By WILLIAM MANSELL, ABC News
(NEW YORK) — A pandemic of the novel coronavirus has now killed more than 1 million people worldwide.
Over 34.2 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 7.2 million diagnosed cases and at least 207,789 deaths.
California has the most cases of any U.S. state, with more than 822,000 people diagnosed, according to Johns Hopkins data. California is followed by Texas and Florida, with over 776,000 cases and over 709,000 cases, respectively.
Nearly 190 vaccine candidates for COVID-19 are being tracked by the World Health Organization, at least nine of which are in crucial phase three trials.
Here is how the news is developing Friday. All times Eastern:
Oct 02, 1:28 pm
HHS secretary appears before House committee
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar appeared on Capitol Hill Friday morning after testing negative for the coronavirus.
He tweeted that out of an abundance of caution he was tested and would testify before Congress as scheduled. He also wished the Trumps and “all those with COVID-19 a swift and complete recovery.”
Azar repeated that sentiment in his opening statement before the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis.
He also said the U.S. is making progress on the health crisis and encouraged people to “wear a face covering when you can’t watch your distance.”
Chairman James Clyburn, D-S.C., sent along his well wishes to the Trumps, but then quickly blamed the president for his response to the virus as “a failure of historic proportions.”
“We wish for all of them a speedy and complete recovery. As Americans, we pride ourselves on being the most scientifically advanced nation in the world with the best doctors and public health experts,” Clyburn said. “That is why it has been so heartbreaking to watch the administration squander this legacy by refusing to lead, ignoring our scientists and putting politics over the health of the American people.”
He later said it was a mistake that Trump refused to coordinate a national strategy and left up the response to the states.
Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., had a tense exchange with Azar when she pressed him about whether the president’s rallies have contributed to a rise in coronavirus cases and whether the HHS secretary has ever privately advised the president to stop or to wear a mask.
Azar said he wouldn’t discuss his conversations with the president.
“Are you proud of the job you have done?” Waters asked.
“I don’t like to speak in those terms,” Azar responded, “206,000 people have died.”
— ABC News’ Anne Flaherty and Mariam Khan
Oct 02, 4:46 am
House passes symbolic COVID-19 stimulus bill
The House passed a $2.2 trillion coronavirus stimulus relief bill late Thursday night, with a close 214-207 vote.
In some last-minute drama, 18 Democrats voted no on the bill. Many who were against the bill are moderates who are very unhappy with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and leadership for staging what they call a “show” vote on a bill that will never become law.
The Republican-led Senate is not expected to take up the measure.
The House bill is largely symbolic and puts on the record what Democrats have been calling for for months: economic relief for those impacted by the pandemic.
The bill would restore the $600 federal unemployment benefits that expired in July and would include another round of direct checks to Americans at $1,200 per taxpayer and $500 per dependent.
It would also extend the Paycheck Protection Program to help small businesses, a benefit that expired in early August.
A bipartisan COVID-19 relief bill is still possible. Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin are still having discussions. Pelosi announced late Thursday that she and Mnuchin have exchanged paper and are still deep in negotiations.
“We made a lot of progress over the last few days, we still don’t have an agreement, but we have more work to do. And we’re going to see where we end up,” Mnuchin told reporters Wednesday.
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.