(NEW YORK) — As the COVID-19 pandemic has swept the globe, more than 4.9 million people have died from the disease worldwide, including over 743,000 Americans, according to real-time data compiled by Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering.
Just 67.4% of Americans ages 12 and up are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Here’s how the news is developing. All times Eastern:
Oct 29, 6:44 pm
SCOTUS rejects bid to block Maine vaccine mandate for health care workers
The U.S. Supreme Court has denied a request for an emergency injunction against Maine’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for health care staff.
A Maine physician and several others had sued the state over the mandate, which required that all health care workers be fully vaccinated by Oct. 1, because it disallows religious exemptions.
With three justices dissenting, the high court rejected the application Friday, though it could still grant the case on the merits and take it up for further consideration.
-ABC News’ Devin Dwyer
Oct 29, 6:28 pm
Federal court lifts pause on New York vaccine mandate for health care workers
A federal appeals court has lifted an injunction on New York’s statewide COVID-19 vaccine mandate for health care workers seeking a religious exemption.
The court Friday returned the case to the district court for further proceedings. But for now, the state can once again enforce the mandate despite religious objections.
Seventeen people had sued the state after it ordered health care staff at hospitals and nursing homes to get at least one dose by Sept. 27, saying the mandate violated their constitutional rights because it disallowed religious objections.
-ABC News’ Aaron Katersky
Oct 29, 3:24 pm
FDA authorizes pediatric vaccine
The FDA authorized the Pfizer vaccine for children ages 5 to 11 on Friday.
An initial 15 million doses are expected to start shipping out of Pfizer’s manufacturing plant within 24 hours.
No vaccinations will start until the CDC director signs off. The director is likely to sign off on Nov. 2, with vaccinations likely beginning Nov. 3.
Oct 29, 1:04 pm
Being vaccinated offers better protection than being infected: CDC study
A new study from the CDC finds that people with “natural” immunity through infection were more than five times more likely to become infected with COVID-19 compared to people who were fully vaccinated.
The study reviewed more than 7,000 people across nine states, measuring infections and hospitalization rates three to six months after either vaccination or initial infection. The study — published in the CDC’s weekly journal, the MMWR — reaffirms prior research indicating that vaccines offer superior protection than natural immunity.
Oct 29, 12:46 pm
FDA expected to authorize vaccine for kids within hours
ABC News expects the FDA to authorize the Pfizer vaccine for children ages 5 to 11 on Friday, according to people familiar with the agency’s planning.
The exact timing of the announcement is not yet known.
But no vaccinations will start until the CDC director signs off. A hearing with the CDC’s independent advisory board is set for Nov. 2; the director is likely to sign off on the panel’s recommendations that evening, with vaccinations likely beginning Nov. 3.
Oct 29, 11:12 am
NYPD 80% vaccinated after administering over 1,000 shots Thursday
New York City’s police department is 80% vaccinated after administering more than 1,000 shots on Thursday.
Nearly all municipal employees, including police officers, sanitation workers and firefighters, have until 5 p.m. Friday to submit proof of receiving at least one dose of vaccine. Those who don’t get vaccinated will be placed on unpaid leave, starting Monday, for at least 30 days, and their future employment will be resolved in negotiations with individual labor unions.
Police Commissioner Dermot Shea called reports of nearly half unvaccinated precincts “certainly outdated” and said he’s more concerned about filling “individual shifts” than staffing precincts.
“We will move resources around. We have had significant increase in people getting vaccinated in the past three days, and that’s the good news,” Shea said on Channel 5. “New Yorkers should not, should not, be worried about this.”
The FDNY’s vaccination rate stands at 71%. The city’s firefighters’ unions organized an anti-vaccine mandate rally on Thursday.
Oct 29, 10:18 am
Montana, Idaho leading nation in death rates
In recent weeks, cases have been creeping up in Alaska, Alabama, Colorado, Nebraska, New Mexico, Utah, Vermont and Washington, according to federal data.
The nation’s daily death average has dropped by about 36.3% in the last month, but it remains persistently high, around 1,150 new deaths reported each day.
Montana currently has the country’s highest death rate, followed by Idaho and West Virginia, according to federal data.
Oct 28, 12:44 pm
Florida files lawsuit against Biden administration over vaccine mandate for federal contractors
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said the state has filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration, arguing that the vaccine mandate for federal contractors is “unconstitutional.”
“Florida companies, public and private, receive millions of dollars in federal contracts annually and will be negatively impacted by the unlawful requirements,” a statement from Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody said.
DeSantis said in a statement, “The federal government is exceeding their power and it is important for us to take a stand because in Florida we believe these are choices based on individual circumstances.”
Oct 28, 11:37 am
Global cases, deaths on the rise for 1st time in 2 months
The global number of COVID-19 cases and deaths are now increasing for the first time in two months, largely driven by an ongoing rise in Europe that outweighs declines in other regions, W.H.O. Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Thursday.
The highest case increases in the last two weeks were in the Czech Republic (up by 234%), Hungary (up by 200%) and Poland (up by 183%), according to the W.H.O.
The director-general attributed ongoing infections “in large part” to inequitable access to tests and vaccines.
“Eighty-times more tests, and 30 times more vaccines, have been administered in high-income countries than low-income countries,” Tedros said. “If the 6.8 billion vaccine doses administered globally so far had been distributed equitably, we would have reached our 40% target in every country by now.”
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