By WILLIAM MANSELL, ABC News
(NEW YORK) — A pandemic of the novel coronavirus has now killed more than 1 million people worldwide.
Over 34.2 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 7.2 million diagnosed cases and at least 207,789 deaths.
California has the most cases of any U.S. state, with more than 822,000 people diagnosed, according to Johns Hopkins data. California is followed by Texas and Florida, with over 776,000 cases and over 709,000 cases, respectively.
Nearly 190 vaccine candidates for COVID-19 are being tracked by the World Health Organization, at least nine of which are in crucial phase three trials.
Here is how the news is developing Friday. All times Eastern:
Oct 02, 3:45 pm
Updates from federal agencies on cabinet members’ last contact with the president and the status of their latest coronavirus test results:
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar: Ahead of appearing before a House panel on Capitol Hill, he tweeted that “Out of an abundance of caution I was tested for COVID-19 this morning and the result was negative.”
Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson: The secretary traveled with Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday and has tested negative for COVID-19. “The good doctor notes that the first family is as strong and resilient as a bull market, which should aid a speedy recovery,” Carson’s chief of staff Andrew Hughes said in a statement.
Attorney General William Barr: He was last in the same room with the president on Saturday for the reception held for Supreme Court nominee, Justice Amy Coney Barrett, according to Department of Justice spokesperson Kerri Kupec. He is not experiencing any symptoms, but out of an abundance of caution was tested Friday morning. Kupec said he tested negative.
Interior Department Secretary David Bernhardt: The secretary was last with the president on Sept. 17 for a tribal repatriation event at the White House. He is regularly tested in accordance with CDC guidelines. In a tweet, he said he looks forward to seeing the president and first lady “engaged in their regular, incredible schedule of travel once they and their medical professionals determine that’s appropriate.”
Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley: The two last met with the president on Saturday at the White House during the Gold Star families event, according to Jonathan Hoffman, assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs. In preparation for international travel, Esper was tested on Monday and Wednesday – his results were negative. He was going to be tested again on Friday as part of his continuing travel plans and was not planning to return to the U.S. early. Milley was tested Friday morning and the results were negative.
Adm. Brett Giroir, the Health and Human Services testing czar: Staff said he was tested Wednesday and was going to be tested again on Friday.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin: “As part of regular protocols, Secretary @stevenmnuchin1 has been tested daily for COVID-19. He tested negative for COVID-19 this morning and will continue to be tested daily,” the Treasury Department spokesperson tweeted Friday morning.
A person familiar told ABC News that Mnuchin had spoken to the White House Medical Office and was advised that based on his “very limited contact” with the president that he does not need to quarantine, but that he will continue to be tested daily.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo: The secretary told journalists traveling with him that he and his wife Susan were tested Friday morning and both were negative for COVID-19. Pompeo said he has not interacted with the president since the Abraham Accords on Sept. 15.
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross: He was reportedly tested Friday morning and the result was negative.
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler: He has had no recent in-person contact with the president and has no symptoms, according to EPA spokesperson James Hewitt.
Acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf: The acting secretary is praying for a quick recovery for the first family and White House staff this morning,” DHS press secretary Chase Jennings said. “Acting Secretary Wolf has tested negative three times in the past seven days for COVID-19. He has not been in close contact with President Trump or the First Lady recently. Acting Secretary Wolf consulted with the White House physician this week after a DHS employee tested positive for COVID-19 and has been cleared for duty.”
— ABC News’ Stephanie Ebbs, Quinn Owen, Sophie Tatum, Anne Flaherty, Ben Gittleson, Alexander Mallin, Conor Finnegan and Matt Seyler
Oct 02, 2:53 pm
CDC forecasts up to 232K deaths by Oct. 24
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention predicts that the U.S. death toll could climb to between 219,000 and 232,000 deaths by Oct. 24.
Previous forecasts have been on target, but on the lower end. One recent estimate forecast 206,000 to 217,000 deaths by this weekend and the CDC count is 207,000 deaths as of Friday.
— ABC News’ Anne Flaherty
Oct 02, 2:29 pm
House gaveled out until after Election Day
The House of Representatives now officially gaveled out and is not set to return until well after Election Day.
The move comes despite Speaker Nancy Pelosi having said earlier in the day that the House could potentially pass a standalone bill to extend the Payroll Support Program to help airline workers.
Tens of thousands of airline employees have lost their jobs and many are on furlough.
American Airlines, one of the hardest-hit airlines, told ABC News that “if the Payroll Support Program is extended in the next few days … we will reverse our furlough process and recall any impacted members.”
In her statement, Pelosi urged airlines to hold off on planned furloughs and layoffs because absent a comprehensive stimulus package agreement, the House would move forward to pass a standalone bill to extend PPP another six months, which would keep airline employees on the payroll.
Before the chamber adjourned, House Transportation Chair Peter DeFazio asked unanimous consent on the House floor for the House to pass his standalone airline relief legislation, but the request was denied by the chair.
Members are officially on their way home to campaign for the next month and are not set to return to Washington until Nov. 16.
However, the lawmakers have been given instructions to return to Washington within 24 hours if a coronavirus relief deal is reached.
– ABC News’ Mariam Khan and Mina Kaji
Oct 02, 1:28 pm
HHS secretary appears before House committee
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar appeared on Capitol Hill Friday morning after testing negative for the coronavirus.
He tweeted that out of an abundance of caution he was tested and would testify before Congress as scheduled. He also wished the Trumps and “all those with COVID-19 a swift and complete recovery.”
Azar repeated that sentiment in his opening statement before the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis.
He also said the U.S. is making progress on the health crisis and encouraged people to “wear a face covering when you can’t watch your distance.”
Chairman James Clyburn, D-S.C., sent along his well wishes to the Trumps, but then quickly blamed the president for his response to the virus as “a failure of historic proportions.”
“We wish for all of them a speedy and complete recovery. As Americans, we pride ourselves on being the most scientifically advanced nation in the world with the best doctors and public health experts,” Clyburn said. “That is why it has been so heartbreaking to watch the administration squander this legacy by refusing to lead, ignoring our scientists and putting politics over the health of the American people.”
He later said it was a mistake that Trump refused to coordinate a national strategy and left up the response to the states.
Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., had a tense exchange with Azar when she pressed him about whether the president’s rallies have contributed to a rise in coronavirus cases and whether the HHS secretary has ever privately advised the president to stop or to wear a mask.
Azar said he wouldn’t discuss his conversations with the president.
“Are you proud of the job you have done?” Waters asked.
“I don’t like to speak in those terms,” Azar responded, “206,000 people have died.”
— ABC News’ Anne Flaherty and Mariam Khan
Oct 02, 4:46 am
House passes symbolic COVID-19 stimulus bill
The House passed a $2.2 trillion coronavirus stimulus relief bill late Thursday night, with a close 214-207 vote.
In some last-minute drama, 18 Democrats voted no on the bill. Many who were against the bill are moderates who are very unhappy with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and leadership for staging what they call a “show” vote on a bill that will never become law.
The Republican-led Senate is not expected to take up the measure.
The House bill is largely symbolic and puts on the record what Democrats have been calling for for months: economic relief for those impacted by the pandemic.
The bill would restore the $600 federal unemployment benefits that expired in July and would include another round of direct checks to Americans at $1,200 per taxpayer and $500 per dependent.
It would also extend the Paycheck Protection Program to help small businesses, a benefit that expired in early August.
A bipartisan COVID-19 relief bill is still possible. Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin are still having discussions. Pelosi announced late Thursday that she and Mnuchin have exchanged paper and are still deep in negotiations.
“We made a lot of progress over the last few days, we still don’t have an agreement, but we have more work to do. And we’re going to see where we end up,” Mnuchin told reporters Wednesday.
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