Coronavirus updates: US reports under 40,000 new cases for first time since June

narvikk/iStockBy MORGAN WINSOR, ABC News

(NEW YORK) — A pandemic of the novel coronavirus has now killed more than 774,000 people worldwide.

Over 21.8 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 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 United States has become the worst-affected country, with more than 5.4 million diagnosed cases and at least 170,548 deaths.

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

7:14 a.m.: Finland’s prime minister to be tested after experiencing ‘mild’ symptoms

Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin announced Tuesday that she will be tested for COVID-19 after experiencing “mild respiratory symptoms.”

Marin wrote on Twitter that she will be working from home while she awaits her test results.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Finland had reported at least 7,752 cases of COVID-19 with 334 deaths, according to a count kept by Johns Hopkins University.

6:39 a.m.: UNC-Chapel Hill shifts to remote learning within a week of starting classes

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill announced Monday that it will suspend in-person classes after seeing the COVID-19 positivity rate on campus rise almost fivefold.

The public research university in the town of Chapel Hill, about 25 miles from Raleigh, held its first day of class just one week ago after welcoming students back into its residence halls the week prior. Although residence halls were at less than 60% capacity and fewer than 30% of total classroom seats were taught in-person, the school said the COVID-19 positivity rate on campus increased from 2.8% on Aug. 10 to 13.6% on Aug. 16.

As of Monday morning, the university said it has tested 954 students so far, and 177 were in isolation and 349 were in quarantine, both on and off campus. Most students who have tested positive for COVID-19 “have demonstrated mild symptoms,” according to a letter to the university community from chancellor Kevin M. Guskiewicz and executive vice chancellor and provost Robert A. Blouin.

“Effective Wednesday, August 19, all undergraduate in-person instruction will shift to remote learning,” Guskiewicz and Blouin wrote. “Courses in our graduate, professional and health affairs schools will continue to be taught as they are, or as directed by the schools. Academic advising and academic support services will be available online. Our research enterprise will remain unchanged.”

“Due to this announcement as well as the reduction of campus activities, we expect the majority of our current undergraduate residential students to change their residential plans for the fall,” they added. “As much as we believe we have worked diligently to help create a healthy and safe campus living and learning environment, the current data presents an untenable situation.”

5:21 a.m.: WHO warns younger people are ‘driving’ COVID-19 spread in Asia Pacific

The World Health Organization warned Tuesday that the coronavirus pandemic is “changing” in the Asia-Pacific region, where younger people are now the ones “driving its spread.”

“What we are observing is not simply a resurgence; we believe it is a signal that we have entered a new phase of the pandemic in the Asia Pacific,” Dr. Takeshi Kasai, WHO Regional Director for the Western Pacific, said at a virtual press conference. “The epidemic is changing. People in their 20s, 30s and 40s are increasingly driving its spread.”

Various countries in the region, including Australia, the Philippines and Japan, are reporting rising numbers of people under the age of 40 contracting the novel coronavirus, according to the WHO.

“Many are unaware they are infected with very mild symptoms, or none at all,” Kasai said. “This can result in them unknowingly passing on the virus to others.”

4:50 a.m.: Walgreens coding error causes under-reporting of 59,000 test results in Texas

The Texas Department of State Health Services tells Corpus Christi ABC affiliate KIII-TV that Walgreens Pharmacy reported experiencing a coding error, causing the under-reporting of some 59,000 COVID-19 test results statewide.

The coding error has now been corrected, according to KIII, but counties across Texas will likely see their COVID-19 statistics change as the data dump is set to take place.

ABC News has reached out to Walgreens for comment.

As of Monday, the Lone Star State had reported at least 542,950 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 10,034 deaths, according to a count kept by the Texas Department of State Health Services.

3:35 a.m.: US reports under 40,000 new cases for first time since June

There were 35,112 new cases of COVID-19 identified in the United States on Monday, according to a count kept by Johns Hopkins University.

It’s the first time since June 28 that the country has reported under 40,000 new cases in a single day. Monday’s case count is also well below the record set on July 16, when more than 77,000 new cases were identified in a 24-hour reporting period.

An additional 445 coronavirus-related deaths were also recorded Monday.

A total of 5,443,162 people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since the pandemic began, and at least 170,548 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.

However, week-over-week comparisons show that the nationwide number of new cases has continued to decrease in recent weeks, according to an internal memo from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, obtained by ABC News on Sunday night.

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