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White House press secretary Jen Psaki and Bharat Ramamurti, deputy director of the National Economic Council, adjust their masks in the West Wing. Photo: Yuri Gripas/Abaca/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Biden administration issued new internal guidance Monday saying it would reduce daily coronavirus testing for White House staff to once a week, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: Now that a majority of officials working on the 18-acre complex have been vaccinated, the administration is relaxing some of its coronavirus restrictions — a step closer to normalcy.

Flashback: Unlike during the Trump administration — which had a lackadaisical attitude, sparking COVID-19 outbreaks in the West Wing and after a Rose Garden event — the Biden administration created a bubble around the president during the 2020 campaign that continued through his arrival in the Oval Office.

  • President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris were vaccinated prior to being inaugurated.
  • The White House reduced its West Wing staff count, required COVID tests for the employees allowed inside, as well as the routine wearing of N95 masks at all times and social distancing.
  • A week into the job, Biden's medical team had already administered the coronavirus vaccine to several hundred staffers — with the goal of vaccinating all in-person staff within the first few weeks, as Axios first reported.

White House spokesperson Kevin Munoz said the "White House maintains strong COVID-19-related protocols" like mask wearing and social distancing in addition to testing.

  • "Our testing protocol is informed by a range of factors, including an employee’s vaccination status, and is only one of a host of measures in place to mitigate risk in the workplace," Munoz said.

Go deeper

Oath Keepers leader denied bail on Capitol riot sedition charge

Oath Keepers co-founder Elmer Stewart Rhodes. Photo: Susan Walsh/AP

A federal judge ordered Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes to remain jailed Wednesday until trial on charges stemming from the Capitol riot.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Kimberly Priest Johnson e in the t figure charged in the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection had access to weapons and his alleged "continued advocacy for violence against the federal government" gave credence to prosecutors' view that, if released, Rhodes could endanger others.

GOP to use Supreme Court fight to target vulnerable Dems

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Conservatives know they're unlikely to stop President Biden from filling a Supreme Court vacancy, but they plan to target Senate Democrats who face competitive re-election fights and are all but certain to vote for the successor to Justice Stephen Breyer.

Between the lines: The general strategy will be to tie those Democrats to positions seen as political liabilities in states like Arizona, Georgia and New Hampshire, where incumbents are seeking re-election this year, an operative briefed on early strategy talks told Axios.

5 hours ago - World

U.S. and NATO answer Putin in writing while bracing for Ukraine invasion

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg. Photo: Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency via Getty

The U.S. and NATO provided Russia with written proposals on Wednesday to advance a "diplomatic path forward," even as they warned that Russia could invade Ukraine within days.

Why it matters: This is a delicate diplomatic balancing act. The U.S. and NATO want to show they're serious about diplomacy but unwilling to compromise on "core principles" — all without providing Vladimir Putin with an additional pretext for escalation.