BY: WILLIAM MANSELL AND ELLA TORRES, ABC NEWS
(NEW YORK) — A pandemic of the novel coronavirus has now killed more than 721,000 people worldwide.
More than 19.3 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 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.
The United States is the worst-affected country around the world, with more than 4.9 million diagnosed cases and at least 161,358 deaths.
Here’s how the news is developing today. All times Eastern. Please refresh this page for updates.
10:49 a.m.: Hospitalizations and deaths continue to increase in Florida
The Florida Department of Health reported increases in both hospitalizations and deaths Saturday.
Hospitalizations were up by 521 in the last 24 hours, with 6,991 active hospitalizations, while deaths rose by 182, putting the total number at 8,233, according to the department.
Cases also increased by 8,502 and 86,175 tests have been conducted. The state has now seen 526,577 confirmed cases of coronavirus.
Bay County, of which Panama City is the county seat, has the highest positivity rate in the state at 16.3%.
However, Miami-Dade County, the most populous county in the state, has the highest number of new cases at 1,801.
8:54 a.m.: Princeton shifts learning plan for fall semester
Princeton University will not bring freshman and juniors back to campus in the fall, as originally planned, due to coronavirus cases that have “soared” in recent weeks, according to a statement from the president of the university.
Courses will now be fully remote for undergraduates in the fall semester, president Christopher L. Eisgruber said. Graduate students will be allowed on campus because of the “different instructional and residential programs.”
“This combination of health concerns and restrictions will significantly diminish the educational value of the on‑campus experience. It will also render that experience confining and unpleasant for most students,” Eisgruber said.
He also noted that students from 34 states would have to quarantine upon arrival in New Jersey for 14 days and that the phased opening for the state has been paused over fear of rising cases.
“New Jersey’s careful approach has helped to keep the pandemic in check, but public health principles and state guidance still limit very substantially what we can do on campus,” Eisgruber said.
The president said that the university will accommodate students who aren’t able to return home or study from home, as well as a limited number of students with previously approved exceptions, which recognized their need to be on campus for their senior thesis research or other work essential to their degree programs.
Eisgruber said that while he knows the news is “disheartening and disappointing,” the university is doing its best to prepare to welcome students back in the spring.
New Jersey was among the states hit hardest in the early stages of the pandemic, but has since seen some of the lowest daily infection rates. Gov. Phil Murphy has warned of late about rising numbers.
5:57 a.m.: Georgia school district reports 100 COVID-19 cases among students, staff
As the debate about reopening schools continues across the country, many children are already back in classrooms or are about to start. One state that has grabbed headlines this week is Georgia, where photos of crowded hallways showing students without masks went viral.
Now, one of the largest school districts in the Peach State is reporting that 100 of its students and staff are suspected of having tested positive for COVID-19, even before in-person classes have started. Those figures were provided to the district by the Georgia Department of Health.
Cobb County Schools Superintendent Chris Ragsdale said the district would remain virtual “until public health data in Cobb County changes and guidance from state and local public health officials recommends it,” according to ABC News Atlanta affiliate WSB. The district, which has about 113,000 students, starts remote learning on Aug. 17.
Georgia exceeded 200,000 COVID-19 cases on Aug. 5, according to an internal Federal Emergency Management Agency memo obtained by ABC News. It took four months for the state to reach 100,000 cases and just four weeks to reach 200,000.
Cobb County, according to the Georgia Department of Health, has more than 13,000 confirmed coronavirus cases, with 1,363 current hospitalizations. The county has at least 317 COVID-19 deaths, the second most in the state, trailing only Fulton County’s 420 deaths.
The state has more than 209,000 confirmed cases, with at least 4,117 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins.
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