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COVID-19 live updates: Kamala Harris tests negative after exposure to staffer

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As the COVID-19 pandemic has swept the globe, more than 5.3 million people have died from the disease worldwide, including over 812,000 Americans, according to real-time data compiled by Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering.

About 61.7% of the population in the United States is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Dec 23, 5:44 am
Rep. Jan Schakowsky tests positive for COVID

Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., has tested positive for COVID-19.

Schakowsky said her husband, Bob, had tested positive last week. After several negative tests, the lawmaker also tested positive on Tuesday night, she said on Twitter.

Both Schakowskys were vaccinated and received boosters. They’re now quarantining, she said.

“We got tested when we felt something was off, and now we can prevent exposure to our family and loved ones,” Schakowsky said. “I implore you to do the same before holiday gatherings this week and next. Get tested if you feel sick or have been around someone who tests positive.”

ABC News’s Ben Siegel

Dec 22, 10:58 pm
Rep. Jim Clyburn, majority whip, tests positive for COVID

Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., the No. 3 Democrat in the House, said Wednesday night that he had tested positive for COVID. The 81-year-old lawmaker said he’s vaccinated and currently asymptomatic.

“America is in a new phase of this pandemic. No one is immune,” he wrote. “I urge anyone who has not done so to protect themselves by getting vaccinated and boosted.”

He said he has been in quarantine since Sunday awaiting results and missed his granddaughter’s wedding because of testing positive.

Clyburn played a crucial role in getting President Joe Biden elected last year when he endorsed him ahead of the South Carolina primary. Biden won the contest and carried the momentum through to the presidency.

The congressman appeared on stage with Biden on Dec. 17 at South Carolina State University’s graduation ceremony. Biden gave the commencement address while Clyburn received his diploma after graduating in 1961 but missing the ceremony. Both were wearing masks on stage and Clyburn said he tested negative ahead of the ceremony.

Clyburn was the eighth member of Congress — six representatives and two senators — to publicly disclose they tested positive for COVID this week. Later on Wednesday, Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., became the ninth member to confirm a positive test.

ABC News’ Ben Siegel and Chris Howell

Dec 22, 7:54 pm
Critics Choice Awards postponed amid COVID-19 concerns

The Critics Choice Awards, initially scheduled to be held in person in Los Angeles next month, will be postponed, the association behind the film and television awards show announced Wednesday.

“After thoughtful consideration and candid conversations with our partners at The CW and TBS, we have collectively come to the conclusion that the prudent and responsible decision at this point is to postpone the 27th Annual Critics Choice Awards,” the Critics Choice Association said in a statement.

Organizers are working to find a new date during the upcoming awards season to hold the gala in person “with everyone’s safety and health remaining our top priority,” it said.

The Critics Choice Awards would have been the first major televised awards show of the season.

The announcement comes as the Los Angeles County health department reported 6,500 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, double the number from the day before and one of the steepest rises the county has seen during the pandemic.

The daily average case rate for the county has also more than doubled since last week, to 29 cases per 100,000 people. Test positivity has jumped to 4.5%, up from 1.9% last Thursday.

Health officials said new cases could reach over 20,000 by the end of the year due to the highly transmissible omicron variant.

ABC News’ Jason Nathanson and Nick Kerr

Dec 22, 7:36 pm
SCOTUS to decide fate of Biden vaccine mandates for large businesses, health care workers

The U.S. Supreme Court said Wednesday it will take up challenges to the Biden administration’s federal vaccine mandates for large businesses and health care workers, scheduling an expedited hearing for Jan. 7, 2022.

In a pair of orders accepting the cases, the high court put off immediate action on the mandates until after oral arguments next month.

Last week, a federal appeals court reinstated the emergency rule from the Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration requiring private companies with 100 or more employees to mandate vaccinations or conduct weekly testing to ensure workplace safety. Multiple Republican state attorneys general, business organizations and other groups appealed the decision to the Supreme Court.

The Biden administration has since said masks among unvaccinated employees must be enforced starting Jan. 10 and proof of vaccination or testing compliance begins Feb. 9. The requirement remains in effect.

A separate rule by the Department of Health and Human Services requiring vaccinations of workers at facilities that receive funds to treat Medicare and Medicaid patients remains on hold. The Biden administration has asked the justices to reinstate it.

ABC News’ Devin Dwyer

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