By WILLIAM MANSELL, ABC News

(NEW YORK) — The novel coronavirus pandemic has now killed more than 633,000 people worldwide.

Over 15.5 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 or downplaying the scope of their nations’ outbreaks.

The United States has become the worst-affected country, with more than four million diagnosed cases and at least 144,305 deaths.

Here is how the news is developing Friday. All times Eastern:

5:40 a.m.: US COVID-19 death tally 18.7% higher than last week

The deadly impact of the novel coronavirus continues to show no signs of slowing down in the U.S. In the past week, the national death toll grew 18.7%, according to an internal Federal Emergency Management Agency Memo obtained by ABC News. The U.S. COVID-19 death toll, as of Friday morning, now stands at 144,305.

The U.S. reported 1,039 new coronavirus deaths on Thursday, according to the COVID Tracking Project.

A large portion of the new deaths are in the South, where the number of cases and hospitalizations have been on the rise for weeks. The staggering number of cases also means hospital beds are in short supply for several states and cities.

In Alabama, the state is seeing many health care facilities reach capacity as staffing shortages are increasing strains on the system, according to the FEMA memo. COVID-19 patients in Arizona are being transferred to New Mexico because of a lack of beds.

Some hospitals in Louisiana are also at capacity. Facilities in Lake Charles and Lafayette are transferring patients to New Orleans for treatment, the memo said. And in Texas, Hidalgo County for weeks has warned its hospitals are at capacity. The crematorium in the county, according to the FEMA memo, has a two-week waitlist. It is now relying on refrigerated morgue trucks.

Meanwhile, Georgia and Kentucky saw their single-day biggest case totals in a week that also saw California (157), Florida (173), and Texas (197) all report record daily death tolls.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its U.S. coronavirus death toll projection Thursday, saying it now expects 175,000 deaths by Aug. 15.
 
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