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Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and President Trump during a March briefing on the coronavirus pandemic in Washington, D.C. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Trump responded early Monday to chants from the crowd at his Florida campaign rally to fire NIAID director Anthony Fauci by saying, "Don't tell anybody, but let me wait until a little bit after the election."

Why it matters: Trump's remarks at the Opa-locka rally come less than 48 hours before polls close and a day after the White House slammed Fauci for telling the Washington Post the U.S. "could not possibly be positioned more poorly" in responding to the coronavirus pandemic.

A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.
  • In his WashPost interview, the top U.S. infectious diseases expert criticized Trump's favorite COVID-19 adviser, Scott Atlas, a radiologist who's been called out for making false comments on masks and herd immunity.
  • Fauci also said the Biden campaign is taking the pandemic "seriously from a public health perspective," while Trump is "looking at it from a different perspective," on "the economy and reopening the country."

The big picture: Coronavirus cases are surging across the U.S., with 18 states setting single-day case records last week.

  • Nearly 231,000 people have died of COVID-19 and over 9.2 million have tested positive for the virus in the U.S. as of Monday morning.

Flashback: What Dr. Fauci has coming

Editor's note: This article has been updated with more details on the coronavirus and further context on Fauci's comments.

Go deeper

Updated 24 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Vaccines: CDC director maintains Pfizer booster recommendation for high-risk workers — CDC director approves Pfizer boosters, adds eligibility for high-risk workers — FDA approves Pfizer boosters for high-risk individuals, people 65 and up.
  2. Health: America's mismatched COVID fears — Some experts see signs of hope as cases fall — WHO: Nearly 1 in 4 Afghan COVID hospitals shut after Taliban takeover — D.C. goes further than area counties with vaccine mandates.
  3. Politics: Bolsonaro isolating after health minister tests positive at UN summit — United Airlines says 97% of U.S. employees fully vaccinated — Mormon Church to mandate masks in temples.
  4. Education: Health care workers and teachers caught up in booster confusion — Asymptomatic Florida students exposed to COVID no longer have to quarantine — Education Department investigating Texas mask mandate ban.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
Jan 29, 2021 - Health

J&J says its one-shot vaccine is 66% effective against moderate to severe COVID

Photo: Thiago Prudêncio/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Johnson & Johnson announced Friday that its single-shot coronavirus vaccine was 66% effective in protecting against moderate to severe COVID-19 disease in Phase 3 trials, which was comprised of nearly 44,000 participants across eight countries.

Between the lines: The vaccine was 72% effective in the U.S., but only 57% effective in South Africa, where a more contagious variant has been spreading. It prevented 85% of severe infections and 100% of hospitalizations and deaths, according to the company.

Jan 29, 2021 - Health

WHO says most pregnant women can now receive coronavirus vaccine

A doctor administering Moderna's coronavirus vaccine at a university hospital in Essen, Germany, on Jan. 18. Photo: Lukas Schulze/Getty Images

The World Health Organization has altered its guidance for pregnant women who wish to receive the coronavirus vaccine, saying now that those at high risk of exposure to the COVID-19 or who have comorbidities that increase their risk of severe disease, may be vaccinated.

Why it matters: The WHO drew backlash for its previous guidance that did not recommend pregnant women be inoculated with vaccines made by Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna, even though data indicated that pregnancy increased the risk of developing severe illness from the virus.