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Photo: Leon Neal/Getty Images

The United Kingdom has hired 17,200 people to help track down individuals who have been in close contact with people who tested positive for the coronavirus, government minister Michael Gove told the BBC Sunday.

Why it matters: The government has almost reached its goal of recruiting 18,000 contact tracers for a testing and tracking program, which it hopes to deploy next month when some shops and schools may slowly begin to reopen.

The big picture: Contact tracing is widely believed to be a must-have for reopening parts of the economy while limiting the death toll. Most countries use a combination of cellphone apps and human contact tracers to track down everyone who came into contact with an infected patient.

  • One of the biggest vulnerabilities of the strategy, however, is that it relies on public buy-in — something that is far from guaranteed, especially in the U.S.
  • In a best-case scenario, just half of Americans say they would participate in a voluntary coronavirus contact tracing program tracked with cellphones, according to the Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

GOP Sen. Bill Cassidy tests positive for coronavirus

Sen. Bill Cassidy. Photo: Toni L. Sandys-Pool/Getty Images

Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) said Thursday that he tested positive for the coronavirus, and is "strictly following the direction of our medical experts" by quarantining, local ABC affiliate WBRZ reports.

The big picture: Cassidy is the second senator to test positive, following Rand Paul (R-Ky.) in March. Cassidy said after being notified Wednesday night that he was exposed to someone with the virus, he was tested and plans to notify all those he came in contact with since.

Updated 13 hours ago - Sports

The potential GOAT of chess faces intriguing challenger

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The World Chess Championship between Norway's Magnus Carlsen and Russia's Ian Nepomniachtchi began on Friday, 1,094 days after Carlsen won his fourth consecutive title.

Why it matters: During the long, COVID-fueled layoff, chess entered a new era, and with the championship finally here, the age-old game is ready for its close-up.

Department of Interior proposes raising cost of drilling on public lands

A horizontal drilling rig and a pump jack sit on federal land in Lea County, New Mexico. Photo: Callaghan O'Hare/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Oil and gas companies should pay more to drill on federal lands and waters, the Department of the Interior argued in a report released Friday, saying that the current rates were "outdated."

Driving the news: The Department of Interior report said that the federal government's oil and gas leasing and permitting program "fails to provide a fair return to taxpayers, even before factoring in the resulting climate-related costs that must be borne by taxpayers."

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