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Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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President Trump announced on Sunday that his administration will extend its "15 Days to Slow the Spread" guidelines until April 30 in an effort to stop the spread of coronavirus, which has now infected more than 130,000 Americans and killed nearly 2,500.

Why it matters: Top advisers to the president have been seeking to steer him away from Easter as an arbitrary deadline for the U.S. to open parts of its economy, amid warnings from health officials that loosening restrictions could cause the number of coronavirus cases to skyrocket.

  • Trump declined to call the Easter deadline a "mistake" at Sunday's press conference, claiming it was "just an aspiration."

What he's saying:

"The modeling estimates that the peak in death rate is likely to hit in two weeks. So, I'll say it again, the peak — the highest point of death rates, remember this — is likely to hit in two weeks. Nothing would be worse than declaring victory before the victory is won. That would be the greatest loss of all. ....
Therefore, we will be extending our guidelines to April 30 to slow the spread. On Tuesday, we will be finalizing these plans and providing a summary of our findings, supporting data, and strategy to the American people."
— President Trump

The big picture: Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday that the timing for lifting social distancing restrictions will depend heavily on the availability of new tests that can give coronavirus results in 15 minutes.

  • These real-time tests will allow health officials to identify patients, isolate them and do "contact tracing" to locate people they interacted with, Fauci said.
  • In stark contrast with the rosier outlook projected by Trump, Fauci said that the virus will infect millions of Americans and could kill 100,000–200,000 — though he cautioned that these numbers are a "moving target."

The bottom line: Trump said that modeling shows that if the social distancing restrictions are effective, the U.S. can expect to be "well on our way to recovery" by June 1.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

Go deeper

Updated 13 mins ago - Health

California surpasses 50,000 COVID-19 deaths

A man prepares a funeral arrangement in in Los Angeles, California, Feb. 12. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

California's death toll from COVID-19 surpassed 50,000 on Wednesday, per Johns Hopkins data.

The big picture: It's the first state to record more than 50,000 deaths from the coronavirus.

2 hours ago - Technology

Facebook bans Myanmar military

A protester holds a placard with a three-finger salute in front of a military tank parked aside the street in front of the Central Bank building during a demonstration in Yangon, Myanmar. Photo by Aung Kyaw Htet/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Facebook said on Wednesday it would ban the rest of the Myanmar military from its platform.

The big picture: It comes some three weeks after the military overthrew the civilian government in a coup and detained leader Aung San Suu Kyi, causing massive protests to erupt throughout the country. Military leaders have been using internet blackouts to try to maintain power in light of the coup.

It's harder to fill the Cabinet

Data: Chamberlain, 2020, "United States of America Cabinet Appointments Dataset" Chart: Will Chase/Axios

It's harder now for presidents to win Senate confirmation for their Cabinet picks, an Axios data analysis of votes for and against nominees found.

Why it matters: It's not just Neera Tanden. The trend is a product of growing polarization, rougher political discourse and slimming Senate majorities, experts say. It means some of the nation's most vital federal agencies go without a leader and the legislative authority that comes with one.