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COVID-19 live updates: US cases down nearly 25%

(NEW YORK) — As the COVID-19 pandemic has swept the globe, more than 5.6 million people have died from the disease worldwide, including over 879,000 Americans, according to real-time data compiled by Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering.

About 63.6% 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:
-US cases down nearly 25%
-New Hampshire to sell rapid COVID-19 tests at liquor stores
-NIH trial finds mixing and matching boosters is safe and effective

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

Jan 28, 8:22 pm
Sen. Romney tests positive for COVID-19

Utah Sen. Mitt Romney tested positive for COVID-19 Friday, his office said.

“He is currently asymptomatic and will be isolating and working remotely for the recommended period of time,” his office said.

His wife, Ann Romney, has tested negative for the virus. Both are fully vaccinated and boosted, his office said.

Jan 28, 5:06 pm
240 million free at-home tests ordered so far: White House

About 60 million American households have ordered 240 million free at-home COVID rapid tests since they became available on Jan. 18, White House officials said Friday.

The Biden administration plans to ultimately mail 1 billion free at-home rapid tests to Americans.

Additionally, the federal government has sent out “tens of millions of masks” since Biden announced last week that the government would provide 400 million N95 masks for free at pharmacies and community health centers across the country, White House principal deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said.

ABC News’ Ben Gittleson

Jan 28, 1:32 pm
US cases down nearly 25%

Federal data shows that the U.S. is now reporting an average of almost 600,000 new cases per day — a nearly 25% drop in the last two weeks, according to federal data.

Just nine states are reporting at least a 10% increase in cases: Alaska, Idaho, Kentucky, Maine, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, Washington and West Virginia.

All other states and territories are reporting a decrease in new cases or are at a plateau.

Nationwide, hospitalization rates are also declining, according to federal data. Just under 145,000 COVID-19-positive patients are currently in U.S. hospitals, down from 160,000 patients reported last week.

It’s not clear how many of these patients were admitted to the hospital for COVID-19 and how many coincidentally tested positive for the virus after they were admitted for other reasons.

The national daily death average now stands at nearly 2,300 — a 30% jump in the last two weeks.

ABC News’ Arielle Mitropoulos

Jan 27, 3:54 pm
San Francisco dropping masks in ‘stable cohorts’

San Francisco officials are ending indoor mask mandates for “stable cohorts” where everyone is up to date on vaccinations, like people in an office or gym setting.

The city’s health officer Dr. Susan Philip called this change, which begins Feb. 1, doable due to San Francisco’s highly vaccinated and boosted population.

“Other COVID-19 safety guidelines in these settings remain in effect and include a means for others who do not or cannot meet the vaccination requirements to join the group with the added safety of showing a negative test and wearing a mask,” San Francisco’s health department said.

ABC News’ Matt Fuhrman

 

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