California's public health officer resigns after COVID-19 undercount problem
By Steve Gorman (Reuters) - California's top public health officer has resigned following data-collection failures that led to an undercount of coronavirus cases as the state was reporting a downward trend in COVID-19 infections, Governor Gavin Newsom said on Monday. Dr. Sonia Angell offered in a letter to step down as the director of the Department of Public Health over the weekend, and 'I accepted her resignation,' Newsom told a news conference in Sacramento, the state capital.
By Steve Gorman
(Reuters) - California's top public health officer has resigned following data-collection failures that led to an undercount of coronavirus cases as the state was reporting a downward trend in COVID-19 infections, Governor Gavin Newsom said on Monday.
Dr. Sonia Angell offered in a letter to step down as the director of the Department of Public Health over the weekend, and "I accepted her resignation," Newsom told a news conference in Sacramento, the state capital.
Calling it a "personnel" issue, Newsom declined to say directly whether the departure of Angell less than a year into her tenure was related to computer problems that caused nearly 300,000 COVID-19 test results to go temporarily unprocessed.
When pressed by reporters, the governor said, "We all have a role and responsibility as it relates to what happens within our respective departments," adding, "technology is always stubborn and challenging."
The Los Angeles Times reported Angell notified department staff of her resignation in an internal email on Sunday.
The dual roles she had filled, as director of the Public Health Department and as the state's chief public health officer, will now be shared by two immediate successors.
California Health Care Foundation executive Sandra Shewry was named acting Public Health Department head, while Dr. Erica Pan, who was public health officer for Alameda County, was appointed acting statewide health officer.
The backlog of 295,000 test results was cleared over the weekend, and the data is now available to be processed by health authorities at the local level before being added to the statewide COVID-19 case file, the governor said.
Despite confusion created by the lapse, Newsom said restoring the data in question would not alter the favorable trend seen in California's coronavirus trajectory in recent weeks.
He stressed that other key metrics unaffected by technical glitches were still showing improvement, including COVID-19 hospitalizations, intensive care unit admissions and the percentage of diagnostic tests coming back positive.
California had recorded 561,006 confirmed COVID-19 infections and 10,378 deaths as of Sunday, among its 40 million residents.
(Reporting and writing by Steve Gorman in Los Angeles; Additional reporting by Aishwarya Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Kevin Liffey and Tom Brown)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.