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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

1 hour ago - World

Barbados becomes a republic, replacing U.K. queen with president

Combination images of Dame Sandra Mason, president of Barbados, and Britain's Prince Charles at her swearing-in ceremony in Bridgetown, Barbados, late Monday.

Barbados officially became a republic at midnight local time after Dame Sandra Mason was sworn in as the Caribbean nation's first president in a ceremony attended by the United Kingdom's Prince Charles.

Why it matters: Mason replaced Britain's Queen Elizabeth as head of state Tuesday — removing the country's final remaining colonial tie to the U.K. almost 400 years after the first British ships arrived in Barbados.

Right-wingers making McCarthy sweat for future Speaker post

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy stands with his Republican colleagues outside the House on Nov. 17. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Right-wing elements in the Republican Party are complicating House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy's attempts to become the next speaker of the House should the GOP take back the majority in 2022.

Why it matters: While McCarthy has worked carefully to build trust among the conservatives who tanked his chances at clinching the speakership in 2015, they're still circling ahead of the next Speaker vote in January 2023.

5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Congress sprints to meet crush of deadlines

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Congressional leaders have been pushing off vital action for months — and a lot of it will catch up with them in December, which begins Wednesday.

Driving the news: Funding for the federal government is set to expire at midnight on Friday. There are also consequential deadlines related to the debt limit, President Biden's agenda and annual actions like voting on the National Defense Authorization Act.