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State Premier Gladys Berejiklian and New South Wales Chief Health Officer Dr. Kerry Chant speak during a press conference on June 24, 2021 in Sydney, Australia. Photo: Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images

Australian officials on Sunday announced the country's first COVID-related death this year, and a record 77 new daily cases of the virus in New South Wales, Reuters reports.

Why it matters: Australia has generally fared better in controlling the virus than many developed countries. But it's had a harder time combating the highly-infectious Delta variant, amid a slow vaccine rollout, Reuters writes.

Details: The death, which is the first from a locally-acquired infection since December, was a woman in her 90s. It comes amid a growing number of infections for the already-locked-down nation.

  • The country recorded its previous 2021 record high infections — 50 cases — on Saturday.
  • "I'll be shocked if it's less than 100 this time tomorrow, of additional new cases," said State Premier Gladys Berejiklian.

What's next: The city was supposed to come out of its three-week lockdown on July 16, but Berejiklian told reporters "everybody can tell it's highly unlikely at this stage."

Go deeper

Oct 18, 2021 - Health

Over 30 states have limited officials' public health powers

Photo: Ringo Chiu/AFP via Getty Images

Republican lawmakers in more than 30 U.S. states have weakened health officials' authority to implement policies to protect the public against the coronavirus, the New York Times reports.

The big picture: Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, lawmakers in all 50 states have introduced bills to curb state and local officials' public health authority.

Florida's secret delta toll

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Roughly 4,500 Tampa Bay residents — an average of about 36 per day — died from COVID-19 over the four months the Florida Department of Health did not share daily pandemic information with citizens.

Driving the news: The data is now available and gives a clearer picture of the heartbreaking toll of the latest record-breaking spikes from the delta variant — which is only now subsiding — between June and October.

3 hours ago - Health

FDA authorizes mix-and-match for COVID booster shots

Photo: Francine Orr/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

The Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) on Wednesday gave its approval for Americans to get booster shots that are different from the COVID vaccine they initially received.

Why it matters: The recommendation from the FDA, which also authorized booster shots for people who received Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines on Wednesday, paves the way for an expansion of booster shots.