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COVID-19 live updates: More than 10,000 new deaths reported in US in 1 week

ABC News logo ABC News 9/18/2021
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The United States is facing a COVID-19 surge this summer as the more contagious delta variant spreads.

More than 671,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 while over 4.6 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 63.6% of Americans ages 12 and up are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

 

Latest Developments

September 17, 2021

White House to hold virtual COVID-19 summit next week  

The White House is planning to hold a virtual COVID-19 summit with world leaders next week, officials announced Friday.

President Joe Biden will convene the summit Wednesday amid the U.N. General Assembly, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement. 

The meeting will focus on "expanding and enhancing our shared efforts to defeat COVID-19," according to Psaki, including equitable vaccine access and making therapeutics and tests more available. 

More information will be available in the coming days, she said.

 
September 17, 2021

FDA panel votes 'yes' on boosters for people 65 and older or high risk

The FDA advisory panel on Friday voted 18-0 in favor of booster shots for anyone 65 and older or anyone at high risk of severe disease from COVID-19.

If the FDA agrees with the plan, which is likely, it’s possible that booster shots would roll out as early as next week to these populations. The CDC would weigh in first though with more specific recommendations on who exactly should take the third shots.

The 18-0 vote comes after the members voted "no" on the question of whether the current data supports a booster shot of the Pfizer vaccine for anyone 16 and older.

 
September 17, 2021

FDA panel declines to approve Pfizer boosters for all Americans

The independent FDA advisory committee voted "no" on Friday on the question of whether the current data supports a booster shot of the Pfizer vaccine for anyone 16 and older. 

 MORE: FDA panel declines to approve boosters for all, but continues debate for older Americans 

This was largely due to members’ discomfort with the vast age range this question includes. As members of the FDA's Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee outlined in Friday's meeting, there are still large gaps in safety and efficacy data for the younger age groups. But the members said they haven't ruled out third shots for older populations.

The panel will now vote on boosters for everyone over 65 and people who are at high risk of the virus.

 
September 17, 2021

Moderna vaccine appears to provide strongest protection against hospitalization

 

Moderna's two-shot vaccine seems to offer the strongest protection against hospitalization, though all three vaccines dramatically reduced the risk, according to a new analysis published in the CDC's weekly report MMWR.

The study used a model to estimate effectiveness against hospitalization among 3,689 adults hospitalized from March to August. According to the estimate, vaccine efficacy against hospitalization was: 93% for Moderna; 88% for Pfizer; 71% for Johnson & Johnson.

This study did not specifically analyze delta, did not include people under 18 nor did it include immunocompromised people. This study did look at antibody levels but didn't track a change in antibody levels over time. 

 

-ABC News' Sony Salzman, Adela Wu

 
September 17, 2021

WH COVID team confident there won't be booster supply problems

 

White House COVID-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients said when boosters start rolling out he's confident there won't be a supply problem as there was when vaccinations began.

  A man receives his booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine during an Oakland County Health Department vaccination clinic at the Southfield Pavilion on Aug. 24, 2021, in Southfield, Mich. © Emily Elconin/Getty Images, FILE A man receives his booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine during an Oakland County Health Department vaccination clinic at the Southfield Pavilion on Aug. 24, 2021, in Southfield, Mich.

“We have plenty of supply of all three vaccines for boosters, obviously pending the FDA and the CDC recommendations," Zients said at Friday's White House COVID-19 Response Team briefing. "We have supply in inventory and we also have supply on order. So supply is in good shape for all Americans to get boosters."

  a person standing in front of a mirror posing for the camera: A technician inspects filled vials of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at the company's facility in Puurs, Belgium, March 2021. © AP, FILE A technician inspects filled vials of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at the company's facility in Puurs, Belgium, March 2021.

At the briefing CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky announced a $1.2 billion dollar investment in building more resilient health care systems to battle COVID-19 and future illnesses over the next three years. 

 

-ABC News' Matthew Vann

 
September 17, 2021

Over 126,000 Texas kids have tested positive

 

In Texas, 126,687 children have tested positive for COVID-19 since the school year started, according to state data. But there is a sharp decline in new cases in the last week. More than 5 million students are in Texas schools. 

a school bus that is parked on the side of a road: A school bus picks up children on the way to school in San Antonio, Texas, on Sept. 13, 2021. © Matthew Busch/The New York Times via Redux A school bus picks up children on the way to school in San Antonio, Texas, on Sept. 13, 2021.

At least 24,476 staff members at Texas schools have tested positive, according to state data.

 

-ABC News' Gina Sunseri

 
September 17, 2021

125 employees leave Indiana hospital system after refusing vaccine

 

Indiana University Health, the state's largest network of physicians, said 125 employees have left after choosing to not get vaccinated.

 

All workers were required to be fully vaccinated by Sept. 1. Those who didn't were given a two-week unpaid suspension ending Sept. 14, and those who still didn't agree to the shot by that point "left the organization," according to a statement by IU Health.

 

-ABC News' Will McDuffie

 
September 17, 2021

Art exhibit commemorating COVID deaths opens to public

 

An art exhibit commemorating the Americans who died from COVID-19 is opening to the public on Friday.

 

The exhibit, which will run until Oct. 3, displays more than 660,000 white flags on the National Mall at the base of the Washington Monument.

a close up of a sign: "In America: Remember" COVID-19 memorial art installation have 660,000 white flags placed on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. on Sept. 16, 2021. © Bryan Dozier/Shutterstock "In America: Remember" COVID-19 memorial art installation have 660,000 white flags placed on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. on Sept. 16, 2021.

MORE: More than 600,000 flags on National Mall stand witness to America's COVID dead

This is the largest participatory art installation on the National Mall since the AIDS Memorial Quilt.

 
September 17, 2021

Kentucky school district cancels all classes due to increase in cases

 

Newport Independent Schools in Kentucky has canceled all classes on Friday due to an increase in the number of sick or quarantined students, the district said.

 

Classes will be virtual on Monday and Tuesday. The district said it plans to return to in-person learning on Wednesday.

 
September 17, 2021

More than 10,000 new deaths reported in US in 1 week

 

The U.S. recorded more than 10,100 confirmed COVID-19 related deaths in one week, according to federal data. States with some of the highest death tolls are Texas, Georgia and North Carolina.

  White flags stand near the Washington Monument on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., Sept. 15, 2021. © Patrick Semansky/AP White flags stand near the Washington Monument on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., Sept. 15, 2021.

The U.S. reported more than 1.02 million cases over the last week. This is a major step back in the fight against COVID-19; in June, the U.S. recorded just 80,000 new cases in one week.

 

Tennessee and West Virginia currently have the country's highest case rate, followed by Alaska, Wyoming, South Carolina, Montana and Kentucky, according to federal data.

  a man standing in a room: Sgt. Katrina Byrne of the Kentucky National Guard labels pharmaceuticals as a pharmacy technician at St. Claire Regional Medical Center on Sept. 16, 2021, in Morehead, Kentucky. © Jon Cherry/Getty Images Sgt. Katrina Byrne of the Kentucky National Guard labels pharmaceuticals as a pharmacy technician at St. Claire Regional Medical Center on Sept. 16, 2021, in Morehead, Kentucky.

-ABC News' Arielle Mitropoulos

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several tall buildings in the background © Patrick Semansky/AP
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