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President Trump admitted at his first coronavirus press briefing since April that the outbreak in the U.S. will "probably, unfortunately get worse before it gets better," adding: "Something I don't like saying about things, but that's the way it is."

Why it matters: For weeks, Trump has dismissed the rise in infections as a product of more testing, insisting that the coronavirus will "just disappear" one day. He repeated that claim on Tuesday, but called the surge in cases in the South "concerning" and urged all Americans to wear a mask when social distancing is not possible: "Whether you like the mask or not, they have an impact."

The big picture: Despite his acknowledgement of the severity of the situation, Trump continued to tout the administration's advancements in testing, therapeutics and vaccine development and stressed that other countries are struggling with the virus as well.

  • Trump said American voters should judge him on his handling of the pandemic "among other things," before rattling off a list of his favorite accomplishments related to the economy, the military and more.

Pressed on his change in tone and previous claims that the U.S. was dealing with virus "embers," Trump responded:

"We have embers and fires and we have big fires and unfortunately now, Florida is a little tough or in a big tough position. You have a great governor there, great governor in Texas. People that are very, very skilled people and I think they're going to handle it very well. Their hospital capacities are holding up. Texas is a big state and it's very well-run and so is Florida and I think they'll do a very good job. 

What to watch: Trump said he will continue to do briefings "quite often" in order to keep the public aware of developments related to the coronavirus and the economy.

Go deeper: Fauci says he wasn't invited to Trump's coronavirus press briefing

Go deeper

Oct 29, 2020 - Health

Fauci says U.S. may not return to normal until 2022

Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Anthony Fauci, testifies during a September Senate hearing on COVID-19 in Washington, D.C. Photo: Graeme Jennings/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

NIAID director Anthony Fauci told the Journal of the American Medical Association on Wednesday he doesn't expect a COVID-19 vaccine to be ready until January 2021 or later.

What he's saying: Fauci said during the interview that the U.S. was in a "bad position" after failing to keep case numbers down post-summer. "We should have been way down in baseline and daily cases and we’re not," he said.

Updated 18 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Americans shrug off Omicron, Axios-Ipsos poll finds — CDC director says number of U.S. Omicron cases "likely to rise."
  2. Vaccines: Omicron gives a shot to boosters — U.S. announces $400M for global COVID vaccine distribution — Vaccine mandates lose steam in the U.S. while Europe doubles down.
  3. States: Gov. Hochul will order some NY hospitals to halt elective surgeries — Nevada to impose insurance surcharge on unvaccinated state workers.
  4. World: EU drug regulator backs mixing COVID vaccines — Poor global equity likely in COVID pill access — CDC raises travel advisories for France, Portugal to highest level amid COVID surge.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
Oct 29, 2020 - Health

Large coronavirus outbreaks leading to high death rates

Data: The COVID Tracking Project; Chart: Sara Wise/Axios

Many of the states where coronavirus cases have recently skyrocketed are also seeing the highest death rates in the nation, a painful reminder that wherever the virus goes, death eventually follows.

Between the lines: Deaths usually lag behind cases by a few weeks. Given America's record-high case counts, it's reasonable to expect that death rates across the country will continue to rise in tandem.