(NEW YORK) — As the COVID-19 pandemic has swept the globe, more than 5.5 million people have died from the disease worldwide, including over 843,000 Americans, according to real-time data compiled by Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering.
About 62.6% of the population in the United States is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Here’s how the news is developing. All times Eastern:
Jan 13, 5:02 am
Biden sending medical teams to hospitals overwhelmed by COVID-19
President Joe Biden will deploy military medical teams to hospitals in six states where COVID-19 infections are surging.
Teams of doctors, nurses and clinical personnel will be sent as early as next week to New York, New Jersey, Ohio, Rhode Island, Michigan and New Mexico, Biden is expected to announce on Thursday alongside Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell.
Biden in December directed the defense secretary to ready 1,000 military medical personnel to deploy to hospitals across the country as needed in January and February. The teams now being readied will be the first to start arriving at hospitals.
They’ll be sent to Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, Coney Island Hospital in Brooklyn, Rhode Island Hospital in Providence, Henry Ford Hospital near Detroit, University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque and University Hospital in Newark, New Jersey.
Biden, Austin and Criswell on Thursday will also “be briefed on the administration’s efforts to send resources and personnel to hard-hit communities across the country that are experiencing a surge in hospitalizations due to the Omicron variant,” according to a White House official.
-ABC News’ Ben Gittleson
Jan 12, 7:24 pm
Testing labs now struggling with their own staffing shortages due to virus
The labs shouldering much of the nation’s PCR COVID-19 testing are getting slammed with demand again during omicron’s surge, and now they’re grappling with a new challenge: their workforces are getting hit by the virus they’ve been tasked with tracking.
The American Clinical Laboratory Association, the national trade association representing some of the leading clinical labs responsible for COVID diagnostics, is warning that their members’ workforce is strained as more workers call out sick.
“Labs are now facing a wave of new issues brought on by a fast-spreading variant that has not spared the laboratory care work force,” an ACLA spokesperson told ABC News.
COVID-19 infections have increased laboratory staff sick leave — a “significant factor in determining overall capacity” at an industry-wide level, the spokesperson said.
“We have been pressured to get our capacity where we believe it can be because of the labor problems we see,” Quest Diagnostics CEO Steve Rusckowski said Wednesday at the JPM Healthcare Conference. “Some of this is just getting the labor to do our work, but secondly, is because of callouts because of the virus have been considerable over the last two weeks.”
-ABC News’ Sasha Pezenik
Jan 12, 7:00 pm
Chicago teachers accept deal to reopen classes
Chicago teachers voted Wednesday to accept the deal made by the union and city to re start in-person classes.
The deal ended the five-day standoff after the union voted to switch to remote learning due to the omicron surge.
Union leaders made a tentative agreement on Monday and urged teachers to back the deal despite frustration that the district wouldn’t grant demands for widespread coronavirus testing or commit to districtwide remote learning during a COVID-19 surge.
The final agreement will expand COVID-19 testing and create standards to switch schools to remote learning.
The deal also resulted in the purchase of KN95 masks for students and teachers and bigger incentives to attract substitute teachers. The city also agreed to give teachers unpaid leave related to the pandemic.
Jan 12, 6:07 pm
96% of Army members fully vaccinated
The U.S. Army released an update on the vaccine status of its members.
As of Jan. 11, 96% of members are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and 97% have at least one dose, according to the Army.
All armed service members are mandated to be vaccinated against the coronavirus.
Around 18,000 members remain unvaccinated, the data showed.
The Army has chosen not to discharge unvaccinated soldiers but instead “flag” them so they’re not promoted and are not allowed to re-enlist.
“To date, Army commanders have relieved a total of six active-duty leaders, including two battalion commanders, and issued 2,994 general officer written reprimands to soldiers for refusing the vaccination order,” the Army said in a news release.
-ABC News’ Luis Martinez
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