By MORGAN WINSOR, ABC News
(NEW YORK) — A pandemic of the novel coronavirus has now killed more than 1 million people worldwide.
Over 38.1 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 7.8 million diagnosed cases and at least 215,910 deaths.
California has the most cases of any U.S. state, with more than 861,000 people diagnosed, according to Johns Hopkins data. California is followed by Texas and Florida, with over 826,000 cases and over 738,000 cases, respectively.
More than 190 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 14, 11:04 am
Man suffers sudden hearing loss due to COVID-19 in 1st such case in UK
A 45-year-old British man has suffered sudden complete hearing loss while being treated for COVID-19, which doctors say is the first such case in the United Kingdom.
A case study published Tuesday in the British Medical Journal’s BMJ Case Reports said the man, who has asthma but is otherwise “fit and well,” was hospitalized several days after developing COVID-19 symptoms. He was subsequently placed on a ventilator and transferred to the intensive care unit, where he remained intubated for 30 days.
The patient received remdesivir, intravenous steroids and plasma exchange to treat his COVID-19 infection, which clinically improved. A week after being taken off the ventilator and transferring out of the ICU, the man noticed ringing in his left ear followed by sudden onset hearing loss. He had no previous history of hearing loss or ear pathology, according to the case study.
Following a week of hearing loss, the patient saw an otolaryngology specialist and was treated with steroids. His hearing partially recovered after completing a seven-day course, according to the case study.
The researchers — from the University College London and Royal National Throat Nose and Ear Hospital — noted that there are only a few other reported cases of hearing loss following COVID-19 infection.
“This is the first reported case of sensorineural hearing loss following COVID-19 infection in the U.K.,” the researchers wrote. “Given the widespread presence of the virus in the population and the significant morbidity of hearing loss, it is important to investigate this further.”
Oct 14, 10:28 am
ICU admissions jump by 13.7% in Italy
The number of patients admitted to intensive care units in Italy has jumped by 13.7% within the past 24 hours, as COVID-19 infections surge again in the country where the pandemic first took hold in Europe.
Italy’s civil protection agency confirmed 5,901 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, an increase of 1,282 from the previous day. An additional 41 deaths from COVID-19 were also registered, the country’s worst single-day death toll from the disease since June 17.
The cumulative totals now stand at 365,467 cases and 36,246 deaths.
Italy, once the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, introduced strict new nationwide measures on Tuesday after seeing a sharp uptick in cases in recent weeks.
The European country had gradually loosened restrictions during the spring and summer, following a nearly three-month lockdown that helped get its COVID-19 outbreak under control.
ABC News’ Phoebe Natanson contributed to this report.
Oct 14, 7:59 am
Chinese city tests more than eight million residents amid outbreak
The eastern Chinese port city of Qingdao has tested almost all of its nine million residents for COVID-19 since launching a citywide testing campaign this week, amid the country’s first reported domestic outbreak in months.
The Qingdao Municipal Health Commission said in a statement Wednesday that it had collected over 8.2 million samples for COVID-19 tests and that no new cases have been found among the results returned thus far. The entire city will be tested this week, the commission said.
A total of 12 cases of COVID-19 — six with symptoms and six without — have been recorded in Qingdao, since an outbreak linked to the city’s Municipal Chest Hospital was discovered over the weekend. As of Wednesday, 532 close contacts have been investigated in the city, all of whom have been quarantined and observed and completed two rounds of testing, according to the Qingdao Municipal Health Commission.
The Chinese mainland, where the coronavirus pandemic began last December, has so far reported 85,611 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 4,634 deaths, including 13 new cases of local transmission and 14 cases brought from outside the country, according data released Wednesday by China’s National Health Commission. The country does not count asymptomatic infections as confirmed cases.
Oct 14, 6:55 am
Brigham Young University-Idaho checking reports of students intentionally contracting COVID-19 to sell plasma
Brigham Young University-Idaho said it is investigating reports of students who have intentionally exposed themselves or others to COVID-19 with the hope of getting the disease and being paid for plasma that contains antibodies.
The private university in Rexburg, Idaho, shared the development in a statement posted on its website Monday, saying it was “deeply troubled” by the accounts.
“The university condemns this behavior and is actively seeking evidence of any such conduct among our student body,” the school said. “Students who are determined to have intentionally exposed themselves or others to the virus will be immediately suspended from the university and may be permanently dismissed.”
The university warned that it may be forced to transition to a fully-remote instruction model if recent COVID-19 trends in surrounding Madison County and across Idaho continue.
“The contraction and spread of COVID-19 is not a light matter. Reckless disregard for health and safety will inevitably lead to additional illness and loss of life in our community,” the school said. “We urge all members of the campus community to act respectfully and responsibly by observing all public health and university protocols and placing the well-being of others above personal benefit or convenience.”
The university added that it “stands ready to help” students who are struggling with the physical, emotional and financial strain of the coronavirus pandemic.
“There is never a need to resort to behavior that endangers health or safety in order to make ends meet,” the school said.
At least 109 students and 22 employees at Brigham Young University-Idaho have contracted COVID-19, according to the latest data provided by the school.
Oct 14, 6:08 am
Russia registers another 14,231 cases in new daily record
Russia confirmed 14,231 new cases of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, setting a new record for its daily tally of infections.
It’s the first time that Russia has registered over 14,000 new cases since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, and the sixth straight day that the country has broken its record for newly confirmed cases. Russia’s previous record of 13,868 new cases was set a day earlier.
An additional 239 deaths from COVID-19 were also recorded in the past day, just under the country’s record of 244 fatalities set the previous day.
The cumulative totals now stand at 1,340,409 confirmed cases and 23,205 deaths, according to Russia’s coronavirus response headquarters.
Russia’s capital, Moscow, continues to be the epicenter of the country’s COVID-19 outbreak. Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin announced Wednesday that first to fifth-grade students will return to classrooms next week, following a two-week school break aimed at slowing the spread of the virus in the city. All other students will continue their studies remotely until the end of the month.
“The measure has proven to be effective. The portion of children among the infected has decreased from 19 to 11% in recent days,” Sobyanin said in a statement posted on his official website.
Oct 14, 5:27 am
New cases in US rise by double digits in week-over-week comparisons
The number of new COVID-19 cases recorded in the United States increased by double digits in week-over-week comparisons, while the number of new deaths from the disease continued to tick downward slightly, according to an internal memo from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that was obtained by ABC News on Tuesday night.
The memo, which is circulated to the highest levels of the federal government and is used to determine daily priorities for the agencies working on COVID-19 response, said 34 U.S. states and territories are in an upward trajectory of new infections, while 10 jurisdictions are at a plateau and 12 others are in a downward trend.
There were 351,270 new cases confirmed during the period of Oct. 6-Oct. 12, a 14.4% increase from the previous week. There were also 4,886 fatalities from COVID-19 recorded during the same period, a 1.5% decrease compared with the week prior. The national positivity rate for COVID-19 tests increased from 4.7% to 6.1% in week-to-week comparisons, according to the memo.
Meanwhile, 22% of hospitals nationwide have more than 80% of beds full in their intensive care units. That figure was 17-18% during the summertime peak, the memo said.
California’s Sonoma County saw a 129.7% relative increase in new cases of COVID-19 between Sept. 29 and Oct. 6. The county confirmed 62 cases on Oct. 7 linked to outbreaks at schools and childcare facilities, according to the memo.
Kentucky reported on Oct. 7 its highest number of COVID-19 patients in ICUs since May. As of Oct. 6, the state’s seven-day average for ICU bed occupancy was 80.6%, with 43.7% of adult ICU beds occupied by COVID-19 patients, the memo said.
Montana hit a peak of 504 new COVID-19 cases confirmed on Oct. 6. Daily hospital admissions in the state have increased from 40 in mid-September to more than 60 per day, with greater than 80 on Oct. 5 and Oct. 6. Montana’s seven-day hospitalization rate continues to rise from 15.7 per 100,000 population on Sept. 29 to a four-month high of 20 per 100,000 population on Oct. 6. Local officials report that hospitals are closed to or at capacity and have started redirecting patients, according to the memo.
New Jersey’s seven-day COVID-19 case rate increased 20.6% to 539.5 cases per 1 million population between Sept. 29 and Oct. 6. The state has 71.7% of inpatient hospital beds occupied, with 56.4% of ICU beds full. At least 100 schools in New Jersey have teachers or students who have tested positive for COVID-19, the memo said.
New York recorded on Oct. 6 its highest number of total hospitalizations since July 22. The state has 79.5% of inpatient hospital beds occupied, with 62.4% of ICU beds full.
Utah reported more than 1,000 COVID-19 cases per day for six of the seven days last week. At the same time, week-to-week testing in the state has decreased slightly by 1.2%. Utah’s positivity rate for COVID-19 tests, however, has remained stable at 14%.
Oct 14, 4:26 am
US reports more than 52,000 new cases
There were 52,406 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 up by nearly 11,000 from the previous day but still falls under the country’s record set on July 16, when there were 77,255 new cases in a 24-hour-reporting period.
An additional 802 coronavirus-related fatalities were also recorded Tuesday, up by more than 400 from the previous day but down from a peak of 2,666 new fatalities reported on April 17.
A total of 7,858,344 people in the United States have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since the pandemic began, and at least 215,910 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.
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