Nevada health officials have confirmed the state’s first known case of a coronavirus variant that was originally identified in South Africa.
The Nevada State Public Health Laboratory said Thursday the mutated version of the virus was confirmed a day earlier in a sample traced to a person who traveled from South Africa and began showing symptoms of COVID-19 when arriving in Reno.
Experts say it’s another reason Nevadans need to not let their guard down as the state relaxes restrictions on businesses and public gatherings.
Some Federal Courthouses in New York Require Double-Masking for Entry
Anyone seeking to enter federal buildings in some New York areas is now required to wear two masks or a “properly fitted” FDA-authorized KN95 mask, according to a new policy.
“You are required to wear either: (i) one disposable mask underneath a cloth mask with the edges of the inner mask pushed against your face; or (ii) a properly fitted, FDA-authorized KN95 (or N95) mask,” according to a public memo (pdf) published last week.
“Gaiters, bandannas, or masks with valves/vents are not acceptable face coverings. If you do not have the approved mask(s), a screener will provide one. No one will be admitted without the proper mask(s).”
GOP Senators Call for Investigation of Cuomo’s ‘Potentially Criminal’ Actions
Nine Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee are calling on the panel’s chairman, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) to convene public hearings on New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s “potentially criminal” placing of CCP virus patients in nursing homes.
The call for hearings follows media reports that one of Cuomo’s top aides, Melissa DeRosa, admitted to New York state legislators that the governor and his staff purposely withheld information about CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus patients sent to nursing homes, where the disease rapidly spread to the aging residents of the facilities.
Africa Deaths Near 100,000 After Second Wave
Africa’s total reported death toll from the CCP virus was approaching 100,000 on Thursday, a fraction of those reported on other continents, but rising fast as a second wave of infections overwhelms hospitals.
The continent’s reported deaths, at 99,800, compare favorably with North America, which has registered more than half a million, and Europe, which is approaching 900,000, a Reuters tally shows.
UK Study Reports Strong Decline in Infections
CCP virus infections in England have fallen significantly since January, according to a study data published on Thursday.
Imperial College London’s latest REACT-1 study report found that CCP virus infections, which cause the disease COVID-19, fell by more than two-thirds from the last report in January.
Turkey to Start Gradual Normalization in March: Erdogan
Turkey will begin a gradual return to normal life on a province-by-province basis from March, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday, adding that nationwide weekend COVID-19 lockdowns would be lifted in some provinces based on infection rates.
Turkey imposed curfews, weekend lockdowns, and other curbs in December in the face of rising cases. It plans to reopen schools nationwide on March 1, and its vaccination programme has so far administered shots to nearly 5.7 million people using shots developed by China’s Sinovac Biotech Ltd.
US Seizes Over 10 Million Phony N95 Masks
Federal agents have seized more than 10 million fake 3M brand N95 masks in recent weeks, the result of an ongoing investigation into counterfeits sold in at least five states to hospitals, medical facilities, and government agencies.
The most recent seizures occurred Wednesday when Homeland Security agents intercepted hundreds of thousands of counterfeit 3M masks in an East Coast warehouse that were set to be distributed, officials said.
One-Third of Troops Turning Down Vaccine: Pentagon
About one-third of U.S. military troops have turned down the vaccine for the CCP virus, said the Pentagon on Wednesday.
Maj. Gen. Jeff Taliaferro, a top official in the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the military has a two-thirds acceptance rate for the CCP virus vaccine.
“Our initial look—and this is of course very early data—is acceptance rates are somewhere in the two-thirds territory,” Taliaferro said in a hearing. “And of course, it varies by different groups.”
UK Variant Not Causing Worse Illness in Children
The CCP virus variant first identified in the UK does not cause more severe disease in children than variants circulating earlier in 2020, new data suggest.
Doctors at King’s College Hospital in London compared 20 children hospitalized for COVID-19 during the pandemic’s first wave and 60 hospitalized during the second wave, when most infections were caused by the new variant.
Mark Tapscott, Lorenz Duchamps, Alexander Zhang, Jack Phillips, The Associated Press, and Reuters contributed to this report.