(NEW YORK) -- As the COVID-19 pandemic has swept the globe, more than 5.2 million people have died from the disease worldwide, including over 779,000 Americans, according to real-time data compiled by Johns Hopkins University's Center for Systems Science and Engineering.
Just 59.4% of the population in the United States is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
-Variant-specific vaccine could be completed in about 3 months: White House
-Greece to mandate vaccines for people 60 and older
-Global case count of omicron variant tops 200
-Omicron variant was in the Netherlands earlier than thought
Here's how the news is developing. All times Eastern.
Nov 30, 7:01 pm
Pfizer requests FDA authorization to expand booster eligibility
Pfizer has officially requested Food and Drug Administration authorization of its COVID-19 booster for 16- and 17-year-olds, the company's CEO said Tuesday evening.
"It is our hope to provide strong protection for as many people as possible, particularly in light of the new variant," Albert Bourla tweeted, referring to omicron, a recently discovered variant of concern, according to the World Health Organization.
ABC News' Sony Salzman
Nov 30, 6:30 pm
Pediatric COVID-19 cases in US remain 'extremely high,' report says
Nearly 132,000 children tested positive for COVID-19 last week, as pediatric cases remain "extremely high." according to a new report from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association.
This marks the 16th consecutive week that weekly pediatric COVID-19 cases have been above 100,000. Prior to the recent increases, infections among children had been steadily dropping since the pandemic peak of 252,000 child cases, recorded over the span of a week in early September.
At this time, severe illness due to COVID-19 remains "uncommon" among children, the two organizations wrote in the report. However, they warn that there is an urgent need to collect more data on the long-term consequences of the pandemic on children.
The latest report comes amid growing concerns surrounding the new omicron variant, launching a renewed push to get all eligible Americans vaccinated against COVID-19. To date, about 36% of children ages 5 to 17 have received at least one dose, according to federal data.
ABC News' Arielle Mitropoulos
Nov 30, 5:50 pm
Merck pill now awaiting FDA authorization after adviser endorsement
Advisers from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration have narrowly approved an endorsement of the Merck COVID-19 pill, voting 13 to 10 in favor of the authorization.
If authorized, it would be the first easy-to-take antiviral pill for COVID-19. Pfizer is also working on a COVID-19 pill, which it hopes will be authorized early next year. The FDA typically takes the advice of its advisers but will make its own final decision.
During Tuesday’s meeting, advisers spoke positively on Merck's pill, even though it was not found to be quite as effective in the final analysis as it was in an early, preliminary analysis.
However, the advisers expressed doubt about whether it would be safe for pregnant people to use Merck's pill because of the potential risk of harm to the fetus as well as its use in children due to lack of data and similar concerns as in pregnancy.
ABC News' Sony Salzman
Nov 30, 2:45 pm
Variant-specific vaccine could be completed in about 3 months: White House
If a variant-specific vaccine is needed, the process, including FDA and CDC authorization, would take about three months, White House COVID-19 coordinator Jeff Zients said at Tuesday's White House briefing.
The omicron variant has still not been detected in the U.S. Delta "remains the predominant circulating string representing 99.9% of all sequences sampled," CDC director Rochelle Walensky said.
Walensky said the CDC is also working on expanding a surveillance program through JFK International Airport, San Francisco International Airport, Newark Liberty International Airport and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport that would conduct more tests on international arrivals.
Walensky added, "To be crystal clear, we have far more tools to fight the variant today than we had at this time last year."
ABC News' Cheyenne Haslett
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