By MORGAN WINSOR, ABC News
(NEW YORK) — A pandemic of the novel coronavirus has now killed more than 1.1 million people worldwide.
Over 41.2 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 8.3 million diagnosed cases and at least 222,201 deaths.
California has the most cases of any U.S. state, with more than 886,000 people diagnosed, according to Johns Hopkins data. California is followed by Texas and Florida, with over 868,000 cases and over 762,000 cases, respectively.
Nearly 200 vaccine candidates for COVID-19 are being tracked by the World Health Organization, at least 10 of which are in crucial phase three studies. Of those 10 potential vaccines in late-stage trials, there are currently five that will be available in the United States if approved.
Here’s how the news is developing Thursday. All times Eastern:
Oct 22, 5:44 am
New cases up by double digits across US, HHS memo says
The number of new cases of COVID-19 recorded in the United States increased by double digits in week-over-week comparisons, while deaths and intensive care unit admissions are also on the rise, according to an internal memo from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that was obtained by ABC News on Wednesday night.
The memo, which is circulated among the highest levels of the federal government and is used to determine daily priorities for the agencies working on a COVID-19 response, said 41 U.S. states and territories are in an upward trajectory of new infections, while six jurisdictions are at a plateau and seven others are in a downward trend.
There were 414,004 new cases confirmed during the period of Oct. 14-20, a 15.1% increase from the previous week. There were also 5,168 fatalities from COVID-19 recorded during the same period, a 4.2% increase compared with the week prior, according to the memo.
The national positivity rate for COVID-19 tests dropped slightly from 6% to 5.8% in week-to-week comparisons. Meanwhile, 23% of hospitals nationwide have more than 80% of their ICU beds full. That figure was 17%-18% during the summertime peak, the memo said.
In Illinois, the number of new cases increased 41.1% on Oct. 18 compared to the prior week, over twice the national growth in infections — 14.8% — during the same period. Meanwhile, COVID-19 hospitalizations continued to climb, with the state reporting a seven-day average of 17.3 hospitalizations per 100,000 people on Oct. 18. The state is also experiencing a shortage of health care professionals, particularly nurses, according to the memo.
Indiana saw a 22.4% increase in new cases and an 8% uptick in new deaths between the weeks ending Oct. 11-18. The state reported a record high of 2,521 new cases on Oct 17, one day after surpassing a daily tally of 2,000 new cases for the first time. The state also reported its highest seven-day average of COVID-19 hospitalizations — 20.1 per 100,000 people on Oct. 18. During that time, an average of 63% of inpatient beds and 66.4% of ICU beds were full. Indiana has reissued a call for retired health care professionals to volunteer as hospitals across the state face staffing issues, the memo said.
Michigan’s Washtenaw County saw a relative increase of 110.9% in new cases between Oct. 11-18. The surge may be driven by the University of Michigan, where the school’s quarantine and isolation housing was at 52.8% occupancy as of Oct. 20, according to the memo.
Minnesota reported a record high of 126 new COVID-19 hospitalizations on Oct. 20. The number of new cases increased 24.9% across the state in the week ending Oct. 19, while new deaths climbed by 53.5%, the memo said.
North Dakota reported 587 new cases per 100,000 people in the last week, the highest rate in the country, compared to a national average of 117 per 100,000 people, according to the memo.
Ohio registered 2,234 new cases on Oct. 17, its highest number since the coronavirus pandemic and marking the fourth straight day the state’s daily tally was over 2,000. Ohio also reported a record high of 1,145 COVID-19 hospitalizations on Oct. 19. The state’s seven-day average of hospitalizations has continued to climb over the past three months, reaching a rate of 13.2 per 100,000 population on Oct. 18, the memo said.
Oct 22, 4:40 am
US reports highest daily death toll since mid-September
An additional 1,124 fatalities from COVID-19 were registered in the United States on Wednesday, according to a real-time count kept by Johns Hopkins University.
The latest daily death toll is the highest the country has reported since Sept. 15 but still less than the record 2,666 new fatalities registered on April 17.
There were also 62,735 new cases of COVID-19 identified nationwide Wednesday, up by more than 2,000 from the previous day but down from a peak of 77,255 new cases on July 16.
A total of 8,337,204 people in the United States have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since the pandemic began, and at least 222,201 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 started to climb again in recent weeks and is now averaging around 60,000 per day.
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