By MORGAN WINSOR, ABC News
(NEW YORK) — A pandemic of the novel coronavirus has now killed more than 897,000 people worldwide.
Over 27.5 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 6.3 million diagnosed cases and at least 189,680 deaths.
California has the most cases of any U.S. state, with more than 744,000 people diagnosed, according to Johns Hopkins data. California is followed by Texas and Florida, with over 662,000 cases and over 650,000 cases, respectively.
Nearly 170 vaccine candidates for COVID-19 are being tracked by the World Health Organization, at least six of which are in crucial phase three trials.
Here’s how the news is developing Wednesday. All times Eastern:
Sep 09, 8:00 am
UK ‘urgently reviewing’ halted vaccine trial after volunteer falls ill
The U.K. Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said it is “urgently reviewing all the information and actively engaging with the researchers to determine whether the trial should restart as quickly as possible,” following news that AstraZeneca had paused its COVID-19 vaccine study being conducted with England’s University of Oxford due to what the pharmaceutical company described as a “potentially unexplained illness in one of the trials.”
The government body is responsible for deciding when the trial can resume.
“Participant safety in any clinical trial is our top priority,” said Dr. Siu Ping Lam, the MHRA’s director of licensing division, said in a statement Wednesday. “We are working with the Oxford Vaccine Centre following the temporary pause of their COVID-19 vaccine trial to allow for the review of safety data. This is in line with the authorized protocol for the trial.”
The University of Oxford wouldn’t give details on the participant’s condition or whereabouts, citing patient confidentiality.
“Whilst it has been reported that one trial volunteer has become ill, this may be due to an issue related to the vaccine. It also may not,” a university spokesperson told ABC News Wednesday morning.
During an interview with Sky News on Wednesday, British Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock revealed that it’s not the first time the trial has been halted.
“It’s not actually the first time it has happened to the Oxford vaccine and it’s a standard process in clinical trials,” Hancock said. “There was a pause earlier in the summer and that was resolved without a problem.”
Sep 09, 7:33 am
England bans social gatherings above 6 for the ‘foreseeable future’
New rules limiting indoor and outdoor gatherings in England to six people will remain in place for the “foreseeable future,” British Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock said Wednesday.
“I really hope we can turn this round before Christmas,” Hancock told BBC radio.
The restrictions, which will take effect Monday and be enforceable by law, will not apply to schools, workplaces or “life events” such as weddings and funerals, Hancock said. Unlike the previous set of coronavirus-related guidelines, people could be fined for failing to comply with the new rules — 100 British pounds (approximately $130) the first time, doubling on each offense up to a maximum of 3,200 British pounds (approximately $4,140), according to Hancock.
Sep 09, 4:37 am
US reports under 30,000 new cases for second straight day
There were 26,387 new cases of COVID-19 identified in the United States on Tuesday, according to a real-time count kept by Johns Hopkins University.
It’s the second straight day that the United States has reported under 30,000 new cases in a 24-hour reporting period. Tuesday’s tally is well below the country’s record set on July 16, when there were 77,255 new cases in a 24-hour-reporting period.
An additional 445 coronavirus-related fatalities were also recorded Tuesday, down from a peak of 2,666 new fatalities reported on April 17.
A total of 6,328,051 people in the United States have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since the pandemic began, and at least 189,680 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.
Last week, an internal memo from the Federal Emergency Management Agency obtained by ABC News showed the number of new COVID-19 cases in the United States had ticked upward while new deaths had decreased in week-over-week comparisons.
Sep 09, 3:49 am
India records over 89,000 new cases as government relaxes restrictions
India confirmed another 89,706 COVID-19 cases and 1,115 deaths in the past 24 hours, as the government gradually eases restrictions in a bid to resuscitate the economy which shrank by nearly 24% in the last quarter.
The country’s cumulative total now stands at 4.37 million cases and 73,890 fatalities, according to the latest data from the Indian Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. India has the second-highest tally of cases in the world and the third-highest death toll in the coronavirus pandemic, according to a count kept by Johns Hopkins University.
The recent rise in cases can be partly attributed to increased testing. The number of daily tests being conducted across the vast country of 1.3 billion people has grown to over a million. So far, nearly 3.3 million people in India have recovered from COVID-19.
Despite the soaring infections, the health ministry announced Tuesday that schools outside containment zones will be permitted to reopen from Sept. 21 for students of 9-12th grades who seek guidance from teachers. In-person attendance will be voluntary and face masks will be required at all times. Online learning will still be permitted as students, teachers and staff members living in containment zones won’t be allowed to attend classes.
India’s most popular tourist attraction, the Taj Mahal, will also reopen Sept. 21, with a maximum 5,000 visitors allowed per day to prevent overcrowding.
The government allowed the phased resumption of metro rail operations across the country from Monday.
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