Coronavirus updates: Pandemic hits grim milestone as global cases top 5 million

A pandemic of the novel coronavirus has now killed more than 329,000 people worldwide.

Over 5 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 actual numbers are believed to be much higher due to testing shortages, many unreported cases and suspicions that some governments are hiding the scope of their nations' outbreaks.

Since the first cases were detected in China in December, the United States has become the worst-affected country, with more than 1.5 million diagnosed cases and at least 93,863 deaths.

Today's biggest developments:

  • Tyson Foods confirms 570 cases linked to North Carolina facility
  • Weddings can have up to 300 people in Ohio
  • Over 38 million Americans have filed jobless claims since start of pandemic
  • Here's how the news is developing today. All times Eastern. Please refresh this page for updates.

    3:15 p.m.: NY investigating 157 cases of kids' illness

    New York state is investigating 157 cases of a COVID-related illness in children — a 53% spike in cases over the past nine days, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Thursday.

    Twenty-five states, plus Washington, D.C., and 13 countries, are now reporting cases of the dangerous illness, said Cuomo.

    “The more we look, the more we find it,” Cuomo said.

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have now named the illness multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C).

    Common symptoms include persistent fever, irritability or sluggishness, abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting, rash, conjunctivitis, enlarged lymph node on one side of the neck, red cracked lips or red tongue, swollen hands and feet.

    Cuomo on Thursday called MIS-C “more frightening than COVID respiratory illness in some ways because it inflames the heart.”

    New York City has identified 89 cases that meet the definition of MIS-C.

    Cuomo urged parents not to send their children to day camps until it's known “how widespread this is.”

    Summer school will not have in-class teaching, Cuomo said, adding that it's still too early to make a decision about in-person classes in the fall.

    Parents looking for information on the disease can visit the CDC's new page.

    Tune into ABC at 1 p.m. ET and ABC News Live at 4 p.m. ET every weekday for special coverage of the novel coronavirus with the full ABC News team, including the latest news, context and analysis.

    2:55 p.m.: Weddings can have up to 300 people in Ohio

    Ohio is moving forward with reopening plans, and starting June 1, weddings there can have up to 300 people, Lt. Gov. Jon Husted announced Thursday, according to

    Miniature golf, batting cages and bowling alleys can reopen on May 26.

    Over 30,000 people in Ohio have been diagnosed with the coronavirus, including 1,836 people who have died.

    2:20 p.m.: TSA rolls out new rules as for pandemic travel

    The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is rolling out adjusted rules for traveling during the pandemic.

    The most notable change is flyers are now permitted to bring a hand sanitizer container that's up to 12 ounces in their carry-on bags. 

    Also, instead of handing their paper or electronic boarding pass over to the TSA officer, travelers will now place the boarding pass directly on the scanner.

    1:20 p.m.: Rate of new cases at NJ long-term care facilities is on the decline: Governor

    New Jersey's long-term care facilities have been especially hard-hit by the coronavirus, but Gov. Phil Murphy said Thursday that the rate of new cases at these facilities is continuing downward.

    Long-term care facilities make up nearly half of the state's death toll, which stands at 10,843.

    The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs will continue assisting the state's long-term care facilities until the end of June, Murphy said.

    12:15 p.m.: ‘If this country knew more … I think we could have saved many, many more lives'

    Over 21,000 people died in the New York metro area by March 3, according to The New York Times. But new estimates from Columbia University researchers found that fewer than 4,300 would have died by that time if quarantine response measures were launched one week earlier, on March 8, The Times reported.

    When asked about this Columbia research, and if the state could have and should have acted earlier, Cuomo said at his Thursday briefing, “If this country knew more and knew it earlier, I think we could have saved many, many more lives.”

    He went on, “Who knew the virus was already here January, February, March? Now who should have known? It's above my pay grade as governor of one state. But what federal agency, what international health organization? I don't know. It's not what I do. It's not my responsibility. But somebody has to answer that question.”

    Meanwhile, New York state beaches will open Friday in time for Memorial Day weekend.

    But Cuomo cautioned that beaches will be limited to 50% capacity, beachgoers can't participate in group contact activities and concessions won't be open. Social distancing will be enforced and masks must be worn when social distancing is not possible, he said.

    11:20 a.m.: US shipment of ventilators arrives in Moscow

    An American military plane carrying 50 ventilators sent by the U.S. government to help Russia amid the coronavirus pandemic has arrived in Moscow, according to the U.S. embassy there.

    The 50 ventilators are the first shipment of 200, with another 150 due to arrive next week in the Russian capital, U.S. Embassy in Moscow spokeswoman Rebecca Ross announced via Twitter Thursday. The United States will also be sending $5.6 million worth of humanitarian aid to help Russia combat its COVID-19 outbreak.

    The Russian government sent its own aid shipment to New York City in early April following a telephone conversation between Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Donald Trump. That shipment included 45 Russian-made ventilators as well as protective gear and other medical supplies.

    The ventilators, however, could not be used at first because they were a different voltage. U.S. officials ultimately decided last week to simply return them to the Federal Emergency Management Agency's storage after ventilators were found to have caused two deadly fires in Russian hospitals. Russia has suspended the use of of those ventilators since April.

    The ventilators sent to Moscow were manufactured by Vyaire Medical in California, a U.S. official told ABC News. The U.S. will cover 100% of the cost and delivery as well as startup supplies and will deliver them using military aircraft due to the limited number of commercial flights, the official said.

    The ventilators will be sent to the Pirogov National Medical and Surgical Center in Moscow, which will then distribute them among Russian health care institutions, the center confirmed in a statement Thursday.

    10:36 a.m.: Over 38 million Americans have filed jobless claims since start of pandemic

    An additional 2,438,000 Americans filed for unemployment insurance last week, the U.S. Department of Labor said Thursday.

    That brings the nine-week jobless claims total since the coronavirus crisis took hold in the United States to approximately 38.6 million people.

    Millions have filed for unemployment benefits in the United States every week for the last two months since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. New jobless claims peaked at nearly 7 million in the week ending March 28, though they have leveled off since then. Prior to this pandemic, the record for new weekly unemployment filings was 695,000 in 1982.

    10:19 a.m.: Wuhan says it has conducted over 3 million coronavirus tests since last week

    The Chinese city of Wuhan, ground zero of the coronavirus pandemic, conducted 887,321 nucleic acid tests for COVID-19 on Wednesday, up from 856,128 tests the previous day, according to the local health authority.

    No confirmed cases of COVID-19 with symptoms were found during Wednesday's testing period; however, 28 new asymptomatic carriers were identified, according to daily reports published by the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission.

    Last week, the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission announced a citywide campaign to test the entire population of 11 million residents for COVID-19 in an effort to search for asymptomatic carriers of the virus after a cluster of new cases emerged for the first time since the city had lifted its strict lockdown on April 8. The number of nucleic acid tests conducted in the city daily has rapidly increased since then.

    The Wuhan Municipal Health Commission said it has now conducted over 3 million nucleic acid tests since May 12.

    Although recommended, participation in the testing campaign is voluntary. Residents who were previously tested do not need to take part. It is not recommended to test children under the age of 6, according to the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission's website.

    9:35 a.m.: 2-day-old baby dies from COVID-19 in South Africa

    A 2-day-old baby who was born prematurely in South Africa has died from COVID-19, officials said Thursday.

    The mother had tested positive for COVID-19 and the baby subsequently tested positive as well, according to a statement from Dr. Zweli Mkhize, South Africa's health minister.

    It's the country's first coronavirus-related neonatal mortality.

    South Africa is the hardest-hit nation in Africa amid the coronavirus pandemic, with nearly 18.5% of the continent's diagnosed cases of COVID-19, according to data released Monday evening by the African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. So far, South Africa has reported over 18,000 diagnosed cases of the disease with at least 339 deaths.

    More than 92,000 people across all of Africa have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and at least 2,912 have died, according to a count kept by the African CDC.

    8:57 a.m.: Japan may lift Tokyo state of emergency as soon as next week

    Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Thursday he may lift the state of emergency in Tokyo as soon as next week if the rate of new coronavirus infections remains low.

    Abe declared a monthlong state of emergency for Tokyo and six other prefectures on April 7 as Japan reported a surge in COVID-19 cases. Abe later expanded the declaration to cover the entire country and last until May 31. Under the order, prefectural governors asked residents to stay home and for some businesses to temporarily close, but public cooperation was voluntary. There were no penalties for failure to comply.

    On May 13, the prime minister ended the state of emergency in 39 of the country's 47 prefectures. The decree remained in place for urban regions, including the capital, Tokyo, and the large port city of Osaka.

    Abe lifted the state of emergency in Osaka as well as Kyoto and Hyogo on Thursday, following a drop in the number of new cases reported each day. He said that Tokyo and four other prefectures will remain under restrictions for now, but he will meet with experts on Monday to see whether the infection rates have stayed low.

    “If the current situation continues, it is possible that the state of emergency could be lifted in those areas,” Abe told reporters.

    Earlier this month, Abe credited the recent decline in new infections to the efforts of residents staying at home and practicing social distancing. He warned, however, that the state of emergency may have to be reimposed if infections increase.

    More than 16,000 people in Japan have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and at least 771 have died, according to a count kept by Johns Hopkins University.

    7:53 a.m.: London's Heathrow Airport launches thermal screening trial

    London's Heathrow Airport announced Thursday it has launched thermal screening in one of its arrival terminals to help reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus.

    The equipment will be installed in Terminal 2's immigration hall and can detect elevated temperatures of arriving passengers. No personal data will be stored or shared through those trials, according to a press release from the airport.

    “The technology under trial uses camera detection systems capable of monitoring the temperatures of multiple people moving through the airport,” Heathrow Airport said in a statement. “Passengers will be alerted to the trials through signage placed at the immigration hall, but will otherwise see no visible change to their arrivals journey as no other screening methods will be needed.”

    If successful, the equipment may be rolled out across the airport into departures, connections as well as colleague search areas “to further stress test its capabilities,” according to the press release.

    6:42 a.m.: Russia reports more than 8,000 new cases

    Russia reported 8,849 new cases of COVID-19 and 127 deaths over the past 24 hours, according to the country's coronavirus response headquarters.

    The nationwide total now stands at 317,554 diagnosed cases with 3,099 deaths.

    The capital, Moscow, is the epicenter of the country's outbreak. However, the city on Wednesday reported more recoveries from the disease — 3,746 — than new cases — 2,913, according to Russia's coronavirus response headquarters.

    Russia has the second-highest highest number of diagnosed COVID-19 cases in the world, behind the United States, according to a count kept by Johns Hopkins University.

    Russia's latest daily caseload is down from a peak of 11,656 new infections reported on May 11. Last Thursday marked the end of a 12-day streak during which the country registered over 10,000 new cases per day.

    6:05 a.m.: Tyson Foods confirms 570 cases linked to North Carolina facility

    Tyson Foods, one of the world's largest food companies, has revealed the scale of the novel coronavirus outbreak at its poultry plant in Wilkesboro, North Carolina.

    Facility-wide testing found that 570 people out of the plant's 2,244-strong workforce were positive for COVID-19, the majority of whom “did not show any symptoms and otherwise would not have been identified,” the company said in a statement Wednesday.

    Most of the workers were tested at the facility from May 6 to May 9, while 237 were either tested by the local health department or through their own health care providers. Those who test positive receive paid leave and may return to work only when they meet the criteria established by both Tyson and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    “Our team members are essential to helping to feed the nation, and their health and safety is always our first priority,” Kevin Taylor, complex manager for the Wilkesboro facility, said in a statement Wednesday. “Disclosing our testing results will help better protect our team members and help provide the wider Wilkesboro community with the information it needs to stop the spread of the virus.”

    Production at the facility has begun to ramp up after operations there were limited last week to carry out additional deep cleaning. Tyson said it has put in place a range of protective steps to prevent the spread of the virus, including symptom screenings for all workers before every shift, providing mandatory protective face masks to all employees as well as physical barriers between workstations and in break rooms, among other social distancing measures. Workers also have access to on-site nurse practitioners, according to the company.

    “We are working closely with local health departments to protect our team members and their families, and to help manage the spread of the virus in our communities,” Tom Brower, senior vice president of health and safety for Tyson Foods, said in a statement. “We are using the most up-to-date data and resources to support our team members, and we are committed to ensuring they feel safe and secure when they come to work.”

    What to know about coronavirus:

  • How it started and how to protect yourself: Coronavirus explained
  • What to do if you have symptoms: Coronavirus symptoms
  • Tracking the spread in the U.S. and worldwide: Coronavirus map
  • 5:18 a.m.: Wuhan bans breeding, hunting, human consumption of wild animals

    The Chinese city of Wuhan, ground zero of the coronavirus pandemic, has issued an outright ban on the breeding, hunting and human consumption of wild animals.

    The move appears to be in response to research showing the novel coronavirus most likely originated in bats and was transmitted to humans through an intermediary animal sold at a wet market in Wuhan.

    The local government of Wuhan announced the ban Wednesday. However, the decree contains numerous exceptions, including for animals used in traditional Chinese medicine, as long as they are not eaten by humans.

    4:23 a.m.: AstraZeneca says it's ready to supply potential vaccine in September

    Pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca said Thursday it has booked orders for at least 400 million doses of a potential vaccine for the novel coronavirus being developed by the University of Oxford.

    The U.K.-based multinational company said it has the capacity to manufacture 1 billion doses of the as yet unproven vaccine and would begin delivering them in September. The drugmaker aims to conclude further deals to expand manufacturing capacity over the next few months, according to a press release.

    “We are so proud to be collaborating with Oxford University to turn their ground-breaking work into a medicine that can be produced on a global scale,” AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot said in a statement Thursday. “We will do everything in our power to make this vaccine quickly and widely available.”

    Researchers at the University of Oxford began testing the vaccine candidate, now known as AZD1222, in healthy human volunteers in southern England on April 23. AstraZeneca said data from the first and second phases of the clinical trial are expected shortly and, if positive, would lead to late-stage trials in a number of nations.

    The company said it “recognizes that the vaccine may not work but is committed to progressing the clinical program with speed and scaling up manufacturing at risk.”

    3:38 a.m.: Global cases top 5 million

    The coronavirus pandemic hit another grim milestone early Thursday as the worldwide number of people who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 surpassed 5 million.

    Just two weeks ago, the tally had crossed the 4 million threshold, according to a count kept by Johns Hopkins University.

    More than a third of the world's COVID-19 cases have been diagnosed in the United States.

    ABC News' Dee Carden, Rachel Katz, Alina Lobzina, Liezl Thom, Patrick Reevell, Catherine Thorbecke and Zunaira Zaki contributed to this report.

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