Sep 18, 2021 - Politics & Policy

U.S. concerned UN General Assembly could be COVID "superspreader event"

Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the new US Ambassador to the United Nations (UN), speaks to the media.

Linda Thomas-Greenfield, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, speaks to the media. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The Biden administration is concerned that next week's United Nations General Assembly could become a COVID-19 "superspreader event," CBS News reported.

Why it matters: Leaders from around the world will gather in New York City without necessarily abiding by the new requirement that mandates proof of vaccination for all indoor activities.

The big picture: More than 100 presidents, prime ministers and other heads of state are set to give in-person speeches at the two-week event. Last year, the pandemic forced world leaders to go virtual.

  • General Assembly President Abdulla Shahid has said he will abide by an honor system when it comes to vaccinations.
  • Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro, who said he's unvaccinated but has antibodies from a COVID-19 infection last year, announced he would attend in person, defying the New York City vaccine requirement, per CBS News.

What they're saying: "We are concerned about the UN event being a superspreader event, and that we need to take all measures to ensure that it does not become a superspreader event," Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the U.S. ambassador to the UN, told CBS News.

  • "Leaders have to be responsible, and they have to take responsibility for their actions and ensure that their actions do not lead to jeopardizing the health and safety of the people of New York, of all of the participants here at the United Nations, and that they don't take COVID back to their home countries," Thomas-Greenfield told CBS.
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