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Former FDA chief Scott Gottlieb warns 500K Americans could be contracting coronavirus a day

Scott Gottlieb, the Trump administration's former FDA commissioner, told CNBC Wednesday that the United States is likely only diagnosing one in 10 new coronavirus infections and that between 400,000 and 500,000 Americans may be contracting the virus every day.

Why it matters: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned in June that the country's total number of infections may be closer to more than 23 million — or around 10x the 2.3 million confirmed cases at the time.


  • The agencies arrived at that figure after analyzing blood samples from around the country for coronavirus antibodies.

What they're saying: "The reality is we have way more than 100,000 infection a day and more than 100,000 cases a day right now," Gottlieb said. "We're probably diagnosing maybe one in 10 infections nationally in these epidemic states where they're falling behind on testing."

  • "So, the 40,000 to 50,000 infections that we're diagnosing each day right now really represents 400,000 to 500,000 infections. Now, those are infections. They're not all cases, because not all those people are symptomatic. But probably 200,000 to 300,000 are symptomatic — perhaps mildly symptomatic."
  • "Now, whether or not we can diagnose 100,000 cases a day — actually get them tested and confirmed on PCR tests — that's unclear. Because the problem is that even though we have a lot of testing in the country — we have well more than 500,000 tests a day and that's going to continue to grow — we're going to be short on tests in places where there's epidemics."

The big picture: Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Tuesday he would not be surprised if the country begins reporting as many as 100,000 new coronavirus cases per day.

  • The U.S. currently reports around 40,000 new cases daily, but Fauci warned that that number will rise rapidly "if this does not turn around."

Go deeper: Coronavirus cases skyrocketing among communities of color

Russian police arrest over 3,000 protesters demanding Navalny's release

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Details: Demonstrations that began in the eastern regions of Russia spread west to more than 60 cities. At least 3,324 of people were detained and tens of thousands of others protested into the night despite the presence of law enforcement and extremely low temperatures, per the OVD-Info group, which monitors political arrests.

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Why it matters: Although the resolution is symbolic, this move plus the re-election of Trump loyalist Kelli Ward as state GOP chair shows the strong hold the former president has on the party in Arizona, despite President Biden winning the state in the 2020 election.

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The big picture: Garret Miller faces five charges in connection to the riot by supporters of former President Trump, including violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds and making threats. According to court documents, Miller posted violent threats online the day of the siege, including tweeting “Assassinate AOC.”

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Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Saturday called for the Justice Department inspector general to investigate an alleged plan by former President Trump and a DOJ lawyer to remove the acting attorney general and replace him with someone more willing to investigate unfounded claims of election fraud.

Driving the news: The New York Times first reported Friday that the lawyer, Jeffrey Clark, allegedly devised "ways to cast doubt on the election results and to bolster Mr. Trump’s continuing legal battles and the pressure on Georgia politicians. Because Mr. [Jeffrey] Rosen had refused the president’s entreaties to carry out those plans, Mr. Trump was about to decide whether to fire Mr. Rosen and replace him with Mr. Clark."

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Brazil begins distributing AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine

Brazil on Saturday began distributing the 2 million doses of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine that arrived from India Friday, Reuters reports.

Why it matters: Brazil has the third highest COVID-19 case-count in the world, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The 2 million doses "only scratch the surface of the shortfall," Brazilian public health experts told the AP.

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U.S. national security adviser speaks with Israeli counterpart for the first time

U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan spoke on the phone Saturday with his Israeli counterpart Meir Ben Shabbat, Israeli officials tell Axios.

Why it matters: This is the first contact between the Biden White House and Israeli prime minister's office. During the transition, the Biden team refrained from speaking to foreign governments.

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Biden speaks to Mexican president about reversing Trump's "draconian immigration policies"

President Biden told his Mexican counterpart, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, on a phone call Friday that he plans to reverse former President Trump’s “draconian immigration policies.”

The big picture: The Biden administration has already started repealing several of Trump’s immigration policies, including ordering a 100-day freeze on deporting many unauthorized immigrants, halting work on the southern border wall, and reversing plans to exclude undocumented people from being included in the 2020 census.

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Muslim families hope to reunite following Biden's travel ban repeal

Muslim Americans across the U.S. are celebrating President Biden's day-1 reversal of former President Trump's travel ban that targeted several Muslim-majority countries.

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