The Japanese mayor who became infamous for biting the gold medal of a softball player who is from the town that he governs has tested positive for COVID-19, according to a report.
The Kyodo News reported that Nagoya Mayor Takashi Kawamura took a COVID test after his secretary became infected with the virus and that the local government indicated that Kawamura has also contracted the virus.
The Kyodo News reports that Kawamura, 72, is asymptomatic and resting at his home and has delegated his duties to other officials. The report indicates that Kawamura had been fully vaccinated in July.
"Coronavirus is striking fury in a way never before seen, but we will all work together to ensure there is no interruption in running the city," Kawamura said in a statement.
Kawamura became known after he bit the gold medal of a member of the Japanese national softball team, pitcher Miu Goto, when Goto was visiting with the mayor on August 4. Goto is from Nagoya.
During the visit, Kawamura asked Goto if she could put the medal around his neck and, after she did, he lowered his face mask and bit it. The scene, which was televised, drew harsh criticism from people who thought that the mayor's actions were disrespectful, especially considering COVID-19 precautions.
“I’m really sorry that I hurt the treasure of the gold medalist,” Kawamura told reporters on August 12.
The mayor said the medal was undamaged, though he offered to pay for the cost of a new one.
Goto, however, has accepted the International Olympic Committee's offer of a replacement, according to Japanese media reports.
Biting medals is a common tradition during photos taken on the podium after an event, but it is almost always the athlete who does the biting.
“I would cry if that happened to me,” Naohisa Takato, who won gold for Japan in judo, said in a tweet. “I handle my own gold medal so gently not to scratch it.”
Contributing: Associated Press
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Mayor Takashi Kawamura who bit Olympian Miu Goto's gold medal gets COVID, per report