Coronavirus live updates: Birx warns of ‘troubling signs’ in Northeast amid ‘very different’ spread of COVID-19

By MORGAN WINSOR and EMILY SHAPIRO, ABC News

(NEW YORK) — A pandemic of the novel coronavirus has now killed more than 1 million people worldwide.

Over 36.6 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 7.6 million diagnosed cases and at least 213,131 deaths.

California has the most cases of any U.S. state, with more than 846,000 people diagnosed, according to Johns Hopkins data. California is followed by Texas and Florida, with over 807,000 cases and over 728,000 cases, respectively.

More than 190 vaccine candidates for COVID-19 are being tracked by the World Health Organization, at least 10 of which are in crucial phase three studies. Of those 10 potential vaccines in late-stage trials, there are currently five that will be available in the United States if approved.

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

Oct 09, 7:43 pm
COVID-19 cases at school attended by Amy Coney Barrett’s children

There have been positive tests for COVID-19 at the small private school in South Bend, Indiana, that some of Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett’s children attend, Trinity School confirmed to ABC News.
 
The president of Trinity Schools, Jon Balsbaugh, declined to address specifics of the positive tests. A teacher and two students tested positive, according to The New York Times.

In a statement, Balsbaugh said that the school’s coronavirus measures include a mix of remote and in-person learning, mask usage indoors and outdoors when social distancing cannot be maintained, daily health checks and temperature screenings, and “rigorous contract tracing protocols” in the event of a positive case.

Barrett brought her family to the White House last month when President Donald Trump announced her nomination to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Over a dozen attendees of the Sept. 26 Rose Garden event have since tested positive for COVID-19 in what Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, called a “superspreader event” in an interview with CBS News Radio on Friday.

ABC News’ Aaron Katersky contributed to this report.

Oct 09, 3:13 pm
Free school meals extended through end of school year

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) said Friday that it’s extending waivers that allow school meals to be free for all students through the rest of the 2020-2021 school year.

Schools will be able to continue providing meals to students who are not physically in school, including allowing parents to pick up meals at no cost.

“As our nation recovers and reopens, we want to ensure that children continue to receive the nutritious breakfasts and lunches they count on during the school year wherever they are, and however they are learning,” U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said in a statement.

ABC News’ Stephanie Ebbs contributed to this report.

Oct 09, 1:08 pm
Two more members of White House residence staff tested positive few weeks ago

Two more members of the White House residence staff tested positive for COVID-19 nearly three weeks ago, according to Melania Trump’s office and two other sources.

With these two additional staffers, the total number of residential staff who tested positive at that time is at least four. One is an assistant to White House chief usher Timothy Harleth, while the three others are members of the housekeeping staff and work on the residence’s third floor, according to the first lady’s office and sources.
 
The first lady’s office didn’t reply to a question about whether these two new people have had contact with the president or first lady. On Sunday, sources told ABC News the other two had not come into direct contact with the president or first lady.

ABC News’ Ben Gittleson and John Santucci contributed to this report.

Oct 09, 11:18 am
Spain declares state of emergency in Madrid over outbreak

Spain’s national government on Friday declared a state of emergency in the capital so that it can resume partial restrictions on movement there, which had been rejected by a local court.

Madrid’s regional government opposes the new restrictions, introduced last week, which ban 4.8 million residents from leaving the capital and nine suburbs.

A Madrid court on Thursday sided with the regional government president, Isabel Diaz Ayuso, who had challenged the measures, saying they are draconian and would ravage the economy.

The move comes as the Madrid region battles one of Europe’s worst clusters of COVID-19 cases. The region’s 14-day infection rate of 563 cases per 100,000 population is more than twice Spain’s national average of 256, and five times Europe’s average rate of 113 for the week ending Sept. 27.

Oct 09, 10:44 am
CDC has just 2 staffers conducting contact tracing at White House

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday it’s not planning to deploy a large team of staff members to the White House to conduct contact tracing.

CDC spokesman Benjamin Haynes confirmed to ABC News that there are now two contact tracers assigned to the White House. The first CDC staff member assigned to the operation has been at the White House since March, while the second person joined the effort recently.

“There are no plans to send anyone else at this point,” Haynes told ABC News on Friday.

ABC News reported on Tuesday that the agency had assembled a large team of experts to trace the explosion of COVID-19 cases at the White House but the unit has largely been put on standby as President Donald Trump opted to run his own operation through the White House medical unit.

COVID-19 cases among White House staff and their close contacts continue to climb after Trump revealed last week that he and his wife tested positive for the disease.

CDC guidelines recommend tracing cases as soon as possible because a single infected person can begin to spread COVID-19 two days before the individual has any symptoms or tests positive.

ABC News’ Anne Flaherty contributed to this report.

Oct 09, 9:54 am
Slovakia sees record rise in cases for third straight day

Slovakia confirmed 1,184 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, hitting a record high for the third straight day.

The latest daily tally was up from the country’s previous record of 1,037 set a day earlier. The cumulative total now stands at 16,910 confirmed cases with 57 deaths, according to data from Slovakia’s Ministry of Health.

Slovakia is among a number of European countries grappling with an uptick in COVID-19 cases, as a second wave of infections hits the region.

The Slovak government announced Friday that it will deploy hundreds of service members to help health workers with contact tracing, to conduct tests and distribute personal protective equipment. The prime minister warned that tighter restrictions will be imposed next week if the infection rate doesn’t slow down over the weekend.

Oct 09, 9:33 am
Broadway to remain closed through May 30, 2021

Broadway will stay dark through May 30, 2021, according to the national trade association for the Broadway theatre industry in New York City.

Broadway shows shut down in March when New York City emerged as the U.S. epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic.

“With nearly 97,000 workers who rely on Broadway for their livelihood and an annual economic impact of $14.8 billion to the city, our membership is committed to re-opening as soon as conditions permit us to do so,” Broadway League president Charlotte St. Martin said in a statement Friday. “We are working tirelessly with multiple partners on sustaining the industry once we raise our curtains.”

Dates for returning and new shows will be announced by the individual productions.

Oct 09, 9:13 am
80% of ICU beds are full at 25% of US hospitals, HHS memo says

According to an internal memo from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that was obtained by ABC News, 25% of the nation’s hospitals are reporting that beds in intensive care units are more than 80% full.

The memo, which is circulated to the highest levels of the federal government and is used to determine daily priorities for the agencies working on COVID-19 response, said 29 U.S. states and territories are in an upward trajectory of infections, while 10 jurisdictions are at a plateau and 17 others are in a downward trend.

There were 314,894 new cases confirmed during the period of Oct. 1-Oct. 7, a 6% increase from the previous week. There were also 4,730 coronavirus-related fatalities recorded during the period of Oct. 1-Oct. 7, a 5.2% decrease compared with the week prior, according to the memo.

Meanwhile, the national positivity rate for COVID-19 tests increased from 4.5% to 5.7% in week-to-week comparisons, the memo said.

In Arkansas, the seven-day positivity rate for COVID-19 tests jumped from 7.1% to 22.8% — a 300% increase — between the weeks ending Sept. 24 and Oct. 1, according to the memo.

Delaware’s seven-day COVID-19 case rate rose 41.6% to 1,009.5 cases per 1 million population on Oct. 4 from the previous week — much higher than the regional rate of 633.5 cases per 1 million. The state’s number of new COVID-19 cases, deaths and hospitalizations are all trending upward, the memo said.

In Hawaii, pet shelters are at capacity due to the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic. On Oct. 30, the state will initiate the largest pet airlift across the Pacific Ocean in history, transporting hundreds of animals to Seattle from Kauai, Honolulu, Maui and Hawaii Island, according to the memo.

Idaho’s daily average of COVID-19 hospitalizations increased from 7.3 to 8.7 per 100,000 population during the week ending Oct. 4, the memo said.

Indiana has also seen an upward trend in its seven-day COVID-19 hospitalization rate. Meanwhile, the state’s number of new COVID-19 cases continues to rise, with the average of new daily cases rising 50% over the peak in April and May, according to the memo.

Multiple counties in Pennsylvania — Philadelphia, Cambria, Bradford and Columbia — reported their number of new COVID-19 cases doubling in the week ending Oct. 4.

Oct 09, 6:52 am
Russia sees record number of new cases

Russia confirmed 12,126 new cases of COVID-19 over the past 24 hours, the country’s highest single-day increase since the start of the pandemic.

The previous record was 11,656 new cases set on May 11.

An additional 201 coronavirus-related fatalities were also registered in the last day. The country’s cumulative totals now stand at 1,272,238 confirmed cases and 22,257 deaths, according to Russia’s coronavirus response headquarters.

More than 30% of the newly confirmed cases — 3,701 — were registered in Moscow, the epicenter of the country’s COVID-19 outbreak.

Russian authorities have said there’s no immediate plan to impose a second nationwide lockdown, even as the country’s outbreak grows after most coronavirus-related restrictions were lifted over the summer. The country has seen its daily caseload double over the past month, while its capital has had a 53% rise in new infections in the last week, according to a report by The Moscow Times, the only independent English-language news outlet reporting within Russia.

Officials in Moscow, however, have recommended that the elderly self-isolate at home and also encouraged businesses to have at least one-third of their employees work from home. School holidays in the capital this month were extended from one to two weeks.

Oct 09, 6:13 am
US reports more than 56,000 new cases

There were 56,191 new cases of COVID-19 identified in the United States on Thursday, according to a real-time count kept by Johns Hopkins University.

The latest daily tally is up by nearly 6,000 from the previous day but is still under the country’s record set on July 16, when there were 77,255 new cases in a 24-hour-reporting period.

An additional 961 coronavirus-related fatalities were also recorded Thursday, down from a peak of 2,666 new fatalities reported on April 17.

A total of 7,607,250 people in the United States have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since the pandemic began, and at least 212,784 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. The daily tally of new cases has gradually come down since then but has started to climb again in recent weeks.

Oct 09, 5:10 am
Analysis shows cases rising in 28 US states

An ABC News analysis of COVID-19 trends across all 50 U.S. states as well as Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico found there were increases in newly confirmed cases over the past two weeks in 28 states.

The analysis also found increases in the daily positivity rate of COVID-19 tests in 25 states, increases in COVID-19 hospitalizations in 35 states and increases in daily COVID-19 death tolls in 18 states plus Puerto Rico.

The seven-day average of new cases in the United States has now surpassed 44,000, the highest it has been since Aug. 21.

Two states — Montana and South Dakota — reported their highest single-day increases in the number of new COVID-19 cases. Seven states — Arkansas, Iowa, Montana, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Wyoming — hit a record number of current COVID-19 hospitalizations in a day.

Although figures in the Northeast still remain relatively low, the number of new cases continues to slowly increase, relative to the figures that were seen during the spring. The region’s seven-day average of new cases is now the highest it has been since June 2. In the last month alone, that average has increased by more than 69%.

In the Midwest, the number of new cases continues to hit record levels, averaging 13,200 cases per day, largely driven by consistently high caseloads in Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin. The number of current COVID-19 hospitalizations in many midwestern states also continues to climb. Since Sunday, current hospitalizations in Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Wisconsin have all hit record highs.

The number of new cases in the South remain significantly lower than they were throughout the summer. However, the South still contributes to more than 45% of the country’s daily regional caseload, with an average of over 18,000 new cases per day.

Over the past three weeks, the number of new cases in the West has increased by 26%. Idaho and Utah still continue to produce high daily case totals. Although the figures in California are on a downward trend, the state continues to report a high number of new cases every day.

The trends were all analyzed from data collected and published by the COVID Tracking Project over the past two weeks, using the linear regression trend line of the seven-day moving average.

Oct 09, 4:41 am
Birx warns of ‘troubling signs’ in Northeast amid ‘very different’ spread of COVID-19

Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, said states in the Northeast are showing “troubling signs” that they could reemerge as COVID-19 hotspots.

“It’s early here,” Birx said at a press conference Thursday, after participating in a roundtable discussion at the University of Connecticut’s campus in Hartford. “We can continue in the Northeast to contain the virus.”

As the weather turns colder, Birx said the novel coronavirus is transmitting more rapidly within families and social groups than in schools or workplaces where people are taking precautions. She said it’s a lesson that was learned in the South during the summer when people went indoors for air-conditioning to escape the heat and humidity.

“What we’re seeing in the community is much more spread occurring in households and in social occasions, small gatherings where people have come inside, taken off their mask to eat or drink or socialize with one another,” she said.

Northeastern states, once a hotbed for the virus, are beginning to see upticks in COVID-19, case numbers, positivity rates and hospitalizations.

“This is really a message to everyone in Connecticut: the kind of spread that we’re seeing now is very different from the spread we experienced in March and April,” Birx warned. “What we did in the spring is not going to work in the fall.”

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