Seniors are dropping out of an ongoing coronavirus vaccine trial, now that more of them are eligible for vaccination, the Washington Post reports.
The big picture: Convincing people who are eligible for vaccines to instead participate in a trial — where they might receive a placebo — is an uphill battle.
Americans are still traveling to other countries for medical procedures, despite safety concerns and travel restrictions brought on by the pandemic, The New York Times reports.
Why it matters: Medical tourism took a hit last year, but not a fatal one, especially after the pandemic cost millions of Americans their jobs and their health insurance.
President-elect Biden will order the U.S. to rejoin the World Health Organization, ceasing a withdrawal process the Trump administration had started.
Why it matters: Biden is expected to undo scores of Trump administration policies early in his term. President Trump notified the United Nations in July 2020 of his administration's intent to withdraw from the organization — despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Joe Biden will take office today facing a challenge none of his modern predecessors have had to reckon with — his legacy will depend largely on how well he handles a once-in-a-century pandemic that's already raging out of control.
The big picture: Public health tends to be relatively apolitical and non-controversial. The limelight in health care politics typically belongs instead to debates over costs and coverage. But that will all change for the Biden administration.
Cities across the U.S. lit up to honor Americans killed by the pandemic, as President-elect Joe Biden led a national mourning during a sunset ceremony in Washington, D.C., on the eve of his inauguration.
The big picture: Standing at the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool, surrounded by 400 lights to commemorate lives lost to COVID-19, Biden said: "To heal, we must remember." From New York City to Miami, city buildings were illuminated as part of this "national moment of unity," as the U.S. coronavirus death toll surpassed 400,000.
It's not just family members of President-elect Joe Biden or Vice President-elect Kamala Harris with an early optics problem.
What's happening: Andy Slavitt, an incoming White House adviser on the COVID-19 response team, has also cut ties with a major brand sponsor in anticipation of joining the Biden administration.
The incoming administration is planning extraordinary steps to protect its most prized commodity, Joe Biden, including requiring daily employee COVID tests and N95 masks at all times, according to new guidance sent to some incoming employees Tuesday.
Why it matters: The president-elect is 78 years old and therefore a high risk for the virus and its worst effects, despite having received the vaccine. While President Trump's team was nonchalant about COVID protocols — leading to several super-spreader episodes — the new rules will apply to all White House aides in "high proximity to principals."
Rep. Raul Ruiz (D-Calif.) tweeted Tuesday that he has tested positive for the coronavirus.
Why it matters: He is the latest member of Congress to contract the disease since pro-Trump rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, forcing lawmakers to lock down in close quarters. Some lawmakers have criticized colleagues for refusing to wear masks while in lockdown.
Secretary of State designate Tony Blinken announced in a confirmation hearing on Tuesday that President-elect Biden would bring the U.S. into the COVAX initiative — the global effort from the World Health Organization and other groups to ensure that every country has access to COVID-19 vaccines.
Why it matters: Virtually the entire world has signed onto COVAX, apart from the U.S. and Russia. It's expected to be the only source of vaccines for some of the world's poorest countries, and it needs additional funding to fulfill its goal of vaccinating at least 20% of the population in every country by the end of 2021.
Over 400,000 people have died from the coronavirus in the U.S. as of Tuesday, per Johns Hopkins data.
Why it matters: It only took a little over a month for the U.S. to reach this mass casualty after 300,000 COVID deaths were reported last month. That's over 100,000 fatalities in 36 days.