COVID-19 live updates: Hospitalizations drop but deaths remain high

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(NEW YORK) — The United States has been facing a COVID-19 surge as the more contagious delta variant continues to spread.

More than 710,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 while over 4.8 million people have died from the disease worldwide, according to real-time data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.

Just 65.8% of Americans ages 12 and up are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to data from the CDC.

Here’s how the news is developing. All times Eastern:

Oct 08, 8:13 am
Former CDC head ‘cautiously optimistic’ about vaccines for kids

Dr. Richard Besser, a pediatrician and former acting director of the CDC, told “Good Morning America” Friday that he’s “cautiously optimistic” about vaccine approval for young children, adding that he’ll be closely watching the reviews by the FDA and CDC.

“Thankfully children have been impacted by COVID less severely than adults and I want to make sure, as a pediatrician, before I recommend this to my patients, I’m convinced that it’s safe and it’s effective,” Besser said. “The information I’ve seen so far gives me a lot of hope.”

The Florida Board of Education has authorized the state’s education commissioner to sanction the board members of eight school districts that have continued to require masks for students in defiance of state rules.

In the latest development in the state’s battle over mask mandates, board members in Florida’s largest districts — Miami-Dade, Palm Beach and Broward — as well as Alachua, Brevard, Duval, Leon and Orange will have their salaries withheld following Thursday’s vote, officials said.

“For nearly two months now, these school districts have barred from the school house doors thousands of children, many of whom have significant disabilities or health-related reasons that prevent them from learning with a face mask on,” Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran said in a statement.

Corcoran also slammed the Broward and Alachua districts, which were previously sanctioned in August and September, for accepting funds from the Biden administration to make up for lost paychecks, calling it “political bailouts from federal co-conspirators.”

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