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Photo: Chris Kleponis/Polaris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Never has President Trump looked and sounded so somber and downbeat as he did at dinnertime yesterday as he walked America through the "very, very painful" days of death ahead. 

Why it matters ... It was a moment the history books won’t forget: Trump, who a week ago was talking about an Easter-time return to work, warned in grim detail of the potential for 100,000 to 240,000 deaths.

  • Gone was the wishful thinking and market-soothing spin. It was a raw, reality-based reminder the worst is soon to come. 

"I want every American to be prepared for the hard days that lie ahead," Trump said before introducing his medical experts at the 2 hour, 12 minute briefing.

  • "We’re going to go through a very tough two weeks. And then hopefully, as the experts are predicting — as I think a lot of us are predicting, after having studied it so hard — you’re going to start seeing some real light at the end of the tunnel."
  • "But this is going to be a very painful — very, very painful two weeks."

Between the lines: Trump, without digressions to points conservative skeptics have been pushing on him, handed the podium to his top medical advisers — Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx — and stood in front of their grim graphics.

  • The data projects that the virus could kill 100,000 to 240,000 Americans — even with current social-distancing guidelines .
  • Birx, the White House coronavirus coordinator, said estimates showed between 1.5 million to 2.5 million Americans could have died from the virus "without mitigation."
  • More than 3,900 people with the virus have died in the U.S., "a figure that has more than tripled since Thursday morning," per the N.Y. Times.

Turning to his personal perspective, Trump said: "When you look and see at night [on TV] the kind of death that’s been caused by this invisible enemy, it's incredible. I was watching last night, Gov. [Phil] Murphy of New Jersey say '29 people died today,' meaning yesterday, and others [New York] talking about numbers far greater."

  • "I spoke to some of my friends — they can't believe what they're seeing."
  • Referring to scenes he had seen on TV that morning of doctors and nurses going into the hospital where he grew up in Elmhurst, Queens, Trump said: "It's like military people going into battle, going into war."

Go deeper: Washington and California offer beacons of coronavirus hope

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Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Technology

3D printing's next act: big metal objects

Chief Scientist Andy Bayramian makes modifications to the laser system on Seurat's 3D metal printer. Photo courtesy of Seurat Technologies.

A new metal 3D printing technology could revolutionize the way large industrial products like planes and cars are made, reducing the cost and carbon footprint of mass manufacturing.

Why it matters: 3D printing — also called additive manufacturing — has been used since the 1980s to make small plastic parts and prototypes. Metal printing is newer, and the challenge has been figuring out how to make things like large car parts faster and cheaper than traditional methods.

Updated 3 hours ago - Technology

Mayors see cryptocurrency as a way to address income inequality

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

At the U.S. Conference of Mayors' meeting in D.C. this week, there's buzz around the idea of giving cryptocurrency accounts to low-income people.

Why it matters: Cities have been experimenting with newfangled ways to address income inequality — like guaranteed income programs — and the latest wave of trials could involve paying benefits or dividends in bitcoin, stablecoin or other digital currencies.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Health: FDA OKs antiviral drug remdesivir for non-hospitalized COVID patients — Walensky: CDC language "pivoting" on "fully vaccinated" — Fauci: "Confident" Omicron cases will peak in February
  2. Vaccines: Team USA 100% vaccinated against COVID ahead of Beijing Olympics — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America — Annual COVID vaccine preferable to boosters, says Pfizer CEO.
  3. Politics: Arizona governor sues Biden administration over COVID funds tied to mandates — Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" on anti-mask school policies.
  4. World: Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older — Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults — Beijing officials urge COVID-19 "emergency mode" before Winter Olympics.
  5. Variant tracker