US reports over 1,300 new deaths for 2nd straight day

A pandemic of the novel coronavirus has now killed more than 787,000 people worldwide.

Over 22.4 million people across the globe have been diagnosed with COVID-19, the disease caused by the new respiratory virus, according to data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. The actual numbers are believed to be much higher due to testing shortages, many unreported cases and suspicions that some national governments are hiding or downplaying the scope of their outbreaks.

Since the first cases were detected in China in December, the United States has become the worst-affected country, with more than 5.5 million diagnosed cases and at least 173,181 deaths.

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New study shows children play larger role in spread of virus than thought France, Germany, Spain see highest spike in cases since lockdown US reports over 1,300 new deaths for 2nd straight day

Here’s how the news is developing today. All times Eastern. Please refresh this page for updates.

6:21 a.m.: New study shows children play larger role in spread of virus than thought

Clinical data from a new study shows that children play are larger role in the community spread of the novel coronavirus than previously thought.

The study, which was published Thursday in The Journal of Pediatrics, investigated 192 pediatric patients aged 22 and younger, of which 49 tested positive for COVID-19 and an additional 18 had late-onset, coronavirus-related illness. Researchers found that the infected children carried a significantly higher level of virus in their airways — particularly in the first two days of infection — than adults who were hospitalized in intensive care for COVID-19.

PHOTO: A health worker holds up a test tube with a COVID-19 test sample taken from someone at Revere Beach in Revere, Massachusetts, on Aug. 11, 2020. (Joseph Prezioso/AFP via Getty Images)

Harvard University called it “the most comprehensive study of COVID-19 pediatric patients to date.”

“I was surprised by the high levels of virus we found in children of all ages, especially in the first two days of infection,” Lael Yonker, lead author of the study and director of the Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital’s Cystic Fibrosis Center in Boston, said in a statement released through the university. “I was not expecting the viral load to be so high. You think of a hospital, and of all of the precautions taken to treat severely ill adults, but the viral loads of these hospitalized patients are significantly lower than a ‘healthy child’ who is walking around with a high SARS-CoV-2 viral load.”

5:36 a.m.: India marks another record rise in cases

India reported 69,672 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours — its highest daily increase yet, according to a real-time tally kept by Johns Hopkins University.

Now, more than 2.8 million people in India have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since the pandemic began — the third-highest count in the world.

PHOTO: A health worker (left) wearing personal protective equipment collects a nasal swab from a resident during a COVID-19 screening in Mumbai, India, on Aug. 19, 2020. (Indranil Mukherjee/AFP via Getty Images)

There were also an additional 977 coronavirus-related fatalities recorded within the last day, bringing the national total to 53,866, according to the latest data from India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

The country of 1.3 billion people has the fourth-highest death toll from COVID-19 in the world, behind the United States, Brazil and Mexico, according to Johns Hopkins University.

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4:38 a.m.: France, Germany, Spain see highest spike in cases since lockdown

France, Germany and Spain have all marked the highest day-to-day increase in COVID-19 infections since the end of their lockdowns.

France’s national public health agency reported Wednesday that there were 3,776 new cases in the past 24 hours, bringing the national tally to 225,043. Meanwhile, the country’s positivity rate for COVID-19 tests increased by 3.1% from Aug. 10 to Aug. 16.

Germany’s public health institute reported Wednesday that there were 1,510 new cases in the past 24 hours, making the national total 226,914.

PHOTO: Members of the German Red Cross wear protective suits while taking throat swab samples at a COVID-19 testing station set up at the main railway station in Berlin, Germany, on Aug. 18, 2020. (Maja Hitij/Getty Images)

“In the past few weeks the COVID-19 incidence has risen markedly in many federal states and the number of districts reporting zero COVID-19 cases over a period of seven days has decreased considerably,” the institute said in its daily situation report. “This trend is very concerning.”

The Spanish Ministry of Health reported Wednesday that there were 3,715 new cases within the last day. Spain’s cumulative case count, which includes diagnoses from antibody test results, now stands at 370,867.

All three European countries are among the top 20 nations hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic.

3:42 a.m.: US reports over 1,300 new deaths for 2nd straight day

There were 46,436 new cases of COVID-19 identified in the United States on Wednesday, according to a count kept by Johns Hopkins University.

Wednesday’s tally is well below the country’s record set on July 16, when 77,255 new cases were identified in a 24-hour reporting period.

An additional 1,356 coronavirus-related deaths were also recorded Wednesday. It’s the second straight day of more than 1,300 fatalities, although the figure is still under the record 2,666 new deaths that were reported on April 17.

PHOTO: A health care worker uses a swab to test a man for COVID-19 at a drive-in testing location in Houston, Texas, on Aug. 18, 2020. (Adrees Latif/Reuters)

A total of 5,529,933 people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since the pandemic began, and at least 173,181 of them have died, according to Johns Hopkins. The cases include people from all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C. and other U.S. territories as well as repatriated citizens.

By May 20, all U.S. states had begun lifting stay-at-home orders and other restrictions put in place to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. The day-to-day increase in the country’s cases then hovered around 20,000 for a couple of weeks before shooting back up and crossing 70,000 for the first time in mid-July.

While week-over-week comparisons show that the nationwide number of new cases has continued to decrease in recent weeks, the number of new deaths has increased, according to an internal memo from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, obtained by ABC News on Wednesday night.

ABC News’ Ibtissem Guenfoud and Josh Margolin contributed to this report.

Coronavirus updates: US reports over 1,300 new deaths for 2nd straight day originally appeared on abcnews.go.com

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