COVID-19 live updates: New York sees fourfold increase in pediatric hospitalizations

The shift reflects the spread of the omicron variant.

As the COVID-19 pandemic has swept the globe, more than 5.3 million people have died from the disease worldwide, including over 816,000 Americans, according to real-time data compiled by Johns Hopkins University's Center for Systems Science and Engineering.

About 61.7% of the population in the United States is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


Cases in Louisiana double in 1 week

The Louisiana Department of Health said in a news release Sunday night that hospitalizations have doubled in the past week, hitting a figure not seen since the tail end of the state’s last surge in the fall.

“The last time we reported this many COVID-19 hospitalizations was mid-October, as we came down from our third and then-worst COVID-19 surge,” the release said.

According to the health department, 80% of the 449 people currently hospitalized are not fully vaccinated.


New record case high on Christmas Eve in New York

New York state recorded 49,708 new COVID-19 cases on Christmas Eve, according to data released by the state, topping the record set one day earlier with 44,431 cases.


This comes as New Yorkers sought testing in record numbers ahead of the holidays.

On Christmas Day, New York recorded 36,454 new cases, according to state data.

Long Island is the region with the highest percent positivity, standing at 14.79% (according to the seven-day average).


UVA pulls out of Wasabi Fenway Bowl

The University of Virginia is pulling out of the Wasabi Fenway Bowl at Boston's Fenway Park due to "the number of COVID cases impacting its roster," the Wasabi Fenway Bowl said.

The game was set to take place on Wednesday between UVA and Southern Methodist University. Tickets will be refunded.



Israeli prime minister goes into quarantine after daughter tests positive

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is isolating at home after his daughter tested positive for COVID-19, his office said.

Bennett tested negative via an antigen test Sunday morning as he headed into his cabinet meeting, his office said. When he learned about his daughter, Bennett left the meeting.

Bennett will take a PCR test and stay isolated at home, away from his daughter, until he gets his results, his office said.

Bennett, 49, and his wife have four children.


White House to lift travel restrictions on southern African countries

The travel restrictions on eight southern African countries, put in place by the White House when omicron emerged, will be lifted on Dec. 31, according to a senior administration official.

This decision was recommended by the CDC for two reasons, the official said: vaccines and boosters have been determined to help prevent severe disease from omicron; and omicron is already prevalent in the U.S. and around the world so travel from those eight countries won't have a major impact on U.S. cases.