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Sen. Mike Lee attends the Supreme Court confirmation hearing for Judge Amy Coney Barrett before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Oct. 12. Photo: Alex Edelman/Pool/Getty Images

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) attended the confirmation hearing for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett in person and gave his opening statement without a mask, a little more than a week after testing positive for the coronavirus.

Details: Lee told Hugh Hewitt on Monday he was cleared to attend the hearing in person from the Office of the Attending Physician. "I’ve gone through the appropriate number of days, and I’ve been keeping my temperature under control, and I’m no longer contagious," Lee said, explaining why he felt comfortable being in the committee room.

  • Lee was one of two Republicans on the committee to test positive for the virus after attending the Rose Garden ceremony at the White House for Barrett, which was a likely "superspreader event."
  • Many Democrats were participating in the hearing remotely.

What they're saying: "Based upon current CDC guidelines, you have met criteria to end COVID-19 isolation for those with mild to moderate disease," Brian Monahan, from the Office of the Attending Physician, said in a letter released by Lee's office.

  • "Specifically, it has been greater than 10 days since symptom onset, you have had no fever in absence of fever reducing medication for at least 24 hours, and your other symptoms have improved. The CDC does not recommend repeat SARS-CoV-2 PCR testing if these criteria are met."
  • Judiciary Chair Lindsey Graham said, "As to the hearing room, I doubt if there's any room in the country that's been given more attention and detail to make sure it is CDC compliant."

Go deeper

Jan 20, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Joe Biden's COVID-19 bubble

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

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."

Jan 19, 2021 - World

Biden will bring U.S. into COVAX vaccine initiative, Blinken says

Data: Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance; Map: Naema Ahmed/Axios

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.

Jan 19, 2021 - Health

U.S. surpasses 400,000 coronavirus deaths on Trump's final full day in office

Expand chart
Data: CSSE Johns Hopkins University; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

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.