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COVID-19 live updates: US cases dropped by 18% over last 2 weeks

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(NEW YORK) — As the COVID-19 pandemic has swept the globe, more than 5.6 million people have died from the disease worldwide, including over 876,000 Americans, according to real-time data compiled by Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering.

About 63.5% of the population in the United States is 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:

Jan 27, 3:54 pm
San Francisco dropping masks in ‘stable cohorts’

San Francisco officials are ending indoor mask mandates for “stable cohorts” where everyone is up to date on vaccinations, like people in an office or gym setting.

The city’s health officer Dr. Susan Philip called this change, which begins Feb. 1, doable due to San Francisco’s highly vaccinated and boosted population.

“Other COVID-19 safety guidelines in these settings remain in effect and include a means for others who do not or cannot meet the vaccination requirements to join the group with the added safety of showing a negative test and wearing a mask,” San Francisco’s health department said.

-ABC News’ Matt Fuhrman

Jan 27, 12:34 pm
Cases decreasing or at plateau in most states

The U.S. is now reporting an average of 627,000 new COVID-19 cases per day — an 18% drop over the last two weeks, according to federal data.

Most states are seeing cases decreasing or at a plateau, according to federal data. Just 10 states are seeing at least a 10% increase in cases: Alaska, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming.

Despite this positive news, cases in the U.S. are still extremely high. Since the beginning of January, more than 17.4 million new cases have been reported — that’s nearly three times the number of cases reported in every other month of the pandemic.

-ABC News’ Arielle Mitropoulos

Jan 27, 8:01 am
New Hampshire to sell rapid COVID-19 tests at liquor stores

Rapid at-home COVID-19 testing kits will soon be on sale at liquor stores across New Hampshire, according to Gov. Chris Sununu.

Sununu announced Wednesday that the New Hampshire Executive Council unanimously approved a request by the state’s Department of Health and Human Services to use federal funds from the American Rescue Plan to secure 1 million over-the-counter antigen test kits for liquor store customers. The tests are expected to hit shelves within the next two weeks.

“In addition to tax-free liquor and lottery tickets, you’ll be able to grab a tax-free test,” the governor wrote on Twitter Wednesday.

Sununu said the test kits will be sold “at cost” for about $13, which can be reimbursed through health insurance, though that will vary from company to company.

Jan 26, 6:36 pm
1st participant dosed in Moderna’s omicron-specific vaccine

Moderna announced Wednesday that the first participant has been dosed in the phase 2 study of its omicron-specific booster candidate, in case it becomes necessary.

Moderna’s trials will include people who received two doses of the original Moderna vaccine and people who received two doses of the original Moderna vaccine and a Moderna booster shot.

Pfizer announced Tuesday that it’s initiated clinical studies to evaluate an omicron-based vaccine for adults.

Jan 26, 5:00 pm
NIH trial finds mixing and matching boosters is safe and effective

A study from the National Institutes of Health published in the New England Journal of Medicine found mixing and matching boosters are safe and create a similar immune response to sticking with your initial vaccine.

An earlier version of this study, with more preliminary findings, helped guide the CDC’s decision to allow mix-and-match.

The study authors make no claims about specific combinations being more or less effective. The study did find that people who got an mRNA vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna) and then received the Johnson & Johnson booster had a significant increase in T-cell response, a part of immunity.

The trial looked at 458 participants who received a vaccine with no prior COVID-19 infection. This data is only for the first 29 days after receiving the booster; researchers plan to follow the participants for one year, allowing for more data.

-ABC News’ Vanya Jain, Sony Salzman, Eric Strauss, Dr. Alexis Carrington

Jan 26, 4:47 pm
Unvaccinated child dies in Mississippi

An unvaccinated child has died in Mississippi from COVID-19, according to the state’s health department.

The department confirmed to ABC News that the child was between the ages of 11 and 17, an age bracket that is eligible to receive Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine.

This marked the 10th child — including an infant — to die in Mississippi from COVID-19. None of the 10 children were vaccinated, according to the health department.

-ABC News’ Josh Hoyos

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