National News from ABC

COVID-19 live updates: US to reopen Mexico, Canada borders for vaccinated

Mongkolchon Akesin/iStock

(NEW YORK) — The United States has been facing a COVID-19 surge as the more contagious delta variant continues to spread.

More than 716,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 while over 4.8 million people have died from the disease worldwide, according to real-time data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.

Just 66% of Americans ages 12 and up are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to data from the CDC.

Here’s how the news is developing. All times Eastern:

Oct 13, 6:49 pm
Pending vaccine distribution for kids will be based on population: CDC

Initial distribution of the Pfizer vaccine for children ages 5 to 11 years old will be based on a state’s population of eligible children, according to a new planning document distributed to state immunization managers by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The document, obtained by ABC News, was sent to state officials in advance of the vaccine being authorized by federal regulators. The authorization could happen as soon as early November.

The pediatric vaccine will be shipped in 100-dose packs, each with 10 vials, the document said.

A person familiar with the planned rollout told ABC News that while the government purchased 65 million doses total, the initial shipment may be closer to the 10 million to 20 million range.

After an initial distribution, a “weekly supply will be made available to help sustain the network,” according to the document.

-ABC News’ Sasha Pezenik

Oct 13, 2:00 pm
COVID No. 1 cause of death for 35- to 54-year-olds in September

COVID-19 was the leading of death among people ages 35 to 54 — and the second-leading cause overall — in September, according to an analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Peterson Center on Healthcare.

The research also estimates that since June more than 90,000 U.S. deaths from COVID-19 could have been prevented with vaccines, and more than half of those occurred last month.

In January, COVID-19 was the nation’s No. 1 cause of death, the analysis found. In July, before the delta surge, COVID-19 briefly dropped to eighth.

-ABC News’ Arielle Mitropoulos

Oct 13, 1:11 pm
Daily deaths in US about 1,300 as hospitalizations decline

Hospital admissions for COVID-19 have dropped about 10% in the last week, but, according to federal data, the virus is still killing about 1,300 Americans every day — more than this same time last year.

More than 114.5 million Americans remain completely unvaccinated, about 66.3 million of whom are over the age of 12 and eligible, according to federal data.

States to keep an eye on are Michigan, Minnesota and Colorado, which are currently seeing notable upticks in new cases, according to federal data.

-ABC News’ Arielle Mitropoulos

Oct 13, 12:20 pm
Global deaths at lowest level in nearly 1 year: WHO

The number of reported weekly COVID-19 deaths continues to decline and is now at the lowest levels worldwide in nearly one year, the World Health Organization said.

That’s with nearly 50,000 still being reported per week, “and the real number is certainly higher,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said. “Of course deaths are highest in the countries and populations with the least access to vaccines.”

Tedros said three countries have not started vaccinating: Burundi, Eritrea and North Korea.

-ABC News’ Christine Theodorou

Oct 12, 11:26 pm
US to lift land-border restrictions on Canada, Mexico with proof of vaccination

The U.S. is moving forward to lift restrictions for foreign travelers coming into the country over land-border crossings as long as they have proof of COVID-19 vaccination, according to multiple senior Biden administration officials.

The news follows a decision about two months ago from Canadian authorities to allow vaccinated American travelers to enter by land. It also follows the announcement last month of a vaccine requirement for foreign air travelers coming into the U.S.

Current air travel requirements also include presenting a negative COVID-19 test while land border requirements remain more restrictive for anyone deemed “nonessential.”

The first stage of the land-border changes is expected in early November, the officials said, when travelers deemed “nonessential” will be able to enter the U.S. with proof of vaccination. Nonessential travel, including recreation, family visits and tourism, was previously restricted at all land-border crossings.

All travelers, both essential and nonessential, will be required to have proof of vaccination starting in early January.

Unlike the requirements for air travel, this new set of restrictions does not have a testing component, the officials said.

Customs and Border Protection will enforce the requirements at U.S. land ports of entry where they will ask about vaccination status and refer travelers to a more thorough inspection on a case-by-case basis.

Oct 12, 6:00 pm
62% of 2020 law enforcement line of duty deaths were from COVID-19: Report

A report issued Tuesday found that 62% of all law enforcement deaths in the line of duty in 2020 were from COVID-19.

The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund revealed the statistics in a release, announcing its annual candlelight vigil on the National Mall.

Attorney General Merck Garland will lead Thursday’s vigil that will honor 701 law enforcement officers who recently died in the line of duty, including 434 who died in 2019 and 2020, the museum said in a statement.

Oct 12, 5:02 pm
White House to governors: Get ready to start vaccinating kids in November

In a private phone call Tuesday, the White House urged governors to prepare to begin vaccinating elementary-age kids in early November.

Once federal regulators give the green light, the pediatric Pfizer vaccine will be distributed in 100-dose packs. The doses, which are about one-third of what is given to adults, will be sent to thousands of sites, including pediatricians, family doctors, hospitals, health clinics and pharmacies enrolled in a federal program that guarantees the shots are provided for free. Some states are planning to provide the vaccine through schools, as well.

“We’ve secured plenty of supply, and we’ll be putting in place an allocation ordering and distribution system similar to what we’ve used for the other vaccines,” White House COVID-19 coordinator Jeff Zients said on the call.

The Biden administration has purchased 65 million Pfizer pediatric vaccine doses, according to an HHS official. That number is more than enough to vaccinate all 28 million 5-to-11-year-olds.

At least 31,000 providers have enrolled to administer free vaccines already, according to the HHS official, and that number is expected to increase as the HHS and CDC continue to work with the existing federal program that funds many other routine childhood vaccinations all over the country.

While the White House said shipments of the pediatric vaccine will begin as soon as the FDA gives the green light, shots wouldn’t happen until the CDC makes its recommendation on who should get the vaccine.

The CDC is drafting guidance on the practice of “test to stay” being used by schools in lieu of quarantines, according to the White House call. CDC director Rochelle Walensky said it’s possible that the guidance is released this week.

Oct 12, 3:32 pm
What to expect at this week’s meetings on Moderna, J&J boosters

On Thursday and Friday, the FDA’s independent advisory panel is set to discuss and vote on whether to authorize Moderna and Johnson & Johnson boosters for people 18 and older. If approved, the FDA and CDC both still need to sign off. The earliest that could happen is Oct. 22.

An initial and nonbinding vote on the Moderna booster has been scheduled for around 4:45 p.m. ET Thursday. Moderna’s own scientific summary posted on Tuesday argues for a booster shot with a half dose given six months after the second shot.

An initial and nonbinding vote on the J&J booster has been scheduled for around 3:15 p.m. ET. Friday. Johnson & Johnson’s summary posted Tuesday makes the argument for a second shot, same as the first dose, given roughly six months after the single-shot vaccine.

On Friday, the National Institutes of Health will also present data on whether it’s safe and effective to mix-and-match booster doses.

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