Why More than 639,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 while over 4.5 million people?

More than 639,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 while over 4.5 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.
The United States is facing a COVID-19 surge this summer as the more contagious delta variant spreads.

Just 61.3% of Americans ages 12 and up are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Here’s how the news is developing today. All times Eastern.
Aug 31, 8:01 pm
Gene Simmons tests positive for COVID, KISS postpones shows
KISS co-lead singer Gene Simmons tested positive for COVID-19, the band shared on its Twitter page Tuesday evening.

In a statement, the band said the 72-year-old was experiencing “mild symptoms.”

PHOTO: Gene Simmons makes his way on to the field to sing the National Anthem before the game between the Atlanta Braves and the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium, May 7, 2019, in Los Angeles.
Harry How/Getty Images
Harry How/Getty Images
Gene Simmons makes his way on to the field to sing the National Anthem before the game betw…Read More
His diagnoses comes less than a week after co-lead singer Paul Stanley, 69, tested positive for COVID-19 as well.

In a statement released on Aug. 26, the band said that, “everyone on the entire tour, both band and crew, are fully vaccinated.”

KISS has postponed four of its “End of the Road” tour shows from Sept. 1 to Sept. 5.

“The band and crew will remain at home and isolate for the next 10 days,” the band said in a statement.

Aug 31, 6:56 pm
2 officials working on COVID-19 vaccine review to leave FDA
Peter Marks, the director of the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER), announced the upcoming departure of two top vaccine regulators to his staff in an internal memo, which was obtained by ABC News.

Dr. Marion Gruber, director of the FDA’s Office of Vaccines Research and Review (OVRR) and her deputy, Dr. Phil Krause, are set to leave the agency in October and November respectively, according to the memo.

Krause, who’s been with the agency for over a decade, and Gruber, who has been with the FDA for over 30 years, were instrumental in the review and authorization of the three COVID-19 vaccines, the memo said.

The memo said that Gruber will be “retiring” and gave no other details about Krause’s departure.

ABC News has reached out to both Gruber and Krause for comment.

When reached for comment about their departure, an FDA spokesperson told ABC News the agency is “confident in the expertise and ability of our staff to continue our critical public health work, including evaluating COVID-19 vaccines.”

Their departures come at a critical time for the vaccine review team. After facing pressure to move as fast as possible to get vaccines’ full licensure done, the agency is now weighing booster shots for a wider pool of Americans.

The timing of the booster shot approval has been a bone of contention amongst federal agencies after the Biden administration announced the availability of booster shots would begin ahead of any ruling from the FDA or Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advisory groups.

-ABC News’ Sasha Pezenik

Aug 31, 4:57 pm
Rev. Jesse Jackson’s wife out of ICU
Jacqueline Jackson, the wife of civil rights leader Rev. Jesse Jackson, is out of the ICU as both Jacksons continue to fight COVID-19, their family said.

“Our father remains at The Shirley Ryan AbilityLab where he is continuing to receive intensive occupational and physical therapy,” their son, Jonathan Jackson, said in a statement Tuesday.

Jesse Jackson, who is 79 and has Parkinson’s disease, was vaccinated, reported ABC Chicago station WLS.

“Our mother remains in the Northwestern Memorial Hospital and has been moved out of the ICU and back into her regular hospital room where she continues to receive oxygen,” the statement said. “Both of our parents are continuing to receive excellent medical care and we thank God for the progress that both seem to be making.”