National Headlines

narvikk/iStockBy MORGAN WINSOR, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- A pandemic of the novel coronavirus has now killed more than 965,000 people worldwide.

Over 31.3 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 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 6.8 million diagnosed cases and at least 199,890 deaths.

California has the most cases of any U.S. state, with more than 790,000 people diagnosed, according to Johns Hopkins data. California is followed by Texas and Florida, with over 734,000 cases and over 685,000 cases, respectively.

Nearly 170 vaccine candidates for COVID-19 are being tracked by the World Health Organization, at least six of which are in crucial phase three trials.

Here's how the news is developing Tuesday. All times Eastern:

Sep 22, 8:49 am
UK prime minister says tough new restrictions could stay for six months


British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday unveiled a slew of tough new measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 in England, which he said may need to stay in force for six months.

"I fervently want to avoid taking this step, as do the devolved administrations, but we will only be able to avoid it if our new measures work and our behavior changes," Johnson told members of Parliament in the House of Commons. "We will spare no effort in developing vaccines, treatments, new forms of mass-testing. But unless we palpably make progress, we should assume that the restrictions that I have announced will remain in place for perhaps six months."

Johnson announced a 10 p.m. curfew for all hospitality venues in England starting Thursday. He said pubs, bars and restaurants throughout the country must also operate a table service only, except for takeaways.

Meanwhile, the use of face coverings will be extended to include all users of taxis and private-hire vehicles, all staff in retail, and all employees and customers at indoor hospitality venues except when seated at a table to eat or drink. The prime minister warned that businesses could be fined if they break the new rules.

Johnson also announced that, from Monday, there will be a 15-person limit on the number of attendees allowed at wedding ceremonies and receptions in England, as well as a 30-person cap for all funerals held in the country.

While Johnson said that people who can work from home should again do so, he stressed that his government "will do everything in our power" to keep schools open and children in classrooms.

The prime minister noted that the three other devolved governments of the United Kingdom -- Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales -- would adopt similar measures.

"For the time being, this virus is a fact of our lives," he said, "and I must tell the House and the country that our fight against it will continue."

Sep 22, 7:44 am
Former acting CDC director: 'When you lose trust you lose lives'


The former acting director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday that the agency is losing the public's trust by walking back its COVID-19 guidance.

"The problem is, there have been so many instances where there's been political fingerprints on CDC documents, and CDC hasn't been able to be out front to explain what's going on. It leads to an undermining of trust and when you lose trust, you lose lives," Dr. Richard Besser, who is now the president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, told ABC News chief anchor George Stephanopoulos during an interview on Good Morning America.

The CDC recently issued and later removed updated guidance on its official website to address growing evidence of limited airborne transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19. The agency said Monday that posting the new information was done in error.

"The CDC should be out there every day explaining what they're learning, explaining why guidance is changing," Besser said. "I talked to a leader at CDC and I expect very soon there will be guidance out that talks about other routes of transmission, like aerosols, and what can be done to reduce the risk of transmission as well."

As the U.S. death toll from COVID-19 edges closer to 200,000, Besser described the pandemic as the worst public health crisis in his lifetime and discussed the danger of downplaying the situation.

"When you think about this loss of trust and loss of lives, you know, every community is affected but not equally. Black Americans, Latino Americans, Native Americans, low-income Americans are being hit the hardest," he said. "So when people downplay the significance of this, there are certain groups that are really paying the price."

Besser warned that coronavirus-related restrictions may need to be rolled out again this winter as people spend more time indoors, increasing the risk of catching respiratory viruses.

"Viruses do better in the winter," he said. "That's something people should anticipate."

Sep 22, 6:54 am
UK prime minister to announce new restrictions for England


British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected Tuesday to announce new measures in England to curb an alarming rise in COVID-19 infections.

Michael Gove, a senior member of Johnson's cabinet, told Sky News that the clampdown will include ordering pubs and restaurants throughout England to close by 10 p.m. as well as restricting the entire hospitality sector to table service only. The government will also be encouraging people who can work from home to do so, reversing a push to get people back to the office, according to Gove.

It's unknown whether the new restrictions would ultimately be extended U.K.-wide, with coronavirus-related policy responsibilities delegated to the devolved administrations in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

"They are reluctant steps that we're taking," Gove told Sky News in an interview Tuesday morning. "But they're absolutely necessary because, as we were reminded yesterday and as you've been reporting, the rate of infection is increasing, the number of people going to hospital is increasing, therefore we need to act."

The move comes a day after the government's chief scientific officer, Sir Patrick Vallance, warned that the United Kingdom could see about 50,000 new COVID-19 cases a day by mid-October if the current rate of infection is not curbed.

Sep 22, 6:52 am
23 US states and territories in an upward trend of new cases


An internal memo from the Federal Emergency Management Agency obtained by ABC News on Monday night shows that the number of new cases and the number of new deaths recorded in the United States are both increasing in week-over-week comparisons.

Twenty-three U.S. states and territories are in an upward trajectory of COVID-19 infections, while 14 jurisdictions are at plateau and 19 others are in a downward trend, the memo said.

There were 283,332 new cases confirmed across the nation during the period of Sept 14-20, a 17.2% jump from the previous week. Meanwhile, 5,319 coronavirus-related deaths were recorded during that same period, a 2.4% increase compared with the seven days prior, according to the memo.

The national positivity rate for COVID-19 tests ticked downward slightly to 4.4%, compared with 4.6% for the previous week, the memo said.

Alabama recorded a 46.5% increase in the state's seven-day death rate during the period of Sept. 9-15, compared with the week prior. Meanwhile, the Alabama Hospital Association confirmed a statewide shortage of nurses in both hospitals and universities due to a lack of faculty, facilities and funds, according to the memo.

In Florida's Alachua County, 90% of recently reported cases are among individuals between the ages of 15 and 25, and 70% of those cases are college students, according to the memo.

Meanwhile, a recent increase in new cases in Kentucky's Hardin County is attributable to roughly 75% of students returning to school for in-person instruction, the memo said.

New Jersey's positivity rate for COVID-19 tests rose from 3% to 7% among 14-18 year-olds and from 2.7% to 7.1% among 19-24 year-olds. Nearly 20% of the state's confirmed cases are individuals below the age of 30, according to the memo.

Pennsylvania's Centre County, home to Pennsylvania State University, remains a COVID-19 hotspot, reporting a 291.3% relative increase in new cases during the period of Sept. 9-15 compared with the previous week. The county's hospitals are under strain, with inpatient beds at 88% capacity and intensive care unit beds at 81% capacity, the memo said.

South Dakota reported its highest single-day death toll of eight coronavirus-related fatalities on Sept. 16. The state saw a 21% increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations, setting a record high on Sept. 15. A major outbreak in the state's capital, Pierre, has led to at least 105 cases among inmates at a minimum-security women's prison as well as rising cases among community members, according to the memo.

Sep 22, 4:50 am
US death toll less than 200 away from hitting 200,000 mark


An additional 356 coronavirus-related fatalities were recorded in the United States on Monday, bringing the country's death toll even closer to the 200,000 mark, according to a real-time count kept by Johns Hopkins University.

Monday's tally of COVID-19 deaths is well under the country's record set on April 17, when there were 2,666 new fatalities in a 24-hour reporting period.

There were also 52,070 new cases of COVID-19 confirmed across the nation on Sunday, down from a peak of 77,255 new cases reported on July 16.

A total of 6,857,967 people in the United States have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since the pandemic began, and at least 199,884 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. The daily tally of new cases has gradually come down since then.

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ABC NewsBy MAX GOLEMBO and EMILY SHAPIRO, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- Tropical Storm Beta, which made landfall in Texas Monday night, is bringing pounding rain and flash flooding to Houston -- and more rain is expected for the city.

A flash flood watch has been issued from Victoria, Texas, to New Orleans.

Water rescues have been reported in Houston and cars have been spotted trapped in floodwaters.

The Harris County Sheriff's Office is urging people to stay home.

Over the next 24 hours, Beta is expected to move incredibly slowly.

By Wednesday morning, the center of the storm will only near Houston -- which means a lot more rain is expected for eastern Texas, possibly reaching 20 inches in some areas. About 10 inches of rain has fallen so far.

Heavy rain is also expected in Louisiana, where some areas could see 6 inches of rain.

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vmargineanu/iStockBy IVAN PEREIRA, ABC News

(KENOSHA, Wis.) -- Investigators in Wisconsin said Monday they are in the final stages of their probe of last month's shooting of Jacob Blake by a Kenosha police officer, and that their report will be reviewed by an experienced third party.

Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul and Kenosha County District Attorney Michael Graveley announced that retired Madison Police Chief Noble Wray will analyze their report of the Aug. 23 incident and provide further input before any charges are made.

"Noble Wray is a longtime Wisconsin resident and a widely respected retired Madison police chief who has extensive experience in law enforcement, including experience at the national level as a police reform specialist for the U.S. Department of Justice," Kaul said in a statement about Wray, who is Black.

Wray noted at a news conference that he was part of the investigation into the 2014 police shooting of Tamir Rice in Cleveland. He told reporters that he had seen the video of Blake's shooting, calling it "graphic," but said that he has not "pre-judged" the case.

The report, from the Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation, will not include recommendations for charges against Officer Rusten Sheskey, who is accused of shooting Blake.

"Chief Wray’s analysis will assist the district attorney in his review of the facts and their relationship with standard law enforcement practices as he makes a charging decision," the attorney general's office said in a statement.

In video taken on Aug. 23, Blake, a 29-year-old Black man, was seen being shot seven times in the back by Sheskey, 31, who was one of a group of officers responding to a domestic violence call. An unidentified woman called 911 claiming her boyfriend was at her premises and not supposed to be there, according to the Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation. Footage of the incident showed the moments when Sheskey, who is white, shot Blake in the back.

Investigators haven't said if Blake was the subject of the complaint.

Officers contend they tried to arrest Blake and used a Taser on him, but he walked to his car and tried to get into the driver's seat. Ben Crump, an attorney representing Blake and his family, said the 29-year-old was helping to deescalate a domestic incident when police drew their weapons and used the Taser.

Blake is paralyzed from the waist down and may never walk again, according to his family. All of the officers involved in the incident have been placed on administrative leave as investigators look into the situation, but as of Monday, no charges were announced against them.

News of Blake's shooting sparked more protests throughout the country against police violence and discrimination against the Black community. Demonstrations in Wisconsin turned deadly in Kenosha after a 17-year-old Illinois resident, who was armed with an assault rifle, allegedly fatally shot Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber, and allegedly wounded Gaige Grosskreutz on Aug. 25.

Kyle Rittenhouse was charged with homicide and is awaiting trial for the shootings, which were partially filmed by bystanders.

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Breonna Taylor FamilyBy IVAN PEREIRA AND STEPHANIE WASH, ABC NEWS

(NEW YORK) -- Six Louisville Metro Police officers are under an internal investigation into their actions related to the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor, a police spokesman told ABC News.

The department's Professional Standards Unit has begun its probe into Det. Myles Cosgrove and Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly, who fired their weapons into Taylor's apartment on March 13; Det. Joshua Jaynes, who sought the search warrant for her apartment; and Det. Tony James, Det. Michael Campbell and Det. Michael Nobles, according to spokesman Sgt. Lamont Washington.

Internal investigators will see if the officers violated any police policies during the incident, the spokesman said. Disciplinary action could include written reprimand and extend all the way up to termination, according to Washington.

Taylor, 26, and her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, were sleeping inside their Louisville apartment when three plainclothes officers -- Mattingly, Cosgrove and Det. Brett Hankison -- attempted to execute a "no-knock" search warrant. The officers were investigating a suspected drug operation linked to Taylor's ex-boyfriend.

Walker said he received no response from the other side of the door when he called out after the officers rammed the door.

Walker took his licensed firearm and shot at the door, and the officers returned fire, striking Taylor eight times and killing her in her sleep, according to investigators. No drugs or drug money were found in the apartment, investigators said.

Taylor's death has sparked nationwide protests against police violence targeting minorities and strong calls for the officers to be charged.

The officers were placed on administrative duty following the incident, and Hankison was fired. The incident is currently under investigation by state Attorney General Daniel Cameron.

Cameron has not given a timetable for when he will reveal the findings of the investigation, but the police are already preparing for it.

Louisville Metro Police Chief Robert J. Schroeder issued a state of emergency for his department Monday in anticipation of an update on the state investigation.

In two memos sent to officers, Schroeder said the department will be increasing its staffing ahead of Cameron's pending announcement.

All requests by officers for time off and vacation will be canceled, according to the memo.

"To ensure we have the appropriate level of staffing to provide for public safety services and our policing functions, effective immediately the LMPD will operate under the emergency staffing and reporting guidelines," Schroeder wrote in his memo.

On Sept. 15, the city of Louisville reached a $12 million settlement with Taylor's family, who filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the police. The settlement included a commitment by the city to institute police reforms.

ABC News' Josh Hoyos contributed to this report.

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ABC NewsBy MAX GOLEMBO, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- Tropical Storm Beta made landfall on the Texas coast late Monday night local time.

The center of the storm came ashore near the southern end of Matagorda Peninsula, about midway between Corpus Christi and Galveston.

The weak tropical storm had winds near 45 mph and was moving northwest at about 3 mph.

The biggest threat prior to landfall was storm surge and gusty winds.

As Beta moves onto shore, it will stall and sit in one spot for almost two days, which could bring as much as half a foot of rain to Galveston and 6 to 10 inches to Houston.

Houston does not drain well, so that much rain could cause life-threatening flash flooding.

Meanwhile, Hurricane Teddy is expected to move near Bermuda with gusty winds, but the worst of the storm is expected to miss the island.

A tropical storm warning has been issued for the island nation and large waves of up to 13 feet are expected all along the East Coast of the United States.

Teddy is also expected to make landfall in Nova Scotia on Wednesday with tropical storm-force winds.

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Myriam Borzee/iStockBy MORGAN WINSOR and IVAN PEREIRA, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- A pandemic of the novel coronavirus has now killed more than 961,000 people worldwide.

Over 31.1 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 6.8 million diagnosed cases and at least 199,552 deaths.

California has the most cases of any U.S. state, with more than 786,000 people diagnosed, according to Johns Hopkins data. California is followed by Texas and Florida, with over 713,000 cases and over 683,000 cases, respectively.

Nearly 170 vaccine candidates for COVID-19 are being tracked by the World Health Organization, at least six of which are in crucial phase three trials.

Here's how the news developed Monday. All times Eastern:

Sep 21, 10:24 pm
Worldwide cases up by two million but deaths down, says WHO


The number of new global COVID-19 cases increased by two million in the last week, the highest one-week jump since the pandemic began, according the the World Health Organization.

However fatalities decreased by 10% worldwide over the same time span, the organization reported.

The Americas reported a 22% decrease in deaths, while Europe reported a 27% increase.

Africa is the only region to report declines in both new cases and deaths.

Southeast Asia accounted for 35% of the week's new cases reported and 25% of all deaths, the WHO said.

Sep 21, 6:34 pm

Coronavirus cases on the rise in 3 states

As of last week, new coronavirus cases in the U.S. have been increasing, according to health data.

On Sept. 13, the seven-day average for new cases in the country jumped by 13%, according to state health data collected by the COVID Tracking Project. Three states saw major increase in new cases, according to the data.

Since Sept. 3, new coronavirus cases in Wisconsin have increased by 156.3%, the data showed. The seven-day average of new coronavirus cases has in Utah surged by 117.6% since Sept. 10, according to the data. The seven-day average of new coronavirus cases in Idaho jumped by 17% since Sept. 14, the data showed.

ABC News' Arielle Mitropoulos contributed to this report.

Sep 21, 3:37 pm

WHO: Aims to distribute 2 billion vaccine doses by the end of 2021

The nations, which do not include the U.S., China and Russia, represent 64% of the world’s population. WHO leaders said their target is to issue 2 billion vaccine doses through COVAX by the end of 2021, which would vaccinate around 25.6% of the world's 7.8 billion population, under a one-dose regimen.

"There's no guarantee that any vaccine in development will work," WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in Geneva, but he added, "we must move heaven and earth" to ensure equitable access to diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines.

Higher income governments are committed to provide an upfront payment to reserve doses by Oct. 9, 2020, WHO said.

The allocation of vaccines, once licensed and approved, will be guided by an Allocation Framework released Monday by WHO following the principle of fair and equitable access, ensuring no participating economy will be left behind.

"The race for vaccines is a collaboration not a contest," Tedros said, "It's in every country's best interest, we sink or we swim together."

ABC News' Christine Theodorou contributed to this report.

Sep 21, 1:15 pm
CDC adds then removes guidance on airborne spread


The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued and later removed updated guidance on its website to address growing evidence of limited airborne transmission of the virus that caused COVID-19.

It’s already known that the novel coronavirus is most commonly transmitted "through respiratory droplets or small particles, such as those in aerosols, produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, sings, talks, or breathes."

On Friday, the CDC also included that "There is growing evidence that droplets and airborne particles can remain suspended in the air and be breathed in by others, and travel distances beyond 6 feet (for example, during choir practice, in restaurants, or in fitness classes)," noting that "In general, indoor environments without good ventilation increase this risk."

But on Monday morning, the updated information on airborne transmission was removed from the site and in its place, the agency explained that posting the new information was done in error.

"A draft version of proposed changes to these recommendations was posted in error to the agency's official website. CDC is currently updating its recommendations regarding airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19). Once this process has been completed, the update language will be posted."

The World Health Organization acknowledged in July that the novel coronavirus could spread through the air, after hundreds of scientists called for the global health arm of the United Nations to recognize the risk of airborne transmission.

ABC News' Eric Strauss and Sony Salzman contributed to this report.


Sep 21, 11:20 am
Eastern Michigan University to test campus wastewater for COVID-19


Eastern Michigan University said it will soon begin testing wastewater on campus for signs of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases.

As part of its return-to-campus plan, the public research university is partnering with Michigan-based firm Aquasight to track the presence of the novel coronavirus in wastewater flowing from residence halls and apartment complexes on the school's campus in Ypsilanti, west of Detroit.

Tests have shown that wastewater contains infectious biomarkers that can signal the growth or reduction of the virus in a community or around a college campus, according to Eastern Michigan University President James Smith.

"This monitoring process, while not diagnostic, may provide early detection of asymptomatic cases," Smith said in a statement Friday. "The results of the tests will help us pinpoint any concerning trends and expand individual testing among specific populations as necessary."

Other schools, including the University of Arizona and Utah State University, are reportedly doing similar testing.

Sep 21, 10:52 am
Hundreds of asylum seekers test positive for COVID-19 in Greece


More than 200 asylum seekers who recently resettled at a new temporary camp on the Greek island of Lesbos, after the old one had burned down, have tested positive for COVID-19, according to Greek government spokesmen Stelios Petsas.

During a regular press briefing Monday, Petsas said that all 7,064 individuals who were admitted to the new Kara Tepe camp, near the island's capital Mytilene, had been tested for COVID-19 and that 243 of them were found to be infected.

The average age of those who tested positive was 24, and most didn't have any symptoms, according to Petsas.

Another 160 people who had come into contact with the migrants, mostly police officers and administrative staff at the camp, were also tested for the virus but all had negative results, Petsas said.

The new facility is not far from the remains of the Moria camp, where fires forced some 12,000 migrants to flee last week and seek shelter. Greek police believe the blazes were set deliberately by a small group of migrants angered by a lockdown imposed after a COVID-19 outbreak at the overcrowded camp. Six people, all Afghan nationals, have been arrested on suspicion of arson.

Sep 21, 9:21 am
CDC updates COVID-19 guidance to acknowledge airborne spread

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has updated its guidance on its website to say the novel coronavirus is most commonly transmitted "through respiratory droplets or small particles, such as those in aerosols, produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, sings, talks, or breathes."

"These particles can be inhaled into the nose, mouth, airways, and lungs and cause infection," the site now says. "This is thought to be the main way the virus spreads."

Previously, the CDC website said that COVID-19 most often spreads between people who are in close contact with one another -- within about 6 feet -- "through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks." The page was updated Friday.

"There is growing evidence that droplets and airborne particles can remain suspended in the air and be breathed in by others, and travel distances beyond 6 feet (for example, during choir practice, in restaurants, or in fitness classes)," the site now says. "In general, indoor environments without good ventilation increase this risk."

The World Health Organization acknowledged in July that the novel coronavirus could spread through the air, after hundreds of scientists called for the global health arm of the United Nations to recognize the risk of airborne transmission.

Sep 21, 7:42 am
New Zealand to lift restrictions except in its biggest city


New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced Monday that all remaining coronavirus-related restrictions will be lifted across much of the country, except for the most populous city.

The restrictions will end late Monday.

Auckland, where a fresh outbreak now appears to be under control, will continue to have some regulations for at least another 16 days. The plan is to increase the cap on gatherings in the city from 10 to 100 on Wednesday and then remove the limit altogether two weeks later, according to Ardern.

"Auckland needs more time," Ardern told reporters Monday. "Whilst we have reasonable confidence we are on the right track, there is still a need in Auckland for that cautious approach."

A cluster of cases emerged in Auckland last month, ending New Zealand's 102-day streak without any local transmission of the novel coronavirus. The outbreak prompted the government to impose a temporary lockdown in the region and reschedule national elections.

Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, New Zealand's Ministry of Health has identified 1,815 confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases as well as 25 coronavirus-related deaths. There are currently 62 active cases and three coronavirus-related hospitalizations in the country.

There were no new cases confirmed in the nation of five million people on Monday.

Sep 21, 6:55 am
UK could see 50,000 new cases per day, chief medical officer warns


The United Kingdom could see about 50,000 new COVID-19 cases a day by mid-October if the current rate of infection is not curbed, the government's chief scientific adviser warned Monday.

"At the moment we think the epidemic is doubling roughly every seven days," Sir Patrick Vallance said in a televised address from London. "If, and that’s quite a big if, but if that continues unabated and this grows doubling every seven days... if that continued, you would end up with something like 50,000 cases in the middle of October per day."

That rate of infection would be expected to lead to 200-plus deaths per day by mid-November, according to Vallance, who noted that there are already measures in place to prevent the country from hitting those grim milestones.

"That requires speed, it requires action, he said, "and it requires enough in order to be able to bring that down."

Vallance said the increase in COVID-19 infections has been among "every age group" and that the number of people in the country showing antibodies for the disease remains low, meaning the "vast majority of the population remain susceptible."

"As the disease spreads, as it spreads across age groups, we expect to see increasing hospitalizations," he added. "And unfortunately, those increasing hospitalizations will lead to increasing deaths."

Sep 21, 6:13 am
California's death count surpasses 15,000


California's death toll from COVID-19 has surpassed 15,000, according to a real-time count kept by Johns Hopkins University.

The state's tally of coronavirus-related fatalities, which currently stands at 15,016, is the fourth-highest in the country, after New York, New Jersey and Texas.

California has reported the most COVID-19 infections of any U.S. state since the start of the pandemic, with more than 786,000 confirmed cases.

Sep 21, 5:54 am
England introduces hefty fines for breaking self-quarantine


People in England who violate an order to self-quarantine will face fines of up to 10,000 British pounds, amid an alarming rise in COVID-19 infections.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the new penalties mean people "are legally obliged" to self-isolate if they test positive for COVID-19 or are traced as a close contact to someone who did. The fines, which take effect next week, will start at 1,000 British pounds (approximately $1,300) but could increase to up to 10,000 pounds (about $13,000) for repeat offenders.

The higher fines could be applied to "the most egregious breaches," including those who prevent others from self-isolating, such as business owners who threaten employees with losing their jobs if they don't come into work.

Low-income workers who face a loss of earnings as a result of having to self-quarantine will be eligible for a one-time support payment of 500 British pounds (approximately $650).

The new fines will come into force in England on Sept. 28. Officials are in talks with the devolved governments of Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales about expanding them U.K.-wide.

"The best way we can fight this virus is by everyone following the rules and self-isolating if they're at risk of passing on coronavirus," Johnson said while announcing the new rules over the weekend. "People who choose to ignore the rules will face significant fines. We need to do all we can to control the spread of this virus, to prevent the most vulnerable people from becoming infected, and to protect the NHS and save lives."

An official estimate shows that new COVID-19 infections and hospital admissions are doubling every seven to eight days in the United Kingdom. There were 3,899 new infections and 18 fatalities reported Sunday, bringing the country's tally to 394,257 cases and 41,777 deaths, according to the latest figures from the U.K. government

Sep 21, 4:40 am
US death toll from COVID-19 inches closer to 200,000


An additional 230 coronavirus-related fatalities were recorded in the United States on Sunday, as the country's death toll inches closer to the 200,000 mark, according to a real-time count kept by Johns Hopkins University.

Sunday's tally of COVID-19 deaths is well under the country's record set on April 17, when there were 2,666 new fatalities in a 24-hour reporting period.

There were also 38,978 new cases of COVID-19 confirmed across the nation on Sunday, down from a peak of 77,255 new cases reported on July 16.

A total of 6,805,630 people in the United States have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since the pandemic began, and at least 199,512 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. The daily tally of new cases has gradually come down since then.

Week-over-week comparisons show that the number of new cases and the number of new deaths recorded in the United States are both decreasing, according to an internal memo from the Federal Emergency Management Agency obtained by ABC News last week.

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iStock/smolaw11BY: CHEYENNE HESLETT, ABC News

(WASHINGTON) -- Nearly nine million Americans are still without their stimulus checks seven months after the CARES Act passed, according to a new report Monday from the Government Accountability Office.

The report also found key inconsistencies in Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance for schools, such as how to screen for the virus and when schools should close down if students or teachers start testing positive for the virus.

It's the third such report put out by the GAO, a nonpartisan congressional watchdog known as "the investigative arm of Congress," examining the implementation of the CARES Act and other pandemic relief actions.

Each report outlines steps for Congress and the Trump administration to take in order to improve the nation’s response. As part of the CARES Act, the GAO issues a report every two months.

“Our report contains 16 new, concrete recommendations where timely and concerted actions by the Administration and Congress can help address the coronavirus crisis,” said Gene L. Dodaro, Comptroller General of the United States and head of the GAO, in a statement. “If implemented, those suggestions have the potential to significantly improve the nation’s response to the current pandemic as well as strengthen preparations for future public health emergencies.”

Nearly 9 million Americans have yet to receive their stimulus checks

While the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service have tried to smooth out some of the flaws in the stimulus check program, the agencies still “lack updated information on how many eligible recipients have yet to receive these funds,” GAO found in its report Monday, and it’s estimated that “potentially millions of individuals” are still “at risk of missing their payment.”

The biggest demographic affected, GAO found, is Americans who don’t file taxes and, as a result, didn't have information registered with the IRS about how much money they make per year, which would qualify them for the $1,200 one-time payment granted to a majority of Americans by the CARES Act. Generally, the main reason people don't file taxes is because they have gross income below a certain amount and do not need to file a tax return.

While more than 26 million Americans who don't file taxes did receive a payment, including over five million Americans who followed guidance from the IRS and registered online to receive a stimulus check, there are still an estimated 8.7 million or more Americans who are eligible but haven’t been identified by the IRS, the GAO report found.

It's likely the people who need it most who haven't received it, since Americans who don't file taxes are likely to be very low-income, the report said.

There are also 1.1 million Americans who were underpaid, the GAO report found. These Americans are mostly people in need: around 355,000 non-filers with children who never got their qualifying payment of an extra $500 per child; domestic abuse survivors who don’t have access to the bank account that the check was deposited to and nearly 700,000 widows who never received a payment because their spouse died.

“GAO recommends that Treasury, in coordination with IRS, update and refine the estimate of eligible recipients who have yet to file for an EIP to help target outreach and communications efforts,” the report advised.

CDC's 'inconsistent' guidance to schools

Screen kids. Don't screen them. Shut down if someone tests positive. Don't shut down if it's just one case. Such was the "inconsistent" guidance the CDC has given to schools, according to the GAO report.

"Although the decision to physically reopen schools is primarily a state and local issue, state and local school district officials look to the federal government for leadership and clear guidance including recommendations about how to do so safely. Unclear federal guidance and messaging risks contributing to conflict, confusion, and indecision for schools," the report said.

In one example, the CDC’s guidance didn't recommend that schools conduct daily symptom screening for all K-12 students because some people with COVID-19 are asymptomatic.

However, “contradictory guidance” on the CDC’s website said the exact opposite — it “directed schools to develop a plan to conduct daily health checks (e.g., temperature screening or symptom checking) of staff and students.” Even further adding to the confusion, the report said, a third piece of guidance said schools “should not physically open unless they are able to screen students and employees upon arrival for symptoms …”

The same contradictions existed for guidance on closing down if COVID-19 cases emerge: "CDC guidance on what to do if a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19 is also inconsistent,” the report found.

Some guidance said a single case shouldn't lead to a shut down; other guidance suggested closing down the school for two to five days.

“In its FAQ for School Administrators on Reopening Schools, CDC notes that in most instances, a single case of COVID-19 in a school would not warrant closing the entire school," the report found. "In contrast, in the K-12 Schools and Childcare Programs FAQ for Administrators, Teachers, and Parents, CDC notes that if a student or staff member is confirmed to have COVID-19, ‘you will likely dismiss students and most staff for 2–5 days.’”

At the same time, the White House has “urged that all schools ‘fully reopen’ and suggested that current or future federal funds may be withheld from school districts that do not return to in-person education,” which the GAO found does “not appear to align with a risk- based decision-making approach,” and contradicts Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ “own statements that returning to in-person education is a state and local decision."

The CDC, in response, said “it strives to ensure that all content is consistent and up to date. It noted that updating these documents is an iterative and ongoing process and, as a result, there can be periods of time where some documents are updated and others are not," according to the report.

The report also pointed out that some of the CDC’s guidelines are unachievable because of budgetary constraints. For example, the CDC suggested schools ensure “ventilation systems operate properly and increase circulation of outdoor air as much as possible,” but the GAO found that in June 2020, based on a nationally representative survey of school districts, “we estimated that 36,000 schools were in need of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning updates."

The consequences, the GAO warned, could have a longstanding impact along racial lines.

"Exacerbating the situation, the poorest school districts may be least able to pay for efforts to retrofit and update schools to address COVID-19-related risks. These districts educate about 1.5 million more students than wealthy districts. We also know from our past work that 80 percent of students attending the poorest schools are Black or Hispanic, and that these students already face myriad educational challenges, from less access to coursework that prepares them for college to widespread discipline disparities," the report said.

As a solution, the GAO recommended CDC Director Robert Redfield "should ensure that, as it makes updates to its federal guidance related to reassessing schools’ operating status, the guidance is cogent, clear, and internally consistent."

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Official Whte House Photo by Joyce N. BoghosianBy BILL HUTCHINSON, ABC News

(LOS ANGELES) -- A Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputy who was targeted in an ambush-style shooting this month along with her partner was able to take a phone call from President Donald Trump over the weekend, according to photos released by the law enforcement agency.

The 31-year-old deputy, the mother of a 6-year-old boy, was unable to speak to the president because she was shot in the jaw but did write messages to him that were conveyed to Trump by a sheriff's sergeant who was next to her hospital bed, sheriff's department officials said.

Photos released by the agency show the wounded deputy writing notes that were relayed to Trump. The contents of the notes were not released.

The images show the deputy sitting up in bed with splints on both of her arms. The photos also show the deputy's husband, standing in the room at St. Francis Medical Center in Lynnwood, California, when Trump called.

The president also called the deputy's 24-year-old partner, who was released from the same hospital last week, according to a sheriff's department statement that accompanied the photos posted on Twitter and Facebook.

Trump phoned the deputies on Saturday "to check on their spirits, wish them a speedy recovery and remind them that the #American people are behind them and that the coward that harmed them will be brought to #justice!!” according to the sheriff's department's online post.

A massive search for the gunman went into its 10th day on Monday and a reward for information leading to the capture of the perpetrator has soared to more than $675,000, with donations pouring in from people from across the county, the sheriff's department said.

While some media outlets have published the female deputy's name, a sheriff's spokesperson told ABC News on Monday that the identities of both deputies have not been released by the agency due to security concerns. The sheriff's department released the photos of the female deputy blurred out to protect her identity.

The two deputies were sitting in their patrol vehicle on Sept. 12 outside the Martin Luther King Jr. Transit Center in Compton when the gunman, dressed in dark clothes, approached them and opened fire without warning through the passenger-side window.

The shooting was captured on surveillance video that was released by the sheriff's department and shows the gunman firing multiple shots before running away.

Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva told ABC News last week that despite being shot four or five times, including once in the jaw, the female deputy walked around the patrol vehicle to help her partner, who suffered gunshot wounds to his forehead, arms and a hand.

“She goes around the car, applies a tourniquet to him to stop the bleeding. She gets on the radio and she’s calling for help and she’s having a hard time because she can’t speak very well," Villanueva said.

In a recording of the female deputy's desperate radio call for assistance, she is heard saying, "I've been shot. Send help."

The wounded deputies were rushed to St. Francis Medical Center, both initially in critical condition, and immediately underwent surgery, officials said.

Villanueva said both officers have a long road to recovery ahead of them.

A GoFundMe page established by colleagues of the wounded deputies to raise money to pay for their medical expenses had grown to more than $700,000 on Monday.

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deviousrlm/iStockBy IVAN PEREIRA, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- A New York City subway derailed and saw significant damage Sunday morning after someone allegedly threw debris onto the track, according to investigators and officials.

The northbound "A" train was coming into a stop at the 14th Street station in Manhattan when it struck the debris and its first car scraped four columns, according to New York City Transit Interim President Sarah Feinberg.

"At this time, the cause of the incident appears to be an act of vandalism," she said in a statement.

There were 134 passengers on the train -- no major injuries were reported and the riders were safely evacuated from the train, Feinberg said in a statement. Another train that was behind the derailed cab was stuck in a tunnel and crews were able to get the 125 passengers out safely, according to New York City Transit.

"We have 100 feet of the third rail with damage and we have significant damage to the car itself. In some of the photos, the crash actually struck the steel," Frank Jezycki, the head of subways for NYC Transit, told reporters at a news conference.

WABC-TV reported that witnesses saw a homeless man throwing construction debris onto the tracks. The New York Police Department told ABC News that it was speaking with a person of interest, but as of Sunday afternoon, there were no arrests.

The derailment ruined subway service for thousands of customers for the rest of the day as the station had to be bypassed. Crews worked around the clock to restore power and service to normal.

Feinberg warned commuters to be ready for inconveniences as the workweek began.

"At this time, it is unclear whether express service will be available for the Monday morning rush," she said in a statement.

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sshepard/iStockBy MEREDITH DELISO, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- An increasing number of colleges and universities are canceling spring break six months ahead of time amid concerns about travel during the coronavirus pandemic.

The University of Michigan became one of the latest schools to amend its calendar and scrap the traditional spring break. On Thursday, its Board of Regents approved updated academic calendars across its three campuses that eliminated the spring recess.

In a letter requesting changes to its academic calendar, University of Michigan, Dearborn Chancellor Domenico Grasso said the move would "mitigate the possible risks associated with campus community members who may have traveled during the middle of the semester." Officials for the main campus in Ann Arbor and the Flint campus also noted their revisions were due to "challenges posed by COVID-19."

Michigan joins other Big Ten universities that have canceled spring break next semester, including University of Wisconsin, Madison; Purdue University; Ohio State University and University of Iowa.

Other schools that have taken a similar course include the University of Tennessee, the University of Florida, Baylor University, Texas Christian University, Kansas State University, the University of Kentucky, Iowa State University, the University of Northern Iowa and Carnegie Mellon University.

The calendar revisions come as schools across the country are grappling with COVID-19 outbreaks on campus as they attempt in-person instruction for the fall.

Like Michigan, Kentucky officials cited concerns about travel in its decision this week to eliminate spring break, noting that the "revised calendar creates a condensed semester in which students remain engaged in coursework on campus, rather than potentially traveling to other regions and returning to Lexington, which would increase the risk of spreading COVID-19."

Last week, Kansas State Provost Chuck Taber also pointed to the need to reduce risks by "minimizing mass travel to and from K-State campuses" in its decision to adjust the school's spring academic calendar.

A recent study on COVID-19 spread backs up those concerns. Looking at GPS smartphone data of more than seven million U.S. college students, a June study by Ball State and Vanderbilt found that some spring breakers brought COVID-19 back to their campuses earlier this year.

For Baylor, "preventing COVID-19 outbreaks like we saw across the country last spring" was a priority, Provost Nancy Brickhouse said in a message to students this week on the school's decision to not take spring break.

In place of a spring break, some schools, including Carnegie Mellon and Purdue, are adding several "break days" or "reading days" throughout the spring semester to give students and faculty a respite.

The spring calendar revisions follow a similar playbook for the fall, where many schools have condensed the semester -- including canceling planned fall breaks -- to limit the amount of time students would spend on campus during the pandemic.

In several cases, the days allotted for spring break have been tacked on to the winter recess. As medical experts anticipate a "twindemic" of flu and COVID-19, delaying the start of the spring semester may pose another advantage. In a Sept. 10 letter to students, Carnegie Mellon Provost Jim Garrett said the school decided to delay the spring semester "to reduce the number of weeks we are in session during flu season," since "the COVID-19 pandemic will likely continue through the winter months."

During a coronavirus briefing earlier this week, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers said he supported UW-Madison's decision to proactively cancel spring break now, noting the risks posed by students traveling to and from campus. He also brought up the potential timeline of a vaccine, which experts are anticipating the broader public likely would see pop up at pharmacies and in doctor's offices closer to mid-year.

"In order for our country to vaccinate 300 million people, it's not going to happen overnight," Evers said. UW-Madison's decision was a "wise step on their part."

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milehightraveler/iStockBY: LEIGHTON SCHNEIDER, ABC NEWS

(NEW YORK) -- The United States experienced historic natural disasters last week, with unprecedented wildfires torching the West and the Atlantic hurricane season setting a record for the number of named storms at this point of the year.

Officials in California and the Pacific Northwest, as well as scientists, pointed to these natural disasters as hard evidence that climate change is a global threat and scientific reality impacting American communities.

Last Monday, President Trump pointed to forest mismanagement as one reason behind the fires and expressed skepticism about climate change at a press briefing after Wade Crawfoot, California's state secretary for natural resources, said people need to follow the science.

“It'll start getting cooler, you just watch,” said the President

“I wish science agreed with you,” Crawfoot replied.

“I don’t think science knows actually,” responded President Trump.

ABC meterologist Melissa Griffin tells ABC's Perspective Podcast that the President is correct in saying that the weather will start getting cooler, but only because of the changing season's.

“Winter will cool down and fire season 2020 comes to an end, and that's it. But then what about fire season 2021? When it does cool down, we seem to forget that [the next] fire season will be around the corner again and what's to say that the next fire season isn't going to be worse? That's the weather aspect, but when it comes to climate, nothing is cooling down. All of the scientific research, when it comes to our warming climate, just has these graphs going up,” said Griffin.  



Climate change is warming the surface of the Earth at a faster rate then ever before and it is leading to fire friendly conditions, but how forests are managed also impacts fires. 

Forest management, according to Griffin, is the administration of forests and it includes "the scientific and technical aspects of managing a forest" and it does play a role in wild fires.

"It's pretty much forest regulation. For example, if you have a dead tree that falls in one of the forests out West forest management is the one that are in charge of removing it so it's not a danger to anything else. And if it does fall and it is dead, it is going to dry up even rapidly. And that's going to be an issue when it comes to these wildfires," said Griffin.  

She says the combination of forest management and climate change are leading to bigger fires.

“Management policies have created tinderboxes and that's because they're not removing these dead trees and dead brush fast enough in a forest. Climate change has only made it more likely that these tinder boxes, that forest management is creating, will explode into massive fires and they will spread, and grow faster and bigger than what we've ever seen before,” Griffin said.

Wildfires are not just burning in forests far from populated regions. They are also happening around cities like Los Angeles or San Francisco, which Griffin says is a sign that climate change, and not just forest management, is having an impact on fires.

"We're talking about neighborhoods. We're talking about building areas. It's more populated regions and that does have to do with climate change. Anywhere can see these massive fires grow, especially out west. The entire world is warming at an alarming rate, but the Pacific Coast they've seen some of the most dramatic temperature increases,” said Griffin.

The worst case for scenario for Griffin is humans don't do anything to stop or slow climate change.

"If we don't do anything this just continues to exasperated itself each and every year. We keep seeing the climate, the global temperatures and the global ocean waters continue to rise. That is what we're really trying to avoid here, because the more that happens, the more we're going to see glaciers melting. We're going to see things that we have never seen in our lifetime before. It's almost a question mark. Who knows what's going to happen if this continues,” said Griffin. 

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Prude FamilyBY MEREDITH DELISO AND JULIA JACOBO, ABC News

(ROCHESTER, N.Y.) -- An independent investigation into the government handling of the death of Daniel Prude moved forward on Friday when the Rochester City Council authorized the power to subpoena several city departments, including Mayor Lovely Warren's office and the Rochester Police Department.

The City Council voted 8-0 during a special virtual meeting Friday morning to authorize the subpoenas, which support an "independent investigation into the internal communications, processes and procedures that took place related to the death of Daniel Prude" and grants authority to "investigate all city departments including the right to review records and papers" and issue subpoenas.

City Council President Loretta Scott said the investigation would start with the first 911 phone call placed on March 23 regarding Prude, 41, a Black man who died a week after being restrained by Rochester police during a mental health emergency.

Andrew G. Celli Jr., an attorney with the New York law firm Emery Celli Brinckerhoff Abady Ward & Maazel LLP, will lead the independent investigation, which the City Council approved on Tuesday.

"[Rochester] is a community that's asking hard questions and it's a community that deserves clear answers," Celli said during a media briefing Friday after the City Council's vote. "And that's what I'm committed to do."

The investigation will look to determine "who knew what when" in the death of Prude, Celli said. "There's really one question here, and that is: Was there a cover-up? That's a blunt way to put it, but that's the question we are seeking to answer."

The team plans to gather sworn testimony from witnesses, emails, text messages, memos and other documents as it seeks to determine a timeline of events, examine how city departments communicated with each other behind closed doors, and what city officials said publicly, versus what they knew at the time, Celli said.

Celli acknowledged that some of these documents have already been released in a 300-plus-page report commissioned by Rochester Deputy Mayor James Smith, which includes police reports and emails.

"We're going to go much deeper than the deputy mayor did, and we're going to get to the bottom of this," Celli said.

His team plans to issue subpoenas to four Rochester agencies -- the mayor's office, the police department, the law department and the City Council -- by Monday, Celli said. They haven't decided whose testimony they will take, though Celli said that the mayor is under consideration.

The investigation should take about three months, at which point they will release their report to the public, including transcriptions of collected testimonies, Celli said.

The intragovernmental study is one of several investigations stemming from Prude's death, including one from his family, who has alleged an internal cover-up in a federal lawsuit against the city. The state attorney general's office also has moved to empanel a grand jury, which would determine whether criminal charges should be brought in the case, as part of its investigation.

On Monday, Warren announced she would enact several reviews from the deputy mayor's report. She has called for the City Office of Public Integrity to initiate a thorough investigation to determine if any employees, including herself, violated city policies or ethical standards, and she called on the U.S. attorney general to investigate whether Prude's civil rights were violated.

Earlier this month, police body camera footage was released showing the incident between the officers and Prude. In the video, officers are seen pinning Prude to the ground while a spit bag is on his head, and he eventually appears to go unconscious. Prude died a week later. The Monroe County medical examiner listed his death as a homicide caused by "complications of asphyxia in the setting of physical restraint."

Seven officers involved in the incident have been suspended as the state attorney general conducts her investigation. On Monday, Warren also fired Rochester Police Chief La'Ron Singletary, two weeks before he was set to retire, amid shakeups in the department.

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Kali9/iStockBy WILLIAM MANSELL, ABC News

(ROCHESTER, N.Y.) -- There are two people dead and at least 14 others injured following a mass shooting at a backyard party in Rochester, New York, overnight, according to the Rochester Police Department.

The shooting took place on Pennsylvania Avenue around 12:25 a.m. ET, according to authorities. Police say several dozen rounds were fired.

This is "truly a tragedy of epic proportions," Rochester interim Police Chief Mark Simmons said during a press conference early Saturday morning. "Sixteen victims is unheard of."

One deceased victim is a female aged 18-22 and the other is a male, also aged 18-22. The 14 surviving victims were taken to two local hospitals. Simmons said none of the other victims have suffered life-threatening injuries.

Police have not released the names of the victims and have not identified a suspect.

Officers, Simmons said, are still interviewing witnesses to get more information about how the shooting started and learn more about the suspect or suspects.

A witness told ABC News affiliate in Rochester WHAM that the gunfire sounded "like the Vietnam War."

When police arrived at the scene, Simmons said officers saw 100 people running to and from the location. Two people fleeing the scene were also injured. Up until the 911 call came in for the shooting, there were no calls to complain about the large gathering, he said.

"This tragic act of violence has impacted many people's lives and families," Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren said in a statement provided to WHAM Saturday. "I'm begging everyone to remain calm and exercise deep restraint as RPD investigates what happened here and seeks those responsible."

The city of Rochester has been on edge recently with nightly protests following the release of footage that showed the death of 41-year-old Daniel Prude in police custody.

In the video, officers are seen pinning Prude to the ground while a spit bag is on his head, and he eventually appears to go unconscious. Prude died a week later. The Monroe County medical examiner listed his death as a homicide caused by "complications of asphyxia in the setting of physical restraint."

Warren fired Police Chief La'Ron Singletary on Monday.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

ABC News' Meredith Deliso and Ivan Pereira contributed to this report.

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imagedepotpro/iStockBy DANIEL MANZO and EMILY SHAPIRO, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- Tropical Storm Beta is moving northwest at a very slow 3 mph and may make landfall in Texas Monday night.

The storm is then forecast to travel parallel to the coast Tuesday, Wednesday and into Thursday, creating a long, significant rainfall event for southeast Texas.

The current rainfall forecast shows there could be over 10 inches of rain in spots along the eastern coastline of Texas.

Torrential rainfall from Beta could also result in a storm surge of 2 to 4 feet from Port Mansfield, Texas, to High Island, Texas.

There's still lots of room for error in the forecast track as well as impacts from the storm.

Just like Sally -- which made landfall as a Category 2 hurricane in Alabama on Wednesday -- the precise intensity and landfall location is somewhat irrelevant because the greatest impacts will extend from that location and that time.

And like Sally, Beta could prove how slow-moving storms are especially dangerous.

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Narvikk/iStockBy ERIN SCHUMAKER, ABC News

(MADISON, Wisc.) -- Wisconsin broke its own single-day record for novel coronavirus cases on Friday, reporting 2,533 new infections and surpassing the single-day record of 2,034 cases it logged a day prior, according to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

In addition to rising case counts, the state's seven-day average for positive COVID-19 tests reached 15.3% on Friday.

A high positivity rate can be a sign that a state is only testing its sickest patients and failing to cast a net wide enough to accurately capture community transmission, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The World Health Organization recommends that governments get their positivity testing threshold below 5%.

New infections over the last month are being driven by people between the ages of 18 and 24, according to health department data.

During a press call on Thursday, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said he was "very concerned" about the rising cases among young people.

"I think it's pretty clear that it's the college campuses that are driving this, more than anything," Barrett said. "There really has to be a redoubling of efforts to make sure that college students are taking this seriously, because it clearly is having an impact right now."

Experts consider deaths from COVID-19 to be a lagging indictor of the outbreak's severity, meaning that since deaths trail rising infections, positivity rates and hospitalizations, deaths typically reflect long-term trends, not in-the-moment severity.

As of Friday, 1,238 people in Wisconsin had died of the virus, according to the health department.

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