Coronavirus updates: Fauci sets record straight on masks after debate

Fauci said his stance on masks were "taken out of context."

A pandemic of the novel coronavirus has now killed more than 1 million people worldwide.

Over 33.8 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 7.2 million diagnosed cases and at least 206,905 deaths.

California has the most cases of any U.S. state, with more than 819,000 people diagnosed, according to Johns Hopkins data. California is followed by Texas and Florida, with over 770,000 cases and over 706,000 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.


MLB to allow fans in stadium for NLCS, World Series

MLB announced it will allow fans inside a ballpark for the first time since the COVID pandemic.

The league will sell 11,500 tickets per game for the National League Championship Series and World Series, which will be played at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas. The stadium’s seating capacity is 40,300.

The league said 10,550 fans will be spread throughout the ballpark while 950 will be in suites, and there will be precautions in place.

Tickets will be sold in groups of four contiguous seats, called pods, and individuals will be limited to one pod per game. Each pod will be at least 6 feet apart from each other and the pods will be at least 20 feet away from players.

All fans are mandated to wear masks and tickets within pods can’t be broken up for sale.

The NLCS begins Oct. 12 and the World Series begins on Oct. 20. The American League Championship Series, being held in San Diego, will not allow fans.


New York continues to see rise in COVID-19 cases among Orthodox Jewish communities

Gov. Andrew Cuomo told reporters during a conference call that he has been working with Orthodox Jewish leaders to address the rise in coronavirus cases in 20 zip codes, including ones in Brooklyn and Queens.

The New York City Health Department said Wednesday evening that there are 10 neighborhoods, including Borough Park and Williamsburg in Brooklyn, where new COVID-19 cases are outpacing the citywide average by 3.7 times over the past 14 days.

Borough Park in particular had a 14-day positivity rate of 6.51%.

Cuomo said the top three rationales from the leaders were that they falsely believed in herd immunity, felt that local governments were not doing their part with enforcement and believed they didn't need to wear a face mask because President Donald Trump said so.

"I explained the situation frankly and candidly, and we had a good exchange," Cuomo said. "I think it's fair to say the leaders of the community understand, and they're going to take action. And we're going to come up with an action plan." 


Mayor Bill de Blasio and other city leaders said they've increased their outreach efforts over the last few days to the affected communities. They have been handing out face masks and shutting down business that have violated the city's the health advisories.

"The more we are seeing people pick up on that and wear a mask, and that's going to be part of how we turn the situation around," de Blasio said during his daily news conference.
 
ABC News' J. Gabriel Ware contributed to this report.


Steelers-Titans game rescheduled to allow time for more COVID-19 tests

The Pittsburgh Steelers and Tennessee Titans game, originally set for Sunday, will be rescheduled to allow more time for daily COVID-19 testing, the NFL said Wednesday.

ESPN reported that four Titans players and five team personnel members tested positive for COVID-19 this week.

The game will be played on Monday or Tuesday, the NFL said in a statement.

The Minnesota Vikings, who played the Titans over the weekend, have not reported any COVID-19 cases, an NFL spokesperson told ESPN.



Fauci sets record straight on masks after presidential debate

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, says President Donald Trump's claims on Fauci's stance on masks were "taken out of context" at Tuesday's presidential debate.

During the debate Trump claimed Fauci initially said "masks are not good. Then he changed his mind."

When Democratic nominee Joe Biden said if all Americans wore masks, and social-distanced between now and January, 100,000 lives could be saved, Trump responded, "Dr. Fauci said the opposite."

Setting the record straight, Fauci told ABC News' "Start Here" podcast, "Very early on in the pandemic … there was a shortage of PPE and masks for health care providers who needed them desperately since they were putting their lives and their safety on the line every day. So the feeling was that people who were wanting to have masks in the community, namely just people out in the street, might be hoarding masks and making the shortage of masks even greater. In that context, we said that we did not recommend masks."

In the weeks that followed, Fauci said, "it became clear that they worked. Number two: it became clear that cloth coverings worked as well as surgical masks, so the idea of a shortage of masks that would take it away from those who really need it was no longer there because anybody could get a mask."

Then, as scientists learned more from the data available, Fauci said they learned: "One: that about 40-45% of all the infections were among individuals who had no symptoms, namely asymptomatic infection. No. 2: it became clear that transmissions, a substantial proportion of them, are transmitted by people without symptoms. So then all of a sudden, it became clear that you would not know if you were infected or if the person that you were dealing with was infected. And at that point, it became clear that A: no shortage of masks, B: data now prove that masks work and 3: there clearly is asymptomatic transmission."

"At that point, which is now months and months ago, I have been on the airways, on the radio, on TV, begging people to wear masks. And I keep talking in the context of wear a mask, keep physical distance, avoid crowds, wash your hands and do things more outdoors versus indoors," Fauci said. "The other thing that became clear is, in fact, that there was likely a degree of aerosol transmission which make it even more compelling to wear a mask. So anybody who has been listening to me over the last several months know that a conversation does not go by where I do not strongly recommend that people wear masks."

ABC News' Brad Mielke and David Rind contributed to this report.