World leaders return to U.N. amid Delta surge

World leaders return to the United Nations in New York this week with a focus on boosting efforts to fight the pandemic.

And with that, comes this question – posed without irony to U.S. National Institutes of Health director Dr. Francis Collins Sunday on CBS’s ’Face the Nation.’

‘FACE THE NATION’ ANCHOR MARGARET BRENNAN: “Are you concerned it will be a super-spreader event?”

COLLINS: “Well, I sure hope not. We’ve had enough of those, haven’t we? So, yeah, New York [laughs], let’s pay attention here. We’re in the midst of a Delta surge. It is not a safe place to throw caution to the winds.”

The U.S. tried to dissuade leaders from coming to New York and instead send video statements as they did last year – which about one-third of would-be attendees this year agreed to do.

U.S. President Joe Biden, however, will be there to address the assembly in person, his first U.N. visit since taking office.

A so-called U.N. honor system means that anyone entering the assembly hall has effectively declared they are vaccinated, but they do not have to show proof.

This system will be broken when the first country speaks - Brazil.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro is a vaccine skeptic, who last week declared that he does not need the shot because he is already immune after being infected with COVID-19.

Should he change his mind, New York City has set up a van outside the United Nations for the week to supply free testing and free shots of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

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