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A medical worker at Wyckoff Hospital in Brooklyn on April 4. Photo: Bryan R. Smith/AFP via Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention launched two new national tracking tools for the novel coronavirus in the U.S. on Saturday — one to monitor fatalities and another for hospitalizations.

Why it matters: The coronavirus testing kit shortage has challenged public health experts' ability to understand the scope of the outbreak in the U.S., NPR reports. States have scrambled to produce their own systems and monitor the data.

Driving the news: Deaths caused by pneumonia associated with COVID-19 have risen sharply since February, while deaths caused by influenza "increased modestly through early March" and declined the week of March 28, the agency said.

Details: The agency's hospitalization tracker currently covers roughly 32 million people, or 10% of the U.S. population. The data covered by the CDC is subject to change as more information becomes available.

  • The highest hospitalization rates in the U.S. are currently for those 65 years and older followed by those between 50 and 64 years old.
  • The national percentage of respiratory specimen testing positive for COVID-19 is 16.5% at public health labs and 8.8.% at clinical labs, the CDC reports. Commercial labs are not included in that roundup.

Be smart: Deaths recorded by the CDC's national system rely on completed death certificates, which can take anywhere from 1 to 8 weeks to be fully processed and included in the data set, the agency says.

  • But, the data breaks down COVID-19 deaths by age range — a helpful measure of what demographics are impacted.
  • The CDC has recorded the most coronavirus deaths in those 85 years and older, and Americans between 55 to 85 years old are still facing higher fatality rates than younger Americans.

What's next: The CDC will begin releasing weekly summaries of the data, alongside statistics on outpatient visits, ER visits and how many specimens of the virus have been tested to date.

Go deeper... U.S. coronavirus updates: Death toll surpasses 8,000

Go deeper

Woman who allegedly stole laptop from Pelosi's office to sell to Russia is arrested

Photo: FBI

A woman accused of breaching the Capitol and planning to sell to Russia a laptop or hard drive she allegedly stole from Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office was arrested in Pennsylvania's Middle District Monday, the Department of Justice said.

Driving the news: Riley June Williams, 22, is charged with illegally entering the Capitol as well as violent entry and disorderly conduct. She has not been charged over the laptop allegation and the case remains under investigation, per the DOJ.

Biden will reverse Trump's attempt to lift COVID-related travel restrictions

Photo: Tasos Katopodis via Getty

The incoming Biden administration will reverse President Trump's last-minute order to lift COVID-19 related travel restrictions, Jen Psaki, the incoming White House press secretary, tweeted.

Why it matters: President Trump ordered entry bans lifted for travelers from the U.K., Ireland, Brazil and much of Europe to go into effect Jan. 26, but the Biden administration will "strengthen public health measures around international travel in order to further mitigate the spread of COVID-19," Jen Psaki said. Biden will be inaugurated on Wednesday, Jan. 20 and Trump will no longer be president by the time the order is set to go into effect.

Dominion sends cease and desist letter to My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell

Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Dominion Voting Systems on Monday sent a cease and desist letter to My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell over his spread of misinformation related to the 2020 election.

Why it matters: Trump and several of his allies have pushed false conspiracy theories about the company, leading Dominion to take legal action. It's suing pro-Trump lawyer Sidney Powell for defamation and $1.3 billion in damages, and a Dominion employee has sued Trump himself, OANN and Newsmax.