By MORGAN WINSOR, EMILY SHAPIRO, ERIN SCHUMAKER, IVAN PEREIRA and MEREDITH DELISO, ABC News
(NEW YORK) — A pandemic of the novel coronavirus has now infected more than 75 million people worldwide and killed over 1.6 million of them, according to real-time data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.
Here’s how the news is developing Friday. All times Eastern:
Dec 18, 4:01 am
US reports over 233,000 new cases
There were 233,271 new cases of COVID-19 confirmed in the United States on Thursday, bringing the country’s cumulative total soaring past 17 million, according to a real-time count kept by Johns Hopkins University.
It’s the 45th straight day that the U.S. has reported more than 100,000 newly diagnosed infections, and the second straight day with over 200,000. Thursday’s tally falls just under the country’s all-time high of 247,403 new cases confirmed a day earlier, according to Johns Hopkins data.
An additional 3,270 deaths from the disease were also registered nationwide on Thursday, down from a peak of 3,656 fatalities recorded the previous day. It’s only the fifth time since the pandemic began that the country has reported more than 3,000 COVID-19 deaths in a single day, according to Johns Hopkins data.
A total of 17,212,496 people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since the pandemic began, and at least 310,782 of them have died, according to Johns Hopkins data. The cases include people from all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., and other U.S. territories as well as repatriated citizens.
Much of the country was under lockdown by the end of March as the first wave of the pandemic hit. 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 over the summer.
The numbers lingered around 40,000 to 50,000 from mid-August through early October before surging again to record levels, crossing 100,000 for the first time on Nov. 4 and reaching 200,000 for the first time on Nov. 27.
Dec 18, 3:10 am
Former US President Jimmy Carter to get vaccine
Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter plans to get vaccinated for COVID-19, his foundation announced Thursday night.
“After consulting with his doctors, President Carter is looking forward to receiving the COVID-19 vaccine when it is available to him,” The Carter Center wrote in a statement on Twitter.
Carter has not said when he will receive the vaccine or whether it will be on camera like other former presidents have indicated they will do.
All living former U.S. presidents have now announced they will get the vaccine.
Dec 18, 1:12 am
Inmates on death row test positive
The Bureau of Prisons confirmed to ABC News that various inmates on death row have tested positive for COVID-19, although they declined to say how many, citing ongoing litigation.
They also said a staff member has tested positive.
“We can confirm that inmates in the Special Confinement Unit (SCU) at the United States Penitentiary (USP) in Terre Haute, Indiana, have tested positive for COVID-19,” a BOP spokesperson said in a statement.
They added that as inmates in the SCU continue to be tested, those who are positive and/or symptomatic “are being placed in isolation until they are considered recovered by medical staff as determined by CDC guidelines.” Many inmates, they said, are either asymptomatic or exhibiting mild symptoms.
“Our highest priority remains ensuring the safety of staff and inmates,” the BOP spokesperson said.
The BOP’s statement came after it was announced Thursday that Dustin John Higgs, a federal prisoner scheduled to be executed just days before President-elect Joe Biden takes office, tested positive for the virus.
Dec 18, 1:02 am
75 cases linked to church Christmas event in North Carolina
The Henderson County Department of Public Health said Thursday that it has identified 75 positive COVID-19 cases associated with the Hendersonville First Baptist Baptist Church in North Carolina.
The Henderson County Department of Public Health said the holiday event took place on the weekend of Dec. 5.
“To date, the Health Department has identified 75 individuals who have tested positive as a result of the event,” they said in a statement. “The Health Department is working to identify any additional close contacts of these individuals. The CDC defines close contact as being within approximately six feet of an infected person with COVID-19 for a cumulative 15 minutes.”
The news comes as Henderson County continues to see an increase in COVID-19 cases linked to parties, family gatherings and social events.
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