Samara Heisz/iStockBy MORGAN WINSOR, ABC News
(NEW YORK) — A pandemic of the novel coronavirus has now killed more than 1.1 million people worldwide.
Over 41.9 million people across the globe have been diagnosed with COVID-19, the disease caused by the new respiratory virus, according to data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. The criteria for diagnosis — through clinical means or a lab test — has varied from country to country. Still, the actual numbers are believed to be much higher due to testing shortages, many unreported cases and suspicions that some national governments are hiding or downplaying the scope of their outbreaks.
Since the first cases were detected in China in December, the virus has rapidly spread to every continent except Antarctica.
The United States is the worst-affected country, with more than 8.4 million diagnosed cases and at least 223,381 deaths.
California has the most cases of any U.S. state, with more than 894,000 people diagnosed, according to Johns Hopkins data. California is followed by Texas and Florida, with over 871,000 cases and over 771,000 cases, respectively.
Nearly 200 vaccine candidates for COVID-19 are being tracked by the World Health Organization, at least 10 of which are in crucial phase three studies. Of those 10 potential vaccines in late-stage trials, there are currently five that will be available in the United States if approved.
Here’s how the news developed Friday. All times Eastern:
Oct 23, 3:44 pm
Researchers say wearing masks could save over 100,000 lives through February
Researchers at the University of Washington “find that achieving universal mask use (95% mask use in public) could be sufficient to ameliorate the worst effects of epidemic resurgences in many states,”according to a paper published in Nature.
Universal mask use could save 129,574 (85,284–170,867) lives from Sept. 22 through the end of February 2021, the researchers said.
Assuming just 85% of people wear masks, 95,814 (60,731–133,077) lives could be saved, the researchers said.
ABC News’ Brian Hartman contributed to this report.
Oct 23, 1:54 pm
Delta puts 460 passengers on ‘no-fly list’ due to mask violations
Delta has added 460 people to its “no-fly list for refusing to comply with our mask requirement,” Delta CEO Ed Bastian said in an internal memo to employees.
“Wearing a mask is among the simplest and most effective actions we can take to reduce transmission, which is why Delta has long required them for our customers and our people,” Bastian wrote Thursday.
United said it has banned 335 customers from traveling on the airline due to noncompliance with the company’s policy.
ABC News’ Gio Benitez contributed to this report.
Oct 23, 12:10 pm
Washington Football Team to allow 3,000 fans at stadium
The Washington Football Team will allow about 3,000 season ticket holders to attend its Nov. 8 game against the New York Giants, the team said Friday.
Everyone must wear a mask, use mobile ticketing, follow social distancing rules and pay without cash. Tailgating won’t be allowed, the team said.
The decision was made with “the state of Maryland’s approval and under the supervision of Prince George’s County,” the team said, adding that it’ll continue to re-evaluate fan numbers for future games.
ABC News’ Leonardo Mayorga contributed to this report.
Oct 23, 11:54 am
Santa’s visit to Macy’s will be virtual this year
Despite a tradition started in 1861, Santa won’t be making his yearly trip to Macy’s New York City store this year due to the pandemic. Instead, his visit will be virtual.
From Nov. 27 to Dec. 24, families can take part in an “interactive, virtual experience” on the Macy’s website, Macy’s said in a statement Thursday.
“A special greeting from Santaland elves at the North Pole-bound train station kicks off the interaction,” Macy’s said. “From there, the Elves will lead the way through Santa’s Village and Workshop, stopping to see the sights and play interactive games. At the finale of the journey, kids will meet Santa through a whimsical interactive video where they will be able to share their holiday wish list followed by snapping a selfie with Santa.”
“Santa will also drop by @macys handles on a number of social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to engage with fans in his uniquely whimsical way,” Macy’s added.
Oct 23, 11:48 am
Trump administration delivering 125 million masks to states to help reopen schools, but still not tracking school outbreaks
The U.S. government is on track to distribute 125 million cloth masks to states and territories by the end of November to help reopen schools, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said Friday.
The 125 million masks were split evenly among adult and youth sizes. The distribution of adult-sized masks is complete, while the child-sized masks are being distributed as soon as they are manufactured. State governments are expected to handle distribution of the masks to schools.
The initiative is a small step in what remains a heavy lift for most local areas — devising metrics that decide when a school opens or closes, and figuring out how to keep the novel coronavirus away from teachers, bus drivers and parents who could spread it throughout the broader community.
There is still no coordinated effort by the federal government to track COVID-19 outbreaks at schools nor to examine how students are — or aren’t — contributing to community transmission. Most studies are limited in scope, often relying on schools that are willing to self-report cases. The lack of a nationwide tracking effort has prompted widespread frustration and confusion among parents and teachers on what benchmarks should be used for schools.
In a call with reporters Friday, a senior official with the U.S. Department of Education confirmed there was no effort underway by the administration to conduct a nationwide examination of school outbreaks.
“We feel that that option is, of course, best left to local leaders, those decisions,” said Aimee Viana, principal deputy assistant secretary for the office of elementary and secondary education at the U.S. Department of Education.
President Donald Trump falsely claimed at Thursday night’s debate with Democratic rival Joe Biden that “the transmittal rate to the teachers is very small.”
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the role children play in community transmission of COVID-19 isn’t fully understood, but its recently update guidance notes a “body of evidence is growing” that kids “might play a role in transmission.”
The CDC and other health officials largely agree that if a community can get the virus under control, schools are safe to open.
Schools haven’t been studied as closely because many remain closed and not every school is reporting outbreaks. One concern is that children might be transmitting the virus without exhibiting symptoms, and testing people without symptoms remains limited.
“That doesn’t mean that communities are on their own,” Viana said. “The Trump administration will continue as we’ve done since the beginning of the outbreak to extend flexibilities and freedom to open safely and to ensure that that learning continues in each community.”
ABC News’ Anne Flaherty contributed to this report.
Oct 23, 10:14 am
Poland sees record rise in new cases ahead of nationwide ‘red zone’ restrictions
Poland confirmed 13,632 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, the country’s highest figure since the pandemic began.
An additional 153 deaths from COVID-19 were also registered nationwide, down from a peak of 168 a day earlier. The cumulative total now stands at 228,318 cases and 4,172 deaths, according to the Polish Ministry of Health.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki announced that, starting Saturday, the entire nation of 38 million people will be placed in a “red zone” of strict measures aimed at curbing further spread of the novel coronavirus, just short of a lockdown. The measures include wearing masks at all times outdoors, switching all primary schools to remote learning and the closure of restaurants except for takeaway and delivery services.
“We absolutely must cut the means of transmission of infection,” Morawiecki said.
Oct 23, 9:34 am
Halloween still on at the White House, but with ‘extra precautions’
The White House grounds will open to costumed trick-or-treaters on Sunday for the annual Halloween festivities, but with “extra precautions” in place due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to a statement from the first lady’s office.
All guests are required to wear a face covering and practice social distancing during their visit. All personnel working the event must wear a face covering, while any staff passing out candy will be required to wear gloves. Guest capacity will be limited, with extended event hours.
Social distancing measures will be in place, and hand sanitizer will be available throughout the event route. Each department will utilize a “no-touch approach” when distributing product in their area.
The statement said President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump will “greet” trick-or-treaters as they pass by the South Portico of the White House. In previous years, the couple have handed out candy themselves.
Oct 23, 9:11 am
France hits new record of over 41,000 new cases in a day
France confirmed 41,622 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, its highest single-day count since the start of the pandemic.
The country’s public health agency also registered an additional 165 fatalities from COVID-19 in 24 hours. The cumulative total now stands at 999,043 cases with 34,210 deaths.
France has the seventh-highest case count in the world, according to a tally kept by Johns Hopkins University.
More than 10,000 patients remain hospitalized for COVID-19 across France, including 1,627 in intensive care, according to the public health agency.
COVID-19 patients now take up more than 60% of all intensive care beds in hospitals across the greater Paris region of Ile-de-France, a spokesperson for the regional health agency told ABC News. That figure is up from 59.3% on Tuesday.
French Prime Minister Jean Castex announced Thursday that a 9 p.m. curfew already in place in Paris and eight other major cities would be extended to cover 54 of the country’s 94 administrative departments. Some 46 million residents will be under the curfew by Saturday night.
Oct 23, 8:16 am
Russia reports over 17,000 new cases for first time
Russia confirmed 17,340 new cases of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, setting a new national record, according to the coronavirus response headquarters.
It’s the first time since the start of the coronavirus pandemic that Russia’s daily case count has surpassed 17,000. The country’s previous record of 16,319 new cases was set on Tuesday.
An additional 283 deaths from COVID-19 were also registered in the last 24 hours, down from a peak of 317 on Wednesday, according to Russia’s coronavirus response headquarters.
Almost a third of the new cases — 5,478 — and nearly 21% of the deaths — 61 — were reported in the capital, Moscow, the epicenter of the country’s outbreak and recent surge.
The cumulative totals now stand at 1,480,646 cases and 25,525 fatalities, according to Russia’s coronavirus response headquarters.
The Eastern European country of 145 million people has the fourth-highest tally of COVID-19 cases in the world, behind only the United States, India and Brazil, according to a real-time count kept by Johns Hopkins University.
Oct 23, 7:32 am
A quarter of US hospitals have 80% of ICU beds full, HHS memo says
A quarter of hospitals across the United States have intensive care units that are more than 80% occupied, according to an internal memo from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that was obtained by ABC News on Thursday night.
That figure is up from the summertime peak, when 17-18% of U.S. hospitals had 80% of ICU beds full.
The memo, which is circulated among the highest levels of the federal government and is used to determine daily priorities for the agencies working on a COVID-19 response, said 41 U.S. states and territories are in an upward trajectory of new infections, while five jurisdictions are at a plateau and nine others are in a downward trend.
There were 417,899 new cases confirmed during the period of Oct. 15-21, a 14% increase from the previous week. There were also 5,413 fatalities from COVID-19 recorded during the same period, a 10.6% increase compared with the week prior, according to the memo.
Meanwhile, the national positivity rate for COVID-19 tests increased from 5.1% to 5.8% in week-to-week comparisons, the memo said.
COVID-19 hospitalizations in Alaska reached a four-month peak, with the state’s daily average increasing to 8.5 hospitalizations per 100,000 people during the period of Oct. 12-18, compared to 5.9 per 100,000 the previous week. Adults in their 20s and 30s were said to be driving the state’s outbreak, according to the memo.
Idaho’s positivity rate for COVID-19 tests increased to 16.7% during the week ending Oct.14, more than triple the national rate of 5.4% for that time period. The state’s ICU hospitalizations related to COVID-19 reached a record high of 61 patients on Oct. 15, the memo said.
Montana reported 393 new cases per 100,000 people in the last week, more than triple the national average of 117 per 100,000. The state has the third-highest rate of new infections in the country, according to the memo.
COVID-19 hospitalizations in New Mexico increased by 101% in the first half of October. The state reported a 51.9% jump in new cases and a 21.1% increase in new deaths in the week ending Oct. 18, compared to the prior week, the memo said.
Oklahoma saw a record high of 821 COVID-19 hospitalizations on Oct. 20, according to the memo.
In Oregon, cases are at the highest point they have been since the start of the pandemic, the memo said.
South Dakota has the second-highest rate of new cases in the country and the fourth-highest test positivity rate. The test positivity rate is on the rise in 45 counties, suggesting it has not yet peaked. Out of all South Dakota counties, 82% have moderate or high levels of community transmission, with 71% having high levels of community transmission, according to the memo.
Tennessee reported 3,317 new cases on Oct. 19, its highest single-day increase to date. The previous record of 3,314 new cases was reported on July 13.
Texas’ cumulative total of cases surpassed 800,000 on Oct. 13, becoming only the second state in the country to do so.
Oct 23, 6:54 am
US reports over 70,000 new cases for first time since July
There were 71,671 new cases of COVID-19 identified in the United States on Thursday, according to a real-time count kept by Johns Hopkins University.
It’s the highest daily tally the country has reported since mid-July, almost surpassing the national record of more than 77,000 new cases in a single day. The latest case count was also nearly 9,000 more than the previous day.
An additional 856 fatalities from COVID-19 were also registered nationwide Thursday, down by from a peak of 2,666 new deaths in mid-April.
A total of 8,409,312 people in the United States have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since the pandemic began, and at least 223,051 of them have died, according to Johns Hopkins. The cases include people from all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C. and other U.S. territories as well as repatriated citizens.
By May 20, all U.S. states had begun lifting stay-at-home orders and other restrictions put in place to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. The day-to-day increase in the country’s cases then hovered around 20,000 for a couple of weeks before shooting back up and crossing 70,000 for the first time in mid-July.
The daily tally of new cases has gradually come down since then but has started to climb again in recent weeks and is now averaging around 60,000 per day.
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