COVID-19 live updates: US deaths increasing to highest point in nearly 1 year

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 872,000 Americans, according to real-time data compiled by Johns Hopkins University's Center for Systems Science and Engineering.

About 63.5% of the population in the United States is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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

Jan 26, 6:36 pm
1st participant dosed in Moderna's omicron-specific vaccine

Moderna announced Wednesday that the first participant has been dosed in the phase 2 study of its omicron-specific booster candidate, in case it becomes necessary.

Moderna's trials will include people who received two doses of the original Moderna vaccine and people who received two doses of the original Moderna vaccine and a Moderna booster shot.

Pfizer announced Tuesday that it's initiated clinical studies to evaluate an omicron-based vaccine for adults.

Jan 26, 5:00 pm
NIH trial finds mixing and matching boosters is safe and effective

A study from the National Institutes of Health published in the New England Journal of Medicine found mixing and matching boosters are safe and create a similar immune response to sticking with your initial vaccine.

An earlier version of this study, with more preliminary findings, helped guide the CDC's decision to allow mix-and-match.

The study authors make no claims about specific combinations being more or less effective. The study did find that people who got an mRNA vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna) and then received the Johnson & Johnson booster had a significant increase in T-cell response, a part of immunity.

The trial looked at 458 participants who received a vaccine with no prior COVID-19 infection. This data is only for the first 29 days after receiving the booster; researchers plan to follow the participants for one year, allowing for more data.

-ABC News' Vanya Jain, Sony Salzman, Eric Strauss, Dr. Alexis Carrington

Jan 26, 4:47 pm
Unvaccinated child dies in Mississippi

An unvaccinated child has died in Mississippi from COVID-19, according to the state's health department.

The department confirmed to ABC News that the child was between the ages of 11 and 17, an age bracket that is eligible to receive Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine.

This marked the 10th child -- including an infant -- to die in Mississippi from COVID-19. None of the 10 children were vaccinated, according to the health department.

-ABC News' Josh Hoyos

Jan 26, 10:40 am
US hospital admissions projected to fall for 1st time in months

COVID-19-related hospital admissions in the U.S. are expected to fall in the weeks to come, the first time the nation would see a decline in months, according to forecast models used by the CDC.

Estimates suggest between 4,900 and 27,800 Americans could be admitted to the hospital each day by Feb. 18.

Deaths from COVID-19 are expected to remain stable or have an uncertain trend. Estimates suggest about 33,000 more Americans could die from COVID-19 over the next two weeks.

-ABC News' Arielle Mitropoulos

Jan 25, 6:06 pm
All Super Bowl attendees to get KN95 mask

Every attendee of next month's Super Bowl in Los Angeles will receive a KN95 mask, health officials said Tuesday.

Additionally, "safety team members" will remind fans to keep their masks on unless they are eating or drinking, Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said during a county Board of Supervisors meeting.

Attendees at the Super Bowl Experience will also receive a free at-home rapid test kit, Ferrer said, with messaging to test before the big game on Feb. 13 at SoFi Stadium.

The county expects to distribute over 60,000 take-home kits during the Super Bowl Experience, held at the Los Angeles Convention Center from Feb. 5 to Feb. 12.

-ABC News' Jennifer Watts