A new coronavirus pandemic has now killed more than 673,000 people worldwide.
More than 17.3 million people worldwide have been diagnosed with COVID-19, the disease caused by the new respiratory virus, according to data collected by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University . Current numbers are thought to be much higher due to testing deficiencies, many unreported cases and suspicions that some governments are hiding the scope of their nations ’outbreak.
Since the first cases were noticed in China in December, the United States has become the worst affected country, with nearly 4.5 million cases diagnosed and at least 152,075 deaths.
The last main points
Here is how the news is developing today. All Eastern times.
10:36 am: Florida reports 4th day of record deaths, DeSantis announces new initiative to fight COVID
The Florida Department of Health has recorded 257 deaths in the past 24 hours, marking a new and dark 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, 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 Government Ron DeSantis announced a new initiative to stop the spread of the virus.
The DeSantis initiative – called One Goal One Florida – encourages the public to follow four guidelines: Protect the vulnerable, practice proper hygiene, practice social distance and wear a mask if in close contact with a person other.
“COVID-19 has been a significant challenge for all Floridians but I am 100% confident that we can, and will, overcome this challenge,” DeSantis said in a statement. “To that end, I am asking all Floridians to join me in this important effort.”
DeSantis previously encouraged people to wear masks when they could not maintain social distance; However, the initiative is believed to be the first formal plan put forward by the state.
10:13 am: The Cardinals game v. Brewers canceled
The St. Louis Cardinals postponed their game against the Milwaukee Brewers on Friday after multiple positive coronavirus tests were reported, a source told ESPN.
It was not clear exactly how many positive tests were reported.
Both teams were expected to play in Milwaukee at 2.10 pm local time.
Six of the 30 Major League Baseball teams will not play on Friday due to coronavirus cases. This is 20% of the league.
7.25 am: 45 fraternity members at the University of Southern California positive test
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 outbreak of coronavirus in three fraternities associated with a private university in Los Angeles. The names of the fraternities involved were not released.
“The outbreak could be linked to a major social gathering on July 4,” the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health said in a statement Thursday evening. “As a reminder, meetings of people from different homes are prohibited under the current Health Officer’s Order. These are high-risk situations where COVID-19 can spread quickly to many people. people, even if they are asymptomatic, can then spread this to their family, which could include someone who is seriously ill or may die. ”
ABC News came to the University of Southern California for a comment.
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6:32 am: Hong Kong government delays elections and cites coronavirus
Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam announced on Friday that the much-anticipated legislative elections scheduled for September have been postponed, citing the coronavirus outbreak in the semi-autonomous Chinese city.
Lam told a news conference that her government has the support of China to take the decision to postpone local elections for a year – a move that is sure to remind lawmakers and pro-democracy supporters.
Lam said it was “the toughest decision I’ve made in the last seven months” but one “necessary” to “protect public health, people’s lives and guarantee the fairness of the election.”
Hong Kong has seen an increase in coronavirus infections in recent weeks. The total number of cases diagnosed is 3,273, including at least 27 deaths, according to the latest data from the Hong Kong Department of Health.
6.14 am: Dr. Anthony Fauci testifies 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, 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, testified last before Congress on June 30th. Its latest appearance comes amid increasing cases of COVID-19. the United States and increasing scrutiny in its tense relationship with President Donald Trump.
Fauci will be joined during a hybrid in-person / remote hearing by two other key officials from the task force: the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Robert Redfield, and the assistant secretary for health at the Department of Health and Human Services, Ammt Brett Giroir.
5:39 am: South Africa reports more than 11,000 new cases overnight
The South African health ministry said there were 11,046 new cases of COVID-19 reported across the country on Thursday.
This brings the national total to 482,169, including 7,812 deaths, according to data released early Friday morning by the South African Department of Health.
The latest number of cases per day is just below the country record set on 9 July, when almost 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 maintained by Johns Hopkins University. The country also accounts for more than half of the total number of cases in Africa.
04:27: The United States registers more than 67,000 new cases in one day
More than 67,600 new cases of COVID-19 were identified in the United States on Thursday, according to a count held by Johns Hopkins University.
The latest number of cases a day is according to 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. Cases include people from all 50 U.S. states, Washington, DC, and other U.S. territories as well as repatriated citizens.
By May 20, all U.S. states had begun lifting house arrest orders and other restrictions that had been put in place to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus. The daily increase in country cases then climbed to around 20,000 for a few weeks before shooting back and crossing 70,000 for the first time in mid-July.
Many states have seen an increase in infections in recent weeks, with some – including Arizona, California and Florida – reporting daily records.
ABC News’ Kirit Radia, Rachel Katz, Scott Withers and Brian Hartman contributed to this report.