Coronavirus live updates: 94% of COVID deaths in US had underlying conditions, CDC says

By MORGAN WINSOR and EMILY SHAPIRO, ABC News

(NEW YORK) — A pandemic of the novel coronavirus has now killed more than 847,000 people worldwide.

Over 25.2 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 million diagnosed cases and at least 183,221 deaths. California has the most coronavirus cases in the U.S., with more than 706,000 people diagnosed. California is followed by Texas and Florida, with over 629,000 cases and over 621,000 cases respectively.

Nearly 170 vaccine candidates for COVID-19 are being tracked by the World Health Organization, six of which are in crucial phase three trials.

Here’s how the news is developing today. All times Eastern:

Aug 31, 3:54 pm
Delta, American join United in permanently eliminating change fees

Delta Airlines and American Airlines are joining United in eliminating change fees — a practice established during the pandemic.

Delta’s no change fee policy is effective immediately. It applies to tickets within the U.S. as well as Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The policy doesn’t apply to basic economy tickets, Delta said.

American Airlines said change fees are eliminated for all U.S. flights as well as “short-haul international” flights. The policy applies to premium cabin fares and “most Main Cabin fares,” the airline said.

On Sunday, United said it was immediately dropping change fees on all standard economy and premium cabin tickets for U.S. travel.

Aug 31, 2:44 pm
New York sees lowest single-day death toll so far

In New York — which was the U.S. epicenter of the pandemic in March and April — one person was reported dead from the coronavirus on Sunday, the state’s lowest daily death toll so far.

“One New Yorker passed away and that New Yorker’s family is in our thoughts and prayers, but we should pause a moment on that fact. There was a time when we were going through this crisis when we literally had hundreds of people dying every day,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement on Monday. “Together we did flatten the curve and we saved lives.”

Hospitalizations and ICU patients also reached record lows. New York’s number of COVID-19 hospitalizations has fallen to 418 — the lowest since March 16 — and the state’s number of ICU patients has dropped to 109, the lowest since March 15, Cuomo said Monday.

Of those tested across the state on Sunday, less than 1% were positive, the governor said.

New York has the fourth-highest number of coronavirus cases in the U.S., with more than 434,000 people diagnosed, according to the state.

At least 25,328 people in New York have died.

Aug 31, 2:28 pm
California coronavirus cases climb over 700,000

The number of people in California diagnosed with the coronavirus climbed over 700,000 on Monday, according to data from the state’s Department of Health.

With at least 704,085 confirmed cases, California has more coronavirus cases than any other state in the U.S.

Of those tested across the state in the last two weeks, 5.3% were positive for the virus, according to the state.

California’s death toll stands at 12,933.
 
ABC News’ Matt Fuhrman contributed to this report.

Aug 31, 2:20 pm
USDA extends school meal waivers through Dec. 31

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has extended waivers allowing the distribution of meals to students outside of physical schools due to the pandemic through Dec. 31. This follows calls from school officials and anti-hunger groups who were concerned some students would go hungry if they continued with virtual-only learning.

But the USDA has not extended the waivers passed Dec. 31, saying Congress has not appropriated money to fund the additional cost to the programs.

“While there have been some well-meaning people asking USDA to fund this through the entire 2020-2021 school year, we are obligated to not spend more than is appropriated by Congress,” the USDA said in a press release.

Congress also has not extended the Pandemic EBT program which gave families monetary benefits to cover the cost of meals children would have eaten at school, in some cases directly loaded onto their SNAP cards. The program has been lauded as the most sustainable way to help families struggling financially because they can buy food for themselves and spend at retailers in their area.

ABC News’ Stephanie Ebbs contributed to this report.

Aug 31, 1:33 pm
NJ to reopen indoor dining with limited seating

Restaurants across New Jersey can start opening for indoor dining this Friday, Gov. Phil Murphy announced Monday.

Restaurants will be limited to 25% capacity and must incorporate social distancing between tables, he said.

“Reopening responsibly will help us restore one of our state’s key industries while continuing to make progress against” the virus, Murphy tweeted.

Staff must wear masks at all times and diners must wear masks while not in their seats, Murphy said at a Monday news conference. Parties will be capped at eight.

Windows must be open for air flow and air conditioning units must be turned on to allow the maximum outdoor air to flow into dining areas, the governor added.

Movie theaters and indoor performance venues can also reopen on Friday, the governor announced. Theaters and venues will be capped at 25% capacity or 150 patrons — whichever number is smaller, he said.

New Jersey ranks No. 8 in the country for COVID-19 cases, with over 191,000 people diagnosed, according to Johns Hopkins data. Out of those tested across New Jersey on Thursday, 1.41% were positive, Murphy said Monday.

Aug 31, 10:54 am
India sees its 2nd-highest daily case increase

India’s health ministry reported 78,512 new coronavirus cases on Monday, just shy of Sunday’s record high of 78,761 new cases.

Indian health authorities reported 971 new fatalities on Monday, bringing the nationwide death toll to 64,469.

With over 193,000 active cases, Maharashtra is India’s hardest-hit state.

ABC News’ Christine Theodorou contributed to this report.

Aug 31, 9:26 am
NJ to reopen indoor dining with limited seating

Restaurants across New Jersey can start opening for indoor dining this Friday, Gov. Phil Murphy announced Monday.

Restaurants will be limited to 25% capacity and must incorporate social distancing between tables, he said.

“Reopening responsibly will help us restore one of our state’s key industries while continuing to make progress against” the virus, Murphy tweeted.

New Jersey ranks No. 8 in the country for COVID-19 cases, with over 191,000 people diagnosed, according to Johns Hopkins data. As of Sunday, the rate of transmission was at .87, according to state data.

Aug 31, 7:50 am
Hungary to shut its borders amid rising cases

Hungary will shut its border to non-residents on Tuesday in an effort to curb the rising number of COVID-19 cases, the country’s government announced Friday.
 
Meanwhile, Hungarian citizens returning home from abroad will be required to either self-quarantine for 14 days or test negative for COVID-19 twice, within 48 hours apart.
 
The move comes after Hungary identified 292 new cases on Sunday, the largest day-to-day increase the landlocked European nation has seen so far.
 
Overall, Hungary has reported at least 6,139 diagnosed cases of COVID-19 with 615 deaths, according to a count kept by Johns Hopkins University.

Aug 31, 7:09 am
US reports over 35,000 new cases

There were 35,343 new cases of COVID-19 identified in the United States on Sunday, according to a count kept by Johns Hopkins University.

Sunday’s tally is far below the country’s record set on July 16, when 77,255 new cases were identified in a 24-hour reporting period.

An additional 429 coronavirus-related deaths were also recorded Sunday. The latest daily death toll is well under the record 2,666 new fatalities that were reported on April 17.

A total of 5,997,163 people in the United States have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since the pandemic began, and at least 183,068 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.

However, the numbers of new COVID-19 cases and new deaths in the United States have both decreased by substantial amounts in week-over-week comparisons, according to an internal memo from the Federal Emergency Management Agency obtained by ABC News last week.

Aug 31, 6:36 am
94% of COVID-19 deaths in US had underlying conditions, CDC says

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released information showing how many people who died from COVID-19 as of last week had underlying health conditions and contributing causes.

“For 6% of the deaths, COVID-19 was the only cause mentioned,” the CDC stated on its website, alongside the data. “For deaths with conditions or causes in addition to COVID-19, on average, there were 2.6 additional conditions or cases per death.”

According to the CDC, some of the most common underlying conditions and contributing causes linked with COVID-19 deaths were influenza and pneumonia; adult respiratory distress syndrome, respiratory failure; hypertensive disease; cardiac arrest; heart failure; sepsis; diabetes; vascular and unspecified dementia; renal failure; and intentional and unintentional injury, poisoning and other adverse events.

Aug 31, 5:16 am
Global case count surpasses 25 million

The worldwide number of diagnosed cases of COVID-19 is now at 25,236,271, according to a real-time count kept by Johns Hopkins University.

At least 846,574 people around the globe have died from the disease.

The top five countries with the highest national tallies of cases are the United States, Brazil, India, Russia and Peru, respectively.

The United States alone accounts for more than 23% of the world’s diagnosed cases.

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