Coronavirus live updates: University suspends over 100 students for COVID-19 violations

Myriam Borzee/iStockBy MORGAN WINSOR, ABC News

(NEW YORK) — A pandemic of the novel coronavirus has now killed more than 1 million people worldwide.

Over 35.5 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 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 7.4 million diagnosed cases and at least 210,237 deaths.

California has the most cases of any U.S. state, with more than 835,000 people diagnosed, according to Johns Hopkins data. California is followed by Texas and Florida, with over 794,000 cases and over 717,000 cases, respectively.

More than 190 vaccine candidates for COVID-19 are being tracked by the World Health Organization, at least seven of which are in crucial phase three trials.

Here’s how the news is developing Tuesday. All times Eastern:

Oct 06, 11:54 am
WTO sees less severe slump in goods trade this year

The World Trade Organization (WTO) now predicts a 9.2% drop in global merchandise trade this year.

The Geneva-based trade body released the estimate Tuesday, revising its forecast in April of a 12.9% decline this year, following “strong trade performance in June and July.”

The WTO also now expects a 7.2% rise in merchandise trade next year, compared to the previous estimate of 21.3% growth.

“Whether the recovery can be sustained over the medium term will depend on the strength of investment and employment,” the WTO cautioned. “Both could be undermined if confidence is dented by new outbreaks of COVID-19, which might force governments to impose additional lockdowns.”

Oct 06, 11:33 am
15 clinical trials of COVID-19 vaccines underway in Africa

There are 15 clinical trails of potential COVID-19 vaccines underway across the African continent, according to a comment by the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that was published Tuesday in the journal Nature.

Five trials are being carried out in South Africa, four in Egypt and one each in Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

“We’ve seen a scramble for access to therapies before,” the Nature comment said. “It happened with HIV and H5N1 influenza, for example. And Africa has ended up at the end of the queue every time. Yet the global economy depends on the continent for its exports of raw materials, food, energy and labour.”

“This experience — and the fact that other infectious diseases will surely emerge — is why Africa needs a coordinated strategy to develop, finance, manufacture and deliver vaccines across the continent,” the comment added.

For the past few months, the Africa CDC has been working with African leaders and global health officials on a “whole of Africa” coordinated approach to do just that.

“Infectious agents span the globe in weeks: vaccinating people on one continent is essential to the health, wealth and well-being of those on the others,” the Nature comment said. “No region can be immune until a meaningful and equitable share of the world’s population is protected — by the tenets of good basic public health as well as a vaccine.”

Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, more than 1.5 million people across the African continent have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and nearly 37,000 of them have died. South Africa accounts for nearly half of all confirmed cases on the continent, according to the latest data from the Africa CDC.

Oct 06, 8:47 am
Italy on verge of making face masks mandatory outdoors

Italian Health Minister Roberto Speranza said Tuesday the government is working on a proposal to make the use of face masks outdoors mandatory nationwide, as COVID-19 infections have steadily increased in recent months.

Italy, once the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, gradually loosened restrictions during the spring and summer, following a nearly three-month lockdown that helped get its COVID-19 outbreak under control. But now the country — like several others across Europe — is seeing an uptick in infections.

On Saturday, Italy reported 2,844 new cases of COVID-19, its highest single-day jump since April, but still far less than the daily figures being recorded in France, Spain and the United Kingdom as Europe grapples with a second wave of infections.

“We must raise our guard with the awareness that our county is better off than others,” Speranza told the lower house of parliament on Tuesday.

The government is expected to announce the new measures by Wednesday. Several regions in Italy have already made mask-wearing compulsory, but there is currently no nationwide mandate.

“Italy, together with Germany, is the one that in the EU is holding up the second wave better,” Speranza said. “But we must not have any illusions.”

Since the start of the pandemic, Italy’s civil protection agency has recorded at least 327,586 confirmed cases with 36,002 deaths.

Oct 06, 7:54 am
EU agency fast-tracks process on 2nd COVID-19 vaccine candidate

The European Union’s drug regulator has started reviewing a second potential vaccine for COVID-19, which is being developed by Germany’s BioNTech in collaboration with American pharmaceutical company Pfizer.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) announced Tuesday that it has begun a “rolling review” of the latest vaccine candidate in an accelerated regulatory approval process, examining the data as it becomes available rather than waiting for the trial to end.

“The start of the rolling review means that the committee has started evaluating the first batch of data on the vaccine, which come from laboratory studies (non-clinical data),” the EMA said in a statement. “This does not mean that a conclusion can be reached yet on the vaccine’s safety and effectiveness, as much of the evidence is still to be submitted to the committee.”

The agency added that its decision to start the expedited approval process for the vaccine candidate was based on preliminary results from non-clinical and early clinical studies in adults which suggest that the drug triggers the body’s immune system to fight COVID-19.

Last week, the EMA began its first review process of a COVID-19 vaccine candidate — a rolling review of one being developed by U.K.-based pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca in collaboration with England’s University of Oxford.

Oct 06, 6:55 am
India records lowest single-day rise in cases since August

India confirmed another 61,267 new cases of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, its lowest single-day increase since Aug. 25.

An additional 884 coronavirus-related fatalities were also recorded. The country’s cumulative total now stands at 6,685,082 confirmed cases with 103,569 deaths, according to the latest data from the Indian Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

India is only the second country to surpass six million total cases, after the United States. The vast nation of 1.3 billion people has the highest COVID-19 infection rate of anywhere in the world, although it is now on a downward trend. India is on track to become the pandemic’s worst-hit nation within weeks, overtaking the United States, where more than 7.4 million people have been diagnosed with COVID-19.

India also has the highest number of recovered COVID-19 patients in the world, with nearly 5.7 million people who have survived the disease. The country’s recovery rate stands at 84%, according to the health ministry.

Oct 06, 6:15 am
Sacred Heart University suspends over 100 students for violating COVID-19 policies

Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Connecticut, has suspended more than 100 students for violating the school’s COVID-19 policies, according to a report by New Haven ABC affiliate WTNH-TV.

University officials confirmed to WTNH that there have been at least 109 suspensions since the start of the fall semester due to various health and safety violations that include not wearing face masks, not social distancing and having unauthorized visitors in residence hall rooms.

The suspended students were informed that they cannot come back to campus for periods ranging from one week to the rest of the semester. They will continue to attend classes remotely in the meantime, according to WTNH.

University leaders hope the suspensions send a clear message that the coronavirus pandemic remains a very real threat and that safety is the number one goal for a successful semester back on campus.

“We want everyone to protect themselves and protect each other so that we can end the semester here on campus and have a full semester of on-campus, on-ground learning,” Larry Weilk, dean of students at Sacred Heart University, told WTNH. “Prior to the start of the year, we developed what we call a pioneer promise where we asked all students faculty and staff to promise to protect themselves, the campus community, and the greater Bridgeport and Fairfield community as well.”

“We’re all in this together,” he added. “We’re all trying to protect each other and stay healthy.”

Oct 06, 5:12 am
33 US states and territories in upward trajectory of new cases, FEMA memo says

An internal memo from the Federal Emergency Management Agency obtained by ABC News on Monday night shows that 33 U.S. states and territories are in an upward trajectory of COVID-19 infections, while four jurisdictions are at a plateau and 19 others are in a downward trend.

Both the number of new cases and the number of new deaths reported across the United States were  down Monday in week-over-week comparisons. There were 301,308 new cases confirmed during the period of Sept. 28-Oct. 4, a 2.5% decrease from the previous week. There were also 4,871 coronavirus-related fatalities recorded during the period of Sept. 28-Oct. 4, a 8.2% decrease compared with the week prior, according to the memo.

However, the national positivity rate for COVID-19 tests increased slightly from 4.4% to 4.7% in week-to-week comparisons. Currently, 20% of hospitals across the country have more than 80% of beds full in their intensive care units. That figure was 17-18% during the summertime peak, the memo said.

In Alabama, COVID-19 cases accounted for 9.2% of the state’s inpatients during the week ending Sept. 29. The number of new cases nearly tripled in the western city of Tuscaloosa — from 562 to 1,549 — between the weeks ending Sept. 22 and Sept. 29, according to the memo.

In Colorado, there was a 42.2% relative increase in the number of new COVID-19 cases in Adams County between the weeks ending Sept. 22 and Sept. 29, driven by people under the age of 20. Meanwhile, nearly 80% of cases recorded in the northern city of Boulder since Aug. 24 have been linked to the University of Colorado, the memo said.

In Hawaii, there was a cluster of nine COVID-19 cases confirmed at the University of the Nations Kona campus in the town of Kailua-Kona, according to the memo.

Oct 06, 4:22 am
US reports nearly 40,000 new cases

There were 39,562 new cases of COVID-19 identified in the United States on Monday, according to a real-time count kept by Johns Hopkins University.

Monday’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 460 coronavirus-related fatalities were also recorded Sunday, down from a peak of 2,666 new fatalities reported on April 17.

A total of 7,458,549 people in the United States have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since the pandemic began, and at least 210,195 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.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.