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COVID-19 live updates: US daily case rate drops below 500,000 for 1st time in 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 886,000 Americans, according to real-time data compiled by Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering.

About 63.8% 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:

Feb 01, 3:24 pm
Unvaccinated 23 times more likely to be hospitalized with omicron than those vaccinated, boosted

A new study from Los Angeles County’s health department estimates that during the city’s omicron surge, people who were unvaccinated were 3.6 times more likely to get COVID-19 and 23 times more likely to be hospitalized compared to people who were vaccinated and boosted.

The unvaccinated were 2 times more likely to get COVID-19 and 5.3 times more likely to be hospitalized compared to people who were vaccinated but not yet boosted, according to the study, which was published in the CDC’s weekly journal, MMWR.

-ABC News’ Sony Salzman

Feb 01, 2:55 pm
US daily case rate drops below 500,000 for 1st time in weeks

The U.S. daily case rate has dropped below 500,000 for the first time in nearly one month, falling by 37.4% in the last two weeks to an average of 497,000 cases per day, according to federal data.

However, experts continue to caution that case levels remain much higher than previous surges, with the U.S. still reporting millions of new cases every week.

Alaska now leads the nation in new cases per capita followed by Kentucky, Washington, Oklahoma, Minnesota, California and North Dakota.

The number of COVID-19-positive Americans requiring hospitalization continues to steadily fall, with now under 129,000 virus-positive Americans currently receiving care — down by about 31,000 patients from 12 days ago, according to federal data.

-ABC News’ Arielle Mitropoulos

Feb 01, 1:21 pm
FDA advisory committee to review Pfizer vaccines for kids under 5 on Feb. 15

The FDA’s advisory committee will meet on Feb. 15 to review the Pfizer vaccine for use in children under the age of 5. The advisory committee is an independent group whose vote is non-binding, but the FDA takes it into consideration when making a final decision.

The vaccine would still need to go through several other approvals before it can be used on children under the age of 5. It would need to be authorized by the FDA, then the CDC advisory committee would need to meet for recommendations and it would need to be approved by the CDC.

Feb 01, 11:35 am
WHO: ‘Worrying’ increase in COVID deaths in most regions

Since omicron was first identified 10 weeks ago, nearly 90 million COVID-19 cases have been reported around the world — more than all the COVID-19 cases reported in 2020, according to the World Health Organization.

Now most regions of the world are “starting to see a very worrying increase in deaths,” WHO director-general Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned Tuesday.

“This virus will continue to evolve, which is why we call on countries to continue testing, surveillance and sequencing. We can’t fight this virus if we don’t know what it’s doing. And we must continue to work to ensure all people have access to vaccines,” he said.

-ABC News’ Christine Theodorou

Feb 01, 10:18 am
Vaccines for kids under 5 might come this month: Report

Pfizer and BioNTech are expected to ask the FDA to authorize their vaccine for kids under 5 as soon as Tuesday. If the FDA grants authorization, the vaccine may be available for children ages 6 months to 5 years by the end of February, The Washington Post reported.

Pfizer is expected to ask for authorization with two doses as the company continues to wait for data on three doses, the report said.

Vaccines are currently authorized for people 5 and older.

-ABC News’ Eric M. Strauss and Cheyenne Haslett

Feb 01, 6:19 am
American bobsled star Elana Meyers Taylor tests positive for COVID-19

American bobsledder Elana Meyers Taylor has tested positive for COVID-19 upon arriving in Beijing for the 2022 Winter Olympics.

Taylor, 37, announced her positive test in a statement posted on social media Tuesday. The three-time Olympic medalist and mother to a 1-year-old son revealed that she tested positive on Saturday, just two days after arriving in the Chinese capital.

“I am asymptomatic and currently at an isolation hotel — and yes I am completely isolated,” Taylor said. “Getting to the Olympics is never easy, and this time, as a new mom, it has been the most challenging, but also, incredibly rewarding, to be able to show that it can still be done.”

“So many people, especially other moms from all walks of life, have been so supportive of my efforts to get back to the Olympics,” she continued. “It’s been an incredible wave of positivity that I’ve been riding to a while so I’m going to continue to do that. This is just the latest obstacle that my family and I have faced on this journey, so I’m remaining optimistic that I’ll be able to recover quickly and still have the opportunity to compete.”

The Winter Games kick off Friday with the opening ceremony. Bobsled competition doesn’t start until Feb. 13.

Feb 01, 6:19 am
American bobsled star Elana Meyers Taylor tests positive for COVID-19

American bobsledder Elana Meyers Taylor has tested positive for COVID-19 upon arriving in Beijing for the 2022 Winter Olympics.

Taylor, 37, announced her positive test in a statement posted on social media Tuesday. The three-time Olympic medalist and mother to a 1-year-old son revealed that she tested positive on Saturday, just two days after arriving in the Chinese capital.

“I am asymptomatic and currently at an isolation hotel — and yes I am completely isolated,” Taylor said. “Getting to the Olympics is never easy, and this time, as a new mom, it has been the most challenging, but also, incredibly rewarding, to be able to show that it can still be done.”

“So many people, especially other moms from all walks of life, have been so supportive of my efforts to get back to the Olympics,” she continued. “It’s been an incredible wave of positivity that I’ve been riding to a while so I’m going to continue to do that. This is just the latest obstacle that my family and I have faced on this journey, so I’m remaining optimistic that I’ll be able to recover quickly and still have the opportunity to compete.”

The Winter Games kick off Friday with the opening ceremony. Bobsled competition doesn’t start until Feb. 13.

Jan 31, 5:00 pm
Pediatric cases drop for 1st time since Thanksgiving

New COVID-19 cases among children dropped last week for the first time since Thanksgiving, according to a new report by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association. About 808,000 children tested positive last week, down from a peak of 1,150,000 cases reported the week ending Jan. 20.

However, the organizations warn that pediatric cases remain “extremely high,” still triple the peak level of the delta surge in the summer of 2021.

AAP and CHA noted there is an “urgent” need to collect more age-specific data to assess the severity of illness related to new variants as well as potential longer-term effects. The two organizations note in their report that a small percentage of pediatric cases have resulted in hospitalization and death.

More than 28 million eligible children remain completely unvaccinated, according to federal and census data.

-ABC News’ Arielle Mitropoulos

Jan 31, 3:30 pm
Novavax asks FDA for emergency use authorization for its vaccine

Novavax on Monday submitted a request to the FDA for emergency use authorization for its COVID-19 vaccine.

Novavax uses a more traditional protein-based vaccine platform, which is different from Pfizer and Modena’s mRNA technology and Johnson & Johnson’s viral vector technology.

Novavax’s vaccine exposes a person to a lab-based piece of coronavirus to build immunity.

Novavax’s studies — conducted before the omicron variant — showed an approximately 90% efficacy.

Novavax was one of the early contenders for a COVID-19 vaccine; Operation Warp Speed allocated $1.6 billion for 100 million doses if the vaccine was authorized by the FDA.

-ABC News’ Eric M. Strauss

Jan 31, 12:00 pm
Only 5 states reporting jump in cases

After weeks of surging cases, many U.S. states continue to see impressive declines in their national case averages.

The U.S. is reporting an average of about 543,000 new cases per day, down by about 32.2% in the last two weeks, according to federal data. Two weeks ago the nation was reporting more than 800,000 new cases every day.

Only five states are seeing at least a 10% increase in new cases: Idaho, Maine, Minnesota, Montana and Washington.

But case levels still remain much higher than the nation’s previous surges. Experts point out that many Americans who are taking at-home tests are not submitting their results, and thus, case totals may be higher than reported.

Alaska now leads the nation in new cases per capita followed by Washington state, Kentucky and Oklahoma, according to federal data.

-ABC News’ Arielle Mitropoulos

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