National News from ABC

COVID live updates: One region seeing highest hospitalizations in nearly 10 months

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

More than 721,000 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 66.2% 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 16, 1:54 pm
Unvaccinated people had over 11 times greater risk of dying from COVID-19 in latest delta surge

The CDC updated its website with data previously released last month that shows vaccines still dramatically reduce the risk of testing positive or dying from COVID-19, even amid the latest delta surge.

In August, unvaccinated people had an over-six times greater risk of testing positive for COVID-19 and over 11 times greater risk of dying from the virus, compared to the vaccinated, according to federal data pulled from 16 states and jurisdictions.

In every age group, the death rate was higher for COVID-19 among unvaccinated populations. Americans 80 and older had the highest rate of deaths among fully vaccinated people per capita, though their risk of death was about 5.7 times lower than their unvaccinated counterparts in the same age group.

-ABC News’ Arielle Mitropoulos

Oct 16, 10:30 am
Death toll in Russia tops 1,000 for 1st time

The daily death toll in Russia topped 1,000 for the first time, The Associated Press reported.

There were 1,002 deaths as of Saturday, up from 999 Friday, Russia’s national coronavirus task force reported.

About 29% of the country is fully vaccinated, according to its government and there are currently 754,162 active cases, Russian news agency TASS reported.

Oct 15, 9:26 pm
Undefeated Cardinals to be without head coach for Browns game

Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury will miss Sunday’s road game against the Cleveland Browns after he tested positive for COVID-19, the team announced Friday night.

Kingsbury, 42, has led the hottest team in the NFL this season. Arizona (5-0) is the only undefeated team left in the league.

Sunday’s game figures to be one of the biggest of the week, with the 3-2 Browns suffering only two narrow losses coming off a playoff appearance last year and expectations to contend for a title.

The Cardinals will also be without quarterbacks coach Cam Turner and defensive lineman Zach Allen, who each tested positive Friday. Star outside linebacker Chandler Jones was put on the COVID list earlier this week and won’t play.

Kingsbury told reporters exactly three weeks ago that 100% of the Cardinals’ roster was vaccinated.

Defensive coordinator Vance Joseph and special teams coordinator Jeff Rodgers will split head coaching duties against Cleveland.

Oct 15, 3:46 pm
CDC updates holiday guidance

The CDC has updated its holiday guidance, urging people to get vaccinated and to wear masks in public indoor places.

The CDC said in a statement: “We fully expect that families and friends will gather for the holidays this year and we have updated our guidance on how to best to stay safe over the holidays. The best way to minimize COVID risk and ensure that people can safely gather is to get vaccinated or get the booster if you’re eligible.”

-ABC News’ Anne Flaherty

Oct 15, 1:52 pm
FDA panel votes to authorize booster shots for J&J vaccine

An independent FDA panel has voted to move forward with Johnson & Johnson vaccine boosters.

The panel’s decision on J&J was broader than for Moderna and Pfizer as it applies to all J&J recipients 18 and older. The timing is also different: The J&J booster can be administered two months after the initial shot.

The 19-person panel voted unanimously.

Johnson & Johnson’s one dose has shown to be 85% effective against severe illness, but adding a second dose boosted that to 100%.

Penny Heaton, a J&J executive, acknowledged Friday that J&J’s efficacy is below the mRNA vaccines but said they would be on par if they used a booster.

-ABC News’ Anne Flaherty, Cheyenne Haslett, Sasha Pezenik

Oct 15, 11:17 am
Cases creeping up in some Midwest, Northeast states

In recent weeks, cases have been creeping up in several states in the Upper Midwest and Northeast. Colorado, New Hampshire, Vermont, Montana, Michigan and Minnesota have seen their case rates jump by 20% or more in the last month, according to federal data.

Alaska currently has the country’s highest infection rate, followed by Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, Idaho and West Virginia, according to federal data. California currently has the nation’s lowest infection rate.

Since the beginning of September, the U.S. has seen a drop of more than 42,000 COVID-19 patients in hospitals. Daily COVID-19-related hospital admissions are also down by 8.8% in the last week, and by more than 40% in the last month, according to federal data.

West Virginia currently has the country’s highest death rate, followed by Idaho and Georgia. Texas alone is reporting thousands of deaths each week.

Oct 15, 9:54 am
Vaccine requirement for foreign travelers to begin Nov. 8

Beginning Nov. 8, foreign nationals traveling to the U.S. by air and nonessential travelers crossing land borders must show proof of full vaccination to enter the U.S., the White House announced Friday.

Essential workers crossing via land, like those who come for work or school, have until January to become fully vaccinated.

Air travelers will still be required to show proof of a negative test within 72 hours of departure, in addition to their vaccination status.

Oct 15, 9:12 am
FDA panel hours away from vote on J&J boosters

The independent FDA advisory panel is meeting Friday and will hold a nonbinding vote on whether the Johnson & Johnson booster shot should be used.

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

Oct 14, 7:18 pm
CDC advising states to preorder Pfizer’s vaccine for young children

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is advising states to order Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine doses for children ages 5 to 11 ahead of a vote on its authorization.

An independent Food and Drug Administration advisory panel is scheduled to discuss the vaccine on Oct. 26, and a vote is expected soon after. In planning documents posted by the CDC, the agency is advising states to order their doses in advance of the meeting, with preorders starting Oct. 20.

This is meant to “ensure that vaccine can be placed in many locations nationwide, making it easier for children to get vaccinated” and “allow for a manageable and equitable launch,” the CDC said.

A decision from the CDC on recommending the vaccine is not likely until early November; the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices is scheduled to meet on Nov. 2 and Nov. 3.

Oct 14, 3:17 pm
FDA panel votes in support of authorizing Moderna booster

The independent FDA advisory panel on Thursday voted unanimously to authorize Moderna vaccine boosters for Americans 65 and older, anyone 18 and older with underlying conditions and those frequently exposed to the virus through work or home life.

The recommendation is in line with what the FDA and CDC authorized for Pfizer booster shots last month.

The FDA panel will meet on Friday on J&J boosters. Following next week’s meetings from the CDC’s independent advisory group, Moderna and J&J boosters could be authorized and recommended for specific populations as soon as Oct. 22.

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