(NEW YORK) — The United States has been facing a COVID-19 surge as the more contagious delta variant continues to spread.
More than 722,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 while over 4.8 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 66.5% 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.
Oct 18, 7:19 pm
FDA may allow mixed boosters: Source
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is considering allowing Americans to receive a booster shots from a different brand than their original shots, a source familiar with the agency’s planning told ABC News Monday.
The New York Times first reported the proposal Monday evening.
The FDA is moving toward recommending people get boosters that match their original doses — from the Pfizer or Moderna or Johnson & Johnson — but the agency may also allow health care providers to give certain patients boosters that do not match their initial doses, the source said.
An advisory committee of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is slated to discuss boosters this week and could issue recommendations for boosters by the end of the week.
ABC News’ Eric Strauss
Oct 18, 6:11 pm
New Mexico enacts crisis of standard care
New Mexico’s growing coronavirus hospitalization has forced the state to enact a crisis of standard care, the state’s health department announced Monday.
“In particular, the volume of COVID-19 patients – almost all of whom are unvaccinated – have exacerbated existing staffing and other resource shortages,” the health department said in a news release.
Medical facilities statewide must now use a “more standardized and equitable procedure,” before deciding who gets care and temporarily suspend procedures that are not medically necessary, according to the health department.
More details on the crisis of standard care will be revealed later this week, the health department said.
ABC News’ Jennifer Watts
Oct 18, 5:31 pm
99% of Seattle public employees complied with city’s vaccine mandate
Just hours before the midnight deadline for its public employee vaccine mandate, the city of Seattle revealed Monday that 99% of its 11,000 employees have complied with the order.
Approximately 150 public employees had yet to submit documents showing their vaccination status as of Monday evening, according to city officials. About 5% of public employees were granted exemption, the city said.
When it came to specific departments, the city said 91% of Seattle Police Department employees were vaccinated and 7% received exemptions. As of Monday evening, 24 Seattle PD employees (2% of the department) did not submit vaccination documents to the city, according to officials.
The Seattle Fire Department reported 93% of its employees complied with the vaccine mandate and 6% received exemptions, the city said. As of Monday evening, 16 Seattle Fire employees (1% of the department) did not submit their vaccination documents, according to city officials.
ABC News’ Matthew Fuhrman
Oct 18, 3:24 pm
CDC now counts those with AstraZeneca, Novavax shots as ‘fully vaccinated’
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its definition of what it means to be “fully vaccinated” to include people who got the AstraZeneca and Novavax doses in clinical trials.
A person also should be considered fully immunized even if they mix their vaccines, the CDC announced Monday.
In general, people are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose in a two-dose series, such as the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines, or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine
The new guidance applies to COVID-19 vaccines currently approved or authorized for emergency use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration — Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson — and can be applied to COVID-19 vaccines that have been listed for emergency use by the World Health Organization, such as AstraZeneca and Oxford.
The CDC is not recommending vaccines that are not FDA-authorized and has not yet made a decision on official guidelines for mixing doses.
The new guidance on interpreting vaccine records does not impact CDC recommendations on primary series vaccination and should not guide clinical practice, according to the CDC.
ABC News’ Anne Flaherty
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