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Coronavirus news: US reports over 34,000 new cases as hotspots reemerge in Northeast

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Ovidiu Dugulan/iStockBy MORGAN WINSOR, ABC News

(NEW YORK) — A pandemic of the novel coronavirus has now killed more than 930,000 people worldwide.

Over 29.2 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 6.55 million diagnosed cases and at least 194,836 deaths.

California has the most cases of any U.S. state, with more than 765,000 people diagnosed, according to Johns Hopkins data. California is followed by Texas and Florida, with over 685,000 cases and over 665,000 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 Tuesday. All times Eastern:

Sep 15, 1:35 pm
Vaccine ‘ought to be in a pretty good place’ by middle of 2021, NIH director says

Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, told ABC News, “I would expect that if we have a vaccine that’s approved by December, by the spring, most Americans will have a chance to access it.”

“Certainly by the middle of 2021, we ought to be in a pretty good place,” he said.

But Collins stressed, “I’m saying all this with the assumption that one of these vaccines is going to work. We don’t know that yet, and until we get to that point, science is not predictable.”

Collins said a friend asked him if her daughter should reschedule her May 2021 wedding.

“I didn’t quite know what to say,” Collins said. “I kind of said, ‘Well, you might not reschedule it yet, but you might think about having some flexibility there in case we’re still at the tail end of a time where people really shouldn’t be gathering in large numbers.”

ABC News’ Bob Woodruff and Victor Odonez contributed to this report.

Sep 15, 12:36 pm
UK health workers forced to stay off work due to lack of testing

The organization that represents the publicly funded hospitals of England warned Tuesday that COVID-19 testing shortages across the country are jeopardizing efforts to restore medical services and prepare for a potential surge in cases over the winter.

The National Health Service (NHS) in England is facing an increase in staff absences due to employees and their family members being unable to access a COVID-19 test. Without a test for either them or their loved ones, NHS staff are having to self-isolate after possible exposure to the virus, taking them away from the front line of the pandemic where they are desperately needed, according to a press release from NHS Providers.

NHS Providers CEO Chris Hopson said that hospital leaders in the British cities of Bristol, London and Leeds all raised concerns over the weekend about the lack of testing. He said hospitals “are working in the dark — they don’t know why these shortages are occurring, how long they are likely to last, how geographically widespread they are likely to be and what priority will be given to healthcare workers and their families in accessing scarce tests.”

“They need to know all this information so that they can plan accordingly,” he said in a statement Tuesday. “We need to prioritize tests for healthcare workers and their families and patients coming in for treatment, many of whom have already waited longer than normal.”

U.K. Home Secretary Priti Patel told BBC that delays in testing for the public are “unacceptable.”

Sep 15, 10:43 am
North Carolina county incorrectly tells residents they tested positive

A county in North Carolina sent erroneous text messages and emails to more than 7,000 residents saying they were positive for COVID-19.

More than 6,700 people in Mecklenburg County were told the news in a text message from the local health department last Friday, while more than 500 others received the notice via email. Mecklenburg County said its health department does not text or email test results to those affected.

In a statement Monday, Mecklenburg County manager Dena Diorio explained the erroneous messages were sent through HealthSpace Data System, a Canadian company, to individuals who were already in their system. The technical glitch occurred during “routine maintenance” and was fixed in less than an hour. No personal information was compromised, according to Diorio.

“Once corrected we were told that 6727 text messages and 541 emails were sent to individuals who were already in their system,” Diorio said in an email to the Board of County Commissioners on Monday afternoon. “We then worked with the vendor to send a corrected text/email to all that received the erroneous one.”

To date, more than 27,000 Mecklenburg County residents have tested positive for COVID-19 and at least 339 have died.

Sep 15, 9:45 am
WHO issues guidance on vaccine distribution strategy

The World Health Organization issued framework on Tuesday intended to help decision-makers on how to allocate and prioritize the first supplies of COVID-19 vaccines, which will be limited.

The framework can be a useful resource for countries as they decide on priority groups for COVID-19 to reduce the burden from deaths and disease, to lessen societal and economic disruptions and to protect essential services such as health care.

Priority groups will include — but are not limited to — populations with significantly elevated risk of severe disease or death; populations with significantly elevated risk of being infected; school-aged children to minimize disruption of education and socioemotional development; and then on to workers in non-essential but economically critical sectors.

Sep 15, 6:47 am
University of Wisconsin-Madison votes to cancel spring break

The University of Wisconsin-Madison has moved to cancel spring break next year as part of efforts to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The public research university’s faculty senate voted on Monday to drop the nine-day vacation from the school’s 2021 spring calendar, according a report by Madison ABC affiliate WKOW-TV.

Under the new plan, classes would start Jan. 25, a week later than currently scheduled. Although spring break would be eliminated, classes would not be held on March 27, the beginning of Passover, on April 2, Good Friday, nor on April 3, the day before Easter. Classes would end April 30, the same day as originally planned, according to WKOW.

The move comes just days after the school announced it would be shifting to remote learning while all in-person instruction is paused for two weeks and that two residence halls would be placed under a 14-day quarantine.

Sep 15, 5:58 am
Global number of new cases decreases while deaths increase over past week

The global number of newly diagnosed COVID-19 cases has decreased over the past week while the number of deaths from the disease worldwide has increased, according to data from the World Health Organization.

On Monday, the WHO provided a snapshot for how COVID-19 impacted each region of the world for the week of Sept. 7-13, comparing data to the previous seven-day period. The number of newly diagnosed cases decreased by around 3% globally, while deaths increased by 8%.

The WHO’s Southeast Asia region saw an 11% increase each in new cases and fatalities. The region accounts for 33% of the world’s coronavirus-related deaths in the last week. India, Indonesia and Bangladesh reported the highest number of newly diagnosed cases. The Maldives, however, has the greatest caseload relative to its population size.

The Americas region saw a 19% decrease in new cases and a 10% increase in fatalities, with Guadeloupe reporting its highest numbers.

The Africa region saw a 14% decrease in new cases and a 15% decrease in fatalities, making it the only region to report a decline in coronavirus-related deaths. South Africa has the most cases of any country on the African continent.

The Eastern Mediterranean region saw a 14% increase in new cases and a 3% increase in fatalities. The uptick was largely attributed to seasonal religious and cultural mass gatherings, wedding celebrations and other social events. The number of newly diagnosed cases in Libya has more than doubled over the past two weeks, and the real figures are likely to be even higher due to testing shortages.

The European region saw an 8% increase in new cases and just under a 1% increase in fatalities. The region accounts for 16% of the world’s cases and 25% of deaths. France reported the highest number of newly diagnosed cases in the last week.

The Western Pacific region saw a 4% increase in new cases and a 6% increase in fatalities. The Philippines, Japan and South Korea had the greatest number of newly diagnosed cases. Singapore, however, has the largest number of cases relative to its population size. Overall, the region has the lowest cumulative cases and deaths relative to the populations.

Sep 15, 5:17 am
US reports over 34,000 new cases as hotspots reemerge in Northeast

There were 34,079 new cases of COVID-19 identified in the United States on Monday, according to a real-time count kept by Johns Hopkins University.

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

An additional 422 coronavirus-related fatalities were also recorded Monday, down from a peak of 2,666 new fatalities reported on April 17.

A total of 6,554,821 people in the United States have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since the pandemic began, and at least 194,536 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.

An internal memo from the Federal Emergency Management Agency obtained by ABC News on Monday night showed some areas in the northeastern United States are beginning to reemerge as COVID-19 hotspots, including New Jersey’s Middlesex and Somerset Counties, Maryland’s Wicomico County and Maine’s York County.

Sep 15, 4:51 am
WHO reports record rise in global infections

The World Health Organization has reported the highest single-day increase in COVID-19 infections worldwide since the pandemic began.

The WHO received reports of 308,010 newly confirmed cases across the globe on Sunday. The previous record was set on Sept. 6 when 306,852 new cases were reported, according to a real-time count kept by the WHO.

The cumulative total in global cases surpassed 29 million on Monday.

The WHO also received reports of 5,536 coronavirus-related fatalities on Sunday, down from a peak of 12,430 deaths recorded on April 17.

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