By MORGAN WINSOR and JULIA JACOBO, ABC News
(NEW YORK) — A pandemic of the novel coronavirus has now killed more than one million people worldwide.
Over 38.4 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 7.9 million diagnosed cases and at least 216,639 deaths.
California has the most cases of any U.S. state, with more than 865,000 people diagnosed, according to Johns Hopkins data. California is followed by Texas and Florida, with over 830,000 cases and over 741,000 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 developed Wednesday. All times Eastern:
Oct 14, 10:25 pm
BYU-Idaho students may be intentionally contracting COVID
Officials at BYU-Idaho said they are “deeply troubled” by reports that students on campus are intentionally trying to contract COVID-19 in order to recover and then sell their plasma, containing virus antibodies.
“The university condemns this behavior and is actively seeking evidence of any such conduct among our student body,” the school said in a statement. “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.”
However, according to a report in the Chronicle of Higher Education, there have been no substantiated examples of students intentionally contracting the virus. The concern may stem from a local article on the rising demand for sales of plasma, the outlet reported.
Still, cases are definitely rising sharply in the state. Idaho’s test-positivity rate spiked to 14.7% for week ending Oct. 8 — twice the national rate of 5.9% during the same time period, according to an internal Health and Human Services memo obtained by ABC News. Idaho has the sixth-highest rate of infection in the country, the latest White House coronavirus task force report, obtained by ABC News and dated Oct. 10, shows.
The school, located in Rexburg, Idaho, is operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Oct 14, 6:32 pm
Alabama coach Nick Saban tests positive: ESPN
Nick Saban, the head coach of the University of Alabama’s football team, tested positive for COVID-19, sources told ESPN.
The 68-year-old was informed about his test by training staff and left the football facility immediately, ESPN reported. Alabama is set to play No. 3 Georgia in a huge, nationally televised game this Saturday.
“At this time, I do not have any symptoms relative to COVID-19, and I have taken another PCR test to confirm my diagnosis,” the coach said in a statement. “I informed our team of my positive test at 2 p.m. today on a Zoom call and let them know offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian will oversee preparations at the complex while I work from home.”
Saban, the highest paid college football coach in the country at over $9 million a year, is the latest college football coach to contract the disease.
University of Kansas coach Les Miles at Kansas, Florida State University coach Mike Norvell and University of Arizona coach Kevin Sumlin have all tested positive for the virus this season.
Yesterday, the University of Florida announced it was pausing team activities citing a rise in coronavirus cases. Florida’s game against LSU this weekend was subsequently postponed on Wednesday — just days after Florida coach Dan Mullen said he wanted to pack his team’s stadium with 90,000 fans.
Oct 14, 4:41 pm
Barron Trump tested positive for COVID-19, first lady announces
Barron Trump, the youngest of President Donald Trump’s five children, has contracted COVID-19, according to an article first lady Melania Trump wrote in an article published on the White House website where she described her experience in the battle against the virus.
Barron has “exhibited no symptoms” and has since tested negative, Melania Trump wrote. It is unclear when he contracted the virus.
The first lady says her own illness came “with minimal symptoms” but adds that they hit “all at once.”
“It seemed to be a roller coaster of symptoms in the days after,” she wrote. “I experienced body aches, a cough and headaches, and felt extremely tired most of the time.”
Melania Trump has also since tested negative, she wrote. She did not reveal the details of her treatment, but thanked her caretakers and the Americans who wished her well while she was ill.
“Recovering from an illness gives you a lot of time to reflect. When my husband was taken to Walter Reed as a precaution, I spent much of my time reflecting on my family,” she said. “For me personally, the most impactful part of my recovery was the opportunity to reflect on many things — family, friendships, my work, and staying true to who you are.”
“Barron’s fine,” the president told reporters as he departed the White House, making his way to Iowa for another campaign rally tonight
ABC News’ Jordyn Phelps contributed to this report.
Oct 14, 3:25 pm
France to impose ‘state of health emergency’ as infections rise
France presented a decree on Wednesday announcing a nationwide “state of health emergency” in an effort to contain rising COVID-19 infections.
The new decree will enable the government to impose measures to restrict certain civil liberties. It goes into effect at 12:01 a.m. local time on Saturday.
French President Emmanuel Macron stated that the difference between this declaration and the state of the country in March and April is they “have not lost control.” However, infections are rising, and the pressure on hospitals is increasing, he said.
A curfew between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. will go into effect Saturday and will be in effect for at least four weeks, Macron said. Home gatherings will be limited to a maximum of six people, but schools will not close and travel between regions will not be restricted.
ABC News’ Ibtissem Guenfoud and Christine Theodorou contributed to this report
Oct 14, 3:07 pm
EPA moving to approve more long-lasting surface disinfectants
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is moving to focus its efforts to approve disinfectants during the COVID-19 pandemic on a new kind of product that’s able to keep a surface virus-free between cleanings or even deactivate viruses days later.
“We do know the primary source of transmission is airborne but we also know that between wearing a mask, washing hands, and social distancing it’s also important to clean and disinfect surfaces,” Alex Dunn, EPA assistant administrator for chemicals, said on a call with reporters on Wednesday.
The EPA has approved one long-lasting disinfectant called SurfaceWise2, which is currently approved only for use in the state of Texas by American Airlines and Texas Methodist Health Total Orthopedics Sports & Spine Clinics. Dunn said the new process won’t require states to submit emergency applications and will make it easier for similar products to be widely available.
ABC News’ Stephanie Ebbs contributed to this report.
Oct 14, 2:49 pm
The NCAA football game between the University of Florida and Louisiana State University scheduled for Saturday has been postponed following a COVID-19 outbreak on UF’s team, the Southeastern Conference announced today.
Oct 14, 2:44 pm
Pfizer to expand vaccine trial to include children
Pharmaceutical company Pfizer will begin expanding its vaccine trial to include children, Dr. Robert Frenck, director of the Vaccine Research Center at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, announced in a Zoom interview Wednesday.
Teens ages 16 and 17 could be tested as early as this week, and children as young as 12 could eventually enter the trial. There is no timeline yet for when they will start being enrolled.
ABC News’ Eric Strauss contributed to this report.
Oct 14, 2:04 pm
‘Herd immunity’ is not the answer for solving the pandemic, officials say
Promoting the concept of “herd immunity” or “community immunity,” a form of indirect protection from infectious disease that occurs when a certain percentage of a population has become immune, is “inappropriate, irresponsible and ill-informed,” Thomas M. File Jr., president of the Infectious Diseases Society of America, announced in a statement Wednesday.
While the concept is the goal of vaccination campaigns, it “should never come at the cost of the planned exposure and infection of millions of additional people,” File said.
ABC News’ Eric Strauss contributed to this report.
Oct 14, 1:50 pm
Russia prepares to test 2nd COVID-19 vaccine on 40,000 volunteers
Russia has registered a second COVID-19 vaccine and is preparing to test it on 40,000 volunteers, according to Russian officials.
The vaccine, called “EpiVakKorona,” was produced by the ‘Vector’ State Research Center of Virology and Biotechnology in Novosibirsk, a top state lab that since Soviet times has also been a key biological warfare center.
Unlike the first vaccine, Sputnik V, the new vaccine is not based on a modified adenovirus but instead is a “peptide” type vaccine that uses artificially synthesized fragments of the coronavirus itself to produce an immune response. It is administered in two doses, 21 days apart, according to Russian news agency TASS.
Caution must be used when giving it to patients suffering from chronic kidney and liver illnesses, as well as epilepsy and heart illnesses, TASS reported.
So far the vaccine has been tested on about 100 people, but it has not yet passed key clinical trials. The vaccine will now undergo, in effect, a phase 3 trial.
Sputnik V could be widely distributed in Russia by late October or early November, head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund Kirill Dmitriev announced on Monday, according to TASS.
A third Russian vaccine is also on the way — produced by the M.P. Chumakov Federal Scientific Center for Research and Development of Immuno-biological Drugs, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced Wednesday. A phase 3 trial for that vaccine will begin Monday.
ABC News’ Patrick Reevell contributed to this report.
Oct 14, 1:11 pm
Funding to be withheld for New York schools in ‘red zones’
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo will withhold funding from schools in “red zones” that remain open –- both public and private –- until matters are resolve to the states liking, Cuomo announced during a conference call Wednesday.
Just over 1,200 people tested positive and seven people died in the state on Tuesday, Cuomo said. The test positivity rate in the “red zone” areas is 6.2%, while the statewide positivity rate excluding Red Zones is .95%.
ABC News’ J. Gabriel Ware contributed to this report.
Oct 14, 12:58 pm
Trump seeking emergency approval for Regeneron
President Donald Trump is working to get emergency approval for Regeneron, the antibody treatment that he himself received after contracting COVID-19.
The treatment made him “feel very good very fast,” he told reporters from the Rose Garden of the White House on Wednesday morning.
“They call it a therapeutic, but I don’t think it was therapeutic,” Trump said. “I think it was a cure. For me, it was something that was very good. Who knows, maybe it would have happened anyway, maybe I would have recovered beautifully anyway. All I know is once I had Regeneron it worked out very well.”
Oct 14, 12:58 pm
Italy records record one-day rise in cases
Italian health authorities reported 7,332 newly diagnosed COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, topping the March 21 record when there were 6,557 new cases reported.
It should be noted that on March 21, there were only 26,336 tests done — in the last 24 hours there were 152,196 tests.
There were an additional 43 deaths reported on Wednesday, bringing the nationwide total to 36,289. Some 539 patients are in intensive care, 25 more than Tuesday.
ABC News’ Christine Theodorou and Phoebe Natanson.
Oct 14, 12:39 pm
Trump not spreading infectious virus, Fauci, NIH says
Tests show that President Donald Trump is not “shedding” COVID-19 after he contracted it weeks ago, medical experts say.
Anthony Fauci, director of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and Dr. Clifford Lane, medical director of the National Institute of Health, made the conclusion after reviewing the president’s recent medical data, including a PCR test, the NIH confirmed to ABC News.
The officials believe “with a high degree of confidence” that the president is “not shedding the infectious virus.”
NBC, which is holding a town hall with Trump on Thursday, first reported this information in a company press release.
ABC News’ Ben Gittleson and Eric Strauss contributed to this report.
Oct 14, 12:39 pm
UK reports nearly 20,000 new cases as new restrictions take force
The United Kingdom registered another 19,724 positive cases of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, a rise of 2,490 from the day before.
There were also 137 deaths within 28 days of a positive test, down slightly from the previous day’s tally of 143.
The cumulative totals now stand at 654,644 positive cases and 57,690 fatalities with COVID-19 on the death certificate, according to the latest data from the U.K. government.
Fresh local restrictions were due to be implemented across swathes of England on Wednesday under a new three-tier system of COVID-19 alert levels, which British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Monday.
The new measures come as England saw its number of infections quadruple in the last three weeks. There are now more patients hospitalized with COVID-19 than when the country went into lockdown in late March, according to Johnson.
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.
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.