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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.

Off the Rails

Episode 7: Trump turns on Pence

Photo illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photos: Elijah Nouvelage, Alex Wong/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. Axios takes you inside the collapse of a president with a special series.

Episode 7: Trump turns on Pence. Trump believes the vice president can solve all his problems by simply refusing to certify the Electoral College results. It's a simple test of loyalty: Trump or the U.S. Constitution.

"The end is coming, Donald."

The male voice in the TV ad boomed through the White House residence during "Fox & Friends" commercial breaks. Over and over and over. "The end is coming, Donald. ... On Jan. 6, Mike Pence will put the nail in your political coffin."

Big Tech's post-riot reckoning

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

The Capitol insurrection means the anti-tech talk in Washington is more likely to lead to action, since it's ever clearer that the attack was planned, at least in part, on social media.

Why it matters: The big platforms may have hoped they'd move to D.C.'s back burner, with the Hill focused on the Biden agenda and the pandemic out of control. But now, there'll be no escaping harsh scrutiny.

You’ve caught up. Now what?

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