Jae C. Hong / AP

Coronavirus Roundup: Considerations for Feds’ Return to Offices; White House Uses Dating Apps to Boost Vaccinations 

There's a lot to keep track of. Here’s today’s list of news updates and stories you may have missed.

The White House announced on Friday it partnered with dating apps, such as Bumble, Tinder, Hinge, Match, OkCupid, BLK, Chispa, Plenty of Fish, and Badoo, to encourage coronavirus vaccinations. “These dating apps will now allow vaccinated people to display badges which show their vaccination status, filter specifically to see only people who are vaccinated, and offer premium content—details of which I cannot get into, but apparently, they include things like boosts and super swipes,” Andy Slavitt, White House senior coronavirus adviser, said during a briefing on Friday. “The apps will also help people locate places to get vaccinated.” This is one of the many partnerships the White House has launched to encourage individuals to get vaccinated and meet people where they are. Here are some of the other recent headlines you might have missed. 

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said during the briefing on Friday the White House is working to implement the new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for vaccinated individuals, which “includes welcoming back and having a full briefing room very soon” and “having more events with more people and, certainly, continuing to open the White House up—the People's House—up to the American public.” 

The CDC is looking into a small number of reports of teenagers and young adults who experienced heart problems, possibly as a result of getting the vaccine, The New York Times reported on Saturday. “The CDC’s review of the reports is in the early stages, and the agency has yet to determine whether there is any evidence that the vaccines caused the heart condition,” said the report. “The agency has posted guidance on its website urging doctors and clinicians to be alert to unusual heart symptoms among young people who had just received their shots.”

Federal News Network reported on Monday about the complications and considerations with federal employees returning to offices. “The Safer Federal Workforce Task Force, led by the White House COVID-19 response team, the Office of Personnel Management and the General Services Administration, did, as promised, issue a few answers to frequently-asked-questions about the new mask guidelines,” said the report. “But they largely reiterate what [the Office of Management and Budget] and other agencies have already said, and they don’t explain how agencies are supposed to enforce the new mask guidelines or handle sticky situations where someone chooses to not comply.” Agencies' handling of reopenings “could be a make-or-break moment for some feds, especially those close to or at retirement age,” the report said. 

The Veterans Affairs Department outlined on Monday its virtual events for Memorial Day as well as the national cemeteries’ schedules. “Veterans Affairs national cemeteries will allow mass flag placements across the U.S. to commemorate Memorial Day,” said the department. “This is one of many events and ceremonies scheduled this year and consistent with the most recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance.” 

The Internal Revenue Service announced on Monday that its 2021 Virtual IRS Nationwide Tax Forum would take place over five weeks starting on July 20. “Held each summer for 30 years, the IRS Nationwide Tax Forums are the IRS’s marquee outreach event to the tax professional community” and “the IRS decided once again to provide these events in a virtual format in an abundance of caution and for the safety of the tax professional community,” said the IRS in a press release. “The virtual format allows experts from the IRS and its association partners to educate and update the tax professional community on tax law, cybersecurity, ethics and other topics. Registering and attending these virtual seminars will allow many to fully satisfy their annual continuing education requirements.” 

Help us understand the situation better. Are you a federal employee, contractor or military member with information, concerns, etc. about how your agency is handling the coronavirus? Email us at newstips@govexec.com.

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