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COVID-19 live updates: Latest surge has yet to peak for much of US


(NEW YORK) — As the COVID-19 pandemic has swept the globe, more than 5.5 million people have died from the disease worldwide, including over 851,000 Americans, according to real-time data compiled by Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering.

About 62.9% of the population in the United States is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Latest headlines:
-Growing evidence suggests COVID surge may be receding in parts of US
-Beijing records 1st omicron case, tightens restrictions ahead of Olympics
-Italian police arrest nurse accused of faking shots for anti-vaxxers

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

Jan 17, 2:31 pm
Moderna working on combined COVID, flu booster

Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel told the Davos Agenda Monday that the company is working on a combined COVID-19 and flu booster shot, which could, in a “best case scenario,” be made available by fall 2023.

Bancel said the company’s goal is to be able to provide a single annual booster.

ABC News’ Arielle Mitropoulos

Jan 17, 2:16 pm
Fauci: Unclear whether omicron will lead world into an ‘endemic’ phase

Dr. Anthony Fauci said Monday it’s an “open question” as to whether the omicron variant will lead the globe into a new endemic phase of the pandemic.

“We were fortunate that omicron, although it is highly transmissible, nonetheless, is not as pathogenic but the sheer volume of people who are getting infected overrides that rather less level of pathogenicity,” Fauci said at the Davos Agenda, a virtual event held by the World Economic Forum.

But Fauci said it’s still unclear if omicron’s reduced severity will translate to the virus gradually becoming less prevalent.

“I would hope that that’s the case. But that would only be the case if you don’t get another variant that alludes to the immune response to the prior variant,” Fauci said, adding that it is “very difficult” to calculate how the globe could reach herd immunity.

When the globe does enter an endemic phase, Fauci said there will be a “new normal.”

“It’s not going to be that you’re going to eliminate this disease completely. We’re not going to do that. But hopefully it will be at such a low level that it doesn’t disrupt our normal, social, economic and other interactions with each other,” Fauci said. “To me, that’s what the new normal is. I hope the new normal also includes a real strong corporate memory of what pandemics can do.”

ABC News’ Arielle Mitropoulos

Jan 17, 11:40 am
Growing evidence suggests COVID surge may be receding in parts of US

Growing evidence suggests the omicron surge may be beginning to recede in the parts of the U.S. that were first hit by the variant.

Although new case rates remain high across much of the Northeast, daily totals are slowly beginning to fall. New York City reported a 17% drop and New Jersey reported a 17.6% drop in new cases over the last week. Washington, D.C., reported a nearly 25% decline and Vermont saw a nearly 22% decline in cases in the last week.

But health officials caution the latest surge has yet to peak for much of the U.S. The nation is still reporting nearly 800,000 new cases a day — a record high and a more than eight-fold increase compared to six weeks ago.

Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy told CNN on Sunday that Americans should not expect a decline in the days to come.

“This is a very difficult time during this surge. We are seeing high case numbers and hospitalization rates… we’re also seeing strain in many of our hospitals around the country,” Murthy said. “The next few weeks will be tough.”

Nearly 1,800 Americans are dying from COVID-19 each day – an approximately 52.6% jump since Jan. 1.

ABC News’ Arielle Mitropoulos

Jan 17, 11:02 am
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff tests positive

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley tested positive for COVID-19 on Sunday, according to a statement from Joint Staff spokesman Col. Dave Butler.

Milley has “very minor” symptoms and is working remotely, the statement said.

Milley was last in contact with President Joe Biden on Wednesday.

“He tested negative several days prior to and every day following contact with the President until yesterday,” the statement said.

All other Joint Chiefs of Staff tested negative except for Marine Commandant Gen. David Berger, a spokesperson said.

ABC News’ Matthew Seyler


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