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Photo: Tim Boyle/Getty Images

Delta will partner with the CDC to launch a contact tracing program for international travelers starting on Dec. 15, the airline announced Thursday.

Why it matters: It will become the first major U.S. airline to collect information to track the spread of COVID-19. Customers traveling to the U.S. — returning or visiting — will be asked to volunteer their names, addresses, email addresses, and two phone numbers.

  • Delta will give the information to the CDC via Customs and Border Protection.
  • "This will give the CDC access to the data in moments, dramatically decreasing the time it takes to notify affected customers via local health departments," the news release states.

Contact tracers currently have to ask airlines for passenger manifests to track down people seated around the person who carried the virus. They then send that information to local health departments for follow-up.

  • Delta says the new program will streamline that process.

What they're saying: Independent studies have shown that the many layers of protection Delta has already put in place are effectively minimizing the risk of COVID-19 transmission, and contact tracing adds one more important layer to our efforts to ensure safety throughout travel,” said Bill Lentsch, Delta’s Chief Customer Experience Officer, in the news release.

  • “We want customers to feel safe when they return to travel, and this voluntary program is another way we can provide additional reassurance to customers and employees alike.”  

Go deeper

20 hours ago - Health

Biden admin to boost COVID vaccine delivery to states for at least 3 weeks

Vice President Harris receives her second COVID-19 vaccine dose in Bethesda, Maryland, on Jan. 26. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

The Biden administration plans to increase its COVID-19 vaccine shipments to states and tribes from 8.6 million doses per week to 10 million for at least the next three weeks, as part of an effort to vaccinate the majority of the U.S. population by the end of this summer.

Why it matters: Hospitals in states across the U.S. say they are running out of vaccines and the country's death toll is sharply rising.

Scammers have stolen over $130 million in coronavirus-related schemes

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Over 100,000 Americans have collectively reported roughly $132 million in fraud losses from scams related to the coronavirus and government stimulus checks since the March start of the pandemic, according to the Federal Trade Commission.

Why it matters: Coronavirus-related fraud complaints peaked in May when the IRS began sending its first round of stimulus checks. Congress recently proposed a second round of stimulus.

Jan 26, 2021 - Health

U.K. surpasses 100,000 COVID-19 deaths

Photo: Owen Humphreys/PA Images via Getty Images

The U.K. on Tuesday surpassed 100,000 coronavirus deaths almost a year after the first two cases were reported in the country, according to government figures.

Why it matters: It is the first European country and fifth country in the world to reach the threshold. The country reported 100,162 deaths on Tuesday.

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