Coronavirus updates: New Jersey at 'very dangerous place,' governor says

Coronavirus updates: New Jersey at 'very dangerous place,' governor says

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Coronavirus updates: New Jersey at 'very dangerous place,' governor says

July 31, 2020 5:17 PM

narvikk/iStockBy MORGAN WINSOR and ELLA TORRES, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- A pandemic of the novel coronavirus has now killed more than 673,000 people worldwide.

Over 17.3 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 governments are hiding the scope of their nations' outbreaks.

Since the first cases were detected in China in December, the United States has become the worst-affected country, with nearly 4.5 million diagnosed cases and at least 152,075 deaths.

Here is how the news is developing today. All times Eastern.

6:39 p.m.: US suffers worst month of cases, hospitalizations

As infections surged in the South and West, the U.S. marked its worst month yet for coronavirus cases and hospitalizations, according to The COVID Tracking Project.

The country had over 1.9 million confirmed cases in July, a steep increase from the previous four months, none of which crosses 1 million. The number of tests (23.2 million) increased as well, however.

Maybe more concerning, the number of hospitalizations was the highest it's ever been: 51,936. That number outpaced April by a small margin, when cases in the Northeast were at their peak.

July also featured an increase in deaths (24,902) from June after three straight months of decline.

5:24 p.m.: Pandemic effects to be felt 'for decades,' WHO says

The head of the World Health Organization said the world should be prepared to feel the effects of the coronavirus pandemic "for decades to come."

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called the pandemic a "once-in-a-century health crisis."

The remarks were made as the WHO convened its emergency committee for the fourth time. The meeting came about six months after declaring a global health emergency, its highest level alert. The WHO said it was a pandemic later in March.

The WHO also reported on Friday a record daily increase in cases worldwide -- over 290,000 in the past 24 hours.

4:55 p.m.: California reports 1st death of teenager

The California Department of Public Health reported that a teenager has died of COVID-19, marking the state's first death of a young person.

The person, who was not identified, had underlying health conditions, the agency said.

The hospital where the patient died also confirmed the news.

"The death of this patient reaffirms that children -- and no age group -- are not immune from the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic," Valley Children's Hospital said in a statement. "It is imperative, now more than ever, for us to all work together to prevent further spread of this disease."

4:28 p.m.: New Jersey at 'very dangerous place,' governor says


New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said that while the state is one of the nation's leaders in low positivity rate, "we are standing at a very dangerous place."

The state's department of health reported 699 new positive cases Friday, an increase that pushed the total number of cases to 181,660.

"The alarm bells are going off," Murphy said. "We need people to take this seriously."

The governor said the state is cracking down on house parties, which he said was one of the reasons for the increase. He added that he could change the number allowed for indoor and outdoor gatherings at any time.

"I am not announcing any specific action today, but consider this as being put on notice. We will not tolerate these devil-may-care, nonchalant attitudes any more," Murphy said. "We are not past this. Everyone who walks around refusing to wear a mask, or who hosts a house party, is directly contributing to these increases."

2:06 p.m.: NIH picks 7 companies to receive nearly $250M in funding

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has picked seven companies to receive $248.7 million to invest in new technologies and increase COVID-19 testing, the government agency said Friday.

"With national demand estimated to be millions more tests per day above current levels, these technologies are expected to make a significant contribution to expanding the nation’s testing capacity," the NIH said in a statement. The increase could reach millions per week by this September, according to the NIH.

The NIH put 100 of the best concepts it received through a rigorous “shark tank” evaluation, then winnowed those candidates down, according to the agency. It said more than 20 companies could be considered for funding in the coming weeks.

The seven companies that will receive the funding are Mesa Biotech, Quidel, Talis Biomedical, Ginkgo Bioworks, Helix OpCo, Fluidigm and Mammoth Biosciences, Inc.

1:00 p.m.: Children at sleep-away camp test positive for virus


The coronavirus spread to more than 40% of children and teens within one week at a Georgia sleep-away camp, according to a new study from the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention.

All campers and staff had tested negative within 12 days of arriving; however, one staff member developed symptoms and eventually tested positive for COVID-19, according to the study.

Within two days, campers and staff were sent home, and the Georgia Department of Public Health tracked the attendees' diagnoses for the next two weeks, the study said.

A total of 597 Georgia residents attended the camp.

The study noted there are three limitations to the findings.

The first is the rate of positivity is "likely an underestimate because cases might have been missed among persons not tested or whose test results were not reported," according to the report.

Secondly, given the increasing incidence of COVID-19 in Georgia in June and July, some cases might have resulted from transmission occurring before or after camp attendance.

Lastly, the study said it was not always possible to maintain physical distancing and masks were not required for campers.

11:22 a.m.: New York reports 3 new record lows since mid-March


New York saw its lowest number of hospitalizations, ICU patients and intubations since mid-March on Friday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office said.

Hospitalizations dropped to 576, the lowest since March 17, while ICU patients dropped to 140, the lowest number since March 16. Intubations were down to 70, the lowest number since March 15.

Less than 1% of Thursday's COVID-19 tests were positive.

There were five deaths in the entire state in the last 24 hours.

"New York State continues to closely monitor alarming COVID-19 numbers throughout the nation as we flatten the curve, slow the spread and proceed with a data-driven, phased reopening," Cuomo said in a statement.

He encouraged New Yorkers to continue social distancing, wearing masks and washing their hands.

10:36 a.m.: Florida reports 4th day of record deaths, DeSantis announces new initiative to fight COVID

The Florida Department of Health recorded 257 deaths in the last 24 hours, marking a new, grim record for the state for the fourth day in a row.

There are now 6,966 total deaths and the number of confirmed cases has reached 470,386, with an increase of 9,007 in the last 24 hours, according to the health agency.

The rise in deaths and cases comes on the same day that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced a new initiative to stop the virus's spread.

DeSantis' initiative -- called One Goal One Florida -- encourages the public to follow four guidelines: Protect the vulnerable, practice proper hygiene, practice social distancing and wear a mask if in close contact with another person.

“COVID-19 has been a significant challenge for all Floridians but I’m 100% confident we can, and will, overcome this challenge,” DeSantis said in a statement. “To that end, I’m asking all Floridians to join me in this important effort."

DeSantis has previously encouraged people to wear masks when they cannot maintain social distancing; however, the initiative is believed to be the first formal plan put forth by the state.

10:13 a.m.: Cardinals v. Brewers game postponed

The St. Louis Cardinals have postponed their game against the Milwaukee Brewers Friday after two positive coronavirus tests were reported within the Cardinals organization.

The league said the game has been rescheduled as part of a traditional doubleheader on Sunday, Aug. 2 at 1:10 p.m. (CT).

The two teams were expected to play Friday in Milwaukee at 2:10 p.m. local time.

Six of the Major League Baseball's 30 teams will not be playing Friday because of coronavirus cases. That is 20% of the league.

7:25 a.m.: 45 fraternity members at University of Southern California test positive


At least 45 fraternity members at the University of Southern California have tested positive for COVID-19, officials said.

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health confirmed the cases while investigating a coronavirus outbreak at three fraternities associated with the private university in Los Angeles. The names of the fraternities involved were not released.

"The outbreak may be linked to a large social gathering on July 4," the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health said in a statement Thursday night. "As a reminder, gatherings of people from different households are prohibited under the Health Officer Order in place. These are high-risk situations where COVID-19 can spread quickly to many people. Those people, even if they are asymptomatic, can then spread it to their household, which may include someone who becomes seriously ill or who may die."

ABC News has reached out to the University of Southern California for comment.

6:32 a.m.: Hong Kong government delays elections, citing coronavirus

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam announced Friday that the highly anticipated legislative elections planned for September have been postponed, citing the coronavirus outbreak in the semi-autonomous Chinese city.

Lam told a press conference that her government has China's support in making the decision to delay local elections -- a move that will surely infuriate pro-democracy lawmakers and supporters.

Hong Kong has seen a spike in coronavirus infections in recent weeks. The total number of diagnosed cases stands at 3,273, including at least 27 deaths, according to the latest data from Hong Kong's Department of Health.

6:14 a.m.: Dr. Anthony Fauci to testify on Capitol Hill

Dr. Anthony Fauci, one of the nation's top medical experts on the coronavirus pandemic, is set to testify Friday on Capitol Hill.

Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health and a key member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, last testified before Congress on June 30. His latest appearance comes amid rising COVID-19 cases across the United States and mounting scrutiny into his strained relationship with President Donald Trump.

Fauci will be joined during a hybrid in-person/remote hearing by two other leading officials from the task force: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's director, Dr. Robert Redfield, and the assistant secretary for health at the Department of Health and Human Services, Adm. Brett Giroir.

5:39 a.m.: South Africa reports more than 11,000 new cases overnight

South Africa's health ministry said there were 11,046 new cases of COVID-19 reported across the country on Thursday.

That brings the national total to 482,169, including 7,812 deaths, according to data released early Friday morning by the South Africa's National Department of Health.

The latest daily caseload is just under the country's record set on July 9, when nearly 13,500 new cases were identified in a 24-hour reporting period.

South Africa has the fifth-highest number of diagnosed COVID-19 cases in the world, according to a count kept by Johns Hopkins University. The country also accounts for well over half the total number of cases in Africa.

4:27 a.m.: US records over 67,000 new cases in a single day

More than 67,600 new cases of COVID-19 were identified in the United States on Thursday, according to a count kept by Johns Hopkins University.

The latest daily caseload is under the country's record set on July 16, when more than 77,000 new cases were identified in a 24-hour reporting period.

A total of 4,494,601 people in the United States have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since the pandemic began, and at least 152,055 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.

Many states have seen a rise in infections in recent weeks, with some -- including Arizona, California and Florida -- reporting daily records.
 
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