By WILLIAM MANSELL, ABC News
(NEW YORK) — A pandemic of the novel coronavirus has now killed more than 486,000 people worldwide.
Over 9.6 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 actual numbers are believed to be much higher due to testing shortages, many unreported cases and suspicions that some governments are hiding the scope of their nations’ outbreaks.
The United States has become the worst-affected country, with more than 2.4 million diagnosed cases and at least 124,415 deaths.
Here’s how the news is developing Friday. All times Eastern:
5:30 a.m.: Alabama coronavirus cases soar
The number of COVID-19 cases in the state of Alabama continues to soar, which means the number of available ICU beds is dwindling.
In a Federal Emergency Management Agency memo obtained by ABC News, hospitals in Montgomery, Tuscaloosa and Birmingham are now transferring patients from facility to facility because they are running out of ICU beds.
In fact, 82% of Alabama’s ICU beds are now full, according to Dr. Don Williamson with the Alabama Hospital Association. He tells ABC News affiliate WBMA-TV that there are only 289 beds available in the state.
Jeanne Marrazzo, director, Division of Infectious Diseases at the University of Alabama Birmingham, told the station that she worries what July will look like for the state.
“If we are seeing this very big peak in cases right now, the hospitalization and death rates as we know, typically lag two to two and a half to three cases behind those case reports,” Marrazzo said.
Alabama has more than 33,000 diagnosed cased of COVID-19 with at least 896 deaths. Just this week, it set a daily record with 1,100 new coronavirus cases.
The concerning rise in cases it’s exclusive to Alabama. It’s just one of 15 states that have set a daily COVID-19 case record in the past week. The other states are Texas, Montana, Nevada, Mississippi, Missouri, Florida, Oklahoma, South Carolina, California, Arizona, Idaho, Georgia, Utah and Tennessee.
There are now also 23 states with rising COVID-19 hospitalization rates, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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