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.
COVID-19 undercount problem" src="https://images.firstpost.com/wp-content/uploads/reuters/08-2020/11/2020-08-11T001331Z_1_LYNXNPEG7A00E_RTROPTP_2_HEALTH-CORONAVIRUS-CALIFORNIA.jpg" alt="Californias public health officer resigns after COVID19 undercount problem" width="300" height="225" />
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.
ATHENS (Reuters) - Greek police used teargas and water cannon to disperse people who had gathered in central Athens on Saturday to protest against mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations. More than 4,000 people rallied outside the Greek parliament for a third time this month to oppose mandatory inoculations for some workers, such as healthcare and nursing staff.
ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Two Turkish soldiers were killed and two were wounded in an attack on their armoured vehicle in northern Syria, and Turkish forces immediately launched retaliatory fire, Turkey's defence ministry said on Saturday. "Our punitive fire against terrorist positions is continuing," the statement on Twitter on said. It did not specify where the attack occurred, but media reports said it was in the al-Bab area.
By Marcelo Rochabrun SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Protesters took to the streets in several Brazilian cities on Saturday to demand the impeachment of far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, whose popularity has fallen in recent weeks amid corruption scandals against the backdrop of the pandemic. This week, news broke that Brazil's defense ministry told congressional leadership that next year's elections would not take place without amending the country's electronic voting system to include a paper trail of each vote. Bolsonaro has suggested several times without evidence that the current system is prone to fraud, allegations that Brazil's government has denied