(NEW YORK) — The United States has been facing a COVID-19 surge as the more contagious delta variant continues to spread.
More than 693,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 while over 4.7 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 64.9% of Americans ages 12 and up are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to data from the CDC.
Here’s how the news is developing. All times Eastern:
Sep 29, 12:37 pm
CDC urges pregnant women to get vaccinated
The CDC on Wednesday issued an urgent health advisory to try to increase vaccinations among women who are pregnant, recently pregnant or may become pregnant.
Just 31% of pregnant people have been vaccinated, the CDC said.
As of Monday, pregnant people accounted for 125,000 COVID-19 cases and 161 deaths, the CDC said.
“Cases of COVID-19 in symptomatic, pregnant people have a two-fold risk of admission into intensive care and a 70 percent increased risk of death,” the CDC said.
The agency said it’s calling “on health departments and clinicians to educate pregnant people on the benefits of vaccination and the safety of recommended vaccines.”
Sep 29, 12:16 pm
About 118 million Americans remain unvaccinated
Approximately 118 million Americans remain completely unvaccinated, including 70 million over the age of 12, according to federal data.
On Wednesday, the U.S. is likely to reach a significant vaccine milestone of 200 million adults vaccinated with at least one dose.
Alaska currently has the country’s highest infection rate with daily cases up by nearly 2,500% since mid-July, according to federal data.
West Virginia, once a model for its vaccine rollout, now has more hospitalized patients than at any point in the pandemic.
But states including Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana and Georgia appear to be improving, federal data show.
Nationwide, around 79,000 people are hospitalized, down by more than 20% since the beginning of September. Even so, ICU capacities in several states, including Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, Kentucky and Texas, remain at critical levels.
Sep 29, 8:44 am
United Airlines to fire 593 unvaccinated employees
United Airlines plans to immediately terminate up to 593 employees who chose not to get vaccinated under the airline’s mandate.
United said more than 99% of its employees chose to get vaccinated.
Roughly 2,000 employees sought a medical or religious exemption. Because of ongoing litigation, United said it will not reveal how many employees were granted exemptions. United says anyone who applied for an exemption will still be allowed to go to work until a final decision is made on how to handle their cases. The airline expects a decision by Oct. 15.
Sep 28, 7:29 pm
FDA approval for kids’ vaccinations could take longer: Source
The Food and Drug Administration’s approval for the Pfizer vaccine for children between 5 and 11 years old could begin in November, possibly before Thanksgiving, a federal official with knowledge of the agency’s process told ABC News.
This prediction comes after Dr. Anthony Fauci said Tuesday kids will likely start getting vaccinated by late October.
Another official told ABC News that Pfizer has yet to complete its full submission, and that the FDA is not going to be rushed on this.
Pfizer submitted it initial data on younger children to the FDA earlier Tuesday.
The FDA already has scientists reviewing that initial data submitted by Pfizer, according to the official.
Sep 28, 5:07 pm
Forecasters expect US pandemic to continue to improve
The COVID-19 Forecast Hub’s ensemble forecast, used by the CDC, predicts that U.S. hospitalizations will continue to fall — perhaps to as low as 4,600 per day — by Oct. 11.
Forecasters say around 1,600 fewer people are likely to die over the next two weeks than during the past two weeks. In the two weeks ending Sept. 25, at least 27,755 people died from COVID-19 in the U.S. Over the next two weeks ending Oct. 19, just over 26,000 deaths are expected.
Sep 28, 4:33 pm
Pfizer CEO says timeline on shots for kids up to FDA
Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla told The Atlantic Tuesday that the timeline on shots for children ages 5 to 11 is up to the FDA.
“I think it’s not appropriate for me to comment how long FDA will take to review the data. They should take as much time as they think it’s appropriate for them to have high levels of comfort,” Bourla said.
“If approved, we will be ready to have the vaccine available,” he added.
Vaccines may be authorized and available for 5- to 11-year-olds in October or November.
Bourla said he thinks once kids get vaccinated, the U.S. will get a “strong push” toward herd immunity.
Bourla said he thinks booster protection from Pfizer vaccines will likely last one year.
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