A change of plans. Incoming White House press secretary Jen Psaki tweeted on Monday night that the incoming Biden administration will reverse President Donald Trump's order to lift COVID-19 related travel restrictions. Trump ordered entry bans lifted for travelers from the U.K., Ireland, Brazil and much of Europe to go into effect January 26. “We plan to strengthen public health measures around international travel in order to further mitigate the spread of COVID-19,” Psaki tweeted.
Making history. President-elect Joe Biden has nominated Pennsylvania Health Secretary Rachel Levine to serve as assistant secretary for health at the Department of Health and Human Services. Levine would be the first openly transgender federal official to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate. Biden has pledged to assemble the most diverse Cabinet in U.S. history in order to reflect the country's demographics. Levine has helped lead Pennsylvania's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Field of Flags. On Monday night, 200,000 flags were placed at the National Mall. They represent the American people who cannot travel to the inauguration due to the COVID-19 pandemic and extraordinary security precautions. The flags also represent all of the states and U.S. territories, and they also are meant to honor the 400,000 Americans who will have died from COVID-19 by the time Biden is sworn in. The Presidential Inaugural Committee highlighted the "Field of Flags" with 56 pillars of light — one for each of the 50 states and six U.S. territories — beamed into the air for 46 seconds, a reference to Biden becoming the 46th U.S. president.
How brands are helping to boost COVID-19 vaccinations. Washington state has established a “public private partnership” between the health department and other business, health care and labor leaders, dubbed the "Washington State Vaccine Command and Coordination Center." Kaiser Permanente will be responsible for helping plan for mass vaccination clinics, Starbucks will help with operational efficiency, Microsoft will provide technology expertise and partner with local hospitals to set up vaccine administrations on their campus and provide support staff and Costco will help with vaccine delivery by pharmacies.
Retailers are dropping MyPillow products from their stores. MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell told media outlets that Bed Bath and Beyond, Kohl's, Wayfair and HEB have all dropped MyPillow due to public pressure on social media he claimed is being perpetrated by "leftist groups." Additionally, Dominion Voting Systems on Monday sent a cease and desist letter to Lindell over his spread of misinformation related to the 2020 election.