(NEW YORK) — As the COVID-19 pandemic has swept the globe, more than 5.4 million people have died from the disease worldwide, including over 821,000 Americans, according to real-time data compiled by Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering.
About 61.9% of the population in the United States is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
-3 Americans testing positive every second
-Fauci recommends against big New Year’s parties
-WHO concerned omicron, delta leading to ‘tsunami’ of cases
-US daily case average nearly triples in 1 month
Here’s how the news is developing. All times Eastern.
Dec 29, 4:01 pm
3 Americans testing positive every second
The U.S. reported more than 1.9 million new cases this week, which equals about three Americans testing positive for COVID-19 every second.
The U.S. is now averaging 277,000 new cases each day, shattering the previous record average from Jan. 11, 2021, which was 250,000 cases each day, according to federal data.
Although this significantly high number is in large part due to the latest surge, it’s also attributable to the soaring demand for tests and backlogs of data following Christmas weekend.
ABC News’ Arielle Mitropoulos
Dec 29, 3:01 pm
30% of New York City’s EMS out on COVID sick leave
In New York City, 30% of emergency medical workers and 17% of firefighters are out on leave tied to COVID-19 — and the fire department is reminding New Yorkers to only call 911 in a true emergency.
“If you are not severely ill, allow first responders to assist those most in need,” the FDNY said in a video message.
Meanwhile, the New York Police Department has canceled regular days off for Dec. 31 and Jan. 1 due to COVID-19 and staffing needs for New Year’s Eve.
ABC News’ Mark Crudele, Aaron Katersky
Dec 29, 2:24 pm
4 Smithsonian locations closed
Four Smithsonian locations in Washington, D.C., have closed due to an increase in COVID-19 cases over the last few days.
The four museums — the National Museum of African Art, the National Postal Museum, the Anacostia Community Museum and the National Museum of Asian Art — are expected to reopen Jan. 3.
The Smithsonian said the cases and quarantine periods impacted “essential and operational staff,” so these closures “will allow the Smithsonian to reallocate staff and keep all other museums open for the remainder of the week.”
The Smithsonian closed in March 2020 due to COVID-19 and loccations started to reopen in May 2021.
ABC News’ Beatrice Peterson
Dec 29, 2:00 pm
DC public school students, staff must test before returning to classrooms
All public school students and staff in Washington, D.C., must test when they return to the classroom after winter break.
Free rapid tests will be provided by the city to the over 90,000 students in the largest data collection D.C. has done since the pandemic began, Mayor Muriel Bowser said.
The tests will be distributed on Jan. 3 and Jan. 4. Families are asked to upload results to the city by Jan. 4 at 4 p.m.
“Any student that does not have their results loaded by Jan. 4, will not be allowed to attend school on Jan. 5,” school chancellor Lewis Ferebee told reporters.
Bowser told reporters, “We expect that we’re going to be in this winter surge for a few more weeks, so throughout January we’re going to have to maintain vigilance.”
ABC News’ Beatrice Peterson
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