Los Angeles County officials said Saturday they had detected the county's first case of the highly transmissible coronavirus variant first found in the United Kingdom.
Why it matters: The announcement came as L.A. became the first county to surpass 1 million COVID-19 cases, straining the area's already overwhelmed health care system.
Rep. Lou Correa (D-Calif.) announced on Saturday that he has tested positive for the coronavirus.
Why it matters: Correa is the latest Democratic lawmaker to share his positive test results after last week's deadly Capitol riot. Correa did not shelter in the designated safe zone with his congressional colleagues during the siege, per a spokesperson, instead staying outside to help Capitol Police.
China on Saturday finished a five-day construction project on a 1,500-room hospital as clusters of COVID-19 spread in Beijing and the surrounding provinces.
The state of play: The facility is the one of six hospitals with a total of 6,500 rooms in the works in Nangong, the Xinhua News Agency said Saturday per AP reporting. They are all expected to be completed next week.
India on Saturday started inoculating medical workers, beginning the country's massive coronavirus vaccination campaign to address the world's second-largest outbreak.
The state of play: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has pledged to vaccinate 300 million health care and frontline workers by July. But it could take years to vaccinate the nation's 1.3 billion people, per NPR.
Even as government websites crash under the pressure of demand for the COVID-19 vaccine, surveys show many Americans — including health care workers — still have their doubts.
Why it matters: Unless lingering skepticism about the COVID-19 vaccine is dispelled, achieving herd immunity will be a challenge — even with improved distribution.
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said in a resignation letter delivered to President Trump this week that the "actions and rhetoric" after the election and especially during last week's siege on the Capitol "threaten to tarnish" the outgoing administration's legacy, Axios confirmed Friday.
Between the lines: Azar is leaving the same day President-elect Joe Biden takes office, so his resignation effectively changes nothing. But he joins a list of other top Trump aides and officials who have condemned the president after last week's deadly riot.
Outgoing CDC director Robert Redfield told NPR on Friday that he was proud of the agency's response to the coronavirus pandemic and that he disagreed with his incoming successor's conclusion that the "gold standard for the nation's public health — has been tarnished."
Why it matters: The CDC has faced sharp criticism throughout its nearly year-long response to the coronavirus pandemic over several issues, including some of its messaging and guidance, which has been described as inconsistent and confusing.
President-elect Joe Biden promised to invoke the Defense Production Act to increase vaccine manufacturing, as he outlined a five-point plan to administer 100 million COVID-19 vaccinations in the first months of his presidency.
Why it matters: With the Center for Disease Control and Prevention warning of a more contagious variant of the coronavirus, Biden is trying to establish how he’ll approach the pandemic differently than President Trump.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned Friday that the highly transmissible coronavirus variant first discovered in the U.K. will likely become the dominant strain in the U.S. this March if more steps aren't taken to mitigate the spread.
The state of play: Only about 76 people in a dozen states have been diagnosed with the the B.1.1.7 variant so far, according to the CDC, but experts warn there are likely more undetected cases. Although the variant is more contagious, it does not appear to be resistant to existing vaccines or cause more severe symptoms.
New variants of the coronavirus circulating globally appear to increase transmission and are being closely monitored by scientists.
Driving the news: The highly contagious variant B.1.1.7 originally detected in the U.K. could become the dominant strain in the U.S. by March if no measures are taken to control the spread of the virus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday.