me everything they know as of this point in time and I'm giving the information to you and I think it's probably a very concise way of doing it. It seems to be working out very well. And they are very much involved, the relationships they are all very good."

The big picture: Fauci in particular rarely briefs the president anymore and was not invited to either of the newly-revived briefings that Trump held on Tuesday and Wednesday.

  • Fauci told the New York Times on Tuesday: "[W]ould you want me to say something that’s directly contrary to what the president is doing? That’s not helpful. Then all of a sudden you don’t hear from me for a while."
  • "I’ve just been doing this for so long, and I’m trying to do my best to get the message across without being overtly at odds," he added.

Go deeper

Updated Nov 26, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Vaccines: U.S. to mandate vaccines for anyone who crosses borders starting in January — Shots lagged data by months — The next big bottleneck in the global vaccination effort.
  2. Health: The Thanksgiving bouncers — Axios-Ipsos poll: Thanksgiving roulette — Experts criticize CDC's language on vaccine boosters — America's Thanksgiving gamble.
  3. Politics: Biden administration asks appeals court to reinstate vaccine mandate — Michigan recommends face masks for all residents amid surge.
  4. Education: A COVID strategy backfires at schools — Schools across the U.S. offer vaccine drivesBenefits of in-person school outweigh risks, study finds.
  5. World: EU drug regulator recommends Pfizer COVID vaccine for kids — Italy announces new COVID restrictions for unvaccinated people — European health agency urges expanding booster shot access.
  6. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
Oct 30, 2020 - Health

Coronavirus surge threatens to shut classrooms down again

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The nationwide surge in coronavirus cases is forcing many school districts to pull back from in-person instruction.

Why it matters: Remote learning is a burden on parents, teachers and students. But the wave of new infections, and its strain on some hospitals' capacity, makes all forms of reopening harder to justify.

Oct 29, 2020 - World

Taiwan reaches a record 200 days with no local coronavirus cases

Catholics go through containment protocols including body-temperature measurement and hands-sanitisation before entering the Saint Christopher Parish Church, Taipei City, Taiwan, in July. Photo: Ceng Shou Yi/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Taiwan on Thursday marked no locally transmitted coronavirus cases for 200 days, as the island of 23 million people's total number of infections reported stands at 550 and the COVID-19 death toll at seven.

Why it matters: Nowhere else has reached such a milestone. While COVID-19 cases surge across the U.S. and Europe, Taiwan's last locally transmitted case was on April 12. Experts credit tightly regulated travel, early border closure, "rigorous contact tracing, technology-enforced quarantine and universal mask wearing" and the island state's previous experience with the SARS virus for the achievement, per Bloomberg.

Go deeper: As Taiwan's profile rises, so does risk of conflict with China