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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

22 mins ago - Health

Axios-Ipsos poll: America looks for the exits after a year of COVID

Data: Axios/Ipsos poll; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

A year after the coronavirus abruptly shut down much of the country, Americans are watching for a clear signal of when the pandemic will be over — and most won't be ready to ditch the masks and social distancing until they get it, according to the latest installment of the Axios/Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

The big picture: The poll found that more Americans are expecting the outbreak to be over sooner rather than later, as vaccinations ramp up throughout the country — but that very few are ready to end the precautions that have upended their lives.

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
23 mins ago - Health

Many vulnerable Americans have received the coronavirus vaccine

Data: CDC, U.S. Census Bureau; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

More than two-thirds of Americans 75 and older have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine, as have more than half of those 65-74, per CDC data.

Why it matters: Any future surge in cases almost certainly wouldn't be as deadly as previous waves, because older people are the most likely to die from the virus.

3 hours ago - World

Report: "Clear evidence" China is committing genocide against Uyghurs

The scene in 2019 of a site believed to be a re-education camp where mostly Muslim ethnic minorities are detained, north of Kashgar in China's northwestern Xinjiang region. Photo: Greg Baker/AFP via Getty Images

Chinese authorities have breached "each and every act prohibited" under the UN Genocide Convention over the treatment of Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in China's Xinjiang province, an independent report published Tuesday alleges.

Why it matters: D.C. think-tank the Newlines Institute for Strategy and Policy, which released the report, said in a statement the conclusions by dozens of experts in war crimes, human rights and international law are "clear and convincing": The ruling Chinese Communist Party bears responsibility.