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COVID-19 live updates: 1 state's daily cases up by nearly 2,500% since mid-July

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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.


Latest Developments


September 29, 2021

Former CDC director warns against government shutdown during pandemic

A government shutdown would sideline important cancer and infectious disease research at the CDC amid the pandemic, former CDC director Tom Frieden told ABC News.

Frieden led the CDC during the Obama administration and through the 16-day government shutdown in 2013.

"Although people who are directly responding to a pandemic would be exempt from furlough, it harms the rest of the agency and makes it harder to do everything ... whether it's answering emails, responding to requests, helping to investigate problems. It has a dampening effect on the agency being to able to do its job protecting Americans," he said.

PHOTO: A stretcher waits outside an apartment as Houston Fire Department paramedics check a woman with breathing difficulties for Covid-19 symptoms, Sept. 14, 2021, in Houston, Texas. (John Moore/Getty Images)
PHOTO: A stretcher waits outside an apartment as Houston Fire Department paramedics check a woman with breathing difficulties for Covid-19 symptoms, Sept. 14, 2021, in Houston, Texas. (John Moore/Getty Images)

"The staff at the CDC have basically been fighting the pandemic for 18 months. This would add insult to injury," Frieden said. "We had to furlough people who were working on prevention of cervical and breast cancer ... on the prevention of heart attacks and strokes ... on people collecting data on the health of Americans. And all of that makes people less safe and corrodes agency morale."

-ABC News' Ben Siegel


September 29, 2021

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.

PHOTO: A pregnant woman receives a vaccine for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at Skippack Pharmacy in Schwenksville, Pennsylvania, Feb. 11, 2021. (Hannah Beier/Reuters, FILE)
PHOTO: A pregnant woman receives a vaccine for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at Skippack Pharmacy in Schwenksville, Pennsylvania, Feb. 11, 2021. (Hannah Beier/Reuters, FILE)

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."


September 29, 2021

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.

PHOTO: Sgt. Katrina Byrne of the Kentucky National Guard works as a pharmacy technician at St. Claire Regional Medical Center, Sept. 16, 2021, in Morehead, Kentucky.  (Jon Cherry/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Sgt. Katrina Byrne of the Kentucky National Guard works as a pharmacy technician at St. Claire Regional Medical Center, Sept. 16, 2021, in Morehead, Kentucky. (Jon Cherry/Getty Images)



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.

PHOTO: Houston Fire Department paramedics transport a man suffering from breathing difficulties to a hospital, Sept. 14, 2021, in Houston, Texas. (John Moore/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Houston Fire Department paramedics transport a man suffering from breathing difficulties to a hospital, Sept. 14, 2021, in Houston, Texas. (John Moore/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Louisville Metro EMS paramedics assist a woman suspected of experiencing a severe COVID-19 emergency onto a gurney in front of her apartment building, Sept. 6, 2021, in Louisville, Kentucky. (Jon Cherry/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Louisville Metro EMS paramedics assist a woman suspected of experiencing a severe COVID-19 emergency onto a gurney in front of her apartment building, Sept. 6, 2021, in Louisville, Kentucky. (Jon Cherry/Getty Images)

-ABC News' Arielle Mitropoulos


September 29, 2021

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.

-ABC News' Sam Sweeney


September 28, 2021

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.

-ABC News' Anne Flaherty and Eric Strauss


September 28, 2021

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.

PHOTO: Army veteran William Craig waits to see if he has a reaction after receiving a COVID-19 booster vaccine and an influenza vaccine at the Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital on Sept. 24, 2021, in Hines, Ill. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Army veteran William Craig waits to see if he has a reaction after receiving a COVID-19 booster vaccine and an influenza vaccine at the Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital on Sept. 24, 2021, in Hines, Ill. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

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.

-ABC News' Brian Hartman


September 28, 2021

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.

PHOTO: A syringe is filled with a first dose of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine at a mobile vaccination clinic during a back to school event in Los Angeles, Aug. 7, 2021. (Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images, FILE)
PHOTO: A syringe is filled with a first dose of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine at a mobile vaccination clinic during a back to school event in Los Angeles, Aug. 7, 2021. (Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images, FILE)



"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.

-ABC News' Cheyenne Haslett


September 28, 2021

More data on mixing/matching vaccines is coming within weeks, Fauci says


At Tuesday's White House briefing, Dr. Anthony Fauci gave a loose timeline for when the FDA could have enough data to consider approving mixing and matching vaccines.

Moderna has already submitted data about using its shot as a booster for people who have received the Pfizer or Johnson & Johnson vaccines. J&J will submit data on mixing its shot with the other vaccines in the next week, according to Fauci, and then Pfizer will submit its data within the first two weeks of October. Finally, the data will be examined by the FDA.

-ABC News' Cheyenne Haslett


September 28, 2021

Over 400K Americans got booster shot at pharmacies this weekend: White House


Over 400,000 Americans received a booster shot at a pharmacy since Friday and nearly 1 million more have scheduled appointments in the next few weeks, according to the White House.

PHOTO: A woman receives the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine as a booster dose at Skippack Pharmacy in Schwenksville, Pennsylvania, Aug. 14, 2021. (Hannah Beier/Reuters, FILE)
PHOTO: A woman receives the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine as a booster dose at Skippack Pharmacy in Schwenksville, Pennsylvania, Aug. 14, 2021. (Hannah Beier/Reuters, FILE)



The U.S. is expected to hit a milestone of 200 million Americans with at least one shot on Wednesday, White House COVID-⁠19 response coordinator Jeff Zients said.

The White House also touted another important milestone: racial equity in vaccinations nationwide.

According to a new Kaiser Family Foundation poll, 73% of Latinos and 70% of Black Americans have now gotten at least one shot, compared to 71% of white Americans. In May, this same poll found that 65% of white Americans were vaccinated compared to 56% of Black Americans.

-ABC News' Cheyenne Haslett


September 28, 2021

US hospitalizations drop


At the beginning of the month, there were more than 104,000 patients hospitalized with COVID-19. As of Tuesday, there were 81,000 patients hospitalized -- a drop of about 23,000 patients, according to federal data.

Nearly 50% of those patients -- 11,000 -- are from Florida, where cases and hospitalizations have been plummeting since mid-August.

PHOTO: Critical Care Respiratory therapist Lauren Parsons treats a patient in their isolation room on the intensive care unit (ICU) at Sarasota Memorial Hospital in Sarasota, Florida, Sept. 22, 2021. (Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)
PHOTO: Critical Care Respiratory therapist Lauren Parsons treats a patient in their isolation room on the intensive care unit (ICU) at Sarasota Memorial Hospital in Sarasota, Florida, Sept. 22, 2021. (Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)



In recent weeks, however, 16 states have reported higher hospital admission metrics, according to federal data: Colorado, Delaware, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and West Virginia.

Five states -- Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, Kentucky and Texas -- have ICU capacities of 10% or less, according to federal data.

Alaska has the country's highest case rate, followed by West Virginia, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, North Dakota and Kentucky.

-ABC News' Arielle Mitropoulos

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