In a significant setback for New Zealand, health officials reported on Sunday three new locally acquired COVID-19 cases in a family of three—the isolated country’s first since late January.
Health authorities are still working to find out how the couple and their daughter in Auckland contracted the virus and “whether COVID-19 could be out there in the community … or whether this is the start of what could be a chain of transmission.”
The mother works for an airline catering company, LSG Sky Chefs, where she mostly works in the laundry facilities.
Genomic testing is underway to see if the family’s infection is linked to any variants.
Gov. Cuomo Panned on Nursing Homes
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo wrote a book on managing the CCP virus crisis. Now he faces intensifying accusations that he covered up the true death toll of the pandemic on nursing home residents, attacks that challenge his reputation for straight-shooting competency and could cloud his political future.
The Cuomo administration for months dramatically underreported the statewide number of COVID-19 deaths among long-term care residents. It is now nearly 15,000, up from the 8,500 previously disclosed.
Iran Sees Risk of Fourth Wave Fed by Mutant
Iran’s health minister warned on Saturday of a fourth CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus surge with the possible spread of a mutated virus in the worst-hit country in the Middle East.
“Hard days are beginning for us and you must prepare to fight the most uncontrollable mutated virus which is unfortunately infecting the country,” health minister Saeed Namaki told heads of medical colleges in a meeting carried live on state TV.
France Reports 21,231 New Cases Over 24 Hours
France reported 21,231 new confirmed CCP virus cases on Saturday, slightly up from 20,701 on Friday.
The number of people in France who have died from COVID-19 infections rose by 199 to 81,647—the seventh-highest death toll globally—versus 320 on Friday.
Biden: Need to ‘Move Fast’ to Reopen Schools
Members of Congress and other officials need to “move fast” to reopen schools, President Joe Biden said Friday.
In a statement after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released official reopening guidance, Biden said his goal of reopening most K-8 schools by the end of his first 100 days in office can only be done if Congress approves his $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package.
China Refused to Provide Raw Data on Early Cases
China refused to give raw data on early CCP virus cases to a World Health Organization-led team probing the origins of the pandemic, one of the team’s investigators said, potentially complicating efforts to understand how the outbreak began.
The team had requested raw patient data on 174 cases that China had identified from the early phase of the outbreak in the city of Wuhan in December 2019, as well as other cases, but were only provided with a summary, said Dominic Dwyer, an Australian infectious diseases expert who is a member of the team.
In-person Schooling Can Be Done Safely: CDC
The nation’s top public health agency said Friday that in-person schooling can resume safely with masks, social distancing, and other strategies, adding that vaccinating teachers is not a prerequisite for reopening.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released its long-awaited road map for getting students back to classrooms. But the agency’s guidance is just that—it cannot force schools to reopen, and CDC officials were careful to say they are not calling for a mandate that all U.S. schools be reopened.
Governors, Mayors Need $350 Billion: Biden
President Joe Biden met with a bipartisan group of governors and mayors at the White House on Friday as part of his push to give financial relief from the CCP virus pandemic to state and local governments—a clear source of division with Republican lawmakers who view the spending as wasteful.
As part of a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 package, Biden wants to send $350 billion to state and local governments and tribal governments. Republicans in Congress have largely objected to this initiative and stressed that some past aid to state and local governments remains unspent and revenues have rebounded after slumping when the CCP virus first hit.
Vaccine to Be Tested in Children as Young as Six
Children as young as six will be part of a new COVID-19 vaccine trial, the University of Oxford announced Saturday.
“Building on previous trials of the vaccine, which have shown that it is safe, produces strong immune system responses and has high efficacy in all adults, this trial will assess if children and young adults aged 6–17 years make a good immune response with the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine,” the university said in a statement.
England’s Infection Rate Continues to Drop
The reproduction (R) number of the CCP virus, which causes the disease COVID-19, in the UK has fallen below 1.0 for the first time since last July, and the infection rate in England continues to drop, according to official figures.
The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) on Friday revised the UK’s R number to between 0.7 and 0.9, the same level in June and July. It means on average every 10 people infected with the CCP virus will infect between 7 and 9 other people.
Lilly Zhou, Zachary Stieber, The Associated Press, and Reuters contributed to this report.