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(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 780,000 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.

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

Dec 02, 9:33 am
Unvaccinated people will be barred from most businesses in Germany

Unvaccinated people in Germany will be barred from most businesses, except for grocery stores and pharmacies, officials announced Thursday.

In Germany, shops and restaurants check vaccination status at entrances.

Nearly 69% of Germans are fully vaccinated. The country has reported several cases of the omicron variant.

-ABC News'  Joe Simonetti

Dec 02, 8:33 am
Mask mandate on public transportation extended through March 18

Required masks on public transportation, including airplanes, rails and buses, will be extended through March 18, according to a new plan from the Biden administration.

Tighter requirements for travel into the U.S. will go into place early next week, the administration said. The rule calls for proof of a negative test within one day of travel to the U.S. for all passengers, regardless of their vaccination status or nationality.

President Joe Biden also announced a plan Thursday allowing for free rapid tests.

Senior administration officials say the more than 150 million Americans with private insurance will be able to submit for reimbursement to their insurance companies through the same rule that allows tests on site to be covered by insurance. To reach uninsured Americans and those on Medicare or Medicaid, the Biden administration will send 50 million at-home tests to 20,000 federal sites around the country to be handed out for free.

The Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Labor and Treasury Department will put out guidance by Jan. 15 to determine exactly how many tests will be covered and at what frequency, the plan said, and it will not retroactively cover tests already purchased.

-ABC News' Cheyenne Haslett, Justin Gomez

Dec 01, 5:32 pm
CDC orders airlines to share contact info for travelers from southern Africa

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is directing airlines to provide the agency with the names and contact information of passengers who have entered the United States since Nov. 29 and had been in southern Africa the prior two weeks. Airlines must turn the information over within 24 hours of the flight's arrival into the U.S.

The directive, in effect indefinitely, applies to travelers from the Republic of Botswana, the Kingdom of Eswatini, the Kingdom of Lesotho, the Republic of Malawi, the Republic of Mozambique, the Republic of Namibia, the Republic of South Africa and the Republic of Zimbabwe.

The order, which does not mention the omicron variant specifically, is to "prevent the importation and spread of a communicable disease of public health importance."

Delta and United are currently the only two carriers that offer flights between the U.S. and countries covered by the CDC order.

ABC News' Cheyenne Haslett, Sam Sweeney and Mina Kaji

Dec 01, 3:23 pm
California governor on omicron case: 'This is not surprising'

Gov. Gavin Newsom said the first detected case of the omicron variant in the U.S. being found in California "is not surprising" due to the state's "aggressive testing protocols" and genomic sequencing.

During a previously scheduled press briefing Wednesday afternoon, he shared a timeline on the San Francisco resident who tested positive for the case. The person left South Africa on Nov. 21 and landed in the U.S. on Nov. 22, developed symptoms a few days later around Nov. 25 and got tested on Nov. 28, he said. The test came back positive on Nov. 29, he said.

On Nov. 30, initial lab testing determined the sample could be omicron, and a full sequencing confirmed it was early Wednesday morning, San Francisco health officials said.

Newsom encouraged Californians to get vaccinated and receive a booster shot as the winter approaches.

Dec 01, 3:02 pm
California omicron case 'not a cause for us to panic,' health director says

The individual who tested positive for the first case of the omicron variant detected in the U.S. had received a full dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine but was not yet eligible for a booster dose, according to San Francisco Department of Public Health Director Dr. Grant Colfax.

The person developed symptoms upon returning from South Africa, got tested in San Francisco and has since recovered, Colfax told reporters during a briefing Wednesday.

"They did the right thing and got tested and reported their travel history," he said.

Colfax said the case is "not a cause for us to panic," and that San Francisco "is prepared" for this.

The health department has no plans at this time to change its current COVID-19 health orders, Colfax said.

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(ALBANY, N.Y.) -- With mounting concerns over the potential threat of the newly discovered omicron variant, U.S. scientists are racing to try to determine whether there are any confirmed cases of the new variant circulating around the country.

Among those is the New York State Department of Health's Wadsworth Center Labs in Albany, New York, where for months, scientists have been on the lookout for dangerous variants, while monitoring the genetic changes in the COVID-19 virus.

In order to track new variants, the team sequences the virus's genetic material to identify its lineage, strain and mutations, as well as to see how the virus is evolving, and which viruses are entering the state of New York.

The lab has been on high alert since the discovery of the omicron variant, analyzing positive COVID-19 samples from across the state to see if the variant is already present within the community.

On Wednesday, scientists in California confirmed the first known case of omicron in the U.S.

It is "absolutely, entirely possible," that the omicron variant is already circulating in many other communities across the country, Dr. Kirsten St. George, director of virology and chief of the Laboratory of Viral Diseases at the Wadsworth Center, told ABC News on Tuesday.

"We only sequence a subset of samples in New York and elsewhere in the country. We're not sequencing 100% of positive specimens. It is entirely possible that it is already here, and we have yet to sequence the specimen that it's in," St. George said on Tuesday, prior to the news of the U.S.' first confirmed case.

St. George said she was taken aback when she first saw a 3D image, shared by South Africa, of omicron's mutations.

"You could see the individual mutations marked on that protein, and it was really pretty jaw dropping, because it had so many more mutations than anything we've ever seen. It was a fairly startling thing to look at," St. George said, adding that "the evolutionary change on that protein was more extensive than anything we had seen."

Omicron is concerning because it has mutations not seen before, and scientists still do not know how it will clinically affect those it infects, St. George said, adding that "there are mutations that we unfortunately know can be associated with reduced efficacy of immunity."

The lab has been sequencing over 800 COVID-19 samples per week, researchers explained, a number that has been greatly enhanced with the establishment of a sequencing consortium, which comprises four other sequencing laboratories around the state, and also by collaboration with other labs across the state.

"These are known positive COVID samples that have been collected from throughout New York state and they're sent to us and we're preparing them for whole genome sequencing," Alexis Russell, a research scientist for the lab, told ABC News.

With multiple labs, throughout the country, sequencing different percentages of the positive specimens, and sharing data as soon as it is available, "we will know immediately when we see it, when it comes through the pipeline," St. George said

Following the discovery of the omicron variant, South Africa, one of the first countries where the newest variant was first discovered, has begun to experience an uptick in coronavirus infections. According to St. George, it is possible that omicron is behind South Africa's latest surge.

"The correlation of the emergence of that variant in South Africa, combined with the rapid increase in positivity and increase in case count, is quite suspicious," St. George said. "I think it's quite possible that it correlates with that variant and that it is probably a rapidly transmissible variant."

However, it is "very unlikely" that the increase in COVID-19 cases seen in the U.S., in recent weeks, is the result of the omicron. St. George said, "I think if that were the case, we would have seen it already in our sequencing pipeline."

It is still too early to know whether omicron will turn out to be more transmissible than delta, St. George said, though some of the existing PCR tests just happen to pick up an omicron marker, making it easier to detect than delta.

Positive samples for omicron have shown a phenomenon called "S-gene-dropout," which means that a target gene, linked to COVID-19 variants, appears to be missing from the new variant, allowing it to be distinguished easily from the dominant delta variant.

"It is a very suspicious indicator when you see it, a convenient indicator," St. George explained, making it potentially easier to detect omicron as compared to delta.

The discovery of new variants is not unexpected, St. George said, but it becomes particularly worrisome when it replicates at high numbers, increasing the chances of a mutation emerging.

"The more virus that it's producing, the more chance it has of producing a virus with a mutant. And then the more people who are infected, the higher the risk again, the higher the chance of producing it," St. George added.

It is possible that omicron could prove to be stronger than the delta variant, which has been shown to be far more transmissible than prior variants.

"The competition against delta is quite dramatic. It certainly looks as if it's got a very good fitness advantage against it, at this point," St. George said.

However, researchers cautioned that there are also times when viruses do develop mutations that seem to give them fitness advantages over dominant variants, but they ultimately "sort of burn out," and subside.

The protective measures that should be taken against omicron remain the same as with the other variants, wear masks, especially inside, and in crowds, wash your hands and get vaccinated.

"Even though we know that this virus has mutations that can be associated with evading immunity, be it prior infection, immunity or vaccine associated immunity. You have a better chance of not getting sick and having a decreased amount of viral replication in your system if your immune system is already primed with a vaccine," St. George said.

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(OXFORD TOWNSHIP, Mich.) -- A Michigan community is grieving after four students ages 14 to 17 were killed in a shooting at their high school.

Three victims died Tuesday in the wake of the shooting at Oxford High School in Oxford Township. The fourth victim died Wednesday. Seven were shot and injured, including one teacher.

The suspected gunman, a 15-year-old student, is in custody.

Here is what we know about the lives lost.

Madisyn Baldwin, 17

Madisyn Baldwin, set to graduate this year, loved to read, write and draw, according to clickonDetroit.com.

She had already been accepted to some colleges, including with full scholarships, her family said, according to clickonDetroit.com.

Tate Myre, 16

Tate Myre was an honors student who was "beloved by all" and had a "bright future," the Oxford football team said.

Myre, a junior, had been on the school's varsity football team since he was a freshman, the team said.

Myre died in a patrol car while deputies were taking him to a hospital, authorities said.

Hana St. Juliana, 14

Hana St. Juliana was a volleyball and basketball player.

Her father described her as a happy and joyful child, Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald said at a news conference Wednesday.

Justin Shilling, 17

Justin Shilling was the fourth victim to die. He died at McLaren Oakland Hospital in Pontiac, Michigan, on Wednesday morning, sheriff's officials said.

The teen "was a grandson, a brother, a cousin, a classmate, and without hesitation, a friend," his family said in a statement. "The loss of Justin leaves such a gaping hole in our family that we cannot conceive of life without him."

"Justin was a scholar, part of Oxford School Districts Baccalaureate program and a university scholarship awardee. He was a tireless worker with three jobs that he juggled along wit his studies," the family said.

Shilling was also a golfer and co-captain of a bowling team, McDonald said.

"His potential was boundless in life and yet in death he continues to give of himself as an organ donor," his family said. "We feel the world can't have too much of Justin."

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Wright Family

(NEW YORK) -- The family of Daunte Wright is spending their first holiday season without him.

"On Thanksgiving, we sat there and we watched so many videos of my nephew," Wright's aunt Naisha Wright said tearfully in an interview with ABC News. "It was just such a beautiful thing, because everybody had a memory of him either cracking jokes or trying to dance -- because he could not dance, but he tried."

The 20-year-old Black man was fatally shot in Minnesota during a traffic stop in April by then-police officer Kim Potter.

Potter, who resigned from the Brooklyn Center Police Department two days later, is now headed to trial. She is charged with first-degree and second-degree manslaughter. She has pleaded not guilty to both charges.

Officers initially pulled Wright over for an expired registration tag on his car but determined that he had an outstanding warrant for a gross misdemeanor weapons charge and tried to detain him, according to former Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon, who also resigned after the incident.

As officers tried to arrest him, Wright freed himself and tried to get back in his vehicle.

During the struggle, the defense says Potter accidentally grabbed her firearm instead of her stun gun when she shot him. After he was shot, he drove off and crashed the car a few blocks away.

Wright's mother, Katie Wright, told ABC News in an interview two days after the shooting that her son had called her during the traffic stop.

"I know my son was scared. He's afraid of the police, and I just seen and heard the fear in his voice," his mother said. "But I don't know why, and it should have never escalated the way it did."

She described her son as "an amazing, loving kid" who "had a big heart," "bright" smile and "loved basketball."

Naisha Wright said she wants the world to remember her nephew as a popular young man with a knack for humor -- earning himself a large group of close friends and being coined as an "honorary nephew" to those who knew the family. She also said he had a bright outlook toward a future of taking care of his family, particularly his 2-year-old son.

"He had a 2-year-old son that's not going to be able to play basketball with him. He had sisters and brothers that he loved so much," his mother said in April. "He just had his whole life taken away from him. We had our hearts pulled out of our chests. He was my baby."

"I'm just remembering that smile on that boy's face," his aunt said. "The memory of this young man trying to live his life … trying to be a father, becoming a father at a young age and trying to do something for his son."

Naisha Wright said he had hoped to "take care of his son, giving and doing whatever it was that he needed to do for his son."

Civil rights attorney Ben Crump has been retained by the family and has slammed the defense's argument that Wright may still be alive if he had not tried to escape police custody.

"We must look past the shameless victim blaming that has been and will be directed toward Daunte," Crump said. "Daunte Wright should not have been stopped or shot. He should be here with us, hugging his parents, siblings and young son during this holiday season."

ABC News' Stephanie Wash and Sabina Ghebremedhin contributed to this report.

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(OXFORD TOWNSHIP, Mich.) -- A fourth student has died following Tuesday afternoon's shooting at a Michigan high school.

Justin Shilling, 17, died at about 10:45 a.m. Wednesday in the wake of the shooting at Oxford High School in Oxford Township, sheriff's officials said. Three other students, ages 14 to 17, died Tuesday. Seven people, including a teacher, were injured.

The suspected gunman, 15-year-old Ethan Crumbley, was taken into custody and is being charged as an adult, Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald said at a news conference Wednesday.

There's no indication that the victims were specifically targeted, Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said Wednesday.

McDonald said she is confident prosecutors can prove the shooting was premeditated "well before the incident."

A law enforcement official told ABC News that investigators are actively pursuing information that, Monday night, an undetermined number of students appeared to see a Snapchat video warning of a shooting on Tuesday. Some students who saw the video stayed home from school, though no calls were placed to police regarding the video, the official said.

During Crumbley's first court appearance Wednesday afternoon, Lt. Tim Willis of the Oakland County Sheriff's Office confirmed that videos were recovered from the suspect's phone. Willis said they included one video by Crumbley the night before the shooting in which he allegedly "talked about shooting and killing students the next day at Oxford High School."

Investigators also recovered a journal from Crumbley's backpack that allegedly detailed a desire to kill students.

According to the sheriff's office, "the suspect had been involved in a meeting over behavior issues the prior day and the day of the shooting."

"Nothing of concern was noted in his school file prior to the first meeting," the sheriff's office said. "There are also no documented cases of bullying of the suspect with the school."

Crumbley has been charged with one count of terrorism causing death; four counts of first-degree murder; seven counts of assault with intent to murder; and 11 counts of possession of a firearm in commission of a felony, she said. Additional charges are possible, McDonald said.

A judge entered a not guilty plea for Crumbley at his arraignment. He will be moved to Oakland County Jail and held in isolation with bond, the judge said. His next court appearance is scheduled for Dec. 13.

The teen allegedly took his father's semiautomatic handgun, a 9 mm Sig Sauer pistol, with him to school, officials said.

Crumbley allegedly entered a bathroom just before 1 p.m. with a backpack and reemerged a minute or two later without the bag "but with a gun in hand," Oakland County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Marc Keast said during Wednesday's arraignment.

He allegedly walked down the hallway, aiming inside classrooms and at nearby students, according to Keast.

He never went into a classroom and was apprehended in a hallway, Bouchard said.

Thirty spent shell casings have been recovered, the sheriff said. The suspect had 18 live rounds left, he said.

The suspect's father purchased the weapon on Black Friday and officials are looking into how the family stored its guns and how much access the teen had to them, according to a source briefed on the investigation. The suspect had apparently used the gun prior to the school shooting, the source said.

McDonald said prosecutors are considering charges against both of the suspect's parents.

The first three students killed in the Tuesday shooting were Madisyn Baldwin, 17, Tate Myre, 16, and Hana St. Juliana, 14.

Four of the seven injured victims remained in the hospital on Wednesday, the sheriff said. Among those in the hospital is a 17-year-old girl who is in critical condition with a gunshot wound to the chest, he said.

In a statement released Wednesday evening, the Oxford Community Schools District said the community "has suffered a loss that is immeasurable."

The district said it is "fully participating" in the sheriff's office's investigation and warned against "significant speculation and misinformation" in the wake of the attack.

"The verified facts have been and will continue to be shared by law enforcement," the district said.

ABC News' Will Gretsky contributed to this report.

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(BEVERLY HILLS, Calif.) -- The wife of a famed music executive was killed during a possible home invasion in Beverly Hills.

Officers from the Beverly Hills Police Department responded to the 1100 block of Maytor Place just before 2:30 a.m. Wednesday, where they found a victim with a gunshot wound to the head, according to the department. The suspects were no longer on the scene, police said.

The victim was identified by a source close to the family as Jacqueline Avant, the wife of music executive and film producer Clarence Avant. Jacqueline Avant was transported to the hospital, where she later died, police said.

Jacqueline Avant, 81, may have been killed as the result of a home invasion, the source told ABC News. A back sliding glass door was shattered, Beverly Hills Police Chief Mark Stainbrook told ABC News.

It is unclear if anything was taken from the home, Stainbrook said. It is unclear who broke into the home, how the events unfolded and how long the suspects were there.

Clarence Avant, who is featured in the 2019 Netflix documentary "The Black Godfather," was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in October. Clarence Avant, 90, was popular among A-list celebrities such as Oprah, Jay-Z and even former President Barack Obama.

Police read a statement from the Avant family Wednesday afternoon during a press conference, which described Jacqueline Avant as "an amazing woman, wife, mother, philanthropist, and a 55-year resident of Beverly Hills."

Beverly Hills Police detectives will use all available investigative methods to follow up on leads, Stainbrook said.

Additional information surrounding the incident were not immediately available.

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(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 780,000 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.

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

Dec 01, 5:32 pm
CDC orders airlines to share contact info for travelers from southern Africa

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is directing airlines to provide the agency with the names and contact information of passengers who have entered the United States since Nov. 29 and had been in southern Africa the prior two weeks. Airlines must turn the information over within 24 hours of the flight's arrival into the U.S.

The directive, in effect indefinitely, applies to travelers from the Republic of Botswana, the Kingdom of Eswatini, the Kingdom of Lesotho, the Republic of Malawi, the Republic of Mozambique, the Republic of Namibia, the Republic of South Africa and the Republic of Zimbabwe.

The order, which does not mention the omicron variant specifically, is to "prevent the importation and spread of a communicable disease of public health importance."

Delta and United are currently the only two carriers that offer flights between the U.S. and countries covered by the CDC order.

ABC News' Cheyenne Haslett, Sam Sweeney and Mina Kaji

Dec 01, 3:23 pm
California governor on omicron case: 'This is not surprising'

Gov. Gavin Newsom said the first detected case of the omicron variant in the U.S. being found in California "is not surprising" due to the state's "aggressive testing protocols" and genomic sequencing.

During a previously scheduled press briefing Wednesday afternoon, he shared a timeline on the San Francisco resident who tested positive for the case. The person left South Africa on Nov. 21 and landed in the U.S. on Nov. 22, developed symptoms a few days later around Nov. 25 and got tested on Nov. 28, he said. The test came back positive on Nov. 29, he said.

On Nov. 30, initial lab testing determined the sample could be omicron, and a full sequencing confirmed it was early Wednesday morning, San Francisco health officials said.

Newsom encouraged Californians to get vaccinated and receive a booster shot as the winter approaches.

Dec 01, 3:02 pm
California omicron case 'not a cause for us to panic,' health director says

The individual who tested positive for the first case of the omicron variant detected in the U.S. had received a full dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine but was not yet eligible for a booster dose, according to San Francisco Department of Public Health Director Dr. Grant Colfax.

The person developed symptoms upon returning from South Africa, got tested in San Francisco and has since recovered, Colfax told reporters during a briefing Wednesday.

"They did the right thing and got tested and reported their travel history," he said.

Colfax said the case is "not a cause for us to panic," and that San Francisco "is prepared" for this.

The health department has no plans at this time to change its current COVID-19 health orders, Colfax said.

Dec 01, 1:57 pm
1st omicron case in US identified in California

The first case of the omicron variant in the U.S. has been identified in California, the California and San Francisco Departments of Public Health said.

The CDC said the person traveled from South Africa on Nov. 22.

The individual tested positive on Nov. 29, Dr. Anthony Fauci said at a briefing Wednesday.

The individual, who was fully vaccinated, had mild symptoms that are improving, the CDC said.

"All close contacts have been contacted and have tested negative," the CDC said.

"We knew that it was just a matter of time before the first case of omicron would be detected in the United States," Fauci said.

Fauci cautioned not to read into the mild symptoms of this single case and said the person was fully vaccinated but not boosted.

Dec 01, 1:38 pm
US hospital admissions up 20%

COVID-19-related hospital admissions in the U.S. are up by 20% since the beginning of November, according to federal data. About one-quarter of the patients are between the ages of 18 and 49.

Nearly 58,000 Americans are in the hospital with COVID-19, including more than 1,300 children, according to federal data.

-ABC News' Arielle Mitropoulos

Dec 01, 10:32 am
Hospital admissions, deaths predicted to increase in weeks to come

Forecast models used by the CDC -- the COVID-19 Forecast Hub at UMass Amherst -- predict weekly death totals and hospital admissions to increase over the next four weeks.

The model predicts that more than 15,000 Americans will die over the next two weeks, with a total of nearly 810,000 deaths recorded by Christmas.

-ABC News' Arielle Mitropoulos

Dec 01, 8:57 am
South Korea confirms 1st cases of omicron variant

South Korea on Wednesday confirmed its first cases of the omicron variant.

The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency said the new variant was initially detected among three people -- a couple who arrived from Nigeria on Nov. 24 and their friend who drove them home from the airport. Since then, the variant was found in two other people who also traveled to Nigeria and returned to South Korea on Nov. 23, bringing the total of confirmed cases to five.

Health authorities are conducting genetic sequencing tests on the couple's child and relatives of the friend who drove them home to determine if they were also infected, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency.

In an effort to fend off the omicron variant, which was first identified in southern Africa last week, South Korea has banned foreign short-term travelers from eight southern African nations. South Korean citizens arriving from those countries must quarantine for at least 10 days, regardless of their vaccination status.

South Korea's daily tally of newly diagnosed COVID-19 infections exceeded 5,000 on Wednesday for the first time since the start of the pandemic. The surge, which officials attributed to the highly contagious delta variant, has pushed COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths in the country to record highs.

The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency said most of the 5,123 new cases were reported in the capital, Seoul, and its surrounding metropolitan region, where officials said earlier that more than 80% of intensive care units designated for COVID-19 patients were already filled.

-ABC News' Joohee Cho

Dec 01, 8:07 am
Nigeria confirms 1st cases of omicron variant

Nigeria confirmed on Wednesday its first cases of the omicron variant.

The new variant was detected among three people with a recent history of travel to South Africa who tested positive for COVID-19 after arriving in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, according to the Nigeria Center for Disease Control.

"These cases were recent arrivals in the country in the past week," Dr. Ifedayo Adetifa, director-general of the Nigeria Center for Disease Control, said in a statement Wednesday. "Follow up to ensure isolation, linkage to clinical care, contact tracing and other relevant response activities have commenced. Arrangements are also being made to notify the country where travel originated according to the provisions of the International Health Regulations."

Following confirmation of the variant on Nigerian soil, the national travel advisory was revised and now requires all inbound travellers to present proof of pre-booked day 2 and day 7 COVID-19 tests as well as a a negative test result that was taken no more than 48 hours before departure. All outbound passengers, regardless of the requirements of the destination countries, are expected to present evidence of full COVID-19 vaccination or a negative test result done no later than 48 hours before departure.

"The NCDC assumes Omicron is widespread globally given the increasing number of countries reporting this variant," Adetifa said. "Therefore, it is a matter of when, not if, we will identify more cases."

The cases of omicron in Nigeria are also the first to be confirmed in West Africa.

-ABC News' James Bwala

Nov 30, 9:41 pm
CDC working to modify international travel testing guidelines

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday it is working to change its international travel guidelines to require COVID-19 testing one day before departure to the U.S. in light of the omicron variant.

"CDC is working to modify the current Global Testing Order for travel as we learn more about the Omicron variant; a revised order would shorten the timeline for required testing for all international air travelers to one day before departure to the United States," the CDC said in a statement. "This strengthens already robust protocols in place for international travel, including requirements for foreign travelers to be fully vaccinated."

The CDC continues to recommend that all travelers get a COVID-19 viral test three to five days after arrival in the U.S. and that unvaccinated travelers quarantine for seven days even if they test negative.

-ABC News' Cheyenne Haslett

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(WASHINGTON) -- Thousands of protesters gathered outside the Supreme Court of the United States on Wednesday as it hears arguments in the most serious legal challenge to Roe vs. Wade in 30 years, sparking passion on both sides of the heated abortion battle.

Hundreds more are expected in what's devovled into a dramatic scene of dueling rallies ahead of the most significant abortion rights case in decades.

The nation's highest court on Wednesday morning is considering a law from Mississippi that bans nearly all abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy with no exceptions for rape or incest -- breaking the precedent set by Roe which doesn't allow states to prohibit the termination of pregnancies prior to fetal viability outside the womb at roughly 24 weeks.

Outside the court, two sides formed, separated by an invisible but deeply ideological barrier.

In the group for pro-abortion rights, where women told ABC News they travelled from all of the country -- including from Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, New York and Rhode Island -- taking time off work to hoist signs reading, "abortion is healthcare," "grow abortion power," "defend women," "hands off my body'" and "equality begins in the womb. They repeatedly chanted in unison, "My body, my choice!"

Asked about the possibility of the justices crafting a middle ground, a woman from Washington told ABC News there is no such thing.

"These are our rights. They've been recognized for years. It's settled," she said.

Meanwhile, abortion opponents carried crosses, prayed the rosary and sang hymns. ABC News' Devin Dwyer reported the sense form many is that this is the consequential moment they've been praying God would deliver.

Ibah, a NICU nurse form Virginia, arrived after her shift with a coworker to show protest abortion.

"I just helped save a child born at 21 weeks," she said. "Life is precious."

Across the street, anti-abortion activists lined the sidewalk in the shadow of the U.S. Capitol holding dozens of oversized images of bloody aborted fetuses.

Speeches from both sides boomed over separate microphones, as each side fought to dominate.

Amber Gavin, 33, an independent abortion provider from Philadelphia who travels to North Carolina and Florida for her work, took the train to the nation's capital, instead, on Wednesday to show her support.

“Unfortunately, you know, we see a lot of anti-abortion protesters outside our clinic, harassing our staff and our patients. It's something that we deal with on a daily basis and it does make care, nobody should be forced to go through that as they're accessing basic health care,” Gavin told ABC News.

Kimberly McGuire, 36, executive director of Unite for Reproductive & Gender Equity, said she came to the court on behalf of young women and people of color living in the Midwest and the South who were unable to come and speak for their own constitutional right.

“There are people in every single state who are poised to fight back if this court decides the wrong way, who will be on the steps of their state legislatures, who will be speaking out and fighting to get this right back,” McGuire told ABC News.

The state of Mississippi, bringing its case to the high court after lower courts rejected it, argues Roe was wrongly decided and that each state should be allowed to set its own policy.

The Center for Reproductive Rights, a pro-abortion rights organization, which argues the decision to have an abortion should be left to a woman and her doctor, held a morning rally to kick off the historic day where women defended their constitutional right to an abortion and shared their own stories of having one.

“Having access to abortions made me a better parent because I was able to parent on my terms," said Kenya Martin, a pro-abortion rights activist outside the court.

A sea of abortion rights advocates huddled around a podium as movement leaders rallied the crowd's spirits.

“Abortion is not our dirty little secret. We did what’s best for us and that’s what matters," Martin added.

In the afternoon, abortion providers, clinic escorts, patients and other advocates are expected to engage in civil disobedience.

Shannon Brewer, director of Jackson Women’s Health, the last abortion provider in Mississippi and backbone of the case being heard this morning, made an argument for public health as well, reminding of the days before Roe when women died in resorting to so-called "back-alley" abortions.

"If you make abortion illegal, abortion does not stop," she said.

Majorities of Americans support the Supreme Court upholding Roe v. Wade and oppose states making it harder for abortion clinics to operate, according to an ABC News/Washington Post poll this month. Three in four Americans, including majorities of Republicans, independents and Democrats, say the decision of whether or not to have an abortion should be left to a woman and her doctor.

Separately, the Supreme Court has a still-pending decision in a separate dispute over Texas' unprecedented six-week abortion ban, SB8, which has denied women in Texas of the constitutional right to an abortion for nearly three months. Activists on Wednesday took aim at the Texas law, as well.

ABC News' Devin Dwyer contributed to this report.

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(ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.) -- Investigators may have found the source of the live bullet fired by actor Alec Baldwin on the Rust set in New Mexico last month that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, according to a new search warrant.

Longtime Hollywood armorer Thell Reed, the father of the film's armorer, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, said in a statement to investigators that ammunition once in his possession "may match the ammunition found on the set of Rust," according to a search warrant issued Tuesday by the Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office as part of the ongoing investigation.

The new warrant authorized the search of an Albuquerque prop house, PDQ Arm and Prop LLC, owned by Seth Kenney. According to the search warrant affidavit, Kenney told detectives that he was hired to supply Rust with guns, as well as dummy rounds and blanks from a manufacturer identified as Starline Brass.

In his statement, Reed told investigators that he worked with Kenney on another production in August and September, according to the affidavit. During that time, Kenney reportedly asked Reed to bring live ammunition to a training session with actors on a firearms range, "in case they ran out of what was supplied," according to the affidavit.

Reed told investigators he brought an "ammo can" with 200 to 300 live rounds to the range, according to the affidavit. "This ammunition was not factory made rounds," the affidavit stated.

After production ended, Reed told investigators that Kenney took the ammo can and remaining ammo back to New Mexico and told Reed to "write it off" when the armorer tried to get it back, according to the affidavit.

Through his attorney, Kenney denied providing live ammunition to the set.

"Mr. Kenney is fully-cooperating with the authorities, as he has been since the tragic incident took place," Kenney's attorney, Adam Engelskirchen, told ABC News in a statement. "Neither Mr. Kenney nor PDQ Arm & Prop, LLC provided live ammunition to the Rust production."

Engelskirchen said the search warrant affidavit "includes material misstatements of fact, particularly with regard to statements ascribed to Mr. Kenney."

"Reports in other media outlets that Mr. Kenney was part of the crew of Rust or was employed by the production to provide any sort of supervisory services are patently false," he added.

Albuquerque ABC affiliate KOAT captured footage of the search warrant being served at the facility Tuesday afternoon. It is unclear at this time what, if anything, may have been seized from the business.

Authorities were looking for several items, including live or spent ammunition; all boxes that may hold ammunition with the "Starline brass" logo for "evidence comparison"; documents related to products, equipment and ammunition supplied to Rust; and "any record documented on any media, which establishes and/or tends to establish the state of mind(s), motive(s), action(s) or intention(s) of any person(s) with knowledge or apparent knowledge of a crime(s)," including diaries or videotapes.

Gutierrez-Reed's attorney, Jason Bowles, called the execution of the latest search warrant "a huge step forward today to unearth the full truth of who put the live rounds on the Rust set."

"We trust that the FBI will now compare and analyze the 'live rounds' seized from the set to evidence seized in the search warrant to conclusively determine where the live rounds came from," Bowles told ABC News in a statement. " The questions of who introduced the live rounds onto the set and why are the central questions in the case."

The fatal shooting occurred on Oct. 21 at the Bonanza Creek Ranch near Santa Fe. Rust director Joel Souza was also wounded in the incident.

The film's first assistant director handed a Colt .45 revolver to Baldwin while proclaiming "cold gun," to let the crew know a gun with no live rounds was being used, according to an earlier search warrant affidavit. The assistant director told investigators he did not know there were any rounds in the gun he gave to Baldwin, according to the affidavit.

As the film's armorer, Gutierrez-Reed was in charge of all weapons on set. Her attorney has stated that Gutierrez-Reed had no idea where the live rounds came from.

Kenney was present on set six days after the shooting to give authorities access to a gun safe on the prop truck, according to the latest search warrant.

Speaking with detectives on Oct. 29, Kenney "advised he may know where the live rounds came from," according to the search warrant affidavit. "Seth described how a couple years back he received 'reloaded ammunition' from a friend" with the Starline Brass logo on it, the affidavit stated.

Investigators initially seized 500 rounds of ammunition from the set -- a mix of blanks, dummy rounds and what appeared to be live rounds. Industry experts have said live rounds should never be on set.

No charges have been filed in the case. Santa Fe District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies has previously said, "everything is on the table" and any decision to bring charges could take weeks or months.

ABC News' Vera Drymon and Doug Lantz contributed to this report.

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(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.

Latest headlines:
-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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(NEW YORK) -- Ghislaine Maxwell, a longtime associate of serial sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, came face to face with her first accuser in a Manhattan federal court on Tuesday.

A woman prosecutors have referred to as "Jane," one of the three alleged minor victims whose allegations against Jeffrey Epstein's longtime associate Ghislaine Maxwell are detailed in a federal indictment, testified on the second day of her trial, telling her story publicly for the first time.

She told the jury that she met Maxwell and Epstein while attending summer camp at the Interlochen Center for the Arts in Michigan, the beginning of what prosecutors earlier called "a nightmare that would last for years."

After returning home to Palm Beach, Florida, "Jane" said, she began visiting Epstein at his seaside mansion, where she testified that she had her first sexual encounter with Epstein in 1994 when she was just 14. According to "Jane," Epstein abruptly took her to his pool house, pulled down his pants and "proceeded to masturbate on me" while she remained "frozen in fear."

The abuse escalated to include explicit massages, "Jane" said, during subsequent visits to Epstein's house, and she identified Maxwell as the person (other than Epstein) most often in the room. Maxwell contributed, she alleged, by "leading me to a massage table and showing me how Jeffrey likes to be massaged."

Maxwell faces a six-count indictment for allegedly conspiring with and aiding Epstein in his sexual abuse of underage girls between 1994 and 2004. She has been held without bail since her arrest in July 2020 and has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Over the next several years, "Jane" said, she travelled with Epstein and Maxwell "maybe 10 times," sometimes on Epstein's private plane and sometimes on commercial flights. She visited both Epstein's New York residence and his New Mexico ranch, she said, where she suffered further sexual abuse by Epstein. It was Maxwell, she said, who typically arranged for her travel.

Earlier in the day, Epstein's former pilot, Larry Visoski, testified that he met "Jane" in the cockpit of Epstein's plane, though he later acknowledged he did not know how old she was at the time and could not recall whether she had actually taken a flight.

"Jane" also described frequent orgies with Epstein and other women, the details of which, she said, are "hard to remember," because they started to "seem the same" and she became "numb to it."

She never told anyone about her experience, she said, until many years later.

"How do you tell or describe any of this," she asked, "when all you feel is shame and disgust and confusion and you don't know how you ended up here?"

It's unclear whether Maxwell will take the stand during her trial, which is expected to last six weeks. If convicted, she could spend decades in prison.

 

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(OXFORD, Mich.) -- Three students were killed in a shooting at Oxford High School in Oxford, Michigan, on Tuesday, authorities said.

They were a 16-year-old male student and two female students, ages 14 and 17, authorities said.

Eight others were shot and injured, including a teacher, authorities said. They were transported to three different local hospitals. Two were in surgery and six in stable condition with varied gunshot wounds, Oakland County Undersheriff Mike McCabe said during a briefing Tuesday evening.

All parents of the victims have been notified, he said.

The suspected shooter, a 15-year-old male student, was taken into custody within five minutes, authorities said. A semiautomatic handgun has been confiscated, the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office said.

The student lives in the Village of Oxford and attended school Tuesday, authorities said.

Authorities said they believe he acted alone. The teen has not mentioned a motive, authorities said.

He is being held at the Oakland County Children's Village and is lodged as a juvenile, McCabe said. The county prosecutor could choose to charge him as an adult, he said.

The suspected shooter's parents have not granted him permission to talk to authorities and have hired a lawyer, the undersheriff said. Authorities are executing a search warrant at his house, he said.

Over 100 calls poured into 911 as the shooting unfolded, authorities said.

The shooting occurred primarily in one area of the school and there is a "fairly large crime scene," McCabe said.

Oxford is about 40 miles north of Detroit.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer attended an evening briefing on the shooting, saying she wanted to be there "because I think this is an important moment for us to support one another, to support this community. And I want to thank our first responders."

She called the incident a "uniquely American problem that we need to address," and got visibly emotional discussing the tragedy.

"I think this is every parent's worst nightmare," she said, crying.

President Joe Biden said Tuesday afternoon, "My heart goes out to the families during the unimaginable grief of losing a loved one."

 

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(DENVER, Colo.) -- Denver is making weather history this year as the city patiently waits to receive its first measurable snow of the 2021 winter season. This is the latest the city has ever waited for snow, according to the National Weather Service.

For a snowfall to be considered measurable by the weather service, it must be greater than a tenth of an inch.

Denver will begin the month of December without any snowfall for the first time in history -- and there's still no snow in sight for the near future. The previous record for the latest first snowfall in the city was set on Nov. 21, 1934.

The Mile High City has now gone 223 consecutive days without snow as of Tuesday, and is just 12 days away from passing the all-time record of 235 snowless days, a record that was set in 1887, 134 years ago.

“With no snow expected for the next several days, a move up to second place is certainly possible by next weekend,” the weather service said of the consecutive snowless streak on Monday. Currently, this year ranks as the fourth longest without snow, just behind a 224-day record set in 1889.

Sitting on the downslope of the Rocky Mountains at 5,500 feet above sea level, dry weather isn’t exactly abnormal for Denver. This is partially because during the winter months, weather systems, which generally form west to east, precipitate higher up in the mountains. As the system moves down the mountains toward the city, much of the leftover moisture evaporates.

Additionally this year’s Pacific jet stream, a high altitude wind current that can affect weather, is following a La Nina pattern, which could also be contributing to the region’s lack of snow and precipitation.

But the West has also seen the effects of climate change over the years as weather has gotten drier and winters have shortened.

The underwhelming snow figures come amid an ongoing drought in the western United States, where about 49% of the region is under extreme or exceptional drought conditions, according to the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

In Colorado, 40% of the state is in a severe drought, and Denver has received between zero and 25% of its normal precipitation in the last 30 days, according to the National Integrated Drought Information System.

These conditions have led to increased fire danger in Boulder, where county authorities ordered stage one fire restrictions to be put into effect on Tuesday over the lack of moisture and above-average seasonal temperatures.

The Boulder County Sheriff’s Office added in a press release that “moderate to severe drought conditions” and low resource availability could impact the ability to obtain “vital suppression resources” if a fire were to erupt.

The abnormally warm and dry weather has also begun to impact the famous Colorado ski season, which typically starts in the late fall.

One hundred fifty miles northwest of Denver, the Steamboat Springs Ski Resort has also seen less than average snowfalls. Crews were forced to generate more than 20 acres of snow across five trails using artificial snow blowers after the mountain initially delayed its season’s opening by one week, citing an “unseasonably warm” fall and little snow.

“Normally this time of year we’ve had more than 20 inches of snowfall, a 10-20-inch mid-mountain base and 200 hours of snowmaking under our belt,” Dan Hunter, vice president of resort operations, said in a statement. “This year we haven’t been able to capitalize on extended snowmaking temperatures and windows.”

Loryn Duke, director of communications for Steamboat Springs Ski Resort, noted that snowmakers this season have now logged just over 100 hours of snow production, with the resort now open to skiers. Duke said that the mountain would have been well on its way to 300 hours of production in past seasons by this point, with mild temperatures this year hampering snow generation efforts.

“Even though temperatures will continue to be on the warm side (for Steamboat and Colorado),” Duke said, “our crews will continue to work around the clock taking advantage of conditions prime for snowmaking and opening new terrain and lifts as soon as possible.”

ABC News’ Max Golembo contributed to this report.

 

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(NEW YORK) -- Two Iowa 16-year-olds accused of murdering a high school Spanish teacher in early November have pleaded not guilty, according to documents filed Monday.

Willard Noble Chaiden Miller and Jeremy Everett Goodale were charged with first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder in the death of 66-year-old Nohema Graber on Nov. 2.

The defendants appeared in court for individual bond review hearings on Nov. 23. Each asked for his bond to be reduced from $1 million to $100,000 cash or surety.

District Court Judge Joel Yates is expected to issue a written ruling on the bond reduction requests later this week.

The teens are being charged as adults in the death of the teacher who worked at Fairfield High School, which they both attended, according to Jefferson County authorities.

Law enforcement officials said they received a tip from an associate of the two teenagers that included social media messages between Miller and Goodale allegedly sharing details of their motive and plan for killing Graber, according to a criminal complaint filed against Miller.

Graber had taught Spanish at Fairfield High School in Fairfield, Iowa, since 2012. According to online court documents, Graber was reported missing on Nov. 2 by family members.

Multiple law enforcement agencies reportedly started to search Chautauqua City Park, where Graber was known to take walks during the afternoon.

Officials later found Graber's body in the park "concealed under a tarp, wheelbarrow and railroad ties," according to the complaint.

Authorities determined Graber had "suffered inflicted trauma to the head."

Miller and Goodale are set to appear for individual pre-trial conferences on March 21, and are scheduled to face a jury on April 19.

 

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(NEW YORK) -- The wife of Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman was sentenced to 36 months in federal prison for conspiring to distribute cocaine, meth, heroin and marijuana for import into the U.S; money-laundering and helping run the Mexican drug cartel in which her husband was the boss.

Emma Coronel Aispuro will also serve 48 months of supervised released.

The Justice Department initially asked for four years in prison.

In June, she pleaded guilty, and voluntarily forfeited $1.5 million to the government.

She was arrested in February 2021 at Dulles International Airport, just outside the nation's capital.

She was also accused of conspiring with others to assist El Chapo in his July 2015 escape from Altiplano prison and prosecutors said she also planned with others to arrange another prison escape for the drug kingpin before his extradition to the U.S. in January 2017.

"The defendant was not an organizer, leader, boss, or other type of manager" a Justice Department prosecutor told the judge during sentencing on Tuesday, calling her the "cog" in a very large criminal machine.

Aispuro, through an interpreter begged for forgiveness, vowing she will teach her daughters right from wrong.

"I beg you to not allow them to grow up without the presence of a mother," she said.

Guzman was found guilty in February 2019 of running an industrial-sized drug trafficking operation, the Sinaloa cartel, one of the world's largest, most profitable and most ruthless drug smuggling organizations.

He was sentenced to life in prison, and has since tried to appeal the conviction.

 

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