By MORGAN WINSOR, ABC News
(NEW YORK) — A pandemic of the novel coronavirus has now killed more than 787,000 people worldwide.
Over 22.4 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.
Since the first cases were detected in China in December, the United States has become the worst-affected country, with more than 5.5 million diagnosed cases and at least 173,181 deaths.
Here’s how the news is developing Thursday. All times Eastern:
5:28 a.m.: France, Germany, Spain see highest spike in cases since lockdown
France, Germany and Spain have all marked the highest day-to-day increase in COVID-19 infections since the end of their lockdowns.
France’s national public health agency reported Wednesday that there were 3,776 new cases in the past 24 hours, bringing the national tally to 225,043. Meanwhile, the country’s positivity rate for COVID-19 tests increased by 3.1% from Aug. 10 to Aug. 16.
Germany’s public health institute reported Wednesday that there were 1,510 new cases in the past 24 hours, making the national total 226,914.
“In the past few weeks the COVID-19 incidence has risen markedly in many federal states and the number of districts reporting zero COVID-19 cases over a period of seven days has decreased considerably,” the institute said in its daily situation report. “This trend is very concerning.”
The Spanish Ministry of Health reported Wednesday that there were 3,715 new cases within the last day. Spain’s cumulative case count, which includes diagnoses from antibody test results, now stands at 370,867.
All three European countries are among the top 20 nations hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic.
3:42 a.m.: US reports over 1,300 new deaths for second straight day
There were 46,436 new cases of COVID-19 identified in the United States on Wednesday, according to a count kept by Johns Hopkins University.
Wednesday’s tally is well below the country’s record set on July 16, when 77,255 new cases were identified in a 24-hour reporting period.
An additional 1,356 coronavirus-related deaths were also recorded Wednesday. It’s the second straight day of more than 1,300 fatalities, although the figure is still under the record 2,666 new deaths that were reported on April 17.
A total of 5,529,933 people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since the pandemic began, and at least 173,181 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.
While week-over-week comparisons show that the nationwide number of new cases has continued to decrease in recent weeks, the number of new deaths has increased, according to an internal memo from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, obtained by ABC News on Wednesday night.
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.