Speaking to Fox News on Monday, Trump said he’d been wondering how bad things might get without taking significant action to slow the virus’s spread.

“The answer came in yesterday through Dr. [Anthony] Fauci and through Deborah Birx,” Trump said, referring to two members of the White House coronavirus task force. “The answer came in: If we did that, in other words if we just kept it business as usual, didn’t do anything to stop it or impede it, could have been 2.2 million people could’ve died.”

That was the number Trump, Birx and Fauci reiterated during Tuesday’s news briefing. But it didn’t emerge Sunday, as Trump said on Fox News. The number was released mid-March — conveyed in a report credited with getting Trump to implement the restrictions that had been recommended two weeks ago.

On Wednesday, it was Vice President Pence’s turn to embrace something that has been obvious for a while.