By MORGAN WINSOR, ABC News
(NEW YORK) — A pandemic of the novel coronavirus has now killed more than 984,000 people worldwide.
Over 32.2 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 6.9 million diagnosed cases and at least 203,015 deaths.
California has the most cases of any U.S. state, with more than 799,000 people diagnosed, according to Johns Hopkins data. California is followed by Texas and Florida, with over 747,000 cases and over 693,000 cases, respectively.
Nearly 190 vaccine candidates for COVID-19 are being tracked by the World Health Organization, at least nine of which are in crucial phase three trials.
Here’s how the news is developing Friday. All times Eastern:
Sep 25, 4:26 pm
Florida tops 14,000 deaths as restaurants reopen
The death toll from COVID-19 in Florida has now topped 14,000 after an increase of 120 new deaths in the last day, according to the Florida Department of Health.
The fatality total — 14,083 — is made up of 13,915 Florida residents and 168 non-residents.
This comes as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Friday that restaurants and bars can reopen at full capacity, effective immediately.
The executive order says restaurants can’t be limited to less than 100% capacity indoors unless the local government provides specific rationale.
DeSantis also said the state will be able to hold “a full Super Bowl” next year, which is set for February in Tampa.
DeSantis’ executive order also wipes out all outstanding fines for not wearing masks in public.
Florida has over 695,000 people diagnosed with COVID-19, the third-highest state for case totals in the nation, behind California and Texas.
ABC News’ Rachel Katz and Scott Withers contributed to this report.
Sep 25, 11:50 am
2 charged for handling of deadly COVID-19 outbreak at Massachusetts veterans’ home
Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey announced Friday that criminal neglect charges have been filed against both the former superintendent of the Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke as well as its former medical director for their alleged roles in a COVID-19 outbreak that led to the deaths of at least 76 residents at the state-run facility, which provides long-term care and other services to ageing veterans.
“We began this investigation on behalf of the families who lost loved ones under tragic circumstances and to honor these men who bravely served our country,” Healey said in a statement. “We allege that the actions of these defendants during the COVID-19 outbreak at the facility put veterans at higher risk of infection and death and warrant criminal charges.”
Bennett Walsh, 50, of Springfield, Massachusetts, and Dr. David Clinton, 71, of South Hadley, Massachusetts, were indicted Thursday by a statewide grand jury on five counts each for the charge of caretaker who wantonly or recklessly commits or permits bodily injury to an elder or disabled person and another five counts each for the charge of caretaker who wantonly or recklessly commits or permits abuse, neglect, or mistreatment to an elder or disabled person. Walsh and Clinton will be arraigned in Hampden County Superior Court at a later date, according to the attorney general’s office.
Prosecutors allege that the Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke, faced with staffing shortages, decided on March 27 to consolidate two dementia units into one, resulting in the placement of symptomatic — including those who had confirmed cases of COVID-19 — and asymptomatic residents within feet of each other. Prosecutors allege that those decisions, which they say were ultimately the responsibility of Walsh and Clinton, were reckless and increased the likelihood that asymptomatic veterans would contract COVID-19 and put them at higher risk of death and harm.
ABC News’ Aaron Katersky contributed to this report.
Sep 25, 11:18 am
Analysis shows cases rising in at least 32 US states
An ABC News analysis of COVID-19 trends across all 50 U.S. states as well as Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico found there were increases in newly confirmed cases over the past two weeks in 32 states, the nation’s capital and the U.S. island territory in the Caribbean.
The analysis also found increases in the daily positivity rate of COVID-19 tests in 21 states, increases in COVID-19 hospitalizations in 17 states and increases in daily COVID-19 death tolls in 9 states.
The trends were all analyzed from data collected and published by the COVID Tracking Project over the past two weeks, using the linear regression trend line of the seven-day moving average.
Three states — Montana, South Dakota and Utah — saw a record rise in daily number of new cases, while one state — North Dakota — hit a record number of new deaths in a single day. Two states — South Dakota and Wisconsin — reported a record number of current COVID-19 hospitalizations.
Over the past week, the seven-day average of new cases has continued to hover around 40,000 in the United States. Since Sept. 12, that average has increased by 16.3%.
ABC News’ Benjamin Bell, Brian Hartman, Soorin Kim and Arielle Mitropolous contributed to this report.
Sep 25, 10:20 am
Virginia governor and wife test positive for COVID-19
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam and his wife, Pamela, have both tested positive for COVID-19, according to a press release from his office.
The couple was notified Wednesday evening that a member of the governor’s official residence staff, who works closely within their living quarters, had developed COVID-19 symptoms and subsequently tested positive for the disease. Both the governor and the first lady received nasal swab tests Thursday afternoon, and the results came back positive.
Northam has no symptoms while his wife is currently experiencing mild symptoms. They are both “in good spirits,” according to the press release.
“As I’ve been reminding Virginians throughout this crisis, COVID-19 is very real and very contagious,” the governor said in a statement Friday. “The safety and health of our staff and close contacts is of utmost importance to Pam and me, and we are working closely with the Department of Health to ensure that everyone is well taken care of. We are grateful for your thoughts and support, but the best thing you can do for us — and most importantly, for your fellow Virginians — is to take this seriously.”
The couple will isolate for the next 10 days and evaluate their symptoms. Northam will continue fulfilling his duties as Virginia’s governor from their official residence in Richmond, according to the press release.
Sep 25, 9:32 am
Renowned Indian singer dies after being on life support for ‘severe COVID-19 pneumonia’
Renowned Indian singer SP Balasubrahmanyam died Friday, weeks after he had been hospitalized for COVID-19 symptoms. He was 74.
Balasubrahmanyam, an iconic playback singer of Indian cinema who reportedly held a Guinness World Record for his more than 40,000 songs, was admitted at MGM Healthcare in Chennai, southeastern India, on Aug. 5. He was placed on life support nine days later for “severe COVID-19 pneumonia,” according to a statement from the hospital’s assistant director of medical services, Dr. Anuradha Baskaran.
“In a further setback this morning, despite maximal life support measures and the best efforts of the clinical team, his condition deteriorated further and he suffered a cardio-respiratory arrest,” Baskaran said. “We express our heartfelt condolences to his family, friends, well-wishers and admirers at their loss during this time of anguish and sorrow.”
Sep 25, 7:30 am
Poland reports another record daily rise in cases
Poland reported a record rise in COVID-19 cases for the second straight day on Friday.
The Polish Ministry of Health confirmed another 1,587 new cases of the disease in the past 24 hours, the country’s highest daily caseload since the start of the pandemic. An additional 23 coronavirus-related deaths were also reported in the past day.
A majority of the newly confirmed infections were in the central part of the country.
In total, Polish Ministry of Health has identified 84,396 confirmed cases with 2,392 deaths.
Sep 25, 6:44 am
Wisconsin grapples with record-high COVID-19 hospitalizations
A total of 530 people remained hospitalized for COVID-19 in Wisconsin as of Thursday afternoon — the highest yet since pandemic began.
Among those patients, 371 were receiving mechanical ventilation and 141 were in intensive care units. Currently, 80% of all hospital beds statewide are full, according to the latest data from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.
The number of COVID-19 hospitalizations in Wisconsin topped 500 for the first time Wednesday, according to a report by Madison ABC affiliate WKOW-TV.
“There is no doubt that we are in a significant near-crunch time in a number of regions in the state,” Dr. Mark Kaufman, chief medical officer of the Wisconsin Hospital Association, told WKOW.
The rising number of COVID-19 hospitalizations comes as hospitals are also gearing up for flu season.
“We really don’t know how people will react if they are co-infected with both COVID and influenza,” Kaufman said. “But it is not likely to be good.”
Sep 25, 5:43 am
India reports under 90,000 new cases for fifth straight day
India confirmed another 86,052 new cases of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours.
An additional 1,141 coronavirus-related fatalities were also recorded. The country’s cumulative total now stands at 5,818,570 confirmed cases and 92,290 deaths, according to the latest data from the Indian Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
The daily caseload in the vast county of 1.3 billion people has remained below the 90,000 mark for five consecutive days after hitting a peak of 97,894 on Sept. 16, the highest single-day rise in infections worldwide since the coronavirus pandemic began.
Based on the current rate of infection, India is expected within weeks to become the pandemic’s worst-hit nation, surpassing the United States, where more than 6.9 million people have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
Sep 25, 5:10 am
UK sees highest single-day rise in cases amid second wave
The United Kingdom reported 6,634 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, its highest daily caseload since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
Another 40 coronavirus related-fatalities within 28 days of a positive test result were also registered Thursday, according to data published on the U.K. government’s website. The latest daily death toll for COVID-19 is far below the country’s record set on April 8 when there were 1,073 new fatalities reported U.K.-wide.
The United Kingdom’s cumulative total now stands at 416,363 confirmed cases and 41,902 deaths. The number of new infections started to come down in mid-April after hitting a peak but has been on the rise again since July.
The surge has prompted the British government to tighten restrictions on daily life in an effort to curb the current rate of infection.
The United Kingdom is not the only country seeing a second wave of COVID-19. Other European nations including France and Spain are also grappling with growing outbreaks.
Sep 25, 4:25 am
US caseload edges closer to seven million
There were 44,110 new cases of COVID-19 identified in the United States on Thursday, as the nation’s cumulative total edges closer to seven million, according to a real-time count kept by Johns Hopkins University.
Thursday’s tally is well below the country’s record set on July 16, when there were 77,255 new cases in a 24-hour-reporting period.
An additional 914 coronavirus-related fatalities were also recorded Thursday, down from a peak of 2,666 new fatalities reported on April 17.
A total of 6,978,874 people in the United States have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since the pandemic began, and at least 202,818 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 hovered around 40,000 in recent weeks.
An internal memo from the Federal Emergency Management Agency obtained by ABC News on Wednesday night shows that the number of new cases recorded in the United States is increasing by double digits in week-over-week comparisons, while the number of new deaths is down.
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