By MORGAN WINSOR, ABC News
(NEW YORK) — A pandemic of the novel coronavirus has now killed more than 976,000 people worldwide.
Over 31.8 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 6.9 million diagnosed cases and at least 201,909 deaths.
California has the most cases of any U.S. state, with more than 796,000 people diagnosed, according to Johns Hopkins data. California is followed by Texas and Florida, with over 742,000 cases and over 690,000 cases, respectively.
Nearly 170 vaccine candidates for COVID-19 are being tracked by the World Health Organization, at least six of which are in crucial phase three trials.
Here’s how the news is developing Thursday. All times Eastern:
Sep 24, 6:43 am
Israel moves to tighten restrictions as cases climb
Israel’s government has decided to tighten coronavirus-related restrictions as cases continue to climb, despite a second nationwide lockdown.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s cabinet voted early Thursday to close all nonessential businesses, including open-air markets. The cabinet also agreed that prayers and political demonstrations should be limited to open spaces with a cap of 20 people and that participants should not be allowed to travel more than 1 kilometer (0.6 miles) from home to attend either.
The new measures are set to go into effect Friday afternoon, as the Jewish state shuts down for the weekly Sabbath ahead of Yom Kippur on Sunday and Monday. The restrictions on demonstrations, however, are subject to approval by Israel’s parliament, the Knesset.
Israel has seen one of the world’s highest per capita rates of COVID-19 infections over the past two weeks. The country entered a second lockdown last Friday and it’s slated to last until mid-October.
Sep 24, 5:57 am
22 US states and territories in upward trajectory of new cases
An internal memo from the Federal Emergency Management Agency obtained by ABC News on Wednesday night shows that 22 U.S. states and territories are in an upward trajectory of COVID-19 infections, while 13 jurisdictions are at a plateau and 21 others are in a downward trend.
The number of new cases and the number of new deaths recorded in the United States are both increasing in week-over-week comparisons. There also continues to be a steady rise in the number of hospitals nationwide where more than 80% of beds in intensive care units are filled, according to the memo.
In Alabama’s Limestone County, 90% of ICU beds across two hospitals were in use. The Alabama Hospital Association confirmed that a shortage of nurses is a statewide issue in both hospitals and universities due to a lack of faculty, facilities and funds, the memo said.
Florida’s Leon County reported a 20% increase in COVID-19 cases among children since Aug. 10, around the start of the new school year, coinciding with a 20% increase in pediatric hospitalizations, according to the memo.
Meanwhile, the number of new cases recorded in Kentucky have increased by 21% since Sept. 13. The state’s seven-day fatality rate has doubled since then, from 13.4 to 26.4 per 1 million population. The number of COVID-19 tests being conducted statewide declined by 45.2% during the week ending Sept. 17, compared with the previous week, according to the memo.
Michigan’s seven-day case rate increased by 154.4% from Sept. 13 to Sept. 20. The state also reported a 38.1% week-to-week relative increase in COVID-19 testing on Sept. 17. Officials attribute the surge to schools and colleges, with 20-year-olds making up the largest portion of total cases, the memo said.
Sep 24, 4:51 am
US records over 1,000 new deaths
An additional 1,098 coronavirus-related fatalities were recorded in the United States on Wednesday, according to a real-time count kept by Johns Hopkins University.
Wednesday’s tally of COVID-19 deaths is lower than the country’s record set on April 17, when there were 2,666 new fatalities in a 24-hour reporting period.
There were also 36,330 new cases of COVID-19 confirmed across the nation on Sunday, down from a peak of 77,255 new cases reported on July 16.
A total of 6,934,205 people in the United States have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since the pandemic began, and at least 201,909 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.
An internal memo from the Federal Emergency Management Agency obtained by ABC News on Wednesday night shows that the number of new cases and the number of new deaths recorded in the United States are both increasing in week-over-week comparisons.
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.