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Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Attorney General Bill Barr instructed the Bureau of Prisons on Friday to expand the use of home confinement and accelerate the release of eligible, high-risk inmates at three federal correctional facilities struck by the coronavirus, AP reports.

The state of play: As of Friday evening, 91 inmates and 50 staff had tested positive for COVID-19 at federal prisons across the U.S., per the agency.

Barr's directive focuses on three federal prisons: FCC Oakdale in Louisiana; FCI Elkton in Ohio; FCI Danbury in Connecticut, according to a memo obtained by Politico. He ordered the agency to conduct a review and identify inmates who may have risk factors associated with COVID-19.

Earlier this week, the bureau implemented a national lockdown to keep all federal inmates in their cells for 14 days.

  • Five inmates died at FCC Oakdale, and over a dozen more remain hospitalized, according to AP.
  • Three inmates died in FCI Elkton, AP notes.
  • FCI Danbury reported that 20 tested positive for coronavirus.

Worth noting: The public health guidance to remain 6 feet apart from others is essentially impossible in prison, per AP.

  • Meanwhile, some employees have been “forced to come to work against doctors’ orders to self-quarantine because the agency refuses to give them emergency leave,” Ohio union president Joseph Mayle told AP.

Go deeper: Coronavirus behind bars

Go deeper

House passes $1.9 trillion COVID relief package

Photo: Screenshot via C-SPAN

The House approved President Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID relief package on a 219-212 vote early Saturday morning, sending it to the Senate for a possible rewrite before it gets to Biden's desk.

The big picture: The vote was a critical first step for the package, which includes $1,400 cash payments for many Americans, a national vaccination program, ramped-up COVID testing and contact tracing, state and local funding and money to help schools reopen.

8 hours ago - Health

Biden says it's "not the time to relax" after touring vaccination site

President Biden speaking after visiting a FEMA Covid-19 vaccination facility in Houston on Feb. 26. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden said Friday that "it's not the time to relax" coronavirus mitigation efforts and warned that the number of cases and hospitalizations could rise again as new variants of the virus emerge.

Why it matters: Biden, who made the remarks after touring a vaccination site in Houston, echoed CDC director Rochelle Walensky, who said earlier on Friday that while the U.S. has seen a recent drop in cases and hospitalizations, "these declines follow the highest peak we have experienced in the pandemic."

Updated 8 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: Most COVID-19 survivors can weather risk of reinfection, study says — "Twindemic" averted as flu reports plummet amid coronavirus crisis
  2. Vaccine: FDA advisory panel endorses J&J COVID vaccine for emergency use — About 20% of U.S. adults have received first vaccine dose, White House says — New data reignites the debate over coronavirus vaccine strategy.
  3. Economy: What's really going on with the labor market.
  4. Local: All adult Minnesotans will likely be eligible for COVID-19 vaccine by summer — Another wealthy Florida community receives special access to COVID-19 vaccine.
  5. Sports: Poll weighs impact of athlete vaccination.