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Coronavirus live updates: US reports highest daily death toll since mid-September

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Ovidiu Dugulan/iStockBy MORGAN WINSOR and EMILY SHAPIRO, ABC News

(NEW YORK) — A pandemic of the novel coronavirus has now killed more than 1.1 million people worldwide.

Over 41.4 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 222,577 deaths.

California has the most cases of any U.S. state, with more than 887,000 people diagnosed, according to Johns Hopkins data. California is followed by Texas and Florida, with over 869,000 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, 1:49 pm
New Jersey numbers ‘not pretty,’ governor warns

In New Jersey’s battle against the coronavirus, Gov. Phil Murphy is warning that “the overnight numbers are not pretty.”
The state reported 1,182 new cases and 18 more deaths on Thursday, Murphy said.

New Jersey now has over 224,000 people diagnosed with the coronavirus and at least 14,474 confirmed fatalities.

Hospitals have 852 COVID-19 patients, including 74 on ventilators.

“We need to push these numbers back down,” Murphy stressed.
“We are seeing trouble with gatherings in private homes,” Murphy added. “We urge you to follow @CDCgov guidance and not gather in a private home with anyone outside your immediate family. Keep gatherings outside. Practice social distancing. Wear a mask, even outside.”

ABC News’ Aaron Katersky contributed to this report.

Oct 22, 1:41 pm
Walgreens testing now available to kids ages 3 and up

Walgreens said Thursday that it’s expanding its COVID-19 testing sites to now be available for children ages 3 and up. Testing was previously available to people ages 18 and over.

Walgreens said it has about 620 COVID-19 testing sites in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, with another 80 sites expected to open this week.

“Walgreens pharmacy team will provide instruction to the parent on how to administer the COVID-19 test to a child,” Walgreens said in a statement. “Adolescents may self-administer the COVID-19 test if desired.”

Test results will usually be available within 24 to 72 hours, Walgreens said.

ABC News’ Eric Strauss contributed to this report.

Oct 22, 1:11 pm
Utah hospitals ‘overwhelmed,’ governor says

In Utah, hospitals are “overwhelmed” and Gov. Gary Herbert is warning that “the stress they are experiencing is unsustainable.”

Caregivers are “tired” and “emotionally spent,” a state official said at a Thursday news conference.

“This is why we have required masks in high and moderate transmission areas and also asked residents in these areas to limit gatherings to 10 or fewer,” Herbert tweeted Thursday.

“Many Utahns have been taking this virus seriously and are abiding by precautionary measures. But some who haven’t seen the full range of ill effects coronavirus can have are unaware of the issues it causes within our medical and business communities,” he said.

Utah has over 99,500 cases and at least 563 deaths.

Oct 22, 12:18 pm
Fauci suggests kids trick-or-treat by saying hello to neighbors

Dr. Anthony Fauci is suggesting a new twist on trick-or-treating during the pandemic.

Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, recommends kids in costume go to a neighbors home, knock on the door and stay six or more feet away.

“Wear a mask, say hello,” Fauci said in a livestream interview last week with Chrisi Grimm, the principal deputy inspector general for Health and Human Services.

But when it comes to the question of accepting candy, Fauci may disappoint the kids of America.

“The question of taking things like candy and stuff. You know, to me, it would be just. ‘Hello, I’m giving you a virtual trick-or-treat,’ as opposed to getting involved in people that you don’t know,” he said.

ABC News’ Anne Flaherty and Sarah Kolinovsky contributed to this report.

Oct 22, 11:17 am
Biden tests negative for 13th time since last debate

Former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic nominee for the upcoming presidential election, has tested negative for COVID-19 ahead of Thursday’s final debate in Nashville, according to his campaign.

“Vice President Biden underwent PCR testing for COVID-19 today and COVID-19 was not detected,” the campaign said.

Biden has tested negative for the disease 13 times since his campaign began releasing the results of every test, following the last presidential debate in Cleveland on Sept. 29.

President Donald Trump tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this month, two days after debating Biden in Cleveland.

ABC News’ Molly Nagle contributed to this report.

Oct 22, 10:52 am
US weekly unemployment filings dip to 787,000

The U.S. Department of Labor said Thursday that weekly unemployment filings have dipped below the 800,000 mark for the first time in months, falling to 787,000 last week.

It’s the lowest number of weekly jobless claims since March, when the coronavirus pandemic clobbered the U.S. labor market and the tally of initial unemployment filings peaked at some 6.9 million in a single week.

While the drop is a welcome sign for an economy still entrenched in a pandemic-induced financial crisis, the figure still remains well above pre-pandemic levels. It also dwarfs the previous record for initial claims set in 1982.

ABC News’ Catherine Thorbecke contributed to this report.

Oct 22, 9:50 am
Germany’s daily case count soars past 11,000 to new record high

Germany confirmed 11,287 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, its highest single-day increase since the start of the pandemic.

The latest daily tally soared past the country’s previous record of 7,830 new cases set on Saturday.

An additional 30 deaths from COVID-19 were also registered Wednesday. The cumulative totals now stands at 392,049 cases and 9,905 deaths, according to the latest data from the country’s public health institute.

Germany has broken its own record for daily case counts several times this month. While testing has increased since then, the country is among several in Europe that have seen a sharp uptick in COVID-19 infections in recent weeks.

Oct 22, 8:55 am
Analysis shows hospitalizations rising in 41 US states plus Guam

An ABC News analysis of COVID-19 trends across all 50 U.S. states as well as Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and Guam found there were increases in hospitalizations over the past two weeks in 41 states plus Guam.

The analysis also found increases in the daily positivity rate of COVID-19 tests in 27 states plus Guam and increases in daily COVID-19 death tolls in 17 states.

Meanwhile, case numbers are higher — a daily average of at least 15 new cases per 100,000 people over the past week — and staying high in 31 states plus Puerto Rico and Guam, and case numbers are lower — a daily average of under 15 new cases per 100,000 people over the past week — but are going up in nine states.

One state — North Dakota — hit a record number of new cases in a 24-hour reporting period. Nine other states — Arkansas, Iowa, Kentucky, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, Wisconsin and West Virginia — saw a record number of current hospitalizations in a day.

The United States is rapidly approaching an average of 60,000 new cases a day, with no signs of slowing. At its peak in July, the country reported an average of 66,000 new cases per day.

Over the last five-and-a-half weeks, new cases across the nation have surged by more than 72%. More than one million cases have already been registered in the month of October alone, with over 412,000 reported in just the last seven days.

States across the Midwest such as Montana, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Wisconsin all continue to consistently report high numbers, while other states such as Colorado, Illinois, Kentucky, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Ohio continue to trend upward.

Additionally, nearly 40,000 Americans are currently hospitalized with COVID-19, the highest in almost two months.

The trends were all analyzed from data collected and published by the COVID Tracking Project over the past two weeks, using the linear regression trend line of the seven-day moving average to examine whether a state’s key indicators were increasing, decreasing or remained flat.

Oct 22, 7:48 am
Belgium’s foreign minister admitted to ICU for COVID-19

Belgian Foreign Minister Sophie Wilmes was hospitalized for COVID-19 and admitted to an intensive care unit on Wednesday evening, a spokesperson told ABC News.

The 45-year-old’s condition remains stable, the spokesperson said.

Wilmes, who was the caretaker prime minister of Belgium during the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic, announced via Twitter on Saturday that she had tested positive for COVID-19, saying that the “contamination probably happened within my family circle given all precautions taken outside of my home.”

She is the country’s first woman foreign minister, as well as the first and only woman prime minister in Belgian history.

Oct 22, 7:22 am
Czech Republic sees another record surge in new cases as restrictions tighten

The Czech Republic confirmed 14,968 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, setting a new record for the second straight day.

The country’s cumulative total now stands at 208,915 confirmed cases, about a third of which have been registered in last seven days. More than 124,000 cases were active, including 4,417 patients who remained hospitalized for COVID-19, while over 83,000 have recovered from the disease, according to data from the Czech health ministry.

So far, 1,739 people have died from the disease in the Czech Republic. The country’s highest single-day death toll of 97 was recorded on Monday, according to the health ministry data.

The Czech Republic has the highest rate of COVID-19 infection in Europe. Over the past two weeks, the nation of 10.7 million people has reported 1,066.3 cases per 100,000 population, according to data published Thursday by the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control.

New restrictive measures, including mandatory mask-wearing outdoors and in cars, went into effect across the Czech Republic on Wednesday. Further restrictions, such as limits on movement and the closure of many businesses, will be imposed Thursday.

Oct 22, 6:18 am
COVID-19 patients fill up 60% of ICU beds in greater Paris region

COVID-19 patients now take up more than 60% of all intensive care unit beds in hospitals across the greater Paris region of Ile-de-France, a spokesperson for the regional health agency told ABC News.

That figure is up from 59.3% on Tuesday.

There were 669 COVID-19 patients listed in critical condition as of Wednesday night, according to the spokesperson.

France is among several countries in Europe seeing a rise in COVID-19 infections as a second wave of the pandemic hits the region.

So far, France’s public health agency has confirmed a total of 957,421 cases, including at least 34,048 deaths. The country has the seventh-highest case count in the world, according to a tally kept by Johns Hopkins University.

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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