By MORGAN WINSOR, ABC News
(NEW YORK) — A pandemic of the novel coronavirus has now killed more than 1 million people worldwide.
Over 33.3 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 205,085 deaths.
California has the most cases of any U.S. state, with more than 812,000 people diagnosed, according to Johns Hopkins data. California is followed by Texas and Florida, with over 761,000 cases and over 701,000 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 Tuesday. All times Eastern:
Sep 29, 12:33 pm
New York City’s daily positivity rate tops 3% for 1st time in months
New York City’s daily rate of positive COVID-19 tests is above 3% “for the first time in months,” Mayor Bill de Blasio warned Tuesday.
The mayor has threatened to close schools if the seven-day rolling average is 3% or higher citywide. While the daily positivity rate now stands at 3.25%, the seven-day average remains below the mark for school closures at 1.38%.
“Obviously, everyone is concerned about that,” de Blasio told reporters. “We have to be on high alert to make sure we fight back this challenge.”
De Blasio said nine neighborhoods of Brooklyn and Queens are to blame for the uptick in cases. He also announced unspecified fines for anyone who refuses to wear a face covering, starting Tuesday.
“This is an inflection point,” he told reporters. “We have to take more action at this point and more serious action and we will be escalating with each day depending on what we see happening on the ground and the test results we are getting.”
The surge comes as hundreds of thousands of public elementary school students returned to classrooms across New York City on Tuesday for the first time in six months. Middle and high schools open later this week. About half of all families with children in New York City’s public school system opted for in-person classes, while the other half chose to keep kids home for remote learning.
ABC News’ Aaron Katersky contributed to this report.
Sep 29, 11:41 am
Analysis shows cases increasing in 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 plus Puerto Rico.
The analysis also found increases in the daily positivity rate of COVID-19 tests in 20 states, increases in COVID-19 hospitalizations in 21 states and increases in daily COVID-19 death tolls in nine 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.
One state — Kansas — saw a record rise in the daily number of new cases, while two states — Missouri and North Dakota — hit a record number of current COVID-19 hospitalizations.
The White House coronavirus task force’s latest weekly briefing for governors, obtained ABC News on Monday night, identified 22 states as currently in the “red zone” for COVID-19 cases, indicating more than 100 new cases per 100,000 population last week. There were 18 states in the “red zone” in last week’s briefing and 15 states in the one prior.
ABC News’ Benjamin Bell, Brian Hartman, Soorin Kim, Josh Margolin and Arielle Mitropolous contributed to this report.
Sep 29, 11:03 am
Tennessee Titans players, personnel test positive
The National Football League announced Tuesday that three players for the Tennessee Titans have tested positive for COVID-19 along with five of the team’s non-player personnel.
As a result, the Titans will suspend in-person club activities starting Tuesday. The Minnesota Vikings, who played the Titans on Sunday, will also suspend in-person club activities.
“Both clubs are working closely with the NFL and the NFLPA, including our infectious disease experts, to evaluate close contacts, perform additional testing and monitor developments,” the NFL said in a statement Tuesday. “All decisions will be made with health and safety as our primary consideration. We will continue to share updates as more information becomes available.”
Sep 29, 10:48 am
Cruise ship crew test negative in ‘possible false alarm’
A dozen crew members on a cruise ship docked off the coast of Greece have now tested negative for COVID-19 twice after initially testing positive, according to the ship’s operator TUI cruises.
The 12 crew members aboard the Mein Shiff 6 cruise liner tested positive for the virus on Monday and were immediately isolated, along with 24 other crew members who had come into contact with them. But those “unclear positive” results were later identified as negative by two further tests — PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests performed on the ship by TUI Cruises and rapid antigen tests conducted by Greek authorities in the port city of Piraeus, according to a press release from TUI Cruises.
“A further PCR test, carried out by Greek authorities, should confirm this again. The results are expected later today,” the company said in the statement Tuesday, calling the incident a “possible false alarm.”
None of the 12 crew members have shown any symptoms, and rapid antigen tests for the 24 close contacts also came back negative.
The ship departed Sunday night from the port city of Heraklion, the capital of the Greek island of Crete, with all 922 guests testing negative for COVID-19 prior to boarding. Crew members are tested for the virus every two weeks, according to a TUI spokesperson.
The company resumed cruise operations in late July in Germany and started sailing in Greece on Sept. 13, according to the spokesperson.
ABC News’ Christine Theodorou contributed to this report.
Sep 29, 8:50 am
University of Oxford currently not recruiting children for vaccine trial
A spokesperson for the University of Oxford told ABC News Tuesday that volunteers under the age of 18 are currently not being recruited into the clinical trail of an experimental COVID-19 vaccine.
“We have prioritized adults as there is strong evidence that children are much less likely than adults to become unwell with COVID-19,” the spokesperson said. “Whilst we do plan to run a trial in this age group, we first hope to generate evidence of the vaccine efficacy in adults, and as such cannot set a date for when the under 18 element of the trial may begin.”
The studies to assess the safety and efficacy of the so-called ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine began in the United Kingdom in April. In addition to the U.K.-based trial, phase III studies have now begun in Brazil, South Africa and the United States to assess the vaccine in other populations, along with a related trial in India.
Sep 29, 7:58 am
Israel’s COVID-19 death rate per million overtakes US
Israel now has the world’s highest daily COVID-19 death rate per million people, surpassing that of the United States, according to a report published Tuesday morning by an Israeli military task force.
The report shows that the daily COVID-19 death rate over the past week has been 3.5 per million people in Israel and 2.2 per million people in the United Staes.
Meanwhile, Israel continues to have the world’s highest weekly COVID-19 infection rate per million people, followed by France and the United States, according to the report from the task force, which was formed by the Israel Defense Force’s Military Intelligence Directorate and advises the country’s health ministry.
The report also shows that the number of COVID-19 patients hospitalized in critical condition has increased by 70% over the last month and is 10 times higher than three months ago.
Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, Israel has reported more than 233,000 confirmed cases with over 1,500 deaths, according to data from the country’s health ministry.
Israel entered its second nationwide coronavirus lockdown on Sept. 18, as the Jewish High Holidays began. The country’s health minister, Yuli Edelstein, said Tuesday that there was “no way” the lockdown would be lifted after three weeks as originally planned.
Sep 29, 6:40 am
Moscow extends school vacation due to rising cases
Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin announced Tuesday that fall break for all schools will be extended from one week to two, due to rising COVID-19 cases in Russia’s capital.
“On the recommendation of sanitary doctors, taking into account the autumn increase in colds and the growth of the number of identified cases of COVID, I decided to prolong the duration of the autumn holidays to two weeks and to hold them at the same time in all schools — from October 5 to 18,” Sobyanin said in a message to parents and students, which was posted on his official website.
There will be no remote learning during the break. Moscow’s kindergartens and preschool groups will continue working as usual, according to Sobyanin.
The mayor urged families to use this time as “an opportunity” to reduce the spread of COVID-19. He advised children against visiting shopping malls or riding public transportation “for fun.”
“I very much ask parents to explain to their children that it is best to spend holiday time at home or in the countryside,” he said. “Today, a significant part of those infected, often asymptomatic, are children. When they come home, they very easily transmit the virus to adults and elderly family members, who suffer much more severely from the illness.”
The move comes as Moscow confirmed some 2,300 new cases of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, the city’s highest daily tally since May 31. The daily growth of cases in the capital stands at 0.8%, according to Russia’s coronavirus response headquarters.
Sep 29, 5:21 am
US reports more than 33,000 new cases
There were 33,037 new cases of COVID-19 identified in the United States on Sunday, according to a real-time count kept by Johns Hopkins University.
Sunday’s tally is far below the country’s record set on July 16, when there were 77,255 new cases in a 24-hour-reporting period.
An additional 316 coronavirus-related fatalities were also recorded Sunday, down from a peak of 2,666 new fatalities reported on April 17.
A total of 7,149,072 people in the United States have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since the pandemic began, and at least 205,085 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 Monday night shows that the number of new cases recorded in the United States is continuing to increase significantly while the number of new deaths decreased slightly in week-over-week comparisons.
Sep 29, 4:52 am
Researchers find rapid rise in pediatric COVID-19 cases across US
The amount of children infected by the novel coronavirus in the United States has increased dramatically in recent months, according to new research by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association.
Researchers found that the number of pediatric COVID-19 cases rose between April and September from 2.2% to 10% of all cumulative reported cases nationwide. As of Sept. 10, there was a cumulative total of 549,432 pediatric COVID-19 cases in the United States, a rate of 729 cases per 100,000 children, according to the study, which was published online Tuesday and will appear in the December issue of Pediatrics, the official flagship journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
“These rising numbers concern us greatly, as the children’s cases reflect the increasing virus spread in our communities,” Dr. Sally Goza, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, said in a statement. “While children generally don’t get as sick with the coronavirus as adults, they are not immune and there is much to learn about how easily they can transmit it to others. We must keep our children — and each other — healthy by following the recommended safety measures like washing hands, wearing cloth face coverings and staying 6 feet apart from others.”
The researchers analyzed trends in reported cases over the five-month period using data from U.S. public health department websites. The study notes that the data is limited because states differ in how they report the information. It’s unclear how much of the increase in pediatric cases was due to increased testing capacity. However, data published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that the share of all COVID-19 tests administered to children under 18 has remained stable at 5-7% since late April, according to the study.
Researchers found substantial variation in case growth by region. In April, a preponderance of pediatric cases was in the Northeast. In June, cases surged in the South and West, followed by increases in the Midwest in mid-July, according to the study.
Researchers also found that the portion of newly reported COVID-19 cases among children has increased substantially over time. Less than 3% of cases reported the week ending April 23 were pediatric. In the last eight weeks, children represented 12-15.9% of newly reported cases each week, according to the study.
As of Sept. 10, children represented 1.7% of total hospitalizations and 0.07% of total deaths, while 0.01% of pediatric cases resulted in death, according to the study.
“We will continue to closely monitor children’s cases, with hopes of seeing the upward trend turn around,” Goza said. “We encourage parents to call their pediatricians and get their children into the office for well visits and vaccinations, especially now that some schools are reopening and flu season has arrived.”
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