Coronavirus updates: Fauci calls 'herd immunity' declaration embraced by White House 'ridiculous'

"This idea that we have the power to protect the vulnerable is total nonsense."

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

Over 38.8 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 7.9 million diagnosed cases and at least 217,721 deaths.

California has the most cases of any U.S. state, with more than 866,000 people diagnosed, according to Johns Hopkins data. California is followed by Texas and Florida, with over 836,000 cases and over 744,000 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.

New Mexico governor announces new restrictions as cases surge

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham reinforced public health messaging as the state continues to break records for COVID-19 case counts and with hospitalizations on the rise.

She also announced new restrictions for restaurants and drink establishments, setting a 10 p.m. curfew for those that serve alcohol.

Separately, she announced that visitors from high-risk states must quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.

She also said she wouldn't be afraid to "make another really tough decision" and put tougher restrictions into place.

"Don't go out. Don't go out. Don't go out," she said, urging residents to avoid visiting El Paso. "And what I want everyone to know is, I'm prepared to make another really tough decision. I don't want to make that decision. I want us to show that collectively we can use these tools and attack the virus right back and stop it from spreading."

Gov. Evers: This is 'becoming life and death' for people of Wisconsin

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers said the virus is becoming a "life and death" event for residents and urged people to take it more seriously as the state set a new daily record.

"The longer it takes for everyone to take the virus seriously, the longer it takes to bring the economy back," he said.

Evers asked for people to stay home and to wear a face covering when out in public. He also encouraged residents to contact legislators to find out if they support the current public health emergency.

"This is becoming life and death for the people of Wisconsin," he said in a video message, noting that it was not just about the economy.

Wisconsin Department of Health Services Secretary-designee Andrea Palm said some parts of the state had 90% full intensive care units and staffing shortages, citing a September case spike.

Officials said the seven-day average of daily cases rose to 2,927 and said they expected numbers to increase.

As of Thursday, the state had 162,325 confirmed cases, with a record increase of 3,747 cases from the previous day, officials said.

Cases on the rise in 38 states: ABC News analysis 

Coronavirus cases are increasing in 38 states and Washington, D.C., and deaths are rising in 14 states, according to an ABC News analysis of COVID Tracking Project data.

Amid warnings of a second wave, the seven-day average of new cases rose across the country with the figure now surpassing 52,000 -- the highest in nearly two months.

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 to examine whether a state's key indicators were increasing, decreasing or remained flat.

Two states and Puerto Rico reported decreases in new case trends and 10 states reported flat trends. Separately, nine states saw decreasing positivity rates, while rates in 15 states and Washington, D.C., were flat.

When it comes to hospitalizations, six states experienced a declining trend in current hospitalizations, while eight states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico reported flat hospitalizations trends. Twelve states saw a declining trend in new deaths, and 24 states, along with Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico, reported flat rates.

Over the last week alone, the seven-day average of new cases increased by 10% or more in 33 states, according to an analysis of state data.

Data from this week may be skewed because of lags in reporting or backlogs as a result of the Columbus Day holiday.

CDC forecast sees death toll rising nearly 5% by Nov. 7

The Centers for Disease Control released their weekly ensemble forecast showing that the agency expects the U.S. death toll to reach between 229,000 and 240,000 people by Nov. 7, according to new forecasts.

The center said it received forecasts of COVID-19 deaths over the next 4 weeks from 44 modeling groups. Of the 44 groups, 39 provided forecasts for both new and total deaths, three groups forecast total deaths only, and two focused solely on new deaths.

"This week’s national ensemble forecast indicates an uncertain trend in new COVID-19 deaths reported over the next four weeks and predicts that 3,400 to 7,100 new deaths will likely be reported during the week ending November 7, 2020," the CDC said in a statement Thursday.

It added: "The state- and territory-level ensemble forecasts predict that over the next 4 weeks, the number of newly reported deaths per week may increase in three jurisdictions and decrease in one jurisdiction … trends in numbers of future reported deaths are uncertain or predicted to remain stable in the other states and territories."

Fauci calls 'herd immunity' declaration embraced by White House 'ridiculous'

A declaration by a group of scientists calling for an approach that relies on "herd immunity" to defeat the coronavirus pandemic, which has been embraced by the White House, is "ridiculous" and "total nonsense," said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top expert on infectious diseases.

"That declaration has a couple things in it that I think are fooling people, because it says things that are like apple pie and motherhood," Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a key member of the White House coronavirus task force, told ABC News chief anchor George Stephanopoulos in an interview Thursday on "Good Morning America."

The so-called Great Barrington Declaration, which claims on its website to have been signed by more than 9,000 medical and public health scientists around the globe, opposes lockdowns and argues that authorities should allow the novel coronavirus to spread among young, healthy individuals while protecting the elderly and the vulnerable.

"If you just let things rip and let the infection go -- no masks, crowd, it doesn't make any difference -- that quite frankly, George, is ridiculous because what that will do is that there will be so many people in the community that you can't shelter, that you can't protect, who are going to get sick and get serious consequences," Fauci said. "So this idea that we have the power to protect the vulnerable is total nonsense, because history has shown that that's not the case. And if you talk to anybody who has any experience in epidemiology and infectious diseases, they will tell you that that is risky and you'll wind up with many more infections of vulnerable people, which will lead to hospitalizations and deaths. So I think that we just got to look that square in the eye and say it's nonsense."

During a briefing Monday, World Health Organization director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called herd immunity "scientifically and ethically problematic.

"Never in the history of public health has herd immunity been used as a strategy for responding to an outbreak, let alone a pandemic," Tedros said.