West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice. Photo: Scott Halleran/Getty Images

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice said Monday that 28 members of the Graystone Baptist Church in Greenbrier County tested positive for coronavirus, ABC affiliate WCHS-TV reports.

Why it matters: Significant coronavirus outbreaks in other states and around the world have also been linked to religious services, including an incident in Arkansas in March that saw nearly 40% of the attendees at a single church over roughly a week fall ill.

  • The CDC warns that religious services, like all events involving large crowds inside a closed space, "present a risk for increasing spread of COVID-19" and recommends that people practice their beliefs while wearing face masks, social distancing and routinely sanitizing their places of worship.

The big picture: West Virginia's health department announced over the weekend that a total of five coronavirus outbreaks had been traced to churches in the state.

  • Justice said some churchgoers may not have worn face masks or practiced social distancing during services.
  • Justice asked state residents to remain cautious, saying the Greenbrier County church could be their church and community affected. "You are in charge not me. You have been so smart," he told a press conference. "What do we do? We run to the fire, and that’s exactly what we’ve done all weekend."

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Sep 22, 2020 - Health

200,000 Americans gone too soon

Data: Johns Hopkins; Chart: Axios Visuals

Today marks another devastating milestone in the 2020 history books:

The state of play: February 29: First reported U.S. coronavirus death; May 23: U.S. death toll hits 100,000; September 22: U.S. death toll hits 200,000, according to the Johns Hopkins tracker.

Updated Oct 7, 2020 - Health

World coronavirus updates

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Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

New Zealand now has active no coronavirus cases in the community after the final six people linked to the Auckland cluster recovered, the country's Health Ministry confirmed in an email Wednesday.

The big picture: The country's second outbreak won't officially be declared closed until there have been "no new cases for two incubation periods," the ministry said. Auckland will join the rest of NZ in enjoying no domestic restrictions from late Wednesday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said, declaring that NZ had "beat the virus again."

Sep 22, 2020 - Health

CDC releases holiday season guidance to curb COVID-19 spread

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued holiday-specific guidelines this week to limit COVID-19 risks posed by gatherings and celebrations prior to the fall and winter holidays.

Why it matters: With the flu season just around the corner, medical experts are worried about the likelihood of battling COVID-19 and influenza at the same time. The coronavirus has now killed 200,000 Americans, and the U.S. is averaging roughly 830 per day. Cases and deaths could worsen again as the weather gets colder and people move indoors.