By WILLIAM MANSELL and ELLA TORRES, ABC News
(NEW YORK) — A novel coronavirus pandemic has now killed more than 795,000 people worldwide.
Over 22.9 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 national governments are hiding or downplaying the scope of their outbreaks.
The United States is the worst-affected country in the world, with more than 5.6 million diagnosed cases and at least 175,409 deaths.
Here’s how the news is developing today. All times Eastern. Please refresh this page for updates.
4:40 p.m.: Pennsylvania congressman tests positive
Rep. Dan Meuser, R-Pa., announced Saturday that he tested positive for COVID-19.
“I have been following all CDC health and safety guidelines, and will be taking all necessary actions, including postponing upcoming public events and working from home in quarantine until I receive a negative test result,” Meuser wrote in a statement. “I am thankful to God that my grown children were not at home and that my wife Shelley has tested negative.”
Meuser will miss the vote on U.S. Postal Service funding set to happen later on Saturday.
However, he said he wanted it known that he would have voted nay.
“I will always support a strong, effective post office. They should be provided the resources they need to perform at a high level of excellence. In response to pandemic-related challenges, Congress provided the agency with a $10 billion loan through the CARES Act. To date, the USPS has not yet seen the need to access this lending authority to fund its operations,” Meuser said in a statement. “In spite of COVID-19 related setbacks affecting all private and public sector operations, the Postmaster General has assured the American public that the USPS is fully capable of delivering the nation’s election mail on time and that any changes in operations at the agency have been suspended until after the election. Calls from Democrats to direct $25 billion to the USPS are not reflective of the data or the reality of the situation.”
2:10 p.m.: Pelosi slams Trump’s baseless claim about FDA
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Saturday slammed President Donald Trump for his baseless suggestion that the Food and Drug Administration is delaying vaccine development until after the election.
Trump tweeted the unfounded claim early Saturday, saying, “The deep state, or whoever, over at the FDA is making it very difficult for drug companies to get people in order to test the vaccines and therapeutics.”
Pelosi called the statement “very dangerous … even for him.”
“It went beyond the pale in terms of how he would jeopardize the health and well-being of the American people, accuse the FDA of politics, when he is the one who has tried to inject himself in the scientific decisions of the administration,” Pelosi said.
The FDA did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment.
1:14 p.m.: Longer wait times expected at U.S. border
The U.S. will slow traffic at select ports of entry on the southern border to limit the spread of novel coronavirus by travelers from or moving through Mexico, a Customs and Border Protection official confirmed on Saturday.
The new measures, first reported by Reuters, may increase wait times at ports of entry in San Diego, in Tucson, Arizona, and in El Paso and Laredo, Texas.
“We’re committed to continuing to facilitate cross border movement of essential travelers,” CBP spokesperson Nate Peeters said. “These measures are only intended to address non-essential travel with the ultimate goal of the further inhibiting the cross-border spread of COVID-19.” He said it’s still highly recommended that people only travel for essential purposes.
The restrictions on non-essential travel, set to continue through Sept. 21, do not apply to anyone crossing the border for work, school or medical treatment. U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents are still legally allowed to enter.
Non-essential travel has been limited at the border since March.
12:11 p.m.: University of Notre Dame sees more cases
Confirmed cases at Notre Dame increased once again, with the university now reporting 372.
That is up from the 336 reported Friday since Aug. 3, when testing began. There have been 2,235 tests conducted.
10:51 a.m.: New lows in NY
The rate of positive tests, hospitalizations and ICU patients reached new lows in New York compared with mid-March, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
The rate of positive tests was .69%, while hospitalizations and ICU patients fell to 483 and 116, respectively, Cuomo said.
“This shows that protecting public health and reopening our economy aren’t mutually exclusive if done the right way, and record-high testing doesn’t equal more positive tests,” he said in a statement.
There were four deaths in the last 24 hours.
8:51 a.m.: 51 students quarantined after positive tests at University of Miami
Four students have tested positive for COVID-19 at the University of Miami, the school said, prompting 51 students to be placed in quarantine.
The students who tested positive live in Hecht Residential College, however they were “immediately removed” and placed in another location to isolate, according to a statement from the university.
The quarantine for the 51 other students only applies to those living on the 7th and 8th floor of the building.
“The University of Miami has taken unprecedented steps to reengineer the campus to ensure physical distancing and create a safe environment,” the school’s statement read. “Facial coverings are required at all times, except when students are in their residence hall rooms.”
8:22 a.m.: 15 Minnesota COVID-19 infections linked to Sturgis
At least 15 cases of the novel coronavirus in Minnesota have been linked to the massive annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota, according to state health officials. They think those numbers are only going to rise.
“I think that we’re expecting to see many more cases associated with Sturgis. Thousands of people attend that event,” Kris Ehresmann, Minnesota Department of Health Director of Infectious Diseases, said at a press conference Friday. “It’s very likely that we will see more transmission.
Ehresmann said since it takes time for people to develop symptoms, take a test and for officials to get those results, “these will not be the only cases that we see.”
One of those 15 Minnesotans who were in Sturgis and diagnosed with COVID-19, one is currently hospitalized.
In all cases, officials said those 15 people were at multiple bars and campgrounds in Sturgis. All those who went to Sturgis were advised to self-isolate for 14 days once they were back home.
The city of Sturgis began testing all city employees along with some first responders on Friday, according to ABC News affiliate KOTA.
6:10 a.m.: 32 COVID-19 cases, 1 death linked to Maine wedding
At least 32 positive coronavirus cases and now a woman’s death are linked to an Aug. 7 wedding reception at the Big Moose Inn in Millinocket, Maine, according to local health officials.
The woman died Friday, 14-days since the outbreak event.
Millinocket Regional Hospital reported that it has tested 366 people linked to the wedding reception. The hospital is still waiting on 103 of those tests, it said in a statement Friday.
“All positive patients have been contacted directly, given care instructions, and further instructed to quarantine,” Robert Peterson, Millinocket Regional Hospital CEO, said in a statement. “The CDC has initiated contact tracing on all positive patients to ascertain the full extent of the outbreak.”
Due to the outbreak, the health care facility said it has a no visitation policy and is limiting its services to essential medical care only through Aug. 30.
The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention said 65 people attended the reception and that all confirmed cases, as of Aug. 17, are tied to Maine residents.
Maine Gov. Janet T. Mills’ executive order says that indoor capacity is 50 and outdoors is 100 in the state. The state says it’s in contact with the event space about adhered to those requirements in relation to the outbreak.
Maine is one of the least-affected states in the U.S., with only 4,286 cases and 129 confirmed deaths since the pandemic began.
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