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A border crosser wears a mask for protection. Photo: Paul Ratje/AFP via Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indefinitely extended its public health order on Tuesday, empowering border agents to quickly expel migrants who cross the border illegally.

Why it matters: The order will be reviewed every 30 days. Border agents have already used the authority to expel more than 20,000 migrants, including asylum seekers and children, in less than 2 months, according to DHS data.

  • The order will be in effect until CDC director Robert Redfield determines that the threat of coronavirus spreading from across southern or northern borders no longer poses a "serious danger" to public health.
  • Acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf said in a statement that the order "has been one of the most critical tools the Department has used to prevent the further spread of the virus."

Go deeper

Tony Pham tapped as acting head of ICE

Immigration and Customs Enforcement headquarters in D.C. Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) top legal adviser Tony Pham will be the agency's next top official, after current acting director Matthew Albence retires, according to an email sent to Department of Homeland Security employees Tuesday.

Between the lines: Pham and his family came to the U.S. as Vietnamese refugees in 1975 and became citizens 10 years later, according to his bio on DHS' website.

Updated Oct 16, 2020 - Health

U.S. coronavirus updates

Expand chart
Data: The COVID Tracking Project; Note: Does not include probable deaths from New York City; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The U.S. surpassed 8 million coronavirus cases on Friday, per Johns Hopkins data.

The big picture: Coronavirus infections jumped by almost 17% over the past week as the number of new cases across the country increased in 38 states and Washington, D.C., according to a seven-day average tracked by Axios.

NY declares state of emergency amid concerns over Omicron COVID variant

Governor Kathy Hochul makes an announcement about a new plan transforming Penn Station on Nov. 3, 2021. Photo: Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul on Friday declared a state of emergency amid rising COVID-19 cases and the newly-identified Omicron variant of the virus.

Driving the news: The declaration enables the state to acquire supplies to fight a potential surge in cases, increase hospital capacity and combat potential staff shortages, NBC's local affiliate reports.