A pandemic of the novel coronavirus has now killed more than 938,000 people worldwide.
Over 29.7 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.
The United States is the worst-affected country, with more than 6.6 million diagnosed cases and at least 196,691 deaths.
California has the most cases of any U.S. state, with more than 770,000 people diagnosed, according to Johns Hopkins data. California is followed by Texas and Florida, with over 695,000 cases and over 671,000 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.
New COVID-19 deaths up sharply from previous week, per FEMA
New COVID-19 deaths increased by nearly 17% in the last week nationally, according to an internal Federal Emergency Management Agency memo obtained Wednesday by ABC News.
In the last seven days, there was a 16.6% increase in new deaths compared to the previous week, the memo said.
Meanwhile, the number of new cases decreased slightly, down 0.7% when looking at the same period.
In the last week, the national test positivity rate remained steady at 4.4% -- a 0.1% decrease over the previous week, according to the memo.
ABC News' Josh Margolin contributed to this report.
COVID-19 pandemic has pushed 150 million more children into multidimensional poverty: Report
The number of children living in multidimensional poverty globally has increased 15% due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a joint analysis by UNICEF and Save the Children.
The report, released Wednesday, found that approximately 1.2 billion children from more than 70 countries now live in multidimensional poverty, based on factors such as access to education, health care, housing, nutrition, sanitation and water. That figure includes an additional 150 million children since the start of the pandemic, the report said.
UNICEF warned the situation will likely worsen in the months to come without policy action from governments.
ABC News' Christine Theodorou contributed to this report.
NCAA men's and women's basketball seasons to start Nov. 25
NCAA men's and women's basketball teams can start their 2020-21 seasons on Nov. 25, the Division I Council announced Wednesday.
No exhibition games or closed scrimmages will be allowed until then, the council said.
The start date was delayed from Nov. 10 to near Thanksgiving to create a "more controlled and less-populated campus environment that may reduce the risk of COVID-19 that can occur between student-athletes and the broader student body population," according to a statement.
Teams can begin practicing Oct. 14.
US unveils plan to offer free vaccine to all Americans
The U.S. government has unveiled a plan to offer a COVID-19 vaccine to all Americans free of charge as early as January.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Defense jointly released two documents on Wednesday, outlining the Trump administration’s vaccine distribution strategy amid the coronavirus pandemic. The goal is to deliver safe and effective vaccine doses to sites, with "no upfront costs to providers and no out-of-pocket cost to the vaccine recipient," according to a strategic distribution overview.
"No American has to pay a single dime out of pocket for a vaccine," Paul Mango, deputy chief of staff for policy at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, said on a call with reporters Wednesday.
Health care providers will be reimbursed for the cost of administering the vaccine doses, but those fees will not be borne by patients and instead will be paid for by either commercial insurers or Medicaid. For patients who are uninsured, the costs will be covered by the administration's Provider Relief Fund.
Officials are still ironing out details for those insured through Medicare fee-for-service programs. The most they would have to pay out of pocket would be $3.50 per shot, "but we're working on that," Mango said.
Mango noted that some details of the plan won't be known until a COVID-19 vaccine is authorized or approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
“We’re dealing in a world of great uncertainty," he told reporters. "So this is a really quite extraordinary, logistically complex undertaking and a lot of uncertainties right now."
ABC News' Sony Salzman contributed to this report.