By JON HAWORTH, ABC News
(NEW YORK) — The novel coronavirus pandemic has now killed more than 577,000 people worldwide.
Over 13.2 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 3.4 million diagnosed cases and at least 136,440 deaths.
Here is how the news is developing today. All times Eastern. Check back for updates.
3:24 a.m.: Nashville Mayor: ‘We are headed in a terrible direction’
After the city of Nashville, Tennessee, hit a new record of 771 COVID-19 cases in a 24 hour period, the mayor of Nashville, John Cooper, was in no mood to mince his words.
“We are headed in a terrible direction and we’ve got to reverse that direction right now,” Nashville Mayor John Cooper said. “We’re not targeting people, but if people are persistently non-compliant after they have been asked to keep each other safe they will get a ticket,” Mayor Cooper said. “And we have to do that because we’re at 771 cases.”
Cooper also formally announced that anybody found to not wear a face mask in public would be ticketed and that a full-scale lockdown is not off the table.
“We’re at the point in the disease that unless we take this very seriously, we will have to have lockdowns that really seem intolerable, but needed to keep our hospitals functioning,” said Cooper.
Nashville will remain in it’s modified Phase 2 and bars will remain closed until at least August 1.
Said Cooper: “None of us would have believed we would have wandered into a bad science fiction movie, but we have. Frankly, I’m here today to tell you Nashville is back into another tornado situation where everybody has to have each other’s back and work together to work through this crisis.”
1:34 a.m.: Philadelphia Eagles fans won’t be allowed to attend home games this season, per city officials
The Philadelphia Eagles will be playing their home games without a home crowd this season, according to a Philadelphia city official.
“I do think that games can be played with the kind of safety precautions that they’re proposing. I do not think that they can have spectators at those games. There’s no way for them to be safe having a crowd there,” said Health Commissioner Thomas Farley on Tuesday. “I can’t say what the plans are for the league, but from a safety perspective, they can play games but not [have] crowds.”
According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the city government has been in communication with the Eagles, said Managing Director Brian Abernathy, and has “told them our expectations are that they don’t have fans.”
The Philadelphia Phillies had already announced earlier this week that they would not be playing in front of a home crowd either and would pipe in fake crowd noise, use cardboard cutouts of fans and that the team’s mascot, the Phillie Phanatic, would practice social distancing while roaming the ballpark.
“Although we won’t be together physically, we look forward to uniting our community virtually with the goal of taking action for autism,” the Philadelphia Eagles said in a statement. “Please be assured that while the event will be virtual, we are working diligently to create an incredible experience for participants.”
1:02 a.m.: 36 high school students test positive for COVID-19 at sports camps in Illinois
In the past week, 36 cases of COVID-19 have been identified in a group of Lake Zurich High School students in Illinois who were part of athletic camps.
The cases have been tied to social events before the camps even started, and the positive test results among young people are part of an overall trend Lake County, Illinois, health officials have seen in the last month.
“We are grateful to the leadership of Lake Zurich District 95 for assuring proper health screenings were done at their athletic camps last week, because those measures helped identify this cluster of COVID-19 cases,” said Dr. Sana Ahmed, Medical Epidemiologist at the Lake County Health Department. “We continue to urge anyone who has COVID-19 symptoms or who may have had direct contact with a confirmed case to get a viral COVID-19 test (also known as a polymerase chain reaction or PCR test) and self-quarantine for 14 days from their last potential date of exposure. We need your help to help prevent further spread of this virus.”
The students are now in self-quarantine and health officials said positive cases among residents under the age of 30 are now higher than the general population.
“Our message to young people is that while you might not be at high risk of getting severely ill from COVID-19, you’re not immune,” said Hanna Goering, communications manager for the Lake County Health Department.
According to the Lake County Health Department, COVID-19 cases and deaths in Lake County had previously slowed in recent weeks, a trend that public health officials attribute to residents following social distancing and masking guidelines, paired with widespread availability of testing and thorough contact tracing. However, new cases continue to be identified in communities across the county, and an increase in social gatherings could result in cases climbing again.
“Our lives are very interconnected and this virus spreads very easily from person to person,” said Dr. Ahmed. “Even if you personally aren’t at a high risk of severe illness, you need to consider that every person you interact with may have someone close to them who is vulnerable. Please, do your part to protect your health and also look out for others. Take the risks seriously so your actions don’t result in someone else’s hospitalization or death.”
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