COVID-19 updates: LA has highest daily death total since April

There are over 4,300 people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Los Angeles County.

Last Updated: January 16, 2022, 3:37 PM EST

As the COVID-19 pandemic has swept the globe, more than 5.5 million people have died from the disease worldwide, including over 849,000 Americans, according to real-time data compiled by Johns Hopkins University's Center for Systems Science and Engineering.

About 62.9% of the population in the United States is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Jan 16, 2022, 3:37 PM EST

France passes COVID-19 vaccination pass legislation

After a bitter two-week debate -- and as a protest was held outside -- the French Parliament voted Sunday to approve legislation that puts a COVID-19 vaccination pass in place. The new law, which will go into effect “around Jan. 20,” will require people aged 16 and over to present a vaccination pass to access public places such as bars, restaurants, cinemas, museums and shopping centers.

The pass will also now be necessary for some forms of transportation, including trains, domestic planes, buses, coaches and carpools. The law specifies that anyone who is not vaccinated must provide a “compelling family or health reason” and a negative test to travel by these modes.

A valid vaccination pass can either contain a full vaccination plan -- which in France consists of three doses -- or a certificate attesting to a recovery from COVID-19 dating back less than six months. COVID-19 screening tests, whether PCR or antigen, will not be sufficient to obtain the pass. 

France previously required a health pass for entry to public spaces, but people could keep it valid with a negative test. Young people aged 12 to 15 will still have to present a health pass to enter a place with restricted access.

Business owners can now also request request a proof of identification with a photograph if there are “serious reasons to think that the document presented is not related to the person who presents it.” Those who use a falsified or borrowed pass risk imprisonment and a hefty fine.

-Anna Rabemanantsoa

Jan 16, 2022, 10:29 AM EST

LA has 66 COVID deaths in 1 day, highest daily death total since April

Los Angeles County reported 66 deaths associated with COVID-19 on Saturday, which is the most coronavirus-related fatalities reported in one day since April 2, 2021, according to the county's health department.

The majority of deaths reported this week occurred in people who became infected after Dec. 20, when the omicron variant was circulating widely, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.

The county also reported 41,765 new cases of COVID-19, and said "the extraordinarily high number of new cases reflects worrisome rates of community transmission."

In the county there are more than 4,300 people hospitalized with COVID-19.

-Ahmad Hemingway

Jan 15, 2022, 10:59 PM EST

COVID surge continues to slow in New York

The number of new coronavirus cases and the percentage of tests that come back positive continue to decline in New York state, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Saturday.

"We are turning the corner on the winter surge, but we're not through this yet," the governor said in a press release, echoing her comments from Friday.

Cases have dropped by nearly half since Jan. 7, from 90,000 to less than 48,000, while the percent positivity has declined to 14.62% from a surge-high of 23.17% on Jan. 2.

However, the number of patients in intensive care units and the number of those intubated both rose, an indication that the significant strain on hospitals continues.

-ABC News' Will McDuffie

Jan 14, 2022, 7:13 PM EST

Over $2B in contracts awarded in White House's at-home testing plan

The White House has awarded over $2 billion in contracts so far as part of its plan to ship millions of free COVID-19 rapid antigen tests to Americans.

Among the most recent, three companies -- IHealth Labs, Roche Diagnostics Corp. and Abbott -- were selected out of 20 bids to manufacture a combined 380 million tests, with completion dates by March 14, according to a Pentagon advisory released Friday.

IHealth was awarded a $1.27 billion contract, Roche a $340 million contract and Abbott a $306 million contract, with all funds coming from the American Rescue Act, the Pentagon said.

The federal government had previously announced contracts for 48.3 million tests worth a combined $341 million. 

Altogether, that amounts to about $2.2 billion for 428 million at-home rapid tests, which are part of a batch of 500 million the White House said it plans to ship out over the course of the next 60 days. 

On Thursday, President Joe Biden announced that the White House would also ship out another 500 million at-home tests, bringing the total to 1 billion. A timeline for the second batch of tests hasn't been announced yet.

-ABC News' Luis Martinez and Cheyenne Haslett

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