Three European countries see biggest jump in coronavirus cases since lockdown

Myriam Borzee/iStockBy MORGAN WINSOR, ELLA TORRES and IVAN PEREIRA, ABC News

(NEW YORK) — A novel coronavirus pandemic has now killed more than 792,000 people worldwide.

Over 22.5 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 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 5.5 million diagnosed cases and at least 174,248 deaths.

Here’s how the news developed Thursday. All times Eastern:

9:54 p.m.: Syracuse suspends 23 over party

Syracuse University’s dean and chief of the Department of Public Safety announced 23 students have received interim suspensions after a party on the college’s quad Wednesday night.

“By now you are aware of the incredibly reckless behavior that took place on the Quad last night,” Dean of Students Marianne Thomson and Department of Public Safety Chief Bobby Maldonado wrote in a letter to the school community. “We assure you: anyone we are able to identify as attending that gathering will be held responsible. Our investigation is ongoing and includes reviewing security camera footage, interviewing witnesses and processing a number of tips we are receiving with information on who was in attendance.”

“We will continue to investigate, and individuals we are able to identify as participants will be referred to the student conduct process,” they added.

Officials said a small group gathered just before 10 p.m., with it growing “considerably” until it was broken up by police and DPS officials by 10:30 p.m.

6:10 p.m.: Mets postpone Thursday and Friday games

The New York Mets became the latest baseball team to postpone games after positive COVID-19 tests.

Two members of the organization tested positive, leading the team to postpone Thursday’s matchup against the Miami Marlins and Friday’s game against the Yankees.

Although MLB wouldn’t provide more details, ESPN reported that one player and one staff member tested positive.

The Mets said in a statement they’ve begun contact tracing.

“The team will fly back home to New York tonight with recommended safety precautions in place,” the team said.

3:17 p.m.: NC State moves undergraduate classes online

North Carolina State University has moved its undergraduate courses online for the fall semester, the school announced.

The majority of courses had already been online, however some were in-person.

The university issued a statement on its decision, calling it “disappointing” but saying it was made after “recently witnessed the negative impact caused by those who did not take personal responsibility.”

“We’ve had reports of large parties in off-campus apartments. In the last two days alone, we’ve identified three COVID-19 clusters in off-campus and Greek Village houses that can be traced to parties and behavior outside of our community standards and the governor’s mandates,” according to the statement. “We’re seeing significant infections in Greek life, and at this time there have been another seven Greek houses that have been quarantined due to a number of additional positive cases.”

On-campus housing will not be closed, though the university noted that could change depending on the situation.

1:49 p.m.: Purdue suspends 36 students for partying

Purdue University suspended 36 students for hosting and attending a party amid the coronavirus pandemic, the school announced.

The suspensions come a day after Purdue’s president Mitch Daniels said the university “added a provision to the university’s student code that brings the hammer down on off-campus parties that violate social distancing and mask policies.”

Dr. Katie Sermersheim, associate vice provost and dean of students, said that the Indiana university has been “clear and consistent” with its message to students about safety measures.

“Unfortunately, everything we have done – the months of planning to give our students the opportunity to continue their educational pursuits in person – can be undone in the blink of an eye with just one party or event that does not follow the rules and guidelines,” Sermersheim said in a statement.

Reports circulated on social media that the students were removed from campus housing. When asked by ABC News, Purdue pointed to the statement that the “ultimate sanctioning decision” will be made only after a “full hearing process” and students will have the right to appeal.

1:22 p.m.: Cuomo signs bill allowing New Yorkers to request absentee ballot amid COVID

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill Thursday allowing voters concerned about COVID-19 to request an absentee ballot for the November election.

The bill allows voters to begin requesting absentee ballots starting Thursday, Cuomo said.

He added that the measures were in place “to guarantee that New Yorkers can vote safely and that every vote counts.”

Mailed absentee ballots that are postmarked on or before Election Day and received within seven days after the election will be counted. Additionally, any ballots without a postmark that are received by Nov. 4 will also be counted.

New York also does in-person early voting, which will run from Oct. 24 – Nov. 1.

With New York’s move, just six states still currently require an excuse beyond coronavirus to vote absentee by mail in the general election: Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.

12:36 p.m.: University of Notre Dame cases increase to 304

Cases at The University of Notre Dame have increased to 304, two days after the school canceled classes for two weeks due to an increase.

The cases have been tracked since Aug. 3, though the semester began on Aug. 10.

Since Aug. 3, 1,780 tests have been conducted at the university, located in Notre Dame, Indiana.

11:39 a.m.: Fauci underwent surgery to remove vocal cord polyp

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top medical expert on the coronavirus pandemic, underwent outpatient surgery on Thursday morning to remove a polyp on his vocal cord, his office confirmed to ABC News.

Fauci, who is the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a key member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, is now at home resting, according to his office.

ABC News has also reached out to Fauci directly for comment.

11:23 a.m.: University of Kansas reports 89 cases, mostly among fraternities and sororities

At least 87 students as well as two faculty members and staff at the University of Kansas tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday.

The university’s chancellor, Douglas Girod, announced the initial results from community testing for the Lawrence and Edwards campuses, in which 7,088 people were tested upon returning to campus prior to the start of classes. Those who test positive are instructed to self-isolate.

“A large majority of the 87 overall student positives have come from our fraternity and sorority community,” Girod said in a statement Thursday. “Last night, I met with leaders in these communities along with other campus officials to stress the importance of adhering to the health and safety guidelines and rules we’ve laid out while laying out some additional policy recommendations. And we’ll follow up with these groups with targeted additional testing efforts as needed.”

9:19 a.m.: US jobless claims jump back up over 1 million

Some 1.1 million workers in the United States lost their jobs and filed for unemployment insurance last week, according to data released Thursday from the U.S. Department of Labor.

The latest weekly figure shows a concerning jump from the previous week’s figure, when weekly filings dipped below the million mark for the first time in 21 weeks.

The rise in new jobless claims — which had been trickling down for weeks — highlights the ongoing anguish of the U.S. labor market as the coronavirus pandemic-induced financial crisis wages on.

Prior to the pandemic, the previous record for weekly unemployment filings was 695,000 in 1982. That was smashed by nearly tenfold in the last week of March as 6.9 million Americans filed for unemployment insurance in a single week.

8:47 a.m.: AMC reopens more than 100 theaters across US

AMC, the largest movie theater chain in the world, is reopening more than 100 of its locations in the United States on Thursday for the first time in more than five months.

AMC said overall seating capacity will be “significantly reduced” at those theaters in order to achieve social distancing.

The company expects to reopen approximately 300 additional theater locations around the country over the next two weeks, as part of a “phased plan” to reopen all 600 U.S. locations. The remainder of its U.S. theaters will reopen “only after authorized to do so by state and local officials,” according to a press release from AMC.

7:41 a.m.: Europe reporting an average of 26,000 new cases per day

An average of about 26,000 new cases of COVID-19 are being reported every day across Europe as infections there have been steadily increasing each week over the last two months, according to the World Health Organization.

Dr. Hans Kluge, the WHO regional director for Europe, said at a press conference Thursday that although the region has made “phenomenal efforts” to contain the novel coronavirus after becoming an epicenter of the pandemic earlier this year, “authorities have been easing some of the restrictions and people have been dropping their guard.”

New clusters of cases in European countries are mainly occurring in localized settings such as long-term care homes and food production facilities, or are being caused by travelers, according to Kluge.

“Localized outbreaks and clusters are now occurring with greater frequency, often in closed settings,” Kluge said, while noting that Europe was in a “much better position to stamp out these localized virus flare-ups” and “can manage the virus differently now than we did when COVID-19 first emerged.”

Kluge also called for schools to reopen in areas with low levels of the virus. He said the WHO Regional Office for Europe will convene a virtual meeting of its 53 member nations at the end of the month to discuss how schools across the region could reopen safely.

6:21 a.m.: New study shows children play larger role in spread of virus than thought

Clinical data from a new study shows that children play are larger role in the community spread of the novel coronavirus than previously thought.

The study, which was published Thursday in The Journal of Pediatrics, investigated 192 pediatric patients aged 22 and younger, of which 49 tested positive for COVID-19 and an additional 18 had late-onset, coronavirus-related illness. Researchers found that the infected children carried a significantly higher level of virus in their airways — particularly in the first two days of infection — than adults who were hospitalized in intensive care for COVID-19.

Harvard University called it “the most comprehensive study of COVID-19 pediatric patients to date.”

“I was surprised by the high levels of virus we found in children of all ages, especially in the first two days of infection,” Lael Yonker, lead author of the study and director of the Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital’s Cystic Fibrosis Center in Boston, said in a statement released through the university. “I was not expecting the viral load to be so high. You think of a hospital, and of all of the precautions taken to treat severely ill adults, but the viral loads of these hospitalized patients are significantly lower than a ‘healthy child’ who is walking around with a high SARS-CoV-2 viral load.”

5:36 a.m.: India marks another record rise in cases

India reported 69,672 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours — its highest daily increase yet, according to a real-time tally kept by Johns Hopkins University.

Now, more than 2.8 million people in India have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since the pandemic began — the third-highest count in the world.

There were also an additional 977 coronavirus-related fatalities recorded within the last day, bringing the national total to 53,866, according to the latest data from India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

The country of 1.3 billion people has the fourth-highest death toll from COVID-19 in the world, behind the United States, Brazil and Mexico, according to Johns Hopkins University.

5:28 a.m.: France, Germany, Spain see highest spike in cases since lockdown

France, Germany and Spain have all marked the highest day-to-day increase in COVID-19 infections since the end of their lockdowns.

France’s national public health agency reported Wednesday that there were 3,776 new cases in the past 24 hours, bringing the national tally to 225,043. Meanwhile, the country’s positivity rate for COVID-19 tests increased by 3.1% from Aug. 10 to Aug. 16.

Germany’s public health institute reported Wednesday that there were 1,510 new cases in the past 24 hours, making the national total 226,914.

“In the past few weeks the COVID-19 incidence has risen markedly in many federal states and the number of districts reporting zero COVID-19 cases over a period of seven days has decreased considerably,” the institute said in its daily situation report. “This trend is very concerning.”

The Spanish Ministry of Health reported Wednesday that there were 3,715 new cases within the last day. Spain’s cumulative case count, which includes diagnoses from antibody test results, now stands at 370,867.

All three European countries are among the top 20 nations hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic.

3:42 a.m.: US reports over 1,300 new deaths for second straight day

There were 46,436 new cases of COVID-19 identified in the United States on Wednesday, according to a count kept by Johns Hopkins University.

Wednesday’s tally is well below the country’s record set on July 16, when 77,255 new cases were identified in a 24-hour reporting period.

An additional 1,356 coronavirus-related deaths were also recorded Wednesday. It’s the second straight day of more than 1,300 fatalities, although the figure is still under the record 2,666 new deaths that were reported on April 17.

A total of 5,529,933 people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since the pandemic began, and at least 173,181 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.

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

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