By WILLIAM MANSELL, ABC News
(NEW YORK) — The novel coronavirus pandemic has now killed more than 589,000 people worldwide.
Over 13.8 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 governments are hiding or downplaying the scope of their nations’ outbreaks.
The United States has become the worst-affected country, with more than 3.5 million diagnosed cases and at least 138,359 deaths.
Here is how the news is developing today. All times Eastern. Check back for updates.
4:40 a.m.: Illinois governor files suit to require masks in schools
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, along with the state health director and the state superintendent, have filed a lawsuit aimed at requiring face coverings in schools.
“As a father, I would not send my children to a school where face coverings are not required because the science is clear: face coverings are critical to prevent the spread of coronavirus,” Pritzker said in a statement Thursday.
The lawsuit was filed Thursday, according to the Illinois attorney general’s office.
The complaint is being brought against three schools that have “announced their refusal” to follow the public health guidance from the various state agencies and the governor’s executive orders, according to the complaint.
“From the CDC to the American Academy of Pediatrics, doctors and epidemiologists agree that in order to bring large groups of people together, especially indoors, a face covering is needed to stop the spread. As school districts finalize their fall operations plans, it is imperative that they understand these clear evidence-based requirements to wear face coverings need to be followed to keep our children, teachers and communities healthy and safe,” Pritzker said.
According to the lawsuit, three schools issued a letter contending the governor’s order was not lawful. The state asks the court to verify that the governor’s order was lawful, and for “injunctive relief to require the Schools to stop refusing to comply with the executive orders and Guidance,” according to the complaint.
Illinois has more than 159,000 diagnosed cases of COVID-19, with at least 7,452 deaths.
Pritzker’s lawsuit seeking to require masks comes after Georgia’s governor is doing the opposite. Gov. Brian Kemp issued an executive order Wednesday banning mask mandates and announced the state is suing Atlanta after Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms enacted a citywide face-covering rule.
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.