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(NEW YORK) — As the COVID-19 pandemic has swept the world, more than 5.5 million people have died from the disease worldwide, including more than 863,000 Americans, according to compiled real-time data. by the Center for Systems Science and Systems at Johns Hopkins University. Engineering.

About 63.3% of the population in the United States is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Latest headlines:
-California lawmaker proposes letting children 12 and older get vaccinated without parental consent
-LA County records highest death toll since March 2021
-In 1 month, the United States records more than a quarter of its total cases for the pandemic
– Breakthrough cases quadrupled during omicron emergence: CDC

Here’s how the news evolves. All times Eastern.

January 21, 2:54 p.m.
Biden doesn’t have authority to mandate vaccines for federal employees, judge rules

A Texas federal judge has rejected the Biden administration’s vaccination mandate for federal workers.

A lawsuit was filed in December by the Feds for Medical Freedom, made up of government employees from various agencies and AFGE 918, a union that primarily represents employees of the Federal Protective Service and the Cybersecurity Infrastructure Security Agency. .

Citing the Supreme Court’s most recent decision against OSHA, U.S. District Judge Jeffery Vincent Brown ruled there was a difference between public health measures and setting labor and safety standards.

“The president certainly possesses ‘broad statutory power to regulate executive branch employment policies,'” the judge wrote. “But the Supreme Court expressly ruled that a COVID-19 vaccination mandate is not employment regulation. And that means the president had no statutory authority to issue the federal worker warrant.

Brown has made it clear that getting vaccinated is the best protection against COVID-19 and the lawsuit was about whether or not a president could issue such a sweeping order with the stroke of a pen.

The Justice Department will appeal the decision, a spokesperson said.

ABC News’ Luke Barr

January 21, 1:40 p.m.
California lawmaker proposes letting children 12 and older get vaccinated without parental consent

California State Senator Scott Wiener introduced a bill lowering the age of consent for the vaccine from 18 to 12.

“California law already allows 12-17 year olds to access various forms of health care without parental consent, for example: HPV and Hepatitis B vaccines, abortion care, birth control , mental health care, domestic violence care,” Wiener tweeted on Friday. “Let teenagers protect their health.”

San Francisco’s director of public health and youth advocates were among those who joined Wiener at a Friday press conference outlining the legislation.

Youth advocate Nyla, a seventh grader, said: “We are so exposed that we are old enough to have a say when something will benefit us. … This bill gives me hope for kids whose parents don’t. I don’t always make decisions in their best interests, even when they’re well-meaning.”

ABC News’ Izzy Alvarez

January 21, 12:38 p.m.
LA County records highest death toll since March 2021

Los Angeles County reported 102 new deaths Thursday, marking the highest daily death toll since March 10, 2021.

Daily deaths have doubled in just one week, county officials say.

Of Thursday’s 102 deaths, 90% were residents who tested positive for COVID-19 after Christmas Eve, meaning they likely had omicron, county officials said in a statement. .

“As deaths often lag increases in cases and hospitalizations, we could see even higher numbers of deaths in the coming weeks,” county officials warned.

January 21, 11:53 a.m.
New York’s positivity rate at lowest since December 20

The positivity rate in New York state has fallen to single digits for the first time since Dec. 20, Governor Kathy Hochul announced Friday, another indicator that the omicron push is receding in the state.

The positivity rate now stands at 9.75%, up from more than 23% on January 2, which was the highest rate in New York during the omicron wave.

“This still needs to be taken very seriously,” Hochul stressed during a Friday briefing, noting that hospitalizations are still high.

ABC News’ Will McDuffie

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