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A banner reading, "Stop ! No outside visitors. International Mountain Guides only!" can be seen at Everest base camp. Photo: PRAKASH MATHEMA/AFP via Getty Images

A Mount Everest climbing expert on Saturday told the AP there are at least 100 active coronavirus cases at the base camp.

Why it matters: The remarks from Lukas Furtenbach contradict statements from Nepalese officials who have denied knowledge of active infections among climbers and support staff during this season, AP reports.

  • "Because Mount Everest expeditions are a significant source of revenue for the country, some are concerned that officials are underestimating the severity of the situation to avoid closing the popular tourist attraction," the Smithsonian Magazine writes.

Worth noting: Furtenbach, the owner of Furtenbach Adventures, said in mid-May he would be the first expedition operator to cancel trips on the summit this year, explaining it was "irresponsible" to continue since the number of people infected with the virus was increasing.

  • Several hundred Sherpa guides and 408 foreign climbers received permits for this season, which began in April. The season concludes at the end of this month.

What they're saying: "I think with all the confirmed cases we know now — confirmed from (rescue) pilots, from insurance, from doctors, from expedition leaders — I have the positive tests so we can prove this," Furtenbach said.

  • "We have at least 100 people minimum positive for COVID in base camp, and then the numbers might be something like 150 or 200," he continued.
  • Furtenbach added it was obvious there were many cases since he could see people were sick and could hear people coughing.
  • He suggested that the sudden increase in cases occurred because some expedition teams were not following precautionary measures, per The Hill.
  • One of his guides and six Nepali Sherpa guides tested positive, he told AP.

Go deeper: COVID-19 reaches Mount Everest and experts warn of possible "superspreader" event

Go deeper

Updated Sep 17, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Vaccines: Key FDA committee takes on the big booster question — Los Angeles County to require vaccination proof at indoor bars — France suspends 3,000 unvaccinated health workers without pay.
  2. Health: Worsening crisis at Rikers Island jail spurs call for action — 1 in 500 Americans has died — Cases are falling, but deaths are rising.
  3. Politics: White House invites call with Nicki Minaj to discuss vaccine — Gottlieb says CDC hampered U.S. response — 26 states have limited state or local officials' public health powers.
  4. Education: Denver looks to students to close Latino vaccination gap — Federal judge temporarily blocks Iowa's ban on mask mandates in schools — Massachusetts activates National Guard to help with school transportation.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
Aug 29, 2021 - Health

Oregon counties request morgue trucks as COVID deaths rise

The Portland Veterans Affairs Medical Center's surge tent for COVID-19 vaccinations. Photo: Nathan Howard/Getty Images

Oregon health officials have arranged to send refrigerated trucks to two counties for storing bodies due to a surge in COVID-19 deaths, AP first reported on Saturday.

Driving the news: Tillamook County Emergency director Gordon McCraw wrote in a request that the county's only funeral home "is now consistently at or exceeding their capacity [of nine bodies]," per AP.

Aug 29, 2021 - World

India reports more than 45,000 COVID-19 cases

A health worker checks temperature of a passenger before conducting COVID-19 test at Dadar station on Aug. 26 in Mumbai, India. Photo: Satish Bate/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

India recorded more than 45,000 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, a day after it tallied a two-month high amid a new surge in infections, Reuters reports.

Driving the news: The surge is being largely driven by the southern state of Kerala after it hosted a major festival this month. The state's tally on Saturday made up nearly 70% of the country's new daily infections.