By MORGAN WINSOR, ABC News
(NEW YORK) — A pandemic of the novel coronavirus has now killed more than 1.1 million people worldwide.
Over 44 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 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. The criteria for diagnosis — through clinical means or a lab test — has also varied from country to country.
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 nation, with more than 8.7 million diagnosed cases and at least 226,728 deaths.
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 is developing Wednesday. All times Eastern:
Oct 28, 10:29 am
France braces for possible nationwide lockdown
French President Emmanuel Macron is expected to announce further restrictions to curb a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic.
Macron is slated to make a televised address on Wednesday evening, after holding emergency meetings with government officials to discuss the COVID-19 response. A four-week nationwide lockdown is reportedly among the options being considered, according to French media.
French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin told France Inter radio on Tuesday that citizens “must expect difficult decisions.”
Macron’s announcement would follow an alarming spike in deaths from COVID-19 as well as record numbers of new cases across France. Nighttime curfews have already been imposed in many areas, including Paris.
France’s public health agency has confirmed 1,198,695 cases of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, including 35,541 deaths.
Oct 28, 9:07 am
Poland sees record rise in new cases
Poland confirmed another 18,820 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, its highest single-day increase yet.
An additional 236 fatalities from COVID-19 were also registered across the Central European country in the past 24 hours, according to the Polish Ministry of Health.
Poland’s cumulative total currently stands at 299,049 cases with 4,851 deaths.
Meanwhile, nearly 14,000 COVID-19 patients remained hospitalized in Poland as of Wednesday morning, including 1,150 who are on ventilators, the health ministry said.
Oct 28, 8:03 am
Eli Lilly to supply US with 300,000 vials of experimental antibody drug
Eli Lilly and Company announced Wednesday an initial agreement with the U.S. government to supply 300,000 vials of one of its experimental antibody treatments for $375 million to help fight the coronavirus pandemic.
The federal government will accept the vials of bamlanivimab, a monoclonal antibody drug, if it is granted emergency use authorization by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The initial agreement also provides the option for the federal government to purchase up to an additional 650,000 vials through June 2021, according to a press release from Eli Lilly and Company.
The Indianapolis-based pharmaceutical firm submitted a request earlier this month for the FDA to authorize emergency use of bamlanivimab in non-hospitalized, high-risk individuals with mild to moderate cases of COVID-19.
“The U.S. is experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases and associated hospitalizations,” said David Ricks, chairman and CEO of Eli Lilly and Company, “and we believe bamlanivimab could be an important therapeutic option that can bring value to the overall healthcare system, as it has shown a potential benefit in clinical outcomes with a reduction in viral load and rates of symptoms and hospitalizations.”
If the FDA authorizes use of the therapeutic, the federal government will allocate the doses to state and territorial health departments which will then determine which health care facilities receive the drug for use in outpatient care. The government-purchased doses would become available to Americans at no cost, though health care professionals could charge for administering the intravenous infusion, according to a statement from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
“This agreement with Eli Lilly is part of Operation Warp Speed’s efforts to position the federal government to distribute potential therapeutics, allowing faster distribution if trials are successful,” said Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar.
The deal comes after the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases announced Monday that it has stopped testing a combination of bamlanivimab with the antiviral medication remedesivir in hospitalized COVID-19 patients, after an independent review of results found a “lack of clinical benefit.” Eli Lilly and Company said that all other studies of bamlanivimab, including its own phase 3 clinical trials, will continue and that it remains “confident” that the drug may help prevent progression of COVID-19 for individuals earlier in the course of their disease.
Oct 28, 6:06 am
Russia’s daily death toll reaches record high for second straight day
Russia registered 346 more deaths from COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, setting a new national record, according to the country’s coronavirus response headquarters.
The country’s previous record of 320 deaths in a 24-hour reporting period was set just a day earlier.
An additional 16,202 new cases of COVID-19 were also confirmed in the past day, down from Sunday’s peak of 17,347, according to Russia’s coronavirus response headquarters.
Moscow remains the epicenter of the country’s outbreak and recent surge. More than 22% of the new cases — 3,670 — and over 21% of the new deaths — 61 — were reported in the Russian capital.
The nationwide, cumulative total now stands at 1,563,976 cases with 26,935 deaths, 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 28, 5:52 am
South Africa’s president enters self-quarantine
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa is under self-quarantine after a guest at a dinner he attended over the weekend tested positive for COVID-19.
“The President is showing no symptoms at this time and will, in line with COVID-19 health advice, be tested should symptoms manifest,” Ramaphosa’s office said in a statement Wednesday. “The President will perform his duties remotely and will observe the guidelines that apply to self-quarantine.”
Ramaphosa attended a fundraising dinner for the Adopt-a-School Foundation at a hotel in Johannesburg on Saturday evening. Thirty-five guests were in attendance at the event and were the only people hosted by the venue at that time.
“The event adhered stringently to COVID-19 protocols and directives on screening, social distancing and the wearing of masks,” Ramaphosa’s office said. “As was the case with all guests, the President himself removed his mask only when dining and addressing the guests.”
On Tuesday, the Adopt-a-School Foundation advised the dinner guests that an attendee had tested positive for COVID-19 after showing symptoms on Sunday. The South African president had already attended two other events Tuesday morning before being alerted of the infected guest, who is currently “receiving medical attention,” according to Ramaphosa’s office.
“The President is screened regularly by the South African Military Health Service and subjects himself to screening at venues where he participates in engagements,” his office said.
South Africa has confirmed more than 717,000 cases of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, including at least 19,053 deaths. The country accounts for almost half of all diagnosed cases on the African continent, according to data from the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Oct 28, 5:19 am
Russia’s foreign minister in self-isolation
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is self-isolating after coming into contact with someone infected with COVID-19.
Lavrov, however, is “feeling well,” according to Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
“Following a contact with an individual infected with Covid-19, Sergei Lavrov will opt for self-isolation,” the ministry said in a statement Tuesday. “The visits and meetings planned earlier are postponed.”
Oct 28, 4:24 am
US reports over 73,000 new cases, nearly 1,000 deaths
There were 73,240 new cases of COVID-19 identified in the United States on Tuesday, according to a real-time count kept by Johns Hopkins University.
The latest daily tally is nearly 6,500 more than the previous day but still less than the country’s all-time high of 83,757 new cases set on Friday.
An additional 985 fatalities from COVID-19 were also registered nationwide Tuesday, more than double the previous day’s count but still down from a peak of 2,666 new deaths in mid-April.
A total of 8,779,653 people in the United States have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since the pandemic began, and at least 226,723 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 80,000 for the first time on Oct. 23.
An internal memo from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that was obtained by ABC News on Tuesday night shows the number of new COVID-19 cases recorded across the nation has increased substantially in week-over-week comparisons, as has the number of new deaths from the disease.
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