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The family of a Venezuelan woman who tested positive for coronavirus died after she concealed her diagnosis from them.

Verónica García Fuentes, 36, from the state of Tachira in Venezuela, fell ill with a fever in mid-December. She took a PCR test which came back positive and isolated herself at home, but she told her husband and children she had a bad case of the flu.

According to the Venezuelan newspaper La Nación, Fuentes may have kept her COVID-19 diagnosis a secret out of fear. At the end of December, she told her husband José Antonio, 33, she had coronavirus as he was on his way to a family party to stop him from mixing with other relatives.

In January, Fuentes developed pneumonia but her husband and three children, one aged 17 and twins aged four, all tested negative in a rapid test.

Two weeks later, Fuentes’ condition deteriorated and she was admitted to hospital. The rest of her family then tested positive for COVID-19, but appeared to be asymptomatic.

Days later, her husband was admitted to hospital with severe symptoms and a week later, both died. The couple’s three children had also passed away by the end of January.

Medical authorities in the region have responded to the sad case by reinforcing the need to follow basic precautions, like using face masks, hand washing and social distancing.

Experts have also warned people to be extra vigilant. One local doctor Amelia Fressen told La Nación

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: “Everything that looks like covid is covid, until the opposite is proven.”

As of February 2021, there have been 127,346 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Venezuela, with 1,196 deaths, according to the World Health Organization.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro recently faced criticism for promoting the “miracle” medication Carvativir that he said neutralizes COVID-19 with no side effects. However, medical experts say there is no scientific evidence to back up these claims.

Maduro said Carvativir is an oral solution derived from the herb thyme, used in traditional herbal medicine. It has no known effect on coronavirus.

He added the alleged treatment had been under testing for nine months among Venezuelans ill with the coronavirus. He described the liquid as “miracle drops of Jose Gregorio Hernandez,” a 19th century Venezuelan doctor who was beatified by the Roman Catholic Church last year.

“It has gone through a period of nine months of study, experimentation, clinical application. On the sick, on the very sick, on people who have been intubated, and we recovered them,” he said, during a televised broadcast.

Maduro also kept secret the name of the “brilliant Venezuelan mind” behind the development of the drug, saying he needed to protect them.

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Biden Administration Responds to Reports on Development of Vaccine Passports

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President Joe Biden’s administration is not creating COVID-19 vaccine passports but officials are working with private companies to set guidelines for the systems, which people can use to show proof they’ve been vaccinated, the White House said Monday.

The administration will “provide guidance” on the effort to develop vaccine passports and similar systems, White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters in Washington.

“There is currently an interagency process that is looking at many of the questions around vaccine verification, and that issue will touch many agencies, as verification is an issue that will potentially touch many areas of society. That’s guidance we’ll provide. A determination or development of vaccine passport or whatever you want to call it will be driven by the private sector. Ours will more be focused on guidelines that can be used as a basis and there are a couple of key principles that we are working from,” she added.

The key principles are that there will be no centralized, universal database tracking COVID-19 vaccinations, there will be no federal mandate requiring all Americans to obtain a single vaccine passport, there will be encouragement of an open marketplace with both companies and nonprofits developing technology, and there will be an effort by the government to ensure all passports meet key standards, such as “accessibility” and “affordability,” Psaki said.

“This is something we are working through. We want to provide clarity to the public,” she added.

Several reports had indicated over the weekend that the administration was leading the effort to create passports by setting standards for the systems.

New York state became the first state in the nation to roll out a vaccine passport last week. The technology, developed with IBM, will be used at entrances to stadiums, arenas, and businesses to prove the holder has received a COVID-19 vaccine.

COVID-19 is the disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.

“As more New Yorkers get vaccinated each day and as key public health metrics continue to regularly reach their lowest rates in months, the first-in-the-nation Excelsior Pass heralds the next step in our thoughtful, science-based reopening,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, said in a statement.

Other companies and groups are developing similar technology, with an eye on requiring vaccinations to fly on planes, attend concerts, and for other venues where crowds of people gather.

Some have expressed concern about the passes.

“I think vaccine passports are a disproportionately technologically heavy solution, and they’re likely to be a waste of resources. But beyond that, I think there are also serious ethical concerns. I think that it’s an unnecessarily divisive approach. And I think it’s going to create more unfairness and inequality in an already unequal society,” Dr. Sarah Chan, an expert in bioethics at the University of Edinburgh College of Medicine, told NTD’s “The Nation Speaks” in a recent interview.

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“If we start deciding who’s allowed to freely participate in society based on individual vaccination status, we’re really trying to put the responsibility onto individuals to be vaccinated. And that, in turn, assumes that whether or not a person has been vaccinated is wholly a matter of their own completely free choice. And that’s just not the case. In fact, vaccination is going to be dependent on a whole load of other factors beyond people’s control, such as ability to access the vaccine, pre-existing health conditions, and so forth,” she added later.

A top adviser to Biden earlier Monday said that Americans, as well as those in other countries, who get vaccinated “will want to be able to demonstrate that vaccination in various forms.”

“Unlike other parts of the world the government here does not view its role as the place to create a passport, nor a place to hold the data of citizens. We view this as something that the private sector is doing and will do. What’s important to us, and we are leading an interagency process right now to go through these details, are that some important criteria be met with these credentials,” such as “equitable access,” Andy Slavitt, senior adviser to the White House on COVID-19, told reporters during a virtual briefing.

“Privacy of the information, security, and a marketplace of solutions are all things that are part of what we believe in as is the ability for people to be able to access this free and in multiple languages,” he added.

Pressed on why the government isn’t developing the passports itself, Slavitt later said that a segment of the population is already concerned about the government being heavy-handed in some aspects with regard to vaccinations.

“Point of fact, it would discourage people to feel like that was the role we are playing. So we think we can have the best of all worlds and put forward guidelines and guidance,” he said.

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Biden Administration Converting Third Convention Center to Illegal Immigrant Holding Facility

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President Joe Biden’s administration is going to use a third convention center to house illegal immigrant youth.

The Freeman Expo Center in San Antonio is being converted to an Emergency Intake Center for children who cross the southern border without their parents.

Up to 2,400 kids can be housed at the facility, according to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and its Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR).

“The Emergency Intake Site will provide ORR with needed capacity to accept children from Customs and Border Protection (CBP) into its care where they can be safely processed, cared for and either released to a sponsor or transferred to an appropriate ORR shelter for longer-term care. The Emergency Intake Site is intended for use as a temporary measure,” the agency said in a statement obtained by The Epoch Times.

The administration has already reached deals to house up to 1,400 immigrant youth in the San Diego Convention Center and up to 2,300 youth in the Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center in Dallas.

Additionally, officials have opened at least five other locations to hold the children, and the Pentagon accepted requests to keep thousands of youth at Fort Bliss and another several hundred at Joint Base San Antonio Lackland. In total, ORR operates over 200 facilities and programs in 22 states. There’s also a plan to send illegal immigrant families to hotels, with taxpayers footing the bill.

Bexar County’s manager didn’t immediately return an inquiry. Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff, asked about facilities possibly being used to house immigrants, told reporters on Tuesday that no agreement had been reached yet.

“We do have facilities there. They’re climate control. They’re large. But we are talking about, how will we handle security? Who would be the food provider, who will actually be managing the place? It’d be pretty much our job to, if we do it, to coordinate with them and to make the space available, but no agreements been reached yet. We’re just now talking about a possible contract,” he said.

The United States saw a jump in illegal border crossings in February, including an increase of over 3,600 unaccompanied minors from the month before. Officials have struggled to deal with the increase, with overcrowded conditions in Border Patrol facilities exposed through leaked photographs.

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Texas
An overflow facility in Donna, Texas, in an undated photo. (Courtesy of Rep. Henry Cuellar’s office)

Biden’s administration stopped expelling youth who cross into the country, a reversal of the Trump era utilization of Title 42 powers to send them back to their home countries. The powers are used in a bid to prevent COVID-19 from entering the country through immigrants.

Biden told reporters in Washington that under the previous administration, unaccompanied children would “starve to death” after being expelled from the country.

“No previous administration did that either, except Trump. I’m not going to do it. I’m not going to do it,” he added.

Stephen Miller, a top immigration adviser to Trump, called the accusation “spectacularly false” and “a grave smear on our border agents.”

Illegal border crossers were returned to Mexico and unaccompanied youth were returned to their countries of origin to be reunited with their families, Miller wrote on Twitter.

“This humane policy from President Trump brought unaccompanied minor numbers to record lows. Biden’s disastrous decision to exempt minors from Title 42, and to stop the at-home reunification process in favor of domestic resettlement, single-handedly created this crisis,” he wrote.

A reporter had referenced a 9-year-old boy who claimed to have traveled without adults to the United States from Honduras. The reporter said they reached the boy’s mother by phone. She said she sent her son to America because she believed Biden’s administration isn’t deporting unaccompanied minors.

Biden asserted some youth will ultimately be deported. “The judgment has to be made whether or not—and in this young man’s case, he has a mom at home; there’s an overwhelming reason why he’d be put in a plane and flown back to his mom,” he said.

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3 Fully Vaccinated Hawaii Residents Test Positive for COVID-19

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Three Hawaii residents who were fully vaccinated against the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus have tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, according to the Hawaii Department of Health (DOH).

All three patients had received both doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccines, reported KITV4. They all experienced mild symptoms and did not appear to spread the disease to others, the DOH told the news station.

COVID-19 vaccines don’t prevent infection, however they mitigate severe symptoms and lower the risk of hospitalization, health experts say.

One of the patients, an Oahu-based health care worker, received the second and final dose of the vaccine in January. The worker traveled to several U.S. cities about a month later, and tested positive following routine testing upon returning to Hawaii as per travel protocol.

Contract tracing hasn’t identified any additional infections among close contacts of the health care worker.

It isn’t clear which vaccines each of the three patients received.

Lt. Gov. of Hawaii, Josh Green, urged people not to be discouraged by the news, as the vaccines work “in a huge percentage of people.”

“Remember, 95 percent of people get immunity from the vaccines and five percent don’t from the Moderna and Pfizer vaccine,” Green told news station KHON2.

“Some people are going to dive on to this and say, oh, then the vaccine doesn’t work. No, it does work. It works in a huge percentage of people, but not everyone and that’s an important message,” he added.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people who have previously been infected with COVID-19 should still get a vaccine.

“You should be vaccinated regardless of whether you already had COVID-19. That’s because experts do not yet know how long you are protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. Even if you have already recovered from COVID-19, it is possible—although rare—that you could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 again,” the CDC says

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 on its website.

People who received monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma should wait 90 days before getting a vaccine, the agency added.

Another CDC webpage states that getting COVID-19 may offer some natural protection or immunity.

“Current evidence suggests that reinfection with the virus that causes COVID-19 is uncommon in the 90 days after initial infection. However, experts don’t know for sure how long this protection lasts, and the risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19 far outweighs any benefits of natural immunity,” it states. “COVID-19 vaccination will help protect you by creating an antibody (immune system) response without having to experience sickness.”

CDC director Rochelle Walensky on Monday said that fully vaccinated people should not begin traveling.

“Related to spring break, they are not the demographic we’ve been focusing in on with regard to travel,” she told reporters at a press briefing, adding that even if fully vaccinated people travel, they “go out and they mix with people who are not vaccinated.”

“We’re so close to vaccinating so many other people, so I would just encourage and remind people that now is not the time to travel,” she said.

Hawaii’s health department didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment by The Epoch Times.

Zachary Stieber contributed to this report.

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