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narvikk/iStockBy WILLIAM MANSELL and EMILY SHAPIRO, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- (NEW YORK) -- A pandemic of the novel coronavirus has now killed more than 716,000 people worldwide.

More than 19.1 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 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.

The United States is the worst-affected country around the world, with more than 4.8 million diagnosed cases and at least 160,255 deaths.

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

11:40 a.m.: All New York school districts can open, Cuomo says

In New York state, which was once the U.S. epicenter of the pandemic, all school districts can open for the fall based on the infection rate, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on a conference call Friday.

"Every region is well below our COVID infection limit," Cuomo tweeted. "If the infection rate spikes, the guidance will change accordingly."

Each of the 749 school districts must have a reopening plan approved by the state's Department of Health, the governor said. So far, 127 districts have not submitted plans to the department of health.

Each district should also post a remote learning plan and a plan for testing, he said.

11:20 a.m.: Florida has 4 counties with no ICU beds

Hard-hit Florida has 47 hospitals with no available intensive care unit beds, according to the state's Agency for Healthcare Administration.

Four counties -- Bay, Monroe, Nassau and Putnam -- had no open ICU beds as of Friday morning, the agency said.

Thirty-one hospitals in the state had just one available ICU bed.

These numbers are expected to fluctuate throughout the day as hospitals and medical centers provide updates.

Florida has over 518,000 coronavirus cases, according to state Department of Health data. Florida has the second-highest number of cases in the country behind California.

9 a.m.: Entire high school football team quarantined in Alabama

The entire football team at Alabama's Oneonta High School is under quarantine due to coronavirus cases, ABC Birmingham affiliate WBMA-TV reported.

Practice will resume on Aug. 18 and the team's first game is set for Aug. 21, WBMA reported.

Oneonta High School's school year has been delayed to start on Aug. 18 after an emergency school board meeting vote on Thursday, the school said.

Classes will have a hybrid in-person/remote learning schedule. Some students have registered for full-time remote learning, the high school said.

7:38 a.m.: CDC says up to 190,000 dead by end of August

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its COVID-19 death projections, saying the coronavirus death toll could reach 190,000 by the end of August. The government’s ensemble forecast predicts “deaths may decrease,” but another 15,000 to 30,000 more Americans may die from COVID-19 over the next 23 days.

This week’s national ensemble forecast predicts that weekly reports of new COVID-19 deaths may decrease over the next four weeks, with 4,500 to 10,600 new deaths reported during the week ending Aug. 29. Its forecast predicts that 175,000 to 190,000 total COVID-19 deaths will be reported by that date.

State-level forecasts, according to the CDC, predict that the number of reported new deaths per week may increase over the next four weeks in Hawaii and Puerto Rico and may decrease in Florida, Mississippi, New Mexico, the Northern Mariana Islands, Ohio, Texas, Vermont and the Virgin Islands.

The COVID Tracking Project reported that for the first time since early March, the number of people tested for COVID-19 is down. This week’s tests were 9.1% lower than last week’s national peak of 5.7 million tests.

New cases of COVID-19 were also down this week by 10.4% , according to the COVID Tracking Project.

5:20 a.m.: US weekly COVID-19 cases, deaths down

Another day, another grim milestone for the U.S. as the coronavirus pandemic continues across the globe. Overnight, the U.S. surpassed 160,000 deaths, bringing its total to at least 160,104 as of 4:30 a.m., according to Johns Hopkins. The U.S. crossed 150,000 deaths last week.

In good news, however, an internal Federal Emergency Management Agency memo obtained by ABC News shows that the U.S. is slightly coming down from its recent national surge. New cases and deaths in the last week have both decreased in week-over-week comparisons. At least 396,559 new cases were confirmed during the period of July 29 and Aug. 5, which is a 12.6% decrease from the previous seven-day period.

There were 7,348 deaths recorded in the same time frame, marking a 2.4% decrease in new deaths compared with the previous week.

The national test-positivity rate is also going down. In the last seven days, the rate was 7.5%, which is down from 8.6% from the previous week.

Only two states and territories, according to the FEMA memo, are in an upward trajectory of new cases, while eight are at a plateau and 46 states and territories are going down.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



Glynn County Sheriff's OfficeBy EMILY SHAPIRO, ABC News

(COBB COUNTY, Ga.) -- The white father and son accused of killing Ahmaud Arbery, who was Black and was jogging down a Georgia street, are looking to have bond set and two charges dropped, according to new court documents.

Attorneys for the son, Travis McMichael, 34, called him an "excellent candidate for low bond."

He was never charged with a crime until this case, according to court documents filed Thursday.

Travis McMichael has a 3-year-old son who lived with him every other week until his arrest, the documents said.

"Travis is an extremely devoted father who dotes" on his son, the defense attorneys wrote.

Travis McMichael has lived all of his life in the Brunswick, Georgia, area and was living with his parents at the time of his arrest, the documents said.

His attorneys said he isn't a flight risk because he doesn't have a passport "and most importantly, his family, including his parents and three-year-old son are here in Georgia," the documents said.

Travis McMichael's father and fellow defendant, former police officer Gregory McMichael, also "meets the conditions for pretrial release on reasonable bond," his attorneys said in documents filed Thursday.

Gregory McMichael's attorneys asked the court to set a hearing within 20 days.

Gregory and Travis McMichael were arrested in May and face charges of malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault, false imprisonment and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment

A third suspect, neighbor William "Roddie" Bryan, faces the same charges as the McMichaels. Bryan's bail was denied last month.

All three have pleaded not guilty.

Arbery was on a jog in Brunswick when he was shot and killed on Feb. 23. Prosecutors claim that 25-year-old Arbery tried to run for his life before he was struck by a car, gunned down and then called a racial slur by one of the suspects.

The three arrested told police they thought Arbery was a suspect in a series of break-ins. They were charged after video showing the deadly struggle appeared online.

The McMichaels and Bryan also want the charges of malice murder and criminal attempt to commit a felony dropped.

The malice murder count "charges two crimes in one count, making it duplicitous," the McMichaels' attorneys claimed. "It does so by trading on vague and uncertain allegation regarding 'unlawfully chasing' in pickup trucks, which inserts an unspecified separate crime from malice murder, namely, 'unlawfully chasing [Ahmaud Arbery] through the public roadways.'"

The McMichael's attorneys argued that the criminal attempt to commit a felony count is also duplicitous because the count "alleges both a completed crime -- 'unlawfully chase Ahmaud Arbery in pickup trucks' and an attempted crime 'attempt to confine and detain Ahmaud Arbery without legal authority on Burford Road using Ford F150 pickup truck and Chevy Silverado pickup truck.'"

Bryan's attorney filed a motion Thursday looking to adopt the claims made by the McMichael's attorneys to also get those two charges dropped.

ABC News has reached out to the Cobb County District Attorney's office for comment.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



ABC NewsBy DANIEL MANZO, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- Another round of summer storms is getting ready to impact parts of the eastern U.S. Friday as more than one million people are still without power in the region.

This comes after a week that saw Tropical Storm Isaias hit the East Coast, downing thousands of trees and causing widespread wind damage, especially from North Carolina to Connecticut.

Some summer storms caused some flash flooding in parts of Virginia overnight. Those came after storms brought some damaging wind gusts from the Carolinas to New Jersey on Thursday.

Flash flood watches are in effect from Virginia to New Jersey Friday. This alert includes Washington, D.C., Baltimore and Philadelphia.

The total forecasted rainfall is 1-2 inches, which ordinarily is not incredibly significant, but given the ground is extremely saturated from Isaias, flash flooding can occur rather quickly.

High-resolution forecast models are showing several rounds of storms affecting the region Friday and into early Saturday. Some of these storms could have gusty winds, but the main threat will be flash flooding.

Meanwhile in the West, there is still a fire danger threat this weekend.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



franckreporter/iStockBy WILLIAM MANSELL, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- Large portions of Manhattan in New York City were without power Friday morning as at least 1.3 million people are still without power along the East Coast after Isaias wreaked havoc on the region earlier this week.

Con Edison, the city's main power company, said there are at least 123,808 customers without power, including those who had previously lost power as a result of the storm, as of 6:30 a.m. Friday.

The new power outages in New York City Friday, according to Con Ed's outage map, were in the Upper West Side, Harlem and Upper East Side neighborhoods.

ConEd, in a statement to ABC News, said the supply has been restored to those areas.

"We are investigating a problem on our transmission system that caused three networks in Manhattan to lose their electric supply at about 5:13 this morning," ConEd said in a statement.

A live camera from ABC News New York City station WABC-TV showed a large section of the Upper West Side completely dark. A station camera also showed the electricity out in the Upper East Side.

Subways in the city are also being impacted because of the Manhattan power outage, according to the Metropolitan Transit Authority.

Lines impacted, according to the MTA, include the A, B, C, D, 1,2,3, E, F, N, Q, and R trains.

"Expect delays as we are getting reports of power outages in some parts of uptown Manhattan," the MTA tweeted. "This is also affecting stations and third-rail power."

Thousands have been without power in the city this week as a result of Isaias.

"We realize it is incredibly frustrating to be without power and that is why we are working around the clock to get customers back in service," Robert Schimmenti, Con Edison's senior vice president, Electric Operations, said in a statement Thursday. "We have additional mutual aid and contractor workers arriving each day to help us restore service safely. We assure our customers that our crews will remain on the job 24-7 until everyone has their power back."

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



UnCruise Adventures CEO Captain Dan Blanchard. (ABC News)By AMANDA MAILE and MINA KAJI, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- One of the first U.S. cruises to resume sailing amid the novel coronavirus pandemic was cut short after a passenger tested positive for COVID-19.

The 63 passengers and crew aboard the UnCruise Adventures' ship were just three days into their Alaskan vacation when they were informed Wednesday the guest had tested positive and they would have to return to port.

"This was the guest's second test following a negative test result," UnCruise Adventures said in a statement. "The guest is showing no symptoms and no other guests or crew are showing outward symptoms of any kind."

UnCruise Adventures was able to circumvent the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention no-sail order because its ships carry less than 250 people.

"Social distancing was actually a reality aboard our boat," UnCruise Adventures CEO Captain Dan Blanchard told ABC News, "as well as all the standard things you would think of masks, no buffets, plated meals, separated tables. So we felt, and still do feel, that the actual vessel itself and the way that our trips run, provide a very low opportunity for transmission."

The cruise line has now decided to suspend all future 2020 Alaska departures as the entire industry struggles with how to weather the coronavirus crisis.

"It has affected our life immensely," Blanchard said. "This year we'll have about 2% of our normal revenue and -- and that's devastating."

The CDC's no sail-order expires at the end of September, but major U.S. cruise lines have voluntarily suspended operations until at least the end of October.

"This has been a bit of a come to Jesus moment," Blanchard said, "about how easily even with proper testing, somebody got on board."

Blanchard hopes they can start operations again in the winter in Hawaii, but acknowledged the situation is still very fluid.

"We've been really lobbying Congress for rapid testing," Blanchard said. "That would change the game and would allow sailing before an absolute vaccine."

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



deepblue4you/iStockBy ANDY FIES, ABC News

(STURGIS, S.D.) -- Despite concerns about large gatherings during the COVID-19 pandemic, as many as 250,000 motorcycle enthusiasts from around the country are expected to roll into western South Dakota for the 80th annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally beginning Friday and lasting 10 days.

Such a crowd would make it the largest event in the country to take place during the pandemic.

In a survey by the city in May, 60% of Sturgis residents said they preferred to cancel the event. But local business owners who rely on this once-a-year gathering for a huge percentage of their revenues, combined with a realization by city managers that the bikers were going to come to the area no matter what, prompted the city council to sanction the rally.

"The city fathers here wouldn't cancel this rally if it were the middle of World War 7," said Brent Bertlson, who has a home in Sturgis and will be attending his 26th rally this year. He said that "the money the city takes in is a number that Ripley wouldn't believe."

He's not wrong. Sales tax revenue from the rally brought Sturgis, a town of 7,000 people, $26 million last year, according to City Manager Daniel Ainslie.

The event generated $655 million in 2019 across South Dakota, because many of the visitors spend time and money throughout the state as they travel to the rally, and often buy big-ticket items like motorcycles and motor homes while there.

"That's a lot of money for a small state," said Ainslie.

Rod Woodruff, owner of the Buffalo Chip, a campground and concert venue just outside the city where thousands of bikers will stay, explained how critical the rally can be.

"We spend the whole year getting ready to host the motorcycle rally and music festival," he said. "And without it, we wouldn't have a business."

But even though the rally is going ahead, Ainslie noted the city is concerned about COVID-19. It has taken measures both to shrink the event, which normally draws close to 500,000 people, and to mitigate the potential for the virus to spread. It eliminated advertising and canceled parades, events and contests.

During the 10 days, any Sturgis resident who does not want to venture into the crowd can call upon city volunteers to have them shop for and deliver food and other necessities. In the week after the rally, the city will offer mass testing to any resident who interacted with the visitors.

Woodruff said he and other business owners have also taken precautions prompted by the pandemic.

"We will have hand sanitizer everywhere," Woodruff said. "All our food will be takeout. We have signs everywhere reminding people to keep 6 feet apart."

But the Buffalo Chip is not mandating masks. And those familiar with the rally say mask-wearing and social distancing will not be common.

"Those who attend are mavericks," said Joel Heitkamp, a frequent Sturgis attendee. "This is the rebel crowd and they think they are cool because they don't do what society tells them to do."

This attitude might seem fitting in South Dakota, a state that never imposed a lockdown.

"South Dakota is fairly conservative, very independent," said Christine Paige Diers, the former director of the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum. "The same could be said for the motorcyclists. They're an independent lot. They don't want you telling them what you can and can't do."

The age of the motorcyclists is a factor that is both concerning and possibly reassuring. Most of those in attendance are an older demographic -- and more at risk for serious complications from the virus.

"It's not a young person's sport anymore," said Heitkamp. Only half-joking, this rally veteran added, "I'm 58 and if I went this year, I'd be among the youngest people there."

But while an older crowd may be more vulnerable to the disease, Woodruff believes their better judgment will balance those risks.

"This is not a college kid crowd. These are mature people, accustomed to having made their own decisions about how to live their lives," he said. "They know what is necessary to calculate and minimize the risks of catching a COVID virus."

Another factor that may minimize the potential spread of the disease is the spread of the land around Sturgis. The hundreds of thousands that come to the rally will not all be in one place. Bertlson pointed out that "the vast majority of people coming here are camping, staying in tents, campers or motor homes. They are all spread out over the Black Hills. And a vast majority of events happen outside."

But in the town itself, Paige Diers painted a troubling picture: "Main Street will be packed with people. Crowds walking up and down the sidewalk, checking out the vendors, looking at the motorcycles. So social distancing would be extremely difficult."

Sturgis itself has not been hit hard by the virus. The city is in Meade County, which has had only one death so far. But this huge gathering comes in a state that had severe outbreaks in meatpacking plants early in the pandemic and that even now is renewing concerns among health officials. According to an internal Federal Emergency Management Agency memo obtained by ABC News, cases are on the rise in the Sioux Falls area with 298 new cases reported in the week ending Aug. 2, a 22.2% increase from the week before.

"You're just adding fuel to a fire," said Dr. John Brownstein, an epidemiologist and ABC News Medical Contributor. "South Dakota is already experiencing increases in transmission. COVID is not under control in South Dakota; it's just not."

He is worried that gatherings like this, with visitors from different locations, have brought infections back to other communities during the pandemic and Sturgis being located in a rural part of the state should be of no comfort. The rally, said Brownstein, could put a huge strain on an area that "does not have the capacity to handle a surge in cases, hospitalizations and deaths."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a statement to ABC News about the rally, "Large gatherings make it difficult to maintain CDC's recommended social distancing guidelines, which may put attendees at risk of exposure to SARS-CoV-2. Any identification of cases following a large gathering would not likely be confirmed until 2-3 weeks after the event."

For Bertlson, such concerns are overblown.

"I think people will be cautious," he said. "But rational people informed of the facts are not that scared of this COVID."

He called Sturgis "a freedom rally," adding, "Bikers are big believers in freedom. I've heard from people tired of being locked down and being told what they can and can't do. A lot of these people are saying, 'I'm going to Sturgis.'"

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



Phototreat/iStockBy QUINN OWEN and KIARA BRANTLEY-JONES, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- The number of unauthorized crossing attempts by migrants at the southern border increased in July when President Donald Trump's administration used a controversial public health order to rapidly send them back, citing COVID-19 concerns, according to data released by Customs and Border Protection Thursday.

Last month, border agents conducted more than 35,000 rapid returns or "expulsions" of unauthorized migrants under the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's direction.

Since the CDC order was first issued in March, immigration agents have used it more than 105,000 times.  

"We're trying to remove them as fast as we can to not put them in our congregate settings, to not put them into our system, to not have them remain in the United States for a long period of time, therefore increasing the exposure risk of everybody they come in contact with to include the work force of all those different entities that would be impacted," Mark Morgan, the acting CBP commissioner, told reporters Thursday.

Morgan said more than 90% of people subjected to the order were removed within two hours of their arrest by CBP. Others that qualified under the Convention Against Torture guidelines were referred to agents in citizenship and immigration services for humanitarian review. 

Asked about plans to eventually end or scale back the order, Morgan deferred to the CDC.

"They will be the ones that make the decision ultimately from a public health perspective," Morgan said.

This week, government lawyers defended ICE's use of private hotels to hold minors before they're sent back under the order, after ICE was accused of violating a decades-old court agreement that sets requirements for immigrant minors in custody.

"DHS's use of hotels to house minors pending their expulsion pursuant to the Title 42 process comports with CDC's general guidance to detention facilities, which state that the ideal quarantine conditions are individual rooms with solid walls and a closed door," the government said in a Tuesday court filing, citing Title 42, the United States Code dealing with public health, social welfare and civil rights which CBP says grants them the authority to quickly send migrants back across the border without a hearing in immigration court.

Asked why the minors can't be housed at the Office of Refugee Resettlement while following social distancing measures -- the federal agency that typically houses unaccompanied minors and connects them with family or sponsors -- Morgan said the risk to public health is too great.

"If we introduce these individuals to ORR, we're defeating the entire purpose of Title 42," Morgan said. "We're still introducing these individuals into our system throughout and creating a greater exposure risk to the American people."

More than 180 immigrant advocacy organizations and human rights groups -- including Americans for Immigrant Justice, Center for Justice and International Law, Columbia Law School Immigrants' Rights Clinic and Freedom Network USA -- wrote to Chad Wolf, the acting secretary of Homeland Security, in April, urging him to end the practice.

"The Trump Administration has proposed to expand the national security bar for asylum to include certain infectious diseases as a national security threat. During this time of pandemic, it would bar asylum seekers from countries where COVID-19 is prevalent," Immigrant Legal Center tweeted Thursday.

The Uncage Reunite Families Coalition held a press conference Thursday morning to call on Arizona's congressional delegation to investigate the detention of unaccompanied minors at a Hampton Inn hotel in Phoenix. 

Rep. Raquel Teran, D-Ariz., spoke at the presser and strongly criticized the Trump administration for its ill treatment of undocumented immigrant children. Teran cited major issues including the pandemic, systemic racism and the detainment of undocumented children, saying it all shows that the current administration is "[willing] to sacrifice children to further a heartless political agenda."

Eddie Chavez Calderon, the campaign organizer for Arizona Jews for Justice, spoke at the presser and called for advocacy groups to help migrant children, saying that action can be taken without government assistance. He also demanded that no children be deported by themselves. 

"There is no moral high ground on this to counter," said Calderon. "This is simply an ugly smudge on who we are right now... this is about revolution both morally and communal."

Members of the URFC called the detainment a violation of basic human rights and the law, alleging that taxpayer dollars are being used to keep the children detained in hotels without taxpayers knowing the full extent of how their money is being spent.

The presser ended with a message asking citizens to call the House of Representatives to demand answers about the whereabouts of undocumented migrant children that have been deported and full reports about the conditions of the hotels where the children stayed.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



EMPPhotography/iStockBy KARMA ALLEN, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves has ordered some residents to wear masks, bowing to political pressure as COVID-19 infection rates continue to shatter records in the state which saw 1,775 new cases in a single day.

Reeves made the announcement on Tuesday as the coronavirus infection rate shot up to 23.3%, pushing the state one step closer to becoming the nation's next COVID-19 hot spot.

Doctors administered about 1.7 tests per 1,000 people over the past week, the highest in the country, according to hospital trade publication Becker's Hospital Review.

Reeves had previously resisted the idea of making mask use a requirement in the state, but he partly changed his mind Tuesday, when he issued an order requiring masks at public gatherings statewide for two weeks, in a push to allow schools to safely reopen. The state now ranks second in new cases per million people, behind Florida.

At least 33 states, along with Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico, have orders in place that require people to wear face coverings in public. Health officials say it helps curb the spread of the deadly virus, but many states, including Mississippi and neighboring Tennessee, have refused to do so.

Mississippi residents still aren't mandated to wear masks while in public, but the governor said "wearing a mask is critical" if the state wants to move forward with its plan to reopen schools.

"We have got to be prepared to change -- this is what we are doing for the initial reopening of our schools," Reeves said Tuesday. "We have to balance the very real risk of the virus and the lifelong damage from school closures."

State crisis by the numbers

The Mississippi State Department of Health reported 956 new cases and 21 new deaths Wednesday. The state reported as many as 1,775 new infections in a day last week.

As of Wednesday, the state had at least 64,400 cases, more than double what it had last month (30,900).

State officials are also investigating a large ongoing outbreak within the state's legislative body.

Last month, about 870 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 in Mississippi, compared to nearly 1,120 on Tuesday. Even worse, the state reported 52 new deaths on July 31, a record high and nearly three times as much as the number of new daily deaths reported a month ago, according to state data.

With many school districts returning to school this week, the governor noted that older students might be more likely to get infected and spread the virus. Because of that, he ordered eight "hot spots" to delay reopening schools for grades seven to 12. Experts say that while research is ongoing about children and COVID-19, limited scientific studies indicate that older children are more likely to transmit the virus than younger children.

Dr. LouAnn Woodward, vice chancellor of the University of Mississippi Medical Center, confirmed on Wednesday that the hospital is lacking 14 ICU beds because there's been so many COVID-19 patients in need of intensive care. She said those patients are still being treated as ICU patients, but in other parts of the hospital.

The hospital is on track to lose between $60 million and $100 million for the fiscal year, Woodward said, citing the ongoing pandemic.

Protecting the state's most vulnerable

Several health experts have sounded the alarm on Mississippi as well as neighboring Alabama, saying particular counties could be on track to become new U.S. hot spots based on their population demographics.

Mississippi has a large Black population with high poverty levels. Poor and underprivileged populations, especially those of color, are particularly vulnerable to suffering from the novel coronavirus due to their lower access to quality care.

Black people made up about 50% of COVID-19 cases and deaths in the state, with Black women being the majority.

As of Monday, Black women accounted for nearly 13,300 of Mississippi's infections, with white women making up about 8,100, according to state data. Black men, on the other hand, accounted for about 7,860 of overall infections, compared to 6,848 for white men.

Dr. Olubukola Nafiu, director of pediatric anesthesia research at Michigan State University, said people color, especially those living in poverty, are more likely to experience lower quality of care. That makes them more prone to experience complications when battling illnesses like the novel coronavirus, he said.

"In the past, many medical professionals have explained that African Americans tend to be sicker than their white peers, in general, but that's not always true," Nafiu told ABC News. "I believe if we targeted preventive measures towards the most vulnerable populations, then we will have a substantial effect on reducing mortality rates, across the board, within the African American population."

Overall, more than 19 million people across the globe have been diagnosed with COVID-19, 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. America has become the worst-affected country, with more than 4.8 million diagnosed cases and at least 160,104 deaths.

COVID-19 legislation

Medical experts have pointed to the number of legislative failures when explaining the trends behind the increase in infections.

The first is when states fail to reimplement social distancing restrictions or statewide mask mandates, according to researchers with Boston University who called the lack of restrictions in states like Mississippi concerning among public health experts.

Reeves has now implemented mask orders for hot spot counties -- including Boliver, Coahoma, Forrest, George, Hines, Panola, Sunflower and Washington -- and urged residents to avoid large social gatherings. He also warned that he might close down bars statewide if the virus continues to surge.

"There are a handful of counties that certainly reach that threshold of being hot spots," Reeves said Tuesday. "For this standard, we are mandating a delay [opening schools] in counties with more than an absolute number of 200 cases and 500 per 100,000 residents in the last two weeks. We must pump the brakes in hardest hit areas."

His administration pushed forward with opening schools this month, but school districts have already reported that students tested positive for the coronavirus upon returning to in-person classes. Medical experts said they expect that will continue to be the case if there is no strict public guidance.

So far, the main guidance has been for residents to avoid large gatherings and only leave home for work, school or other essential activities.

"Don't go to funerals, don't go to weddings, don't have large gatherings at your house with 30 to 40 people to cook out," Reeves said. "Only do what you have to do -- go to work and go to school if your school chooses."

When asked how he plans to keep students safe while returning to school, the governor said: "In my opinion, the best way to accomplish that is to provide guidelines by local school leaders to tailor them and step in with the authority of state movement if and when and where it is absolutely necessary."

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



deepblue4you/iStockBy ERIC NOLL and HALEY YAMADA, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- Man and man's best friend have been reunited after the Apple Fire in California.

Greg Skeens thought he had seen the last of his Blue Heeler, Buck, when the dog took off running into hills as firefighters arrived to battle the flames surrounding Skeens' home.

"It was one big, orange flame all the way around the house ... and I thought we were gonna die," Skeens told local reporters.

Buck fled and was "chasing a coyote three times his size ... I thought he was gone," Skeens added.

The Apple Fire burned more than 28,000 acres outside of Los Angeles in just five days. As thousands of firefighters continue to combat the flames to save residents and homes, a few Orange County firefighters spotted a dog, lost and alone.

It turned out to be Buck.

The firefighters, who had spotted the dog farther out into the fire line, carried him to safety and handed him over to local authorities.

Days later, an animal control worker ran into Skeens and listened to his story about losing Buck. The worker put two and two together and was able to reunite the pair.

Just three days after Skeen thought he had lost Buck forever, they were reunited in a heartwarming moment.

Buck is now safe and sound at home, and, the Orange County Fire Department told local reporters, those who rescued him are back out on the front lines.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



Ovidiu Dugulan/iStockBy MORGAN WINSOR, EMILY SHAPIRO and MEREDITH DELISO, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- A pandemic of the novel coronavirus has now killed more than 712,000 people worldwide.

Over 19 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 4.8 million diagnosed cases and at least 160,090 deaths.

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

10:15 p.m.: Worldwide case total crosses 19 million

The world hit the grim milestone of 19 million cases late Thursday.

The time between each million case has whittled down with each milestone. Cases crossed 18 million just four days ago.

The total crossed 10 million on June 28 and 15 million on July 22. Diagnosed cases hit one million on April 2 and five million on May 20.

The U.S. also crossed the 160,000 mark for deaths on Thursday night.

10 p.m.: In second test, Ohio governor negative for COVID-19

After revealing earlier in the day that Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine tested positive for COVID-19, his office announced that the governor has tested negative in a second test.

DeWine, first lady Fran DeWine and members of his staff Thursday afternoon took a PCR test, "known to be extremely sensitive, as well as specific, for the virus," his office said in a statement. That test came back negative for everyone when run twice.

Earlier in the day, DeWine had taken an antigen test as part of a protocol to meet with President Donald Trump, according to the statement. His office said they will be looking into how the discrepancy occurred, but are "confident" in the negative test results.

9:45 p.m.: Federal courts in Southern California reclose over COVID-19

Federal courts in three Southern California counties are reclosing due to a surge in COVID-19 cases.

Until further notice, the federal courts in Los Angeles, Orange and Riverside counties will be closed to the public, according to an order filed Thursday by the U.S. District Court Central Division of California.

No jury trials will be conducted in civil or criminal cases, and all appearances in civil cases will be by phone or video conference. Hearings in criminal cases can be in court if the defendant does not consent to a phone or video conference appearance.

The courthouses had reopened for limited in-court hearings on June 22.

8:17 p.m.: Three people at DNC site test positive for COVID-19

Three people at the Democratic National Convention site in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, have tested positive for COVID-19.

"As testing increased this week, our system detected three cases which have been reported to the health department and given instructions to self isolate," a convention aide told ABC News.

The positive tests were first reported by the Daily Beast.

The results came the same week that presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden pulled out of delivering his acceptance speech in Milwaukee.

A spokesperson for the convention committee said the development did not spur Biden's decision to move his speech to Delaware.

The DNC will be held Aug. 17 to 20. Health protocols include daily testing for anyone accessing the convention complex and contact tracing, the spokesperson said.

7:43 p.m.: COVID-19 deaths up for the fifth straight week

Deaths from COVID-19 continued to increase for the fifth straight week, according to The COVID Tracking Project.

This week, 7,591 deaths were reported, up 11.5% from the week before, it found.

The steady increase follow surges in new cases in June and July, it said.

More people have died so far in August than were reported in the month of March, it also noted.

COVID-19 testing, meanwhile, declined in the U.S. for the first time since early March, according to The COVID Tracking Project. This week’s tests were down 9.1%, or about half a million tests, over last week's national peak of 5.7 million tests, it reported.

The drop was likely due to multiple factors, including Hurricane Isaias, which prompted testing sites in Florida to close, reporting issues in California and testing inconsistencies out of Texas, it said.

5:45 p.m.: High school sports in Delaware delayed until December

Delaware won't play high school sports until at least December.

The Delaware Interscholastic Athletic Association voted Thursday to postpone and condense sports seasons to help limit the transmission of COVID-19. Winter sports will be played first, starting in December, followed by fall sports in mid-February 2021 and spring sports in mid-April 2021. "High-risk" sports, including football and wrestling, are not approved to be played at this time, Delaware Division of Public Health's Dana Carr said.

The vote comes on the heels of a similar announcement out of neighboring Pennsylvania. On Thursday, Gov. Tom Wolf's administration recommended pausing all K-12 school and recreational sports until at least Jan. 1, 2021. The recommendation is not an order or mandate.

Earlier this week, Gov. John Carney announced that Delaware schools can open with a hybrid of in-person and virtual learning next month.

4:42 p.m.: Ohio governor tests positive

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday as part of the protocol to greet President Donald Trump at a Cleveland airport, his office said.

DeWine has no symptoms and plans to quarantine at his home for the next two weeks, his office said.

DeWine has "no idea" where he may have contracted coronavirus, he said at a news conference.

4:06 p.m.: State Department lifts global level 4 travel advisory


The State Department on Thursday lifted the level 4 health advisory which was put in place on March 19 to advise Americans to avoid all international travel.

“With health and safety conditions improving in some countries and potentially deteriorating in others, the Department is returning to our previous system of country-specific levels of travel advice (with Levels from 1-4 depending on country-specific conditions)," the State Department said.

3:24 p.m.: 1st large-scale testing of front-line health care providers finds 13% had antibodies

The first large-scale testing of front-line health care providers found that 13% of them tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies, New York's Northwell Health said.

Northwell Health said it offered free antibody testing to its 72,000 employees. More than half of them were tested for coronavirus antibodies and 13% of them tested positive.

The positive sample pool was 28.4% nurses and 9.3% physicians, Northwell Health said.

In the general New York state population, 12.3% of people had antibodies, according to a recent state antibody screenings study.

Among New York City firefighters and EMT members, 17.1% tested positive for antibodies, according to a report from Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office.

12:55 p.m.: Fauci: 'Do not abandon' distancing, masks in anticipation of vaccine

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, is urging the public to "not abandon" public health measures "in anticipation of a vaccine."

"When you're talking about public health measures, there are many, many things that we can do," Fauci said at a briefing Thursday hosted by the Alliance of Public Health. "But you can distill them down to five or six that everyone should be doing: masks, physical distancing, avoiding crowds, outdoor better than indoor, washing your hands with soap and water or with an alcohol-based type of sanitizer."

Fauci said we could see different scenarios as we get into flu season this fall, including a situation where the seasonal flu is crowded out by COVID-19 infections.

But he said he hopes to see more people getting the flu shot this year. Approximately 170 million people did last year.

That combined with COVID-19 public health measures could result in a "blunted" season for both, he said.

"That's a goal that we should aspire to that I think is possible," Fauci said.

12:32 p.m.: Ohio governor tests positive

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday as part of the protocol to greet President Donald Trump at a Cleveland airport, his office said.

DeWine has no symptoms and plans to quarantine at his home for the next two weeks, his office said.

11:25 a.m.: Florida has 3 counties with no ICU beds

In Florida, 17.4% of the state's ICU beds were open as of Thursday morning, according to the state's Agency for Healthcare Administration.

Forty-two hospitals had no available beds while 35 hospitals had just one available bed, the agency said.

Three counties -- Monroe, Nassau and Okeechobee -- had no available ICU beds.

These numbers are expected to fluctuate throughout the day as hospitals and medical centers provide updates.

10:50 a.m.: Birx warns about increases in percent-positivity in 9 cities, CA Central Valley

Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus task force coordinator, is warning states about an increase in test-positivity rates in nine cities across the country, as well as in California's Central Valley.

According to Birx's Wednesday call with state and local officials obtained by the Center for Public Integrity, Baltimore, Atlanta, Kansas City, Portland, Omaha and California's Central Valley all remain at a "very high level."

Three other cities, Chicago, Boston and Detroit -- which Birx described as in the "green zone" -- have seen a "slow uptick" in their rate of positivity.
 
Washington, D.C., is not considered in the "green zone," but has also seen an increase in its rate of positivity.

Birx stressed that local officials must look at the increases "very carefully" to ensure they are kept under control.

She specifically referenced several states, including California, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Nebraska, Ohio, Tennessee and Virginia, noting that their COVID-19 trends are “concerning."

The new concerns come as the country sees "encouraging" news across the South, according to Birx, as cases and test-positivity decline.

10 a.m.: School district moves to virtual learning when over 90 staff members forced to quarantine

Over 90 staff members in Georgia's Barrow County School System are in quarantine due to a confirmed COVID-19 case, a suspect case or direct contact with a confirmed case, prompting the district to make a last-minute switch to virtual learning, district officials announced Wednesday.

The district had planned to begin the year with in-person and virtual learning.

"If today was the first day of school, we would have been hard-pressed to have sufficient staff available to open," superintendent Chris McMichael said.

Distance learning for all students will begin Aug. 17.

On Friday, district officials will "present a phased approach to bring students back into the classrooms as quickly as possible," the school system said.

8:22 a.m.: France reports highest single-day rise in cases in over two months

France on Wednesday reported its highest single-day rise in coronavirus infections in more than two months amid concerns about a resurgence in Europe.

According to data published by France's national public health agency, the country recorded 1,695 new cases in 24 hours, the largest daily increase since May 30 when 1,828 new cases were identified in a 24-hour reporting period.

Meanwhile, the number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals and intensive care units across France has decreased over the past 24 hours, according to the agency's data.

Overall, more than 194,000 people in France have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic. At least 30,305 of them have died -- the third-highest death toll in Europe, according to the agency's data.

8:07 a.m.: 'We cannot at all exercise fatigue,' Africa CDC warns

John Nkengasong, director of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, warned Thursday that "we cannot at all exercise fatigue" in the response to the coronavirus pandemic, as the number of confirmed cases on the African continent nears one million.

More than 992,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported across the continent of 1.3 billion people since the start of the pandemic, with more than half in South Africa, according to the latest data from the Africa CDC.

A tally kept by Johns Hopkins University shows South Africa with the fifth-highest number of diagnosed COVID-19 cases in the world.

Africa has seen an 11% jump in cases over the last week, which is lower than in recent weeks, but Nkengasong cautioned that the data must be observed over several weeks to determine the real trend.

Nkengasong also noted concerns over the low rate of testing across the continent and the rising number of cases in several African nations including Ethiopia, Kenya and Sudan. He said if countries do the right things to prevent further spread of the virus, "we have a good chance of beating back this pandemic."

7:34 a.m.: Weekly testing rate falls for first time in US, data shows

The number of COVID-19 tests being conducted across the United States has apparently taken a plunge.

A total of 664,272 tests were conducted around the country on Wednesday -- the lowest figure since July 8, according to data collected and analyzed by the COVID Tracking Project, a volunteer organization launched from The Atlantic.

The group attributed some of the drop in testing to technical issues with reporting systems as well as storm-related closures in some states.

"Still, the problem is broader. Weekly testing declined for the first time ever in our dataset," the COVID Tracking Project wrote in a series of posts on Twitter. "There are widespread problems right now in the top-level data. In different ways, California and Florida have had trouble reporting complete data because of storms and IT problems. Because they are populous states with large outbreaks, that influences the national numbers."

6:03 a.m.: Number of babies testing positive has nearly doubled in this Texas county

The number of babies testing positive for COVID-19 in Nueces County in southwest Texas has nearly doubled since mid-July, according to a report by Corpus Christi ABC affiliate KIII-TV.

Since the start of the pandemic, a total of 85 children under the age of 2 had tested positive for the virus in Nueces County by mid-July. Now, that number is "close to 167," according to Annette Rodriguez, health director of the Corpus Christi Nueces County Public Health District.

"That number has almost doubled and that hasn't been a very long time period," Rodriguez told KIII.

5:28 a.m.: FEMA memo shows disproportionate number of non-white children dying from virus

A disproportionate number of non-white children are dying from the novel coronavirus in the United States, according to data released in an internal memo from the Federal Emergency Management Agency obtained by ABC News on Wednesday night.

Nationwide, the number of COVID-19 cases among people under the age of 18 from March 1 to Aug. 3 were 40% Hispanic, 34% white and 19% Black. The ethnicity breakdown of those patients who died from the disease is 38% Hispanic, 34% Black and 25% white, according to the memo.

The gender breakdown of those cases is 50% male and 50% female. However, just as in adults, COVID-19 is more fatal among males under 18, making up 64% of the deaths compared to females under 18 accounting for 36%, according to the memo.

3:39 a.m.: US records over 52,000 new cases in a single day


More than 52,000 new cases of COVID-19 were identified in the United States on Tuesday, according to a count kept by Johns Hopkins University.

It's the second straight day that the United States has recorded over 50,000 new cases. However, the latest daily caseload is still 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 4,823,892 people in the United States have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since the pandemic began, and at least 158,256 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.

However, new data suggests that the national surge in cases could be leveling off, according to an internal memo from the Federal Emergency Management Agency obtained by ABC News on Tuesday night. Nationwide, the last week saw a 9.2% decrease in cases from the previous seven-day period. There was also a 7% increase in new deaths compared to the previous week, but the figure is lower than the 20-30% week-over-week increase the country has seen of late, according to the memo.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



US ArmyBy LUIS MARTINEZ, ABC News

(FORT HOOD, Texas) -- After a two-day visit to Fort Hood, Texas, Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy said the murder of Spc. Vanessa Guillen will lead to changes to prevent cases like hers from happening again. McCarthy said the Army's broad review of the culture at Fort Hood will help identify and fix the "root causes" that have led to the high number of violent acts at the base.

"I'm angry, I'm frustrated, I'm disappointed, we're heartbroken," McCarthy said candidly in describing his thoughts about Guillen's murder at a press conference wrapping up his visit to the sprawling base.

"Vanessa was our teammate; we let her down, we let her family down, and it hurts," said McCarthy.

"We're going to do everything we can to prevent these types of things from happening again, to learn from this, and to move on," said McCarthy. "We will do everything we can to protect her legacy by making enduring changes."

During a visit to Fort Hood, McCarthy held what he called "incredibly candid" meetings with soldiers of all ranks to discuss issues of concern at the base.

McCarthy has ordered a broad independent review of the command culture and climate at Fort Hood that was prompted by concerns from Guillen's family that the 20-year-old soldier was too intimidated to step forward with claims of sexual harassment.

The recently named panel carrying out that review will visit Fort Hood in late August. McCarthy said the review will look at "the root causes associated with the rise of felonies and violent acts, to better understand why this is happening at this installation" so that they can be fixed.

"The numbers are high here; they are the highest and some [of the] most cases for sexual assault and harassment and murders, for our entire formation in the U.S. Army," he said.

"We're going to put every resource, and all of the energy we can in this entire institution, behind fixing these problems," he said.

On Wednesday, Fort Hood announced the death of Pfc. Francisco Gilberto Hernandezvargas in a boating accident, marking the eighth non-training death at the base since March 1.

Guillen was last seen on April 22, but investigators did not find her remains until June 30. Her alleged killer, Spc. Aaron Robinson, took his own life as investigators closed in on him. His girlfriend, Cecily Aguilar, has been charged with helping him dismember and bury Guillen's body. She pleaded not guilty last month.

McCarthy said Guillen's death had left him "markedly disappointed and saddened," because it was "a shot at the system and it rattles the system of the trust that you have to have in this profession."

"The only thing we can do is come together and have very hard conversations and invest in each other and learn about each other so that we know who our teammates are," he said.

He said a focus will be on improving the quality of the people coming into the Army, noting that the Army reflects the nation and that sometimes some bad apples make into uniform.

"At times, some people infiltrate our ranks; we got to find them, we got to root them out," said McCarthy.

Various investigations continue into the case, including an Army investigation that looked at the family's claims that Guillen was sexually harassed.

McCarthy described Guillen's murder as "an inflection point" for service members and victims who have stepped forward with their own stories of sexual harassment and sexual assault with the "IAmVanessa" hashtag.

Noting how Guillen's death had resonated throughout the Army, McCarthy said that during a recent trip to Poland and Italy soldiers there asked him about the case.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



Rebecca O'Donnell is seen at a court appearance in Arkansas, Jan. 29, 2020. - (ABC News)By TAMMY GLASS, CHRIS FRANCESCANI and KATE HOLLAND, ABC News

(POCOHANTAS, Ark.) -- In a surprise twist to a baffling Southern murder mystery, the main suspect in the June 2019 murder of former Arkansas state Sen. Linda Collins-Smith, will spend 54 years in prison after pleading guilty to the murder in court this morning.

"I went to Linda's house, and I intentionally killed her and then hid the body," Rebecca Lynn O'Donnell, 49, told the judge, according to ABC News affiliate KATV in Little Rock.

The bombshell plea change follows one year after prosecutors in the case announced their intention to seek the death penalty against O'Donnell, who worked as both an aide to the senator, and later an employee of Collins-Smith's business. The two were considered close friends.

Still, many questions remain -- most prominently: why? Details remain sketchy.

After previously pleading not guilty to capital murder, O'Donnell changed her plea to guilty of first-degree murder and abuse of a corpse during a hearing in Pocahontas, Arkansas.

O'Donnell also pleaded "no contest" to two counts of solicitation to commit capital murder in another county. Those charges stem from what prosecutors have described as a murder-for-hire plot while she was in custody. Those pleas will be treated as guilty pleas.

O'Donnell will serve 40 years for the murder, 14 years for the solicitation counts and three years for the abuse of a corpse charge.

The twists and turns in the case have confounded the small community in Pocohantas, about 145 miles northeast of Little Rock.

Numerous judges and a prosecutor have stepped down or recused themselves from the case in the 13 months since the June 2019 murder -- which left the ex-senator's body so damaged that she initially couldn't be identified by authorities, even though she was discovered outside her home.

"The condition of the body prevented any immediate positive identification," Randolph County Sheriff Kevin Bell said during a June 6 news conference.

"I was the one that found my mother's body on June 4th 2019 at her home," Collins-Smith's son, Butch Smith, said in a statement on Thursday. "She was lying face down wrapped in one of my old comforters and shoved under a tarp in her driveway. I will never not be able to see that picture burned into my brain."

Smith said in the statement that he believes O'Donnell was stealing money from his mother and when she confronted O'Donnell, she was stabbed to death.

The initial judge overseeing the case sealed the records of the investigation before recusing himself, leaving many in the small Arkansas community wondering what could have prompted such a heinous homicide. All prosecutors have revealed to date is that the motive for the murder appeared to be financial in nature.

O'Donnell was arrested a week and a half after the murder while driving to Collins-Smith's memorial service. She was the last person to see Collins-Smith alive, her fiancé Tim Loggains told ABC News in a June 2019 interview, and the two women were so close that O'Donnell acted as a witness in Collins-Smith's divorce.

"I just told her, they found Linda dead," Loggains said in that interview. "She collapsed."

Loggains -- who did not immediately respond to an ABC News request for comment on Thursday following O'Donnell's stunning admission -- said she was the last person known to have seen Collins-Smith alive on May 28 when the woman took her to lunch. He described their relationship as being like sisters.

"She's not capable of this," Loggains told ABC News last year. "Either she is the best actress in the world and completely fooled me or there's not a chance she did this."

Still, pressing questions about the case could soon be answered.

"Everything that is not under seal will be available online," Judge John Fogleman told the court after O'Donnell changed her plea. "It will be a few days before it can get scanned and she can check to make redactions. Be patient with the court and clerk, it will be available online one week from today"

The judge then instructed everyone but the family to leave the courtroom.

Defense attorney Lee Short told reporters, "This is good for the Collins' family, they'll be able to move on."

Collins-Smith's family released a statement after the proceedings.

"Today our family has found swift justice by way of a plea deal," the statement reads in part. "We know that there will be some that will not be satisfied with that outcome today. And we realize that whatever punishment [O'Donnell] receives it will never be enough .... It will never bring my Grandpa's daughter back or my Mother back or our children's grandmother back. No amount of punishment will ever fill that void that [O'Donnell] made in our lives the day she killed our Mother."

"Today we find some shred of peace that Rebecca O'Donnell will be put away in prison for a very long time unable to hurt anyone else. If my Mother was here today I have no doubt that she would quote the Bible and tell us that we can find peace in God."

ABC News' Josh Margolin and Rachel Katz contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



Zenobillis/iStockBy DANIEL MANZO and EMILY SHAPIRO, ABC News

(SILVER SPRING, Md.) -- The U.S. could be in for an "extremely active" Atlantic hurricane season this year, possibly "one of the busiest on record," the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said Thursday.

2020 is forecast to see 19 to 25 named storms, of which seven to 11 will become hurricanes. Out of those, three to six are forecast to become major hurricanes, NOAA said in its updated season outlook.

An average season brings three major hurricanes (Hurricanes that reach Category 3, 4, or 5 qualify as major).

There have already been nine named storms this season. Historically, there are only two named storms on average by early August, NOAA said.

NOAA has never before forecasted up to 25 named storms.

But 2020 is not forecast to be the most active season on record. In 2005, there were 28 named storms including Hurricane Katrina.

Just this week, the East Coast was pummeled by deadly Tropical Storm Isaias.

The storm made landfall in North Carolina as a Category 1 hurricane late Monday before charging up the East Coast on Tuesday as a tropical storm, delivering torrential rain and ferocious winds to the Mid-Atlantic and New England.

Hurricane season ends Nov. 30.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



ABC NewsBy DANIEL MANZO and KELLY MCCARTHY, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- Along the East Coast, where millions are still without power because of Tropical Storm Isaias, more rain is expected in the coming days.

Nearly 1.6 million customers across New Jersey, New York and Connecticut have been affected by power outages.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said Thursday that it expects the months ahead to be some of the "most active" in decades.

The agency utilized its Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) index, which measures the combined intensity and duration of all named storms during the season.

NOAA's *Updated* 2020 Atlantic #HurricaneSeason Outlook now calls for: 19-25 named storms, of which 7-11 could become hurricanes, including 3-6 major hurricanes.

Graphics at https://t.co/mJuHVNZbnG @NWS @NWSCPC #HurricaneOutlook #ItOnlyTakesOne pic.twitter.com/GUNX3vany8

— NOAA (@NOAA) August 6, 2020


"This year, we expect more, stronger, and longer-lived storms than average, and our predicted ACE range extends well above NOAA’s threshold for an extremely active season," Gerry Bell, lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, said in a statement.

The agency said this is one of the most active seasonal forecasts that NOAA has produced in its 22-year history of hurricane outlooks.

NOAA's updated outlook covers the entire six-month hurricane season and calls for 19 to 25 named storms, with winds of 39 MPH, and of those seven to 11 of those will become hurricanes with winds of 74 MPH or greater. That outlook also predicts three to six hurricanes with winds of 111 MPH or greater.

Hurricane season ends Nov. 30.

On Thursday, storms were moving through parts Maryland and Virginia and headed to Delaware, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

A new flash flood watch has been issued for the region. In eastern Pennsylvania, rivers are just beginning to recede from elevated levels due to the excessive rainfall. Any additional rain could cause flash flooding.

High-resolution models are showing that some of the storms will likely make it into the New York City metro area by Friday, where localized flooding will be possible.

Then it appears another wave of strong storms will arrive early Saturday morning in parts of New Jersey, eastern Pennsylvania and perhaps New York City.

These storms could bring 3 to 4 inches of rain to parts of the Mid-Atlantic, especially northern Virginia to southern New Jersey, which means the flooding threat could last for the next few days.

Out west, a fire threat remains from Arizona to Montana due to dry and gusty winds. In Nevada, the dry air and lightning pose a risk for fires.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



Forsyth County Jail By KELLY MCCARTHY, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- Video released of five North Carolina detention officers restraining an inmate in a cell shows the prisoner saying "I can't breathe" before he lost consciousness and died two days later.

The five officers and a nurse were charged last month with involuntary manslaughter in the December 2019 death of John Neville, a 56-year-old Black man, at Forsyth County Detention Center in Winston-Salem.

Neville was being held at the facility on a pending assault charge when he apparently fell from the top bunk of his bed onto a concrete floor, prompting officers to check on him, according to authorities.

"Alright John, we're going to take your blood pressure," one of the five officers to respond could be heard telling Neville in body camera footage of the Dec. 2 incident that was released Wednesday.

Things took a turn when the officers put a spit mask over Neville's head as the nurse attempted to treat him. An autopsy report said he was thrashing and at times unresponsive.

The officers handcuffed Neville behind his back and moved him to another cell for observation.

"I can't breathe," he can be heard saying in the video.

The five detention officers restrained him facedown and attempted to unlock the handcuffs, but required the use of bolt cutters to remove them from Neville's wrists.

Again, Neville said he was having trouble breathing, to which a guard responded, "You can breathe -- you're talking aren't you?"

Neville died two days later in an area hospital, after jail staff found him not breathing and could not detect a pulse. A medical examiner said he ultimately died from a brain injury that was caused by the way he was being restrained.

The autopsy also found a number of underlying medical conditions, including asthma and heart disease. The five detention officers were fired as a result of the incident.

A spokesperson for Wellpath, the medical agency that employs the nurse, said that she did not engage in misconduct and, when permitted to act, she worked diligently to save Neville's life. The spokesperson added that she is currently on paid administrative leave and has Wellpath's complete support.

Forsyth County Superior Court Judge R. Gregory Horne issued a ruling Friday releasing the video footage because he said it "is necessary to advance a compelling public interest."

The Forsyth County sheriff issued an apology in the wake of the newly released videos.

"I apologize again for what happened on that day," Sheriff Bobby Kimbrough said at a news conference Tuesday. "We're sorry for the mistakes made that day. I take responsibility for that as the sheriff."

Neville's family, represented by attorney Michael Grace, has filed a civil lawsuit against the county of Forsyth and Wellpath "to see the family is justly compensated."

"The sheriff has acknowledged mistakes were made and that means a lot to the family. It won't bring John Neville back ... but it goes a way toward causing this terrible scar to heal over again," Grace said at the news conference.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



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