By MORGAN WINSOR, ABC News
(NEW YORK) — A pandemic of the novel coronavirus has now killed more than 857,000 people worldwide.
Over 25.7 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 six million diagnosed cases and at least 184,689 deaths.
California has the most cases of any U.S. state, with more than 715,000 people diagnosed, according to Johns Hopkins data. California is followed by Texas and Florida, with over 637,000 cases and over 631,000 cases respectively.
Nearly 170 vaccine candidates for COVID-19 are being tracked by the World Health Organization, six of which are in crucial phase three trials.
Here’s how the news is developing Wednesday. All times Eastern:
Sep 02, 1:49 pm
Former Italian prime minister tests positive for COVID-19
Silvio Berlusconi, the former prime minister of Italy, has tested positive for the coronavirus.
Berlusconi, 83, is quarantining in his residence, according to his political party, Forza Italia
Sep 02, 12:25 pm
NY with 26 straight days of positivity rate below 1%
The state of New York, once the U.S. epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, has now had 26 straight days where the number of people who tested positive was below 1%, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Wednesday.
The state reported a 0.8% positivity rate on Tuesday.
“Defeating COVID-19 requires a shared commitment among all New Yorkers to wear masks, socially distance and wash hands, and I thank them for listening to state guidance and taking social action to get us to this point today. 26 straight days with an infection rate below 1 percent is no mean feat,” Cuomo said.
The Empire State reported five additional deaths on Tuesday, bringing the total to 25,336 since the pandemic began. There are now 436,218 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state.
Sep 02, 10:43 am
Hong Kong to further ease coronavirus restrictions
Hong Kong will continue to ease coronavirus-related restrictions this week, as the daily number of new infections gets down to the single digits.
The semi-autonomous Chinese city reported just eight new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, its lowest number since five new cases were identified on July 3, down from a peak of more than 100.
Officials began relaxing restrictions last week, allowing beauty salons and movie theaters to reopen with social distancing measures in place. Starting Friday, gyms and massage parlors can operate while dining-in hours at restaurants will be extended. However, gym-goers must wear masks while exercising and classes will be restricted to four people, officials said Wednesday.
Bars, karaoke lounges and swimming pools will remain shuttered.
Since the start of the pandemic, Hong Kong’s Department of Health has reported at least 4,831 confirmed cases with 93 deaths.
Sep 02, 10:14 am
Greece reports 1st case in overcrowded migrant camp
Greece announced Wednesday it is imposing a two-week lockdown on the Moria migrant camp on the island of Lesbos, after a refugee there tested positive for COVID-19.
The 40-year-old Somali man had left the camp on July 17 after being granted refugee status and a residence permit to live in Greece. However, for unknown reasons, he had returned in recent days and had been living in a tent outside the camp fence. He has since tested positive for the virus and remains hospitalized on the island, according to a press release from the Greek Ministry of Migration and Asylum.
It’s the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in the overcrowded camp, a space designed for 2,200 people but now, according to the United Nations, houses over 18,000.
The ministry said entry and exit would be prohibited at the camp until Sept. 15, while the presence of security forces has been increased around the structure to enforce the 14-day quarantine. Meanwhile, authorities are working to trace the man’s contacts and a new health unit will be put in place at the camp to isolate and monitor suspected cases, according to the ministry.
Sep 02, 9:14 am
‘It’s the worst thing you could do,’ Fauci says of sending infected college students home
College students who contract the novel coronavirus while at school should isolate on campus rather than return home, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
During an interview Wednesday on NBC’s Today Show, Fauci was asked if college campuses should shut down and send infected students home amid COVID-19 outbreaks. He replied: “It’s the worst thing you could do.”
“Keep them at the university in a place that’s sequestered enough from the other students,” he added. “But don’t have them go home because they could be spreading it in their home state.”
Fauci’s comments come as colleges and universities across the country grapple with how to deal with COVID-19 outbreaks, as students and employees return to campus for the new academic year.
Sep 02, 8:23 am
James Madison University moves to mostly online classes
James Madison University will shift, at least temporarily, to primarily online learning after seeing a “rapid increase” in COVID-19 cases among its students.
“After consultation with the Virginia Department of Health, James Madison University will transition to primarily online learning, with some hybrid instruction for accreditation and licensure requirements, graduate research, and specialized upper-class courses requiring equipment and space, through the month of September,” the school’s president, Jonathan Alger, said in a letter posted on its website Tuesday night. “We do not make this decision lightly, especially after all of the efforts on the part of so many people to make the campus environment safe for the return of in-person classes.”
University officials will monitor the situation over the next month and will be in touch with the campus community before the end of the month regarding the possibility of returning to in-person instruction on or after Oct. 5, according to Alger.
The announcement comes just a week after some in-person classes resumed at the public research university in Harrisonburg, Virginia, which has about 20,000 undergraduate students.
“In the days since students have been back on campus, we have observed their vibrancy, excitement to engage with their faculty, and large-scale adherence to COVID-19 rules and guidance. However, we have also observed troubling public health trends,” Alger said. “As a result of a rapid increase in the number of positive cases of COVID-19 in our student population in a short period of time, the university is concerned about capacity in the number of isolation and quarantine spaces we can provide. Protecting the health of our Harrisonburg and Rockingham County community — including students, faculty, staff — is our top priority, and we need to act swiftly to stop the spread as best we can.”
Sep 02, 6:55 am
Over $300B lost in exports from tourism due to COVID-19
More than $300 billion has been lost globally in exports from international tourism due to travel restrictions put in place to mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus, according to a new report published by the United Nations World Tourism Organization.
The report states that there were 56% fewer international tourists around the world from January to May, compared to the same period last year. The decrease in international travel caused a $320 billion loss in exports from tourism, or international visitors’ spending — more than three times what was lost in the 2009 economic crisis.
As many as 120 million direct tourism jobs are at risk due to the crisis, according to the report. Women make up the majority of the tourism workforce worldwide.
Sep 02, 6:13 am
Ole Miss reports 20 active outbreaks on campus
The University of Mississippi said it has confirmed at least 481 cases of COVID-19 among students and employees on its Oxford campus since the start of the pandemic.
Of those, 277 are active cases, mostly among students. Over the past seven days, there have been 223 new confirmed cases, an increase of more than 90%. There are currently 20 active outbreaks of three or more cases on campus, most of which are within campus housing, according to data posted on the University of Mississippi’s website.
The public research university in Oxford, Mississippi, known by its nickname Ole Miss, resumed classes on Aug. 24.
According to the student newspaper, The Daily Mississippian, emails were sent out saying residents in on-campus dormitories with a cluster of three or more cases would need to find a place to quarantine. However, some students were urged to return home or isolate themselves off-campus in nearby apartments or hotels due to the limited number of quarantine spaces on campus.
Health officials are concerned this could lead to COVID-19 spreading off-campus among the local community, according to a report by Memphis ABC affiliate WATN-TV.
Sep 02, 4:35 am
16 US states and territories are in an upward trajectory, FEMA memo shows
An internal memo from the Federal Emergency Management Agency obtained by ABC News on Tuesday evening shows that 16 U.S. states and territories are in an upward trajectory of new COVID-19 cases, while 10 jurisdictions are at a plateau and 30 are going down.
Nationwide, the numbers of new COVID-19 cases and new deaths have both decreased in week-over-week comparisons. There were 288,876 new cases confirmed during the period of Aug. 25-31, a 1.9% decrease from the previous seven-day period. There were also 6,433 new fatalities recorded, marking a 5.1% decrease compared with the previous week, according to the memo.
Meanwhile, the national positivity rate for COVID-19 tests ticked downward slightly to 5.2%, compared with 5.5% for the prior seven-day period, the memo shows.
Indiana has the ninth-highest case rate in the country, with more than 100 new cases per 100,000 population last week. The state’s positivity rate for COVID-19 tests is nearing 10% amid a rapid case rise linked to university towns. More than half of all counties in Indiana have ongoing community transmission, of which 8% have high levels of community transmission, according to the memo.
South Dakota has the highest positivity rate for COVID-19 tests of any U.S. state, at greater than 15%, according to the memo, which noted that “testing across the state is broadly insufficient.” Approximately 30% of all counties in South Dakota have ongoing community transmission and 21% have high levels of community transmission, the memo shows.
In Ohio, the majority of new cases are among Miami University student-athletes and the people they have come in contact with since Aug. 17. As of Aug. 27, there have been 215 reported cases among students and two reported cases among employees at the public research university in Oxford, Ohio, according to the memo.
Sep 02, 3:51 am
US reports over 1,000 new deaths in a single day
An additional 1,067 coronavirus-related deaths were recorded in the United States on Tuesday, a nearly twofold increase from the previous day, according to a real-time count kept by Johns Hopkins University.
It’s the first time in almost a week that the nation has reported more than 1,000 new deaths from COVID-19 in a single day. However, Tuesday’s death toll is still under the country’s record set on April 17, when there were 2,666 new fatalities in a 24-hour-reporting period.
There were also 43,253 new cases of COVID-19 identified in the United States on Tuesday. The daily tally is well below the record 77,255 new cases reported on July 16.
A total of 6,075,652 people in the United States have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since the pandemic began, and at least 184,689 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, the numbers of new COVID-19 cases and new deaths in the United States have both decreased in week-over-week comparisons, according to an internal memo from the Federal Emergency Management Agency obtained by ABC News Tuesday night.
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