The deaths of seven people have been linked to a wedding reception in America.
The people who died are believed to have been infected because of coronavirus that was spread by the people who attended the August wedding.
In total, it’s thought that there have been 175 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Maine that can be traced back to the wedding, according to the Maine authorities and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
The wedding exceeded the state’s guidelines of 50 people or less at indoor gatherings. Authorities have said more than 65 people attended the wedding.
The most fatal link is believed to be with the Madison rehabilitation center, which is the site of six of the seven deaths. A guest at the wedding lives in the same household as a person who attended.
It is reported that an employee of the York County Jail attended the wedding, Maine CDC officials have said.
The virus cases from the wedding have spanned hundreds of miles in a state that had largely controlled the spread of the coronavirus through the summer.
Maine has reported less than 5,000 cases of the virus in total since March.
The six people from the Madison rehabilitation facility who died were all residents of that facility and none of them attended the wedding reception, said Dr Nirav Shah, director of Maine CDC.
“Maine CDC is concerned about where we are, and I’m asking everyone else to share in that concern. Covid-19, right now, is not on the other side of the fence. It is in our yards,” Shah said. “The gains that Maine has made against Covid-19 are ones that could, and unfortunately can, be washed away.”
Meanwhile, President Donald Trump has been openly contradicting the government’s top health experts after he predicted that a safe and effective vaccine against the coronavirus could be ready as early as next month and in mass distribution soon after.
The comments undermined the director of the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) projections for a longer time frame.
Mr Trump also disagreed with Dr Robert Redfield about the effectiveness of protective masks – which the president recommends but almost never wears – and said he would telephone Dr Redfield to tell him so.
Earlier in the day, the CDC sent all 50 states a “playbook” for distribution of a vaccine to all Americans free of cost when one is proven safe and effective.
Dr Redfield told a congressional hearing that health care workers, first responders and others at high risk would get the vaccine first, perhaps in January or even late this year, but it was unlikely to be available more broadly before late spring or summer.
After Mr Trump’s comments, CDC officials said that the director had thought he was answering a question about when vaccination of all Americans might be completed.