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Members of the U.S. National Guard in D.C. on June 7. Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

Members of the District of Columbia National Guard that responded to protests over the death of George Floyd have tested positive for the coronavirus, a National Guard spokesperson confirmed to McClatchy DC on Tuesday.

The big picture: 1,300 D.C. National Guard members were ordered to the district as the nation's capital was rocked by violent protests on May 31 that have since turned largely peaceful. A Guard spokesperson did not disclose how many positive tests the unit has recorded.

What they're saying: “We can confirm that we have had COVID-19 positive tests with the DCNG,” said D.C. National Guard spokesperson Air Force Lt. Col. Brooke Davis, according to McClatchy.

  • "The safety and security of our personnel is always a concern, especially in light of the COVID-19 era."

By the numbers: The D.C. National Guard was supported by approximately 3,900 additional National Guardsmen from Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Maryland, Missouri, Mississippi, New Jersey, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee and Utah.

What to watch: Almost all National Guard units are expected to leave the city by Wednesday, but members who have tested positive for the coronavirus will be held back until they are no longer sick or contagious.

  • Many health officials, including Anthony Fauci, fear that the Floyd protests could result in new coronavirus outbreaks due to the close proximity of demonstrators and law enforcement officials.

Go deeper: Protesters fear the spread of coronavirus

Go deeper

Updated Sep 16, 2020 - Health

Top HHS spokesperson takes leave of absence after accusing scientists of "sedition"

Michael Caputo in Washington, D.C. in May 2018. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Department of Health and Human Services spokesperson Michael Caputo is taking a 60 day leave of absence "to focus on his health and the well-being of his family," the agency said in a statement on Wednesday.

Driving the news: Caputo baselessly accused career scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in a Facebook livestream on Sunday of gathering a "resistance unit" for "sedition" against President Trump, the New York Times reported on Tuesday. He apologized to staff on Tuesday, according to Politico.

Coronavirus cases increase in 17 states

Expand chart
Data: The COVID Tracking Project, state health departments; Map: Andrew Witherspoon, Sara Wise/Axios

Coronavirus infections ticked up slightly over the past week, thanks to scattered outbreaks in every region of the country.

Where it stands: The U.S. has been making halting, uneven progress against the virus since August. Overall, we're moving in the right direction, but we're often taking two steps forward and one step back.

Updated 23 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Health: Omicron fuels the case for COVID boosters — Omicron variant lifts Moderna's stock price — CDC strengthens COVID booster recommendation.
  2. Politics: Biden says fight against Omicron won't include "shutdowns or lockdowns."
  3. States: Federal court blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for health workers in 10 states — NYC urges masks indoors "at all times" regardless of vaccination status — New York declares state of emergency amid concerns over Omicron.
  4. World: Omicron adds urgency to vaccinating worldWHO warns against travel bans on southern African countries — First North American Omicron cases identified in Canada.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.