Coronavirus updates: Trump says 'not much' he'd change about COVID response

Thirty-one states are considered in the red zone for new cases in the last week.

Last Updated: October 20, 2020, 9:27 PM EDT

A pandemic of the novel coronavirus has now killed more than 1.1 million people worldwide.

Over 40.7 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.

Since the first cases were detected in China in December, the virus has rapidly spread to every continent except Antarctica.

The United States is the worst-affected country, with more than 8.2 million diagnosed cases and at least 220,955 deaths.

California has the most cases of any U.S. state, with more than 883,000 people diagnosed, according to Johns Hopkins data. California is followed by Texas and Florida, with over 862,000 cases and over 760,000 cases, respectively.

More than 190 vaccine candidates for COVID-19 are being tracked by the World Health Organization, at least 10 of which are in crucial phase three studies. Of those 10 potential vaccines in late-stage trials, there are currently five that will be available in the United States if approved.

Oct 20, 2020, 9:27 PM EDT

Trump says there's 'not much' he'd do differently with COVID response

Despite the U.S. leading globally with nearly 221,000 deaths and 8.1 million cases, President Donald Trump told a town hall there was "not much" he'd do differently with the country's coronavirus response.

The president was asked to reflect on his handling of the pandemic during a town hall on Sinclair's "America This Week with Eric Bolling," but the president, who was hospitalized with the disease earlier this month, pivoted to other nations' responses.

"Look it's all over the world, you have a lot of great leaders, a lot of smart people, it's all over the world," he said.

Supporters cheer as President Donald Trump departs following a campaign rally at Erie International Airport, Tom Ridge Field in Erie, Pa., Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020.
Gene J. Puskar/AP

Brazil, which is second in the world in fatalities with 154,837, has more than 66,000 fewer than America, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. And while countries in Asia are now reopening fully after embracing science, Trump continues to attack doctors like Anthony Fauci.

Trump also continued to blame China for the spread of the virus, and cited his travel ban in preventing spread, but did not mention the numerous studies that have shown many East Coast cases came from Europe, where he did not ban travel until more than a month later.

ABC News' Ali Dukakis and Jordyn Phelps contributed to this report.

Oct 20, 2020, 8:09 PM EDT

New US cases rose by double-digit percentage last week: HHS memo

New coronavirus cases in the U.S. saw a major increase over the last week, according to an internal memo by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services obtained by ABC News.

The memo said 387,590 new cases were confirmed during the period of Oct. 12 and Oct. 18, which represented a 12.6% increase from the previous seven-day period.

There were 4,878 deaths recorded during that seven-day period, which was a 0.6% decrease compared with the previous week, according to the memo.

A signage encouraging University of Wisconsin-Madison students with COVID-19 symptoms to self-quarantine is pictured as the outbreak continues in Madison, Wis., Oct. 19, 2020.
Bing Guan/Reuters

The national test-positivity rate decreased to 5.7% from 5.9% in week-to-week comparisons. Roughly 21% of hospitals across the country have more than 80% of their intensive care unit beds filled, according to HHS.

The agency said 44 states and territories are in an upward trajectory of new cases, four jurisdictions are at plateau and eight are going down.

In the District of Columbia, the COVID caseload hit a two-month high on Oct. 14, with a seven-day rolling average of 1,801 new cases.

In New York, which was the epicenter of the pandemic in the spring, there were 938 reported hospitalizations on Oct. 13, which was highest the state had recorded since June 25.

ABC News' Josh Margolin contributed to this report.

Oct 20, 2020, 6:33 PM EDT

Harvard Law School to continue online-only in spring

Harvard Law School alerted its students Tuesday that classes will remain online-only for the spring 2021 semester.

Dean John Manning cited rising COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and around the world as one of the reasons it won't be bringing its students back to campus.

"Cases have recently been on the rise in Massachusetts, as more communities in and around Boston and the eastern half of the Commonwealth have been deemed high risk," Manning said in the letter.

The dean said the school is working on accommodations for students, including "new courses in time-zone friendly teaching blocks" and "new on-campus housing options" for certain students.

"While we recognize that the public health situation may change between now and the new year, and we of course very much hope that scientific developments will allow greater in-person activity very soon, we also recognize that students, staff, and faculty must have sufficient time to make appropriate plans for the remainder of the school year," he wrote.

ABC News' Lauren Lantry contributed to this report.

Oct 20, 2020, 6:07 PM EDT

New Orleans Saints announce plan to bring back fans

The New Orleans Saints and Mayor LaToya Cantrell announced Tuesday a phased plan to bring fans back to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, which has a maximum capacity of 74,295 seats.

Season ticket holders will have access to 3,000 seats for this weekend's game against the Carolina Panthers.

If health data in the city shows no major increases in cases, the team will allow 6,000 fans for the Nov. 15 game against the San Francisco 49ers and the Nov. 22 game against the Atlanta Falcons.

Seating capacity would then increase to 15,000 for the Dec. 20 game against the Kansas City Chiefs and the Christmas Day game against the Minnesota Vikings.

Fans are "encouraged" to wear face masks, according to a statement from the team.

New Orleans has had 13,271 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 589 related deaths, according to the city's health department.

The city's seven-day average for new cases has remained relatively steady in October at around 36, according to the Health Department. About 64.5% of the city's hospitals are in use, the health department said.

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