By MORGAN WINSOR, ERIN SCHUMAKER, EMILY SHAPIRO and ROSA SANCHEZ, ABC News
(NEW YORK) — A pandemic of the novel coronavirus has now infected more than 97.4 million people worldwide and killed over two million of them, according to real-time data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.
Here’s how the news is developing Friday. All times Eastern:
Jan 22, 6:12 am
Reports that Japan is looking to cancel Tokyo Olympics are ‘categorically untrue,’ government says
Reports that the Japanese government has privately concluded that the upcoming Tokyo Olympics will have to be canceled are “categorically untrue,” according to Japan’s Cabinet Secretariat of the Headquarters for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
“The renewed schedules and venues for the Tokyo 2020 Games, starting with the Opening Ceremony on July 23 this year, were determined at the IOC Session in July last year. All parties involved are working together to prepare for the successful Games this summer,” the cabinet secretariat said in a statement Friday. “We will implement all possible countermeasures against COVID-19 and continue to work closely with the IOC, the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government in our preparations for holding a safe and secure Games this summer.”
The statement follows a report published Thursday evening by British newspaper The Times, which cited “a senior member of the ruling coalition” who said there is agreement that the Games are doomed and the focus now is on securing the event for the Japanese capital in the next available year, 2032.
The 2020 Summer Olympics were supposed to kick off in Tokyo last year on July 24. But in late March, amid mounting calls to delay or cancel the upcoming Games, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Japan’s prime minister announced that the event would be held a year later due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Games are now scheduled to open in Tokyo this summer on July 23, but doubt has surfaced as Japan — and much of the world — grapples with a resurgence of COVID-19 infections.
Jan 22, 5:21 am
US reports over 188,000 new cases
There were 188,952 new cases of COVID-19 confirmed in the United States on Thursday, according to a real-time count kept by Johns Hopkins University.
Thursday’s case count is lower than the country’s all-time high of 298,031 new cases, which were confirmed on Jan. 2, Johns Hopkins data shows.
An additional 3,955 fatalities from COVID-19 were registered nationwide on Thursday, down from a peak of 4,462 new deaths on Jan. 12, according to Johns Hopkins data.
COVID-19 data may be skewed due to possible lags in reporting over the holiday weekend and earlier holidays.
A total of 24,631,890 people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since the pandemic began, and at least 410,349 have died, according to Johns Hopkins data. The cases include people from all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., and other U.S. territories as well as repatriated citizens.
Much of the country was under lockdown by the end of March as the first wave of the pandemic hit. 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 over the summer.
The numbers lingered around 40,000 to 50,000 from mid-August through early October before surging again to record levels, crossing 100,000 for the first time on Nov. 4, then reaching 200,000 on Nov. 27 before nearing 300,000 on Jan. 2.
Jan 22, 4:26 am
‘There is no plan B’ for Tokyo Olympics, IOC chief says
Despite rising COVID-19 infections in Japan, International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach said Thursday that there is “no reason whatsoever” to believe the Olympic Games in Tokyo will not open on July 23 as planned.
“This is why there is no plan B and this is why we are fully committed to make these games safe and successful,” Back told Japanese news agency Kyodo in an interview Thursday.
However, Bach admitted he could not guarantee that the stands would be full or rule out the possibility that the Games would be held without spectators, according to Kyodo.
The 2020 Summer Olympics were supposed to kick off in Tokyo last year on July 24. But in late March, amid mounting calls to delay or cancel the upcoming Games, the International Olympic Committee and Japan’s prime minister announced that the event would be held a year later due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Now, Japan is facing a resurgence of COVID-19. The country of 126 million people reported the highest number of new cases in the Western Pacific region last week. The infection rate — currently at 32.8 cases per 100,000 people — increased by 4% over the previous week, according to the World Health Organization’s latest COVID-19 weekly epidemiological update.
The Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare confirmed 5,662 new cases of COVID-19 as well as an additional 87 fatalities from the disease on Thursday, bringing the cumulative totals to 348,646 cases and 4,829 deaths.
Japanase Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has declared a state of emergency in Tokyo and 10 other prefectures due to climbing case counts and growing death tolls.
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