COVID-19 live updates: Israel approves fourth vaccine dose

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(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 826,000 Americans, according to real-time data compiled by Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering.

About 62% 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 03, 10:34 am
More than 100,000 Americans are hospitalized with COVID-19

More than 100,000 Americans are currently hospitalized with COVID-19, according to data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

A total of 103,329 people are receiving medical care, which is an increase of 130% from the number recorded two months ago.

Of those patients, more than 17% — about 18,000 — are in intensive care units.

The newly updated figure is just shy of the hospitalization peak seen during the summer wave fueled by the delta variant, when 104,000 Americans were hospitalized with COVID in early September.

-ABC News’ Arielle Mitropoulos

Jan 03, 10:20 am
FDA authorizes Pfizer’s booster shot for 12- to-15-year-olds

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized booster shots of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine in children between ages 12 and 15 on Monday.

Booster shots have been touted as a key tool in fighting the surge in COVID cases linked to the omicron variant, which has shown an ability to — at least partially — evade protection offered by two doses.

The FDA also shortened the wait period for adults and adolescents to receive boosters from six months down to five months.

In addition, the agency authorized COVID booster shots for children aged five to 11 who are immunocompromised.

Jan 03, 9:43 am
‘Mrs. Doubtfire’ pauses performances amid COVID surge

“Mrs. Doubtfire the Musical” has becomes the latest Broadway show to announce it is pausing performances amid the rapidly rising number of COVID-19 cases in New York City.

In a post shared on Twitter, producers announced the musical will “be taking a hiatus” between Jan. 10 and March 14.

Anyone with tickets for performances during the hiatus can either exchange for performances after March 15 or request a refund.

Jan 03, 9:34 am
Puerto Rico’s COVID positivity rate jumps from 2% to 33%

Puerto Rico’s COVID-19 positivity rate spiked to 33% on Monday, according to the island’s health department COVID dashboard.

This is a 16-fold jump from the 2% positivity rate reported just two weeks ago, which was a record low.

Scientist Mónica Feliú-Mójer from Ciencia PR, an organization that focuses on scientific education in Puerto Rico, said the rapid increase is due to many factors, including people’s behavior.

She said people gathering over the holidays, while a highly transmissible variant continued to spread, led to the spike in the positivity rate.

“The holidays are culturally very, very important and everyone thought this would be a different Christmas. People were eager to get together,” Feliú-Mójer told ABC News.

-ABC News’ Cristina Corujo

Jan 03, 3:28 am
South Korea reports first 2 omicron deaths

South Korea on Monday reported the deaths of two patients in their 90s who tested positive for omicron.

Both were receiving treatment in Gwangju, about 200 miles south of Seoul, the semi-official Yonhap News Agency said.

South Korean health officials reported 111 new omicron cases on Monday, bringing its total to 1,318 omicron cases.

About 83% of South Korea’s population has been fully vaccinated, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency. About 36% received a booster.

Jan 03, 2:17 am
Israel approves 4th vaccine dose for people 60 and over

Israel’s Ministry of Health approved a fourth dose of COVID-19 vaccine for health care workers and people over 60 years old, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said.

“Israel will once again be pioneering the global vaccination effort,” Bennett said at a press conference in Jerusalem. “Omicron is not Delta — it’s a different ball-game altogether.”

Fourth doses will be administered four months after booster shots, Bennett said.

ABC News’ Jordana Miller

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