By MORGAN WINSOR, ABC News

(NEW YORK) — A pandemic of the novel coronavirus has now killed more than 942,000 people worldwide.

Over 29.9 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 6.6 million diagnosed cases and at least 197,120 deaths.

California has the most cases of any U.S. state, with more than 772,000 people diagnosed, according to Johns Hopkins data. California is followed by Texas and Florida, with over 696,000 cases and over 674,000 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 17, 1:02 pm
Abu Dhabi using smartwatch tech to enforce self-quarantines

All travelers arriving at Abu Dhabi International Airport are required to undergo thermal screening, take a COVID-19 test and self-quarantine for two weeks.

After clearing immigration, those who arrive will also be required to wear a free, medically approved wristband during their self-quarantine, Etihad Airlines confirmed in a statement to ABC News.

Only United Arab Emirates (UAE) nationals are allowed to fly into Abu Dhabi International Airport. UAE nationals arriving at the airport would be exempt from wearing wristbands if they hold diplomatic passports, are under the age of 18, over the age of 60, or have a chronic disease.

According to the UAE government portal, authorities in Abu Dhabi have been using the technology to track and monitor people diagnosed with COVID-19 to make sure they are self-quarantining.

The UAE has over 81,000 COVID-19 cases and at least 402 fatalities, according to the state-run WAM news agency.

ABC News’ Christine Theodorou, Clark Bentson and Ibtissem Guenfoud contributed to this report.

Sep 17, 12:21 pm
HHS Secretary to testify before Congress on Oct. 2

Alex Azar, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, will testify before a House select subcommittee on Oct. 2 about the response to the pandemic.

This will be his first appearance before Congress since February.

According to the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, “The hearing will examine the Trump Administration’s unprecedented political interference in the work of scientists and public health experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Food and Drug Administration, the Administration’s refusal to provide accurate and clear public health information, and the failure of the Administration to develop and implement a comprehensive national plan to contain the coronavirus, more than eight months into this public health emergency.”

ABC News’ Mariam Khan contributed to this report.

Sep 17, 11:15 am
New York City again delays start of in-person classes for most students

Three days before public schools in New York City were slated to reopen for in-person learning, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a new timetable.

“It involves several phases,” de Blasio said at a press conference Thursday.

Students in pre-K, 3-K and special education programs will resume in-person learning Monday, as scheduled. Those in K-5 and K-8 schools will now return to physical classrooms on Sept. 29, while middle and high schools won’t open until Oct. 1.

Remote learning will begin citywide Monday for those whose in-person start dates have been pushed back.

It’s the second time the mayor has delayed the start of in-person classes amid the coronavirus pandemic. De Blasio said his colleagues had reached out to him with “real concerns.”

“They acknowledged progress has been made but more had to be done to make sure that things would be as strong as they needed to be,” he said.

ABC News’ Aaron Katersky contributed to this report.

Sep 17, 9:58 am
150 million more children in poverty due to COVID-19, report says

The coronavirus crisis has pushed 150 million more children into poverty, according to an analysis published Wednesday night by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the U.K.-based charity Save the Children.

Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the number of children living in deprivation in low- and middle-income countries has increased by 15% to approximately 1.2 billion. The multidimensional poverty analysis used data on access to education, health care, housing, nutrition, sanitation and water from more than 70 countries.

Although the report already paints a dire picture, UNICEF warned the situation will likely worsen in the coming months.

“COVID-19 and the lockdown measures imposed to prevent its spread have pushed millions of children deeper into poverty,” UNICEF executive director Henrietta Fore said in a statement Wednesday. “Families on the cusp of escaping poverty have been pulled back in, while others are experiencing levels of deprivation they have never seen before. Most concerningly, we are closer to the beginning of this crisis than its end.”

The analysis noted that not only are more children across the globe experiencing poverty than before, but the poorest children are getting poorer as well.

UNICEF and Save the Children said they are both committed to continue to monitor the situation while working with governments and civil society to confront it.

“This pandemic has already caused the biggest global education emergency in history, and the increase in poverty will make it very hard for the most vulnerable children and their families to make up for the loss,” Save the Children International CEO Inger Ashing said in a statement Wednesday. “Children who lose out on education are more likely to be forced into child labour or early marriage and be trapped in a cycle of poverty for years to come. We cannot afford to let a whole generation of children become victims of this pandemic. National governments and the international community must step up to soften the blow.”

ABC News’ Dragana Jovanovic contributed to this report.

Sep 17, 9:24 am
860,000 Americans filed jobless claims last week

Some 860,000 Americans lost their jobs and filed for unemployment insurance last week, the U.S. Department of Labor said Thursday.

The latest tally shows that the nationwide number of new jobless claims have dropped significantly since peaking at 6.9 million in the last week of March. Still, the figure shatters the pre-pandemic weekly record set in 1982 of 695,000.

More than 29 million people across the country are currently receiving unemployment benefits under state and federal programs, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Sep 17, 7:50 am
COVID-19 outbreaks hit French universities

Dozens of university campuses in major cities across France are reporting COVID-19 outbreaks, according to various local media outlets.

The affected cities reportedly include Lyon, Marseille, Montpellier, Rennes and Toulouse.

In a recent interview with French newspaper Ouest-France, the country’s minister of higher education, Frederique Vidal, said the clusters of cases emerging on university campuses are “mostly linked to private gatherings,” such as student parties. Still, Vidal said she wants to maintain in-person classes “because it is important that teachers and students meet,” particularly first-year students “who need benchmarks.”

French student unions, on the other hand, have laid the blame on overcrowded lecture halls.

Since the start of the academic year, at least 81 schools across France have been closed and 2,100 classes have been cancelled due to COVID-19.

“We have seen around 1,200 new COVID cases among school pupils this week,” France’s minister of national education, Jean-Michel Blanquer, told reporters Wednesday. “Classes are closed as soon as there are three positive cases.”

Sep 17, 6:40 am
2-month-old baby dies from COVID-19 in Michigan

A 2-month-old baby in Michigan has died from COVID-19.

Michigan’s chief medical executive, Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, announced the infant’s death during a press conference Wednesday, while discussing how children are not spared from the novel coronavirus.

“I was so saddened to hear this news,” Khaldun said. “My condolences go out to their parents and family.”

Nearly 800 children across the United States have been diagnosed with Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C), a new pediatric disease associated with COVID-19 that can cause multiple organs to fail, according to Khaldun.

“Studies show that while children are less likely to get severely ill from COVID-19, they still can and they can also pass it on to others,” Khaldun said, while urging people to wear masks, wash their hands and maintain social distancing.

“COVID-19 is not something to be taken lightly,” she added.

Twenty children under the age of 1 have died of COVID-19 nationwide as of Sept. 12, according to the latest data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Sep 17, 5:30 am
US sees nearly 17% jump in coronavirus-related deaths

An internal memo from the Federal Emergency Management Agency obtained by ABC News on Wednesday night showed that the current national trend in new cases is only slightly down while the trend in new deaths is way up.

There were 261,204 new cases of COVID-19 confirmed in the United States during the period of Sept. 9-15, a 0.7% decrease from the previous week. Meanwhile, 5,906 coronavirus-related deaths were recorded during that same period, a 16.6% increase compared with the seven days prior, according to the FEMA memo.

The national positivity rate for COVID-19 tests currently stands at 4.4%, a 0.1% decrease over the past week, according to the memo.

Sep 17, 4:48 am
US reports nearly 37,000 new cases, just under 1,000 deaths

There were 36,782 new cases of COVID-19 identified in the United States on Wednesday, according to a real-time count kept by Johns Hopkins University.

Wednesday’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 977 coronavirus-related fatalities were also recorded Wednesday, down from a peak of 2,666 new fatalities reported on April 17.

A total of 6,630,892 people in the United States have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since the pandemic began, and at least 196,802 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.

Sep 17, 4:27 am
India records world’s highest increase in new cases

India confirmed 97,894 new cases of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, marking the highest single-day increase in infections worldwide since the coronavirus pandemic began.

An additional 1,132 coronavirus-related fatalities were also recorded. The country’s cumulative total now stands at 5,118,253 cases and 83,198 deaths, according to the latest data from the Indian Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

India has the second-highest tally of COVID-19 cases in the world and the third-highest death toll in the coronavirus pandemic, according to a count kept by Johns Hopkins University. The relatively low death toll in a vast county of 1.3 billion people is raising questions about how it’s counting coronavirus fatalities.

India has reported more than one million cases this month alone. Based on the current rate of infection, India is expected within weeks to become the pandemic’s worst-hit nation, surpassing the United States, where more than 6.6 million people have been diagnosed with COVID-19.

India’s health ministry has attributed the surge in infections to increased testing. The country is conducting more than one million COVID-19 tests per day.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.