Coronavirus updates: Florida tops 14,000 deaths as restaurants reopen

Bars and restaurants can reopen at full capacity effective immediately.

A pandemic of the novel coronavirus has now killed more than 987,000 people worldwide.

Over 32.4 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 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 7 million diagnosed cases and at least 203,704 deaths.

California has the most cases of any U.S. state, with more than 803,000 people diagnosed, according to Johns Hopkins data. California is followed by Texas and Florida, with over 751,000 cases and over 695,000 cases, respectively.

Nearly 190 vaccine candidates for COVID-19 are being tracked by the World Health Organization, at least nine of which are in crucial phase three trials.


MAC latest conference to resume football season

The Mid-American Conference said Friday it will bring back football, a day after similar announcements from the Pac-12 and the Mountain West. 
  
The MAC Council of Presidents unanimously voted to resume the fall football season, which will begin on Nov. 4 with a six-game, conference-only schedule, officials said. The championship game will be either Dec. 18 or 19.

Among its safety measures, the conference will require that all student-athletes undergo antigen testing four times a week, starting Oct. 5. All positive tests will be confirmed by a PCR test and result in a cardiac screening, officials said.

No general public attendance or tailgating will be allowed at games.

In early August, the MAC became the first of its peers to postpone the fall football season due to concerns about the coronavirus pandemic.

ABC News' Will Gretsky contributed to this report.


Florida tops 14,000 deaths as restaurants reopen

The death toll from COVID-19 in Florida has now topped 14,000 after an increase of 120 new deaths in the last day, according to the Florida Department of Health.

The fatality total -- 14,083 -- is made up of 13,915 Florida residents and 168 non-residents.

This comes as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Friday that restaurants and bars can reopen at full capacity, effective immediately.

The executive order says restaurants can’t be limited to less than 100% capacity indoors unless the local government provides specific rationale.

DeSantis also said the state will be able to hold "a full Super Bowl" next year, which is set for February in Tampa.

DeSantis' executive order also wipes out all outstanding fines for not wearing masks in public.

Florida has over 695,000 people diagnosed with COVID-19, the third-highest state for case totals in the nation, behind California and Texas.

ABC News' Rachel Katz and Scott Withers contributed to this report.


2 charged for handling of deadly COVID-19 outbreak at Massachusetts veterans' home

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey announced Friday that criminal neglect charges have been filed against both the former superintendent of the Soldiers' Home in Holyoke as well as its former medical director for their alleged roles in a COVID-19 outbreak that led to the deaths of at least 76 residents at the state-run facility, which provides long-term care and other services to ageing veterans.

"We began this investigation on behalf of the families who lost loved ones under tragic circumstances and to honor these men who bravely served our country," Healey said in a statement. "We allege that the actions of these defendants during the COVID-19 outbreak at the facility put veterans at higher risk of infection and death and warrant criminal charges."

Bennett Walsh, 50, of Springfield, Massachusetts, and Dr. David Clinton, 71, of South Hadley, Massachusetts, were indicted Thursday by a statewide grand jury on five counts each for the charge of caretaker who wantonly or recklessly commits or permits bodily injury to an elder or disabled person and another five counts each for the charge of caretaker who wantonly or recklessly commits or permits abuse, neglect, or mistreatment to an elder or disabled person. Walsh and Clinton will be arraigned in Hampden County Superior Court at a later date, according to the attorney general's office.

Prosecutors allege that the Soldiers' Home in Holyoke, faced with staffing shortages, decided on March 27 to consolidate two dementia units into one, resulting in the placement of symptomatic -- including those who had confirmed cases of COVID-19 -- and asymptomatic residents within feet of each other. Prosecutors allege that those decisions, which they say were ultimately the responsibility of Walsh and Clinton, were reckless and increased the likelihood that asymptomatic veterans would contract COVID-19 and put them at higher risk of death and harm.

ABC News' Aaron Katersky contributed to this report.



Analysis shows cases rising in at least 32 US states

An ABC News analysis of COVID-19 trends across all 50 U.S. states as well as Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico found there were increases in newly confirmed cases over the past two weeks in 32 states, the nation's capital and the U.S. island territory in the Caribbean.

The analysis also found increases in the daily positivity rate of COVID-19 tests in 21 states, increases in COVID-19 hospitalizations in 17 states and increases in daily COVID-19 death tolls in 9 states.

The trends were all analyzed from data collected and published by the COVID Tracking Project over the past two weeks, using the linear regression trend line of the seven-day moving average.

Three states -- Montana, South Dakota and Utah -- saw a record rise in daily number of new cases, while one state -- North Dakota -- hit a record number of new deaths in a single day. Two states -- South Dakota and Wisconsin -- reported a record number of current COVID-19 hospitalizations.

Over the past week, the seven-day average of new cases has continued to hover around 40,000 in the United States. Since Sept. 12, that average has increased by 16.3%.

ABC News' Benjamin Bell, Brian Hartman, Soorin Kim and Arielle Mitropolous contributed to this report.