(NEW YORK) — The United States is facing a COVID-19 surge this summer as the more contagious delta variant spreads.
More than 670,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 while over 4.6 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 63.5% of Americans ages 12 and up are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Here’s how the news is developing. All times Eastern:
Sep 17, 3:54 pm
FDA panel declines to approve Pfizer boosters for all Americans
The independent FDA advisory committee voted no on Friday on the question of whether the current data supports a booster shot of the Pfizer vaccine for anyone 16 and older.
This was largely due to members’ discomfort with the vast age range this question includes. As members of the FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee outlined in Friday’s meeting, there are still large gaps in safety and efficacy data for the younger age groups. But the members said they haven’t ruled out third shots for older populations.
The advisory panel’s nonbinding vote followed a full day of presentations, Q&A and debate.
Sep 17, 2:14 pm
Moderna vaccine appears to provide strongest protection against hospitalization
Moderna’s two-shot vaccine seems to offer the strongest protection against hospitalization, though all three vaccines dramatically reduced the risk, according to a new analysis published in the CDC’s weekly report MMWR.
The study used a model to estimate effectiveness against hospitalization among 3,689 adults hospitalized from March to August. According to the estimate, vaccine efficacy against hospitalization was: 93% for Moderna; 88% for Pfizer; 71% for Johnson & Johnson.
This study did not specifically analyze delta, did not include people under 18 nor did it include immunocompromised people. This study did look at antibody levels but didn’t track a change in antibody levels over time.
-ABC News’ Sony Salzman, Adela Wu
Sep 17, 1:51 pm
WH COVID team confident there won’t be booster supply problems
White House COVID-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients said when boosters start rolling out he’s confident there won’t be a supply problem as there was when vaccinations began.
“We have plenty of supply of all three vaccines for boosters, obviously pending the FDA and the CDC recommendations,” Zients said at Friday’s White House COVID-19 Response Team briefing. “We have supply in inventory and we also have supply on order. So supply is in good shape for all Americans to get boosters.”
At the briefing CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky announced a $1.2 billion dollar investment in building more resilient health care systems to battle COVID-19 and future illnesses over the next three years.
-ABC News’ Matthew Vann
Sep 17, 12:40 pm
Over 126,000 Texas kids have tested positive
In Texas, 126,687 children have tested positive for COVID-19 since the school year started, according to state data. But there is a sharp decline in new cases in the last week. More than 5 million students are in Texas schools.
At least 24,476 staff members at Texas schools have tested positive, according to state data.
-ABC News’ Gina Sunseri
Sep 17, 11:56 am
125 employees leave Indiana hospital system after refusing vaccine
Indiana University Health, the state’s largest network of physicians, said 125 employees have left after choosing to not get vaccinated.
All workers were required to be fully vaccinated by Sept. 1. Those who didn’t were given a two-week unpaid suspension ending Sept. 14, and those who still didn’t agree to the shot by that point “left the organization,” according to a statement by IU Health.
Sep 17, 11:21 am
Art exhibit commemorating COVID deaths opens to public
An art exhibit commemorating the Americans who died from COVID-19 is opening to the public on Friday.
The exhibit, which will run until Oct. 3, displays more than 660,000 white flags on the National Mall at the base of the Washington Monument.
This is the largest participatory art installation on the National Mall since the AIDS Memorial Quilt.
Sep 17, 10:56 am
Kentucky school district cancels all classes due to increase in cases
Newport Independent Schools in Kentucky has canceled all classes on Friday due to an increase in the number of sick or quarantined students, the district said.
Classes will be virtual on Monday and Tuesday. The district said it plans to return to in-person learning on Wednesday.
Sep 17, 10:44 am
More than 10,000 new deaths reported in US in 1 week
The U.S. recorded more than 10,100 confirmed COVID-19 related deaths in one week, according to federal data. States with some of the highest death tolls are Texas, Georgia and North Carolina.
The U.S. reported more than 1.02 million cases over the last week. This is a major step back in the fight against COVID-19; in June, the U.S. recorded just 80,000 new cases in one week.
Tennessee and West Virginia currently have the country’s highest case rate, followed by Alaska, Wyoming, South Carolina, Montana and Kentucky, according to federal data.
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