By JON HAWORTH, ABC News
(NEW YORK) — A pandemic of the novel coronavirus has now killed more than 1 million people worldwide.
Over 33.7 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 7.1 million diagnosed cases and at least 206,005 deaths.
California has the most cases of any U.S. state, with more than 816,000 people diagnosed, according to Johns Hopkins data. California is followed by Texas and Florida, with over 767,000 cases and over 704,000 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 is how the news is developing Wednesday. All times Eastern:
Sep 30, 11:14 am
Fauci sets record straight on masks after presidential debate
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, says President Donald Trump’s claims on Fauci’s stance on masks were “taken out of context” at Tuesday’s presidential debate.
During the debate Trump claimed Fauci initially said “masks are not good. Then he changed his mind.”
When Democratic nominee Joe Biden said if all Americans wore masks, and social-distanced between now and January, 100,000 lives could be saved, Trump responded, “Dr. Fauci said the opposite.”
Setting the record straight, Fauci told ABC News’ “Start Here” podcast, “Very early on in the pandemic … there was a shortage of PPE and masks for health care providers who needed them desperately since they were putting their lives and their safety on the line every day. So the feeling was that people who were wanting to have masks in the community, namely just people out in the street, might be hoarding masks and making the shortage of masks even greater. In that context, we said that we did not recommend masks.”
In the weeks that followed, Fauci said, “it became clear that they worked. Number two: it became clear that cloth coverings worked as well as surgical masks, so the idea of a shortage of masks that would take it away from those who really need it was no longer there because anybody could get a mask.”
Then, as scientists learned more from the data available, Fauci said they learned: “One: that about 40-45% of all the infections were among individuals who had no symptoms, namely asymptomatic infection. No. 2: it became clear that transmissions, a substantial proportion of them, are transmitted by people without symptoms. So then all of a sudden, it became clear that you would not know if you were infected or if the person that you were dealing with was infected. And at that point, it became clear that A: no shortage of masks, B: data now prove that masks work and 3: there clearly is asymptomatic transmission.”
“At that point, which is now months and months ago, I have been on the airways, on the radio, on TV, begging people to wear masks. And I keep talking in the context of wear a mask, keep physical distance, avoid crowds, wash your hands and do things more outdoors versus indoors,” Fauci said. “The other thing that became clear is, in fact, that there was likely a degree of aerosol transmission which make it even more compelling to wear a mask. So anybody who has been listening to me over the last several months know that a conversation does not go by where I do not strongly recommend that people wear masks.”
ABC News’ Brad Mielke and David Rind contributed to this report.
Sep 30, 10:28 am
Canada reports sharp rise in cases
Canada’s daily COVID-19 case count has reached a level not seen since the peak of daily cases in April, Canada’s chief public-health official Dr. Theresa Tam said on Wednesday.
“This increases the latest 7-day average to 1,471 cases reported daily across Canada,” Tam tweeted.
Most of the cases now are among younger people, she said.
Hospitalizations have been rising over the last few weeks in Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia, she said.
2/4 🇨🇦’s daily #COVID19 case count has reached a level not seen since the peak of daily cases in April. This increases the latest 7-day average to 1,471 cases reported daily across Canada. Things are the same, only different…
— Dr. Theresa Tam (@CPHO_Canada) September 30, 2020
“Things have escalated quickly and will escalate further unless we work together to #SlowtheSpread,” Tam warned.
Canada has over 159,000 people diagnosed with COVID-19. At least 9,340 people in the country have died, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
ABC News’ Christine Theodorou contributed to this report.
Sep 30, 6:32 am
Wisconsin reports highest number of deaths in a single day since late May
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services reported 17 deaths due to the novel coronavirus, which brought the total number of deaths in the state to 1,300 people.
The 17 deaths recorded Tuesday was the highest reported number in a single day since late May.
“We are in a crisis right now,” said Ryan Westergaard, DHS chief medical officer. “The likelihood that this is going to get much worse before it gets better is a real one.”
The number of people hospitalized due to the virus in Wisconsin was also higher than ever on Tuesday with 646 coronavirus patients occupying beds and 205 patients being treated in the ICU.
Additionally, the average new daily case count over the last seven days for the state was 2,255, the highest number yet.
Wisconsin also reported 2,367 new cases and 8,379 negative tests, for a positivity rate of 22%. The average positivity rate over the last seven days was 19.5%.
Sep 30, 4:59 am
Kentucky on pace for record week of coronavirus cases
On Tuesday, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear reported 1,018 new cases — the state’s second highest single-day increase since March 6.
“It ought to be a wake-up call,” Beshear said. “What that means is we are on pace to have even more cases than last week where we set a record number of cases.”
Kentucky is one of 22 states currently considered in the “red zone” for cases according to the latest White House Coronavirus Task Force briefing obtained by ABC News.
The official rate of positive tests, a seven-day average, remains below 5 percent, at 4.24 percent. In addition to the second-highest number of daily cases, Kentucky reported 72,808 new tests on Tuesday, the second-highest amount announced in a single day since the start of the pandemic. A total of 1,446,385 tests have been administered since early March.
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