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Several of the jails on Rikers Island as seen from a departing domestic flight leaving nearby Laguardia Airport on Nov. 7, 2019 in Queens, New York. Photo: Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images

Ross MacDonald, the chief medical officer for Correctional Health Services in New York, has called on prosecutors and judges to enable prisoners to be released from the state's jails in response to the novel coronavirus outbreak.

The big picture: MacDonald made the call in a series of tweets late Wednesday — a day after a New York City Department of Correction officer stationed on Rikers Island died of the virus, per NBC News. A prisoner on the island tested positive for COVID-19 Wednesday, NY Mag notes. NYC Department of Correction suspended all in-person visits to its prisons from Wednesday.

A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

Go deeper

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse under scrutiny for elite club affiliations

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse during a Senate hearing on Capitol Hill in February. Photo: Susan Walsh-Pool/Getty Image

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) said in a statement Wednesday that he is a member of an exclusive Rhode Island sailing club that lacks diversity.

Why it matters: Whitehouse has repeatedly spoken out against systemic racism and come under scrutiny this week for his family's affiliation with elite clubs. This is the second such club accused of lacking diversity that the senator has been linked to in recent days

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Border Democrats want migrants vaccinated

Rep. Filemon Vela (D-Tex.) Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Some Democrats representing border districts want President Biden to vaccinate migrants crossing into the U.S. — especially if he lifts public health restrictions that have prevented them from claiming asylum on American soil.

Why it matters: Inoculating migrants treads a fine line of protecting the U.S. population while possibly incentivizing more migration with the offer of free COVID-19 vaccines. Republicans are likely to pounce on that.

3 hours ago - World

State Dept. fears Chinese threats to labor auditors

A space for media is designated by Chinese authorities near a mosque in the Xinjiang region of China. Photo: Greg Baker/AFP via Getty Images

The State Department is concerned organizations performing supply-chain audits in China are coming under pressure from Chinese authorities.

Why it matters: U.S. law prohibits importing products made through forced labor, but it's becoming increasingly difficult to verify whether products from China are tainted.