New York announced three more cases of the omicron variant of the coronavirus Saturday, bringing the number of state cases linked to the new variant to eight.
The number of states finding the variant is increasing as well, with Massachusetts announcing its first case Saturday, a day after New Jersey, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Maryland reported their first confirmed cases. Missouri reported its first presumed case Friday.
The variant also has been detected in Nebraska, Minnesota, California, Hawaii, Colorado and Utah.
In New York, seven of the cases have been found in New York City.
Man tries to use fake arm for shot
A dentist in Italy faces possible criminal charges after trying to receive a coronavirus vaccine in a fake arm made of silicone.
A nurse in the northern city of Biella, Filippa Bua, said she could tell right away that something was off when a man presented the phony limb for a shot Thursday.
She initially thought the 57-year-old man was an amputee and had mistakenly offered the wrong arm. She lifted his shirt and saw a silicone arm. He had already been suspended from work because of his refusal to get vaccinated, which Italy requires for medical workers.
Rio opts to cancel New Year's party
Rio de Janeiro on Saturday canceled its New Year's Eve party due to renewed COVID-19 fears. So far, the Ministry of Health has confirmed five omicron cases in Brazil.
Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes had previously promised the biggest New Year's Eve party ever, with multiple fireworks displays and artists performing on a dozen stages across the city. He said there is no decision about Carnival taking place in March.
The yearly celebration on Copacabana beach has in the past gathered more than 1 million locals and tourists.
Brazil president links COVID, AIDS
A justice of Brazil's top court ordered Friday that President Jair Bolsonaro be investigated for comments linking COVID-19 vaccines to AIDS – an assertion rejected by doctors and scientists.
Bolsonaro said in an Oct. 24 broadcast that “official reports from the U.K. government suggest that fully vaccinated people ... are developing acquired immunodeficiency syndrome much faster than anticipated.”
The Brazilian president, who remains unvaccinated and has frequently pushed against mandates, argued he was merely quoting an article in the magazine Exame.
Over 610,000 people have died of COVID-19 in Brazil, second only to the U.S.
Probe sought of UK leader parties
Britain's opposition Labour Party has raised complaints to police about Christmas parties held by Prime Minister Boris Johnson's staff in his office last year in breach of virus restrictions.
Labour lawmakers wrote to London's Metropolitan Police asking them to investigate reports that two parties were held at No. 10 Downing Street in the run-up to last Christmas at a time when people were banned from socializing indoors with anyone not in their household.
Johnson has not denied the events took place but said no rules were broken, although he did not elaborate when pressed.