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Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) speaks at a news conference at the U.S. Capitol on Sept. 21, 2021. Photo: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

House Democrats on Tuesday postponed their annual retreat scheduled for Feb. 9 to 11 due to the ongoing surge in COVID-19 cases, Axios has confirmed.

Driving the news: The decision is based on "guidance from the Office of Attending Physician," Democratic Conference Chair Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) wrote in a letter to lawmakers, Punchbowl News' Jake Sherman reports. Jeffries added that "the health and safety of the Members, their families and staff is our top priority."

  • "Our intention is to reschedule the Issues Conference shortly after President Joe Biden's first State of the Union Address in March, to the extent the public health landscape would permit such a gathering," Jeffries wrote in the letter.
  • In the meantime, House Democrats will hold a "family conversation and full-day virtual messaging summit" on Feb. 10 to "communicate our vision and accomplishments to the American people."
  • House Democrats held a virtual retreat for the first time ever in 2021, per Politico.

The big picture: The move comes as the House of Representatives has ramped up COVID precautions amid a surge in Omicron cases, Axios' Andrew Solender reports.

  • Capitol physician Brian Monahan urged offices to "adopt a maximal telework posture" and encouraged staff to wear KN95 masks instead of cloth or surgical ones, among other measures.

Go deeper: House ramps up COVID measures ahead of return

Go deeper

Dems frustrated with Biden’s Omicron response

Reps. Tim Ryan and Elissa Slotkin. Photos: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call (left); Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images

Fed-up Democratic lawmakers are prodding the Biden administration to do more to contain COVID-19.

Why it matters: The outreach reflects building pressure from constituents left confused and wary by shifting and conflicting guidance — a black eye for an administration that ran on its competence.

31 mins ago - Health

Student's death renews calls for schools to stock opioid overdose drug

Photo: Amy Davis/Baltimore Sun/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

A Connecticut student's death has renewed calls for schools to stock and administer naloxone, a drug that can quickly reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.

Why it matters: U.S. drug overdose fatalities reached six figures in a 12-month period for the first time in November, and synthetic or natural opioids were the cause of a majority of the overdoses.

32 mins ago - Sports

Olympians avoiding COVID at all costs ahead of Beijing Games

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

10 days out from the Olympics, athletes around the world are battening down the hatches in hopes of making it to Beijing COVID-free.

Why it matters: The Beijing bubble — a closed-loop system meant to shut off the outside world entirely — is the strictest ever created for a global sporting event.