National Headlines

Samara Heisz/iStockBy MORGAN WINSOR, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- A pandemic of the novel coronavirus has now killed more than 946,000 people worldwide.

Over 30.1 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 6.6 million diagnosed cases and at least 197,643 deaths.

California has the most cases of any U.S. state, with more than 775,000 people diagnosed, according to Johns Hopkins data. California is followed by Texas and Florida, with over 701,000 cases and over 674,000 cases, respectively.

Nearly 170 vaccine candidates for COVID-19 are being tracked by the World Health Organization, at least six of which are in crucial phase three trials.

Here's how the news is developing Friday. All times Eastern:

Sep 18, 11:12 am
New Zealand reports no new cases for 1st time in over a month


New Zealand has reported no new confirmed cases of COVID-19 for the first time since Aug. 10, after a fresh outbreak was discovered in the country's most populous city.

New Zealand's Ministry of Health said Friday that there were no positive results among the 7,360 people tested for COVID-19 the previous day. It's the fourth straight day without any cases of community transmission in the nation of 5 million people, with all recent cases being detected among quarantined travelers returning from abroad.

A cluster of cases emerged in the city of Auckland last month, ending New Zealand's 102-day streak without any local transmission of the novel coronavirus. The outbreak prompted the government to impose a temporary lockdown in the region and reschedule national elections.

Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, New Zealand's Ministry of Health has identified 1,809 confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases as well as 25 coronavirus-related deaths. There are currently 70 active cases and four coronavirus-related hospitalizations in the country.

Sep 18, 10:07 am
COVID-19 is New York City's 'largest mass fatality incident,' report says


The number of deaths reported to the New York City's Office of Chief Medical Examiner (OCME) more than doubled in 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic gripped the nation's most populous city, according to a new report from the mayor's office.

"COVID-19 tragically represents the largest mass fatality incident in modern NYC history," the report said.

There were 65,712 deaths reported to OCME during the 2020 fiscal year, compared to 30,964 in fiscal year 2019.

"The number of deaths reported to OCME increased, corresponding to the surge in NYC deaths during the pandemic," the report said.

Meanwhile, the number of cremation requests reviewed by the OCME jumped from 17,148 to 27,863 over the past year.

"This increase came about during the months of March through June where OCME received 16,115 requests, a number that approached the entire Fiscal 2019 total," the report said. "This increase corresponds to the surge in deaths NYC experienced during the pandemic to date."

The number of decedents' remains transported by OCME and stored in the morgue also increased from 11,281 to 17,606.

New York City has counted nearly 24,000 confirmed or probable deaths from COVID-19 so far. In April, the city's COVID-19 death toll surpassed the number of people killed in the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

ABC News' Aaron Katerksy contributed to this report.

Sep 18, 9:17 am
London cancels New Year's Eve fireworks, while England imposes tighter restrictions

The massive fireworks display that lights up London's skyline every New Year's Eve, attracting tens of thousands of people, has been canceled this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan announced the decision to halt the official New Year's Eve celebrations in the British capital during an interview Friday on radio station LBC, citing concerns about further spread of the novel coronavirus.

"There will not be fireworks on New Year’s Eve this year like in previous years," Khan said. "We simply can’t afford to have the numbers of people who congregate on New Year’s Eve congregating."

As the city's COVID-19 case count continues to rise, Khan warned that new restrictions could be imposed in London if people don't follow the current social distancing rules. He said new measures could be similar to those recently announced in other areas of England, where more than 10 million people are now banned from mixing with other households outside of support bubbles while hospitality and entertainment venues have to adhere to a nightly curfew.

"Without wishing to alarm your listeners, the number of cases in London are going up; the infection rate is going up, and hospital admissions are going up," Khan told LBC. "But we aren't at a point where we would need to trigger the sort of things we need to do that you're seeing across the country."

Sep 18, 8:20 am
Controversial testing guidance 'absolutely came from the CDC,' task force official says

A controversial guideline posted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last month about who should be tested for COVID-19 was approved by the agency's director, Dr. Robert Redfield, according to Adm. Brett Giroir, assistant secretary for health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

"It absolutely came from the CDC," Giroir, a medical doctor and a key member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, told ABC News' Cecilia Vega in an interview Friday on Good Morning America.

The guideline in question said it wasn't necessary to test people without COVID-19 symptoms, even if they had been exposed to the virus.

"There are thousands of people at the CDC. I have no idea who The New York Times talked to, but I know for a fact that the version that went to the task force was reviewed and approved by Dr. Redfield," Giroir continued. "It was reviewed and approved by the senior scientist who was the incident manager and in multiple emails to me said that the pertinent issues were reviewed by subject matter experts."

Giroir was referring to a recent article by The New York Times that reported the guideline was not written by CDC scientists and was posted to the agency's website despite their serious objections. The article cited several people familiar with the matter as well as internal documents obtained by the newspaper.

During the interview on GMA, Giroir disputed that the guideline recommended against testing those who are asymptomatic and said more clarification would be released soon.

"In fact, there were specific recommendations to test asymptomatic (individuals) in outbreak areas," he noted. "What they said was, if you're asymptomatic after exposure, you should do it within the context of public health or medical advice."

"I want people to know that if you are asymptomatic you can still spread the virus and we want them to be tested," he added.

Giroir said politics is not part of the decision-making that is happening on the coronavirus task force and that it is a "science-based, evidence-based process ... with the scientists leading."

He agreed with Redfield's recent statement on Capitol Hill that a potential COVID-19 vaccine won't be widely available until the middle of next year.

"But the point that I want to emphasize is, we could immunize 5% or 10% of the population and get 90% of the benefit by ring-fencing the vulnerable, like in nursing homes or vaccinating our teachers or those who have hypertensions," Giroir said. "If we had a vaccine, even a few million in November, it could make an enormous impact on the health of the country. But it is also true that everyone who wants a vaccine may not be able to get it till mid-next year."

Sep 18, 6:49 am
US sees rise in both new cases and deaths over past week


Week-over-week comparisons show the number of new COVID-19 cases and the number of new deaths are both increasing in the United States, according to an internal memo from the Federal Emergency Management Agency obtained by ABC News on Thursday night.

Eleven U.S. states and territories are in an upward trajectory of new cases, while 12 jurisdictions are at a plateau and 32 others are going down, the memo said.

There were 269,769 new cases confirmed across the nation during the period of Sept 10-16, a 5.3% jump from the previous week. Meanwhile, 6,015 coronavirus-related deaths were recorded during that same period, a 16.3% increase compared with the seven days prior, according to the memo.

The national positivity rate for COVID-19 tests ticked downward slightly to 4.5%, compared with 5.1% for the previous week, the memo said.

FEMA maps and charts also show a number of emerging COVID-19 hotspots in Wisconsin, which reported a record-breaking 2,034 new cases on Thursday.

Meanwhile, in Arkansas, 12.9% of new cases on Sept. 11 were attributed to colleges and universities. Half of all cases in the state are individuals aged 18 to 44, according to the memo.

In Florida, data released by the state health department shows that cases among children younger than 18 have increased by 26% since schools reopened for in-person instruction a month ago. The northern city of Gainesville reported a 91% relative increase in new cases during the period of Sept. 7-13, compared to the seven days prior. The spike was linked to outbreaks among sports teams and other students at the University of Florida, where the COVID-19 test positivity rate stands at 27.1%, the memo said.

In Indiana's Monroe County, new cases increased by a relative rate of 61.9% during the period of Sept. 7-13, compared to the previous week. The surge continues to be driven by Indiana University's campus in Bloomington, where fraternity and sorority housing had a COVID-19 test positivity rate of 24.56% for the week ending Sept. 11, according to the memo.

Sep 18, 5:29 am
US reports over 44,000 new cases, just under 1,000 deaths


There were 44,360 new cases of COVID-19 identified in the United States on Thursday, according to a real-time count kept by Johns Hopkins University.

Thursday's tally is well below the country’s record set on July 16, when there were 77,255 new cases in a 24-hour-reporting period.

An additional 870 coronavirus-related fatalities were also recorded Thursday, down from a peak of 2,666 new fatalities reported on April 17.

A total of 6,675,564 people in the United States have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since the pandemic began, and at least 197,643 of them have died, according to Johns Hopkins. The cases include people from all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C. and other U.S. territories as well as repatriated citizens.

By May 20, all U.S. states had begun lifting stay-at-home orders and other restrictions put in place to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. The day-to-day increase in the country's cases then hovered around 20,000 for a couple of weeks before shooting back up and crossing 70,000 for the first time in mid-July. The daily tally of new cases has gradually come down since then.

Sep 18, 4:59 am
India's case count jumps by more than 96,000


India confirmed another 96,424 COVID-19 cases and 1,174 more fatalities in the past 24 hours.

The daily case count is just under the world record that India had set the previous day of 97,894 COVID-19 cases confirmed within a 24-hour reporting period. The country's cumulative total now stands at more than 5.21 million cases with 84,372 deaths, according to the latest data from the Indian Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

India has the second-highest tally of COVID-19 cases in the world and the third-highest death toll in the coronavirus pandemic, according to a count kept by Johns Hopkins University. However, based on the current rate of infection, India is expected within weeks to become the pandemic's worst-hit nation, surpassing the United States, where more than 6.6 million people have been diagnosed with COVID-19.

India has reported more than one million cases this month alone, which the health ministry has attributed to increased testing. The vast country of 1.3 billion people is conducting more than one million COVID-19 tests per day.

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ABC NewsBy MAX GOLEMBO, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- As Sally remnants move out of the U.S. Friday, Tropical Depression 22 has formed in the Gulf of Mexico. It is forecast to become a hurricane this weekend, bringing with it a threat for flooding in the western Gulf Coast.

It is still looking disorganized on the satellite Friday morning, but this is expected to change over the weekend as the depression is expected to become the last name on the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane season alphabet, Wilfred.

The official path for Tropical Depression 22 shows the storm becoming Tropical Storm Wilfred early Friday afternoon.

Over the weekend, the storm is expected to strengthen to possibly a Category 1 hurricane, with winds up to 75 mph.

There is still a lot of uncertainty where Wilfred will go, but it's expected to spread a lot of flooding rain into Texas over the weekend and into next week.

Some models are showing almost a foot of rain possible along the Texas coast, including Houston.

Also, Hurricane Teddy is a Category 4 storm in the Atlantic. This is the second Category 4 hurricane of the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season, behind Laura.

The official National Hurricane Center path takes Teddy northwest towards Bermuda by Sunday night and early Monday morning.

It looks like Teddy will weaken some but still will be a strong hurricane as it passes dangerously close to Bermuda. The latest path takes the worst of the hurricane just to the east of Bermuda.

After that, Teddy will move north and possibly make landfall just north of Maine, somewhere in southeast Canada.

Large waves and rip currents are expected along the East Coast of the U.S. next week.

As Sally remnants moved through the Atlanta metro area Thursday, two people were killed when a huge tree came down on a house. More than a half a foot of rain fell in Georgia Thursday, which produced flash flooding.

The storm also led to one reported tornado in South Carolina and up to 8 inches of rain.

Damaging winds uprooted trees in North Carolina as well Thursday, producing major damage. Hundreds of thousands are still without power Friday. In Alabama, more than 278,000 customers are still without power and more than 244,000 customers have no power in Florida.

Sally produced more than 4 inches of rain southeast of Roanoke, Virginia, in the last 24 hours.

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Alex_Schmidt/iStockBy WILLIAM MANSELL, ABC News

(CAMDEN, N.J.) -- The home of two Camden County, New Jersey, police officers and their 10-day old infant was struck six times by bullets earlier this week, and authorities are asking for the public's help in locating the suspects.

"Thank God the officers and their baby were uninjured," Camden County Police Chief Joseph Wysocki said at a press conference Thursday.

Wysocki said he believes this was a targeted attack.

"I do know that this was a targeted attack against this residence and the officers inside," he said.

Police said a Honda Odyssey pulled up on the home Tuesday and opened fire. The vehicle has been recovered, but Wysocki said they are seeking help locating the owner, driver or passengers of the minivan.

"It's critical for us to speak to the owner, the occupants or friends of anybody that operates this vehicle," Wysocki said at his press conference.

The officers, he said, were both born and raised in Camden. One of the officers has been on the job for more than four years, the other for more than two.

Officials have not released the names of the officers at this time.

There is currently a $20,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the shooting suspects.

Anyone with any information is asked to call the Camden County Police Department at (856) 757-7042 or the Citizen's Crime Commission at (215) 546-TIPS.

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Arizona Department of Public SafetyBy MEREDITH DELISO, ABC News

(PHOENIX) -- One suspect has been arrested and a second is still at-large in an ambush-style shooting of Arizona troopers on Thursday, officials said.

The suspect in custody allegedly fired multiple rounds at DPS detectives in Phoenix with an assault rifle, according to the Arizona Department of Public Safety.

The shooting occurred just before 9 a.m. local time on Thursday, authorities said, as troopers were in the area to serve a body warrant on a wanted subject. A trooper was in an unmarked car in visible police attire when the alleged gunman approached in a silver four-door Infiniti, Arizona Director Col. Heston Silbert said during a press briefing Thursday evening.

"There was no question, it was an ambush," Silbert said. "He was identifiable as a police officer."

As the trooper apparently started to exit his car, the suspected gunman allegedly exited the passenger side of his car with an AK-47 and "immediately opened up and opened fire on him," Silbert said.

A nearby trooper arrived on the scene, and both returned fire, he said.

The driver fled the scene, leaving the alleged shooter behind, authorities said.

Neither the troopers nor the alleged gunman were injured, authorities said.

The suspect in custody was identified by authorities as a 17-year-old male. The troopers found the assault rifle near the alleged shooter, Arizona DPS spokesman Capt. Jesse Galvez said during a press briefing after the shooting.

Arizona DPS released images of the car that the gunman was allegedly a passenger in, describing it as a 2013 Infiniti model G-37 with custom wheels and a temporary plate.

DPS detectives were still looking for the driver and car as of Thursday evening.

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Myriam Borzee/iStockBy MORGAN WINSOR, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- A pandemic of the novel coronavirus has now killed more than 942,000 people worldwide.

Over 29.9 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 6.6 million diagnosed cases and at least 197,120 deaths.

California has the most cases of any U.S. state, with more than 772,000 people diagnosed, according to Johns Hopkins data. California is followed by Texas and Florida, with over 696,000 cases and over 674,000 cases, respectively.

Nearly 170 vaccine candidates for COVID-19 are being tracked by the World Health Organization, at least six of which are in crucial phase three trials.

Here's how the news is developing Thursday. All times Eastern:

Sep 17, 8:41 pm
Global COVID-19 cases top 30 million

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases has surpassed 30 million worldwide.

There are 30,019,763 cases globally as of Thursday evening, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

The total number of cases has doubled in the two months since July 22, when the globe crossed the 15 million mark, based on the university's tally.

It took about six months to reach 15 million cases from the time the pandemic began near the start of the year.

The United States has the highest number of COVID-19 cases, followed by India, which on Thursday recorded the highest one-day jump in new cases anywhere in the world since the pandemic began, with 97,894.

Sep 17, 3:04 pm
Utah reports highest single-day case count


Utah on Thursday reported its highest single-day case count since the beginning of the pandemic, said Gov. Gary Herbert.

"This week, the state has seen a troubling spike in COVID cases after a promising August," Herbert tweeted, calling this "a wake up call."

"Fortunately, we have not yet seen a spike in hospitalizations or deaths related to this current spike -- but as those are lagging indicators -- we may see increased hospitalizations and deaths, much like we did from the surge in July," he said.

Herbert said he called an emergency meeting of Utah's Unified Command and is meeting with "local stakeholders, epidemiologists and medical experts to develop a targeted plan to contain these outbreaks." The governor also urged local leaders to make sure their policies are in the best shape possible.

ABC News' Matt Fuhrman contributed to this report.

Sep 17, 2:19 pm
Texas businesses to soon up capacity to 75%


In Texas -- which has the second highest number of coronavirus cases in the U.S. -- most of the state will allow businesses to operate at 75% capacity, up from 50%, beginning on Monday.

Rules for reopening are based on Texas' 22 "hospital regions." Nineteen of the 22 regions have less than 15% of hospital patients diagnosed with COVID-19, so those regions can reopen restaurants, retail, offices, museums, libraries and manufacturing at 75% capacity.

The only parts of the state where businesses cannot reopen at 75% capacity are the Rio Grande Valley, the Laredo area and the Victoria area. To qualify for a 75% capacity reopening, those locations must get their hospitals to under 15% COVID-19 patients for at least one week.

Bars across Texas are required to stay closed because they are "nationally recognized as COVID spreading locations," said Gov. Greg Abbott.

California has the most COVID-19 cases of any state, with more than 772,000 people diagnosed, while Texas ranks No. 2 with over 696,000 cases, according to Johns Hopkins data.

ABC News' Matt Fuhrman contributed to this report.

Sep 17, 1:02 pm
Abu Dhabi using smartwatch tech to enforce self-quarantines


All travelers arriving at Abu Dhabi International Airport are required to undergo thermal screening, take a COVID-19 test and self-quarantine for two weeks.

After clearing immigration, those who arrive will also be required to wear a free, medically approved wristband during their self-quarantine, Etihad Airlines confirmed in a statement to ABC News.

Only United Arab Emirates (UAE) nationals are allowed to fly into Abu Dhabi International Airport. UAE nationals arriving at the airport would be exempt from wearing wristbands if they hold diplomatic passports, are under the age of 18, over the age of 60, or have a chronic disease.

According to the UAE government portal, authorities in Abu Dhabi have been using the technology to track and monitor people diagnosed with COVID-19 to make sure they are self-quarantining.

The UAE has over 81,000 COVID-19 cases and at least 402 fatalities, according to the state-run WAM news agency.

ABC News' Christine Theodorou, Clark Bentson and Ibtissem Guenfoud contributed to this report.


Sep 17, 12:21 pm
HHS Secretary to testify before Congress on Oct. 2


Alex Azar, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, will testify before a House select subcommittee on Oct. 2 about the response to the pandemic.

This will be his first appearance before Congress since February.

According to the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, "The hearing will examine the Trump Administration’s unprecedented political interference in the work of scientists and public health experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Food and Drug Administration, the Administration’s refusal to provide accurate and clear public health information, and the failure of the Administration to develop and implement a comprehensive national plan to contain the coronavirus, more than eight months into this public health emergency."

ABC News' Mariam Khan contributed to this report.


Sep 17, 11:15 am
New York City again delays start of in-person classes for most students


Three days before public schools in New York City were slated to reopen for in-person learning, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a new timetable.

"It involves several phases," de Blasio said at a press conference Thursday.

Students in pre-K, 3-K and special education programs will resume in-person learning Monday, as scheduled. Those in K-5 and K-8 schools will now return to physical classrooms on Sept. 29, while middle and high schools won't open until Oct. 1.

Remote learning will begin citywide Monday for those whose in-person start dates have been pushed back.

It's the second time the mayor has delayed the start of in-person classes amid the coronavirus pandemic. De Blasio said his colleagues had reached out to him with "real concerns."

"They acknowledged progress has been made but more had to be done to make sure that things would be as strong as they needed to be," he said.

ABC News' Aaron Katersky contributed to this report.


Sep 17, 9:58 am
150 million more children in poverty due to COVID-19, report says


The coronavirus crisis has pushed 150 million more children into poverty, according to an analysis published Wednesday night by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the U.K.-based charity Save the Children.

Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the number of children living in deprivation in low- and middle-income countries has increased by 15% to approximately 1.2 billion. The multidimensional poverty analysis used data on access to education, health care, housing, nutrition, sanitation and water from more than 70 countries.

Although the report already paints a dire picture, UNICEF warned the situation will likely worsen in the coming months.

"COVID-19 and the lockdown measures imposed to prevent its spread have pushed millions of children deeper into poverty," UNICEF executive director Henrietta Fore said in a statement Wednesday. "Families on the cusp of escaping poverty have been pulled back in, while others are experiencing levels of deprivation they have never seen before. Most concerningly, we are closer to the beginning of this crisis than its end."

The analysis noted that not only are more children across the globe experiencing poverty than before, but the poorest children are getting poorer as well.

UNICEF and Save the Children said they are both committed to continue to monitor the situation while working with governments and civil society to confront it.

"This pandemic has already caused the biggest global education emergency in history, and the increase in poverty will make it very hard for the most vulnerable children and their families to make up for the loss," Save the Children International CEO Inger Ashing said in a statement Wednesday. "Children who lose out on education are more likely to be forced into child labour or early marriage and be trapped in a cycle of poverty for years to come. We cannot afford to let a whole generation of children become victims of this pandemic. National governments and the international community must step up to soften the blow."

ABC News' Dragana Jovanovic contributed to this report.

Sep 17, 9:24 am
860,000 Americans filed jobless claims last week


Some 860,000 Americans lost their jobs and filed for unemployment insurance last week, the U.S. Department of Labor said Thursday.

The latest tally shows that the nationwide number of new jobless claims have dropped significantly since peaking at 6.9 million in the last week of March. Still, the figure shatters the pre-pandemic weekly record set in 1982 of 695,000.

More than 29 million people across the country are currently receiving unemployment benefits under state and federal programs, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Sep 17, 7:50 am
COVID-19 outbreaks hit French universities


Dozens of university campuses in major cities across France are reporting COVID-19 outbreaks, according to various local media outlets.

The affected cities reportedly include Lyon, Marseille, Montpellier, Rennes and Toulouse.

In a recent interview with French newspaper Ouest-France, the country's minister of higher education, Frederique Vidal, said the clusters of cases emerging on university campuses are "mostly linked to private gatherings," such as student parties. Still, Vidal said she wants to maintain in-person classes "because it is important that teachers and students meet," particularly first-year students "who need benchmarks."

French student unions, on the other hand, have laid the blame on overcrowded lecture halls.

Since the start of the academic year, at least 81 schools across France have been closed and 2,100 classes have been cancelled due to COVID-19.

"We have seen around 1,200 new COVID cases among school pupils this week," France's minister of national education, Jean-Michel Blanquer, told reporters Wednesday. "Classes are closed as soon as there are three positive cases."

Sep 17, 6:40 am
2-month-old baby dies from COVID-19 in Michigan


A 2-month-old baby in Michigan has died from COVID-19.

Michigan's chief medical executive, Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, announced the infant's death during a press conference Wednesday, while discussing how children are not spared from the novel coronavirus.

"I was so saddened to hear this news," Khaldun said. "My condolences go out to their parents and family."

Nearly 800 children across the United States have been diagnosed with Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C), a new pediatric disease associated with COVID-19 that can cause multiple organs to fail, according to Khaldun.

"Studies show that while children are less likely to get severely ill from COVID-19, they still can and they can also pass it on to others," Khaldun said, while urging people to wear masks, wash their hands and maintain social distancing.

"COVID-19 is not something to be taken lightly," she added.

Twenty children under the age of 1 have died of COVID-19 nationwide as of Sept. 12, according to the latest data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Sep 17, 5:30 am
US sees nearly 17% jump in coronavirus-related deaths


An internal memo from the Federal Emergency Management Agency obtained by ABC News on Wednesday night showed that the current national trend in new cases is only slightly down while the trend in new deaths is way up.

There were 261,204 new cases of COVID-19 confirmed in the United States during the period of Sept. 9-15, a 0.7% decrease from the previous week. Meanwhile, 5,906 coronavirus-related deaths were recorded during that same period, a 16.6% increase compared with the seven days prior, according to the FEMA memo.

The national positivity rate for COVID-19 tests currently stands at 4.4%, a 0.1% decrease over the past week, according to the memo.

Sep 17, 4:48 am
US reports nearly 37,000 new cases, just under 1,000 deaths


There were 36,782 new cases of COVID-19 identified in the United States on Wednesday, according to a real-time count kept by Johns Hopkins University.

Wednesday's tally is far below the country’s record set on July 16, when there were 77,255 new cases in a 24-hour-reporting period.

An additional 977 coronavirus-related fatalities were also recorded Wednesday, down from a peak of 2,666 new fatalities reported on April 17.

A total of 6,630,892 people in the United States have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since the pandemic began, and at least 196,802 of them have died, according to Johns Hopkins. The cases include people from all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C. and other U.S. territories as well as repatriated citizens.

By May 20, all U.S. states had begun lifting stay-at-home orders and other restrictions put in place to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. The day-to-day increase in the country's cases then hovered around 20,000 for a couple of weeks before shooting back up and crossing 70,000 for the first time in mid-July. The daily tally of new cases has gradually come down since then.

Sep 17, 4:27 am
India records world's highest increase in new cases


India confirmed 97,894 new cases of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, marking the highest single-day increase in infections worldwide since the coronavirus pandemic began.

An additional 1,132 coronavirus-related fatalities were also recorded. The country's cumulative total now stands at 5,118,253 cases and 83,198 deaths, according to the latest data from the Indian Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

India has the second-highest tally of COVID-19 cases in the world and the third-highest death toll in the coronavirus pandemic, according to a count kept by Johns Hopkins University. The relatively low death toll in a vast county of 1.3 billion people is raising questions about how it's counting coronavirus fatalities.

India has reported more than one million cases this month alone. Based on the current rate of infection, India is expected within weeks to become the pandemic's worst-hit nation, surpassing the United States, where more than 6.6 million people have been diagnosed with COVID-19.

India's health ministry has attributed the surge in infections to increased testing. The country is conducting more than one million COVID-19 tests per day.

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ABC NewsBY: MATT GUTMAN, IGNACIO TORRES, JAKE LEFFERMAN, and HALEY YAMEDA, ABC News

(LOS ANGELES) -- The ambush of two Los Angeles sheriff's deputies this weekend shocked the country, but it was only the latest incident during a summer of unrest that included nightly stand-offs between police and protesters against police brutality.

While the details and motive for this weekend's ambush remain unknown, the incident illustrates the fears of many of those in uniform. These fears have only been exacerbated by a series of shootings and killings of Black men, including George Floyd, that have soured the public's attitudes toward police.

“There is much work to be done, but we can't do it alone. We need to have our community members join with us so that we can see a positive future in American policing, so that we can start to change some of the things,” said police captain Yulanda Williams.

The sheriff’s deputies shot over the weekend were taken to an emergency room in south LA, where a small group of protesters gathered outside to heckle the officers. The shooting follows rising tensions between police and civilians in the area after sheriff deputies shot and killed Dijon Kizzee in broad daylight on Aug. 31. Police and eyewitnesses said Kizzee appeared unarmed at the time of the shooting.

“People wouldn't be out here, the outpouring wouldn’t be out here if this wasn’t murder. Look at all the outpouring. It wouldn’t be like this if this wasn’t murder. This was murder,” said Reggie Cole, Kizzee’s friend.

Cole was with Kizzee just before he was killed last month, and says he’s a survivor of the gang wars in the Westmont neighborhood of LA, where he says there’s still a heavy handed presence by the LA sheriffs.

“The classic definition of a police officer -- to serve and protect -- has no meaning around here,” said Cole.

Cole was wrongfully charged and convicted of murder in 1994. He spent 16 years in prison and 10 of those years in solitary confinement before being exonerated in 2009.

“In my opinion, law enforcement should be held more responsible than a layman -- than a person in the streets. You’re supposed to know the law,” he said. “You should have a higher accountability than a normal person because you’re there to uphold the law. Our whole thing is that we want justice for families. We just want justice. Where is the accountability?”

Compton Mayor Aja Brown believes the way to build trust between communities and police is to increase accountability in law enforcement.

“There's just, I believe, a disconnect between community and law enforcement and there is an overarching feeling of not feeling safe in regards to law enforcement,” said Brown. “There are so many instances of unanswered justice for our community, and it's really hard to tell someone to heal when there hasn't been any form of restitution or reconciliation or atonement.”

As of now, one of the ambushed LA officers remains in the hospital and the FBI is offering a reward for information leading to the arrest of the gunman.

“We’re out here to protect and the fact that somebody would do that, it’s kind of a hurt feeling,” said Ron Hernandez, the president of the Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs. “Like why would somebody do that to us? It’s personal, it’s heartbreaking that somebody would try to kill one of us?”

Hernandez said both officers are recuperating. But the 36 year veteran of the LA Sheriff’s Department insisted that while the ambush might make deputies more cautious it would not otherwise change their behavior or protocol.

Williams said she is worried that videos of both Black men and officers being shot are getting politicized.

“We need to be respectful of life, and we need to recognize when you kill someone, they're not going to come back,” said Williams.

As an officer of color herself, Williams said that this summer, she has found herself navigating between the hurt in her community and the frustration of her colleagues.

“We want to be able to establish a much better relationship, but right now, many officers are afraid of the unknown,” said Williams. “My brothers and sisters in blue need to recognize that we can't take this personally. However, we can use this moment in time where people are angry... We can use it as an opportunity to be better, to be stronger.”

Corporal Ryan Tillman, of the Chino Police Department, is trying to “rebrand” the message police officers are sending into their community.

“When I put that uniform on, my goal is to go out there, change a perception of how people view police officers,” said Tillman. “What really goes in my mind is really wanting to be a change agent for our community and rebranding what law enforcement looks like.”

Tillman is the founder of Breaking Barriers United, a group aimed at repairing the bond between law enforcement and the community through workshops and mentorship.

“I was not a fan of police officers. Once I became a police officer, I saw the job completely different, and so one of the things I've done from early on is acknowledge our wrongs,” he said. “I've told people I'm sorry on behalf of a lot of bad policing you've seen out there. And then what that has allowed me to do is now it lays the foundation of honesty, transparency and empathy.”

Even as programs like Breaking Barriers United work to build trust between the two communities, some believe making amends needs to extend to structural change.

Cole said on behalf of his community, “The only way we can change this situation is for us to change the way [law enforcement] deals with us: through legislation.”

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iStock/carlballouBY: KARMA ALLEN, ABC News

(MILWAUKEE) -- Wisconsin authorities are investigating a Wednesday shooting outside a senior citizens facility where a resident allegedly shot three neighbors before turning the gun on himself.

Deputies with the Dodge County Sheriff's Office said they received a 911 call at around 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, saying there had been a shooting in the parking lot of the Spring Glen Apartments in Mayville, a quiet city of around 5,000 located about 50 miles northwest of Milwaukee.

The suspect, described as a 72-year-old white male, allegedly shot the victims and then himself after getting into an argument, according to the Wisconsin Department of Justice, which is investigating the case alongside local authorities. The victims were described as two white women, ages 53 and 64, and a 67-year-old Asian American man.

Investigators said the individuals all knew each other, but did not offer details about the motive behind the shooting. All four are expected to survive their injuries.

Authorities preformed "lifesaving measures" on the scene before airlifting the four to local hospitals, state DOJ officials said in a statement Thursday. They said the investigation is ongoing and declined to offer any additional details.

"Three individuals were in a parking lot when a fourth individual, a 72-year-old white male, approached, and the group argued. The man brandished a firearm and shot the three individuals and then shot himself," the statement said.

The building is an assisted living facility for the elderly, according to its website.

Witnesses said the four people involved were all residents of the apartment building, according to ABC affiliate WISN. One neighbor said she saw one of the victims, a female, laying on the ground.

"All I keep seeing when I try to go to sleep was her laying there on the ground and them telling me I couldn't get outside and this was a shooting. And then I'm like, 'Oh my god, a shooting here,'" witness Diane Diels told WISN.

Another woman told the affiliate that her aunt was one of the victims, and that she was currently in a coma and suffering from gunshot wounds to the leg and chest. Authorities, however, released no information about the conditions of those involved.

Mayville Mayor Rob Boelk told The Associated Press that he was surprised by the shooting. Between 2015 and 2019, the city had only a single homicide, according to the AP.

"This is Mayville," Boelk said. "We don't ever really have anything like that take place in town."

Boelk told the AP he didn't know any details about the shooting beyond the information released by authorities. He said the gunman was under armed guard at the hospital where he's being treated, but he didn't know the conditions of those involved in the shooting.

Spring Glen Apartments did not immediately respond to voicemail messages requesting comment.

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iStock/Biletskiy_EvgeniyBY: GENEVIEVE SHAW BROWN, ABC News

(WASHINGTON) --  When Jodi Degyansky and her 2-year-old son boarded their return flight from Florida to Chicago's Midway Airport on Southwest Airlines on Sept. 12, she says she never imagined it would end with both of them being removed from the plane.

"I want to be super clear," Degyansky told "Good Morning America." "He was wearing his mask. We were following the rules. We were following the protocol set forth by the airline. And we still got kicked off the flight."

The trouble began, Degyansky said, when they boarded the plane and Degyansky was getting her son situated. That included giving him a snack.

She was approached by a flight attendant, "three or four times," and asked if her son would voluntarily wear his mask, which she said "he absolutely would."

"He was not resistant to it, but he had the snack in front of him and every time the flight attendant came over there was a heightened level of stress," Degyansky said. "I told him, 'I promise he is going to wear the mask.'"

She says it was different from their trip to Florida, which had taken place a week earlier. On that flight, she says the attendants were much more flexible. "Just do your best," is what Degyansky said the attendants told her regarding her son keeping his mask on for the duration of the flight.
MORE: Masks for 7 hours a day? How we can start prepping kids now

At one point while conversing with the flight attendant about the mask on the return flight, Degyansky said she asked him to stand 6 feet away from her. It was this, Degyansky said, that she thinks is what ultimately got her kicked off the flight, because shortly thereafter, her son had finished his snack and his mask was in place.

"I turned around and gave the thumbs up to the flight attendant that the mask was on," Degyansky told "GMA." But she was informed that she was being removed from the flight. In video captured by another passenger and broadcast on ABC's Chicago station, Degyansky and her son are seen wearing their masks and she is heard saying, "You can see the mask is clearly on his face."

Still, she and her son, who turned 2 just a few weeks ago, were removed from the flight.

She says she paid $600 to get on a flight home on American Airlines. And while she's requested a refund from Southwest, she told "GMA" it's not about the money.

"I want to see consistency across the board," Degyansky said about the seemingly different interpretations of the rules from one flight crew to the next. "Or, hopefully, more compassion on a case-by-case basis."

"GMA" contacted Southwest for comment. While the airline said they would not comment specifically on the Degyansky situation, they said that "our Customer Relations Team is looking into this situation to learn more."

The airline sent "Good Morning America" the following statement about their mask policy: "We communicate this policy to all Customers at multiple touchpoints throughout the travel journey including during booking, in a pre-trip email sent prior to departure, and during a required acknowledgement that's part of the Customer Health Declaration Form which appears during the check-in process on the Southwest app, Southwest.com, Southwest's mobile website, and airport kiosks."

"If a Customer is unable to wear a face covering for any reason, Southwest regrets that we are unable to transport the individual," the statement continued. "In those cases, we will issue a full refund and hope to welcome the Customer onboard in the future, if public health guidance regarding face coverings changes.

"Caring for others with our Southwest Hearts is at the center of everything we do, which is especially important during this pandemic," the statement concluded. "We appreciate the ongoing support and spirit of cooperation among our Customers and Employees as we collectively take care of each other while striving to prevent the spread of COVID-19."

Degyansky maintains that her son was wearing his mask.

"He was doing the right thing, he was being a good boy," she said, adding that she had promised him the snack for boarding the plane properly. The little boy was "distracted by the snack," Degyansky said, and just needed a few minutes to get ready to put the mask on.

"I understand it's a big company with thousands of employees and they are figuring it out and moving as fast as they can," Degyansky said. "I would just ask for some compassion from their side too."

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iStock/z1bBY: BILL HUTCHINSON, ABC News

(BAYTOWN, Texas) -- More than 16 months after a mentally ill Black woman was shot to death in a struggle with a police officer in the parking lot of her suburban Houston apartment complex, her family said Thursday that their prayers were partially answered when the officer was indicted on a felony charge stemming from the fatal confrontation.

Relatives of Pamela Turner, 44, say she was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia but posed no threat to Baytown police Officer Juan Delacruz when he attempted to arrest her on low-level misdemeanor warrants just hours after he helped serve her with an eviction notice.

A Harris County grand jury indicted Delacruz on Monday on one first-degree felony count of aggravated assault by a public servant.

"The news that my family received on Monday is the exact reason why we have not stopped calling my mother’s name for the past 16 months," Turner's daughter, Chelsea Rubin, said during a Zoom news conference on Thursday. "I prayed for this moment numerous times, and I prayed that my mother’s death would not be in vain and that she gets the justice that she deserves."

Rubin thanked the grand jury for seeing that Delacruz "deserves to be punished for the crime that he committed."

"He took my mother’s life. She will never come back. I will never hear her voice again," said Rubin, wearing a T-shirt bearing Turner's name and likeness. "This is one step closer to getting the justice that my mom deserves and allowing her to be able to rest respectfully as she should because she didn’t deserve to die, not like that."

Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg announced the indictment at a news conference on Monday, saying, "Pam Turner's killing was a tragedy."

"It is important to acknowledge that her family and the community are in pain," Ogg said at a news conference announcing the indictment.

Criticized by some members of the community for taking 16 months and a day to bring charges against Delacruz, Ogg responded that "every aspect of the case was independently investigated by the Texas Rangers and our Civil Rights Division prosecutors."

"Ultimately, we presented all of the evidence to a grand jury that determined the Baytown Police officer should be charged with a crime for his actions when he shot Ms. Turner. We respect their decision and we will be moving forward with prosecution," Ogg said.

Delacruz surrendered to authorities on Tuesday and was released upon posting $25,000 bail. He is scheduled to be arraigned on Oct. 28.

“My family and I are in prayer that October 28th will be the start of justice for Pamela Turner, "said Antoinette Dorsey-James, Turner's sister. “Delacruz took a beautiful soul, a loving person away from us and every day is harder and harder. So, I hope that he’s convicted and sentenced to the maximum."

If convicted, Delacruz faces 5 years to life in prison.

The shooting unfolded on May 13 at the Brixton apartment complex in Baytown, 25 miles southeast of Houston, after Delacruz attempted to arrest Turner on outstanding misdemeanor warrants, including one for criminal mischief and assault, officials said.

A witness cellphone video of the encounter that was posted on social media showed Delacruz, who was on duty and in uniform, approach Turner and attempt to handcuff her as she shouted, "I'm walking. I'm actually walking to my house." Before the officer could handcuff Turner, she broke free but only took several steps before Delacruz caught up to her.

"You're actually harassing me. Why? Why?" she said just before the officer deployed a stun gun on Turner.

During a struggle that ensued, Turner yelled out, "I'm pregnant." As Delacruz attempted to handcuff her again, Turner allegedly appeared to reach for his stun gun and the officer moved back and out of the frame of the camera. The footage captured the sound of five shots ringing out.

An autopsy by the Harris County Medical Examiner's office found Turner was shot multiple times and ruled her death a homicide. The post-mortem examination found she was not pregnant.

Delacruz was immediately placed on paid administrative leave. But within a week of the shooting, he was back at work on desk duty.

Delacruz's attorney, Craig Cagle, told The Associated Press that Delacruz shot Turner in self-defense when she allegedly grabbed his stun gun and used it on the officer.

"There's no facts that would justify a criminal charge against the officer," Cagle said to the AP. "When someone takes a police officer's Taser and then uses it against them, the officer is left with no options other than deadly force. That's how the officers are trained."

In a statement released following the announcement of Delacruz's indictment, Baytown police officials said they turned over the investigation to the Texas Rangers, who submitted their findings to Ogg's office.

"We have faith and trust in our judicial system, and as we wait for this case to proceed through the legal process, we ask that our community continue to be patient and have trust and faith in those processes," the statement reads. "We also ask that our community continue to have faith and trust in the Baytown Police Department and the dedicated, professional men and women who are committed to serving all members of our community with integrity, compassion and professionalism."

Civil rights attorney Devon Jacob, a former police officer who is representing the Turner family, expressed outrage that Delacruz has been allowed to keep his badge and remain on the police force.

"That to me, as a former police officer, is scary. It’s frightening. It means that the people of that city are in danger from the police department leadership," Jacob said.

Jacob said he and his co-counsel, civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, will be filing a civil suit in the case within 30 days. He said they did not want to take the legal action sooner and risk interfering with the criminal investigation.

Jacob said his investigation of the shooting shows that Delacruz moonlighted as a security guard at the Brixton apartment complex and knew Turner suffered from mental illness. He said that hours before the fatal confrontation, Jacob was involved in helping to serve Turner with an eviction notice.

He also said that Delacruz's Taser gun was in "drive stun" mode, meaning it would have had to be placed against an individual's body to cause harm. He noted the video shows that Delacruz was well beyond an arms-length of Turner when he drew his firearm and shot her.

“Pamela Turner should not have been shot," Jacob said. "The force used by Juan Delacruz is objectively unreasonable. That means that any other properly trained police officer under the same circumstances would not have used the force that he used."

The indictment against Delacruz came a day before a $12 million settlement was reached in the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor, a Black woman who was shot to death in March in her own apartment when Louisville, Kentucky, officers attempted to serve a "no-knock" warrant and opened fire after breaking down her door with a battering ram.

The settlement, which lawyers for the Taylor family say is the largest ever paid out for a Black woman killed in an alleged police misconduct case, also includes an agreement to implement major reforms in the Louisville Metro Police Department in hopes they will prevent anything similar from occurring again.

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said the reforms are intended to build stronger connections between the city's police department and the communities officers serve. They include establishing a housing credit program to incentivize officers to live in certain low-income neighborhoods in the city and encouraging officers to volunteer two hours every two-week pay period in the communities they serve.

A program will be established to include social workers in the police department to assist officers on certain calls, particularly those involving people suffering from mental illness. The reforms will also require the police department to overhaul how search warrants are obtained, and to create an Office of Inspector General to oversee an "early-warning system" that tracks use-of-force incidents and citizens' complaints in an attempt to weed out bad officers, Fischer said.

The three officers involved in the shooting of Taylor have not been charged. Two of them remain on administrative leave, while another has been fired for violating police department procedure when he fired 10 rounds into Taylor's apartment while executing the warrant.

Jacob said that if a settlement is reached in the pending civil case stemming from Turner's death it will also include demands for police reform.

Crump, who represents the families of Taylor and Turner, said there are parallels between the two shootings.

"Like Breonna Taylor, Pamela Turner was unjustly targeted and killed by police, and had her name sullied by law enforcement in an attempted cover-up," Crump said. "The indictment of the officer in the Pamela Turner case and the settlement in the Breonna Taylor case are both crucial steps in bringing much-needed and past-due attention on the treatment of Black women in this country."



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milehightraveler/iStockBy JULIA JACOBO, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- Heavy smoke from the dozens of wildfires blazing up and down the West Coast has traveled as far east as Europe -- nearly 5,000 miles -- satellite images show.

Images released by the European Union's Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service show the smoke moving from the western U.S. and across the Atlantic Ocean to Europe.

 

🔥#Smoke from the unprecedented #USFires is moving back across #NorthAmerica from the #Pacific and is on its way to #Europe.

Find out more about the monitoring of fires and their smoke by the #CopernicusAtmosphere Monitoring Service in our latest article➡️https://t.co/st70y5IwUC pic.twitter.com/h7MoM2IBKl

— Copernicus ECMWF (@CopernicusECMWF) September 16, 2020

 

Meanwhile, the smoke is still creating hazardous conditions in the West. The haze is so thick that it has cooled expected record-high temperatures for September by 10 degrees, according to climate scientists.

The aerosol optical depth, which is the measure of how much sunlight is blocked by aerosol particles in the atmosphere, has reached levels of seven or above, according to CAMS, which is part of the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts. To put this in perspective, a level one AOD measurement already implies poor air quality and hazy conditions.

"The fact that these fires are emitting so much pollution into the atmosphere that we can still see thick smoke over 8,000 kilometers away reflects just how devastating they have been in their magnitude and duration," CAMS Senior Scientist Mark Parrington said in a statement.

The fires also have emitted far more carbon in 2020 than in any other year since CAMS began recording data in 2003.

While crews are starting to gain containment on several fires, dozens are still burning, and millions of acres in California and Oregon have been scorched.

More than two dozen people have died.

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DNY59/iStockBy ALEXANDER MALLIN, ABC News

(WASHINGTON) -- The Justice Department researched the possibility of bringing criminal or civil rights charges against Portland city officials related to their response to growing unrest in the city throughout the summer, a spokesperson confirmed to ABC News Thursday.

DOJ spokesperson Kerri Kupec declined to say what the results of such research determined or whether the department is still seeking to potentially charge any officials.

The DOJ and Department of Homeland Security previously assailed local officials in Portland for what they argued was purposeful neglect in responding to violent demonstrators who had targeted a federal courthouse in the city and attacked federal agents dispatched there with glass bottles, bricks and other items.

Separately, DOJ officials have disputed reporting from news outlets that said Attorney General William Barr asked his civil rights division to explore charges against Seattle's Mayor Jenny Durkan for her role in establishing an autonomous zone for protesters earlier in the summer.

A DOJ official said Barr did not raise the idea and referred to a statement released Thursday evening from U.S. attorney for the Western District of Washington Brian Moran, which said his office was never involved in any type of discussion related to charging Durkan.

"At no time has anyone at the Department communicated to me that Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan is, was, or should be the subject of a criminal investigation or should be charged with any federal crime related to the Capitol Hill Organized Protest (CHOP)," Moran said. "As U.S. Attorney I would be aware of such an investigation."

ABC News confirmed Wednesday that on a call with U.S. attorneys last week, Barr also raised the prospect of charging rioters who carry out attacks against federal officials or property with sedition -- attempted violent overthrow of the U.S. government -- sources familiar with the call said.

On the call, Barr raised concerns that unrest that has persisted in several cities throughout the country since George Floyd's death in June could get worse in the weeks leading up to the election.

Barr echoed remarks he has made publicly that federal prosecutors should be aggressive in investigating and bringing a range of federal charges against protesters who commit acts of violence against law enforcement officials or coordinate attacks on government buildings such as the federal courthouse in Portland.

But the call is the first publicly known instance where he has recommended the rarely-used federal statute regarding sedition.

In 2010 the Obama Administration's DOJ brought seditious conspiracy charges against members of the white supremacist Hutaree militia over their alleged role in a plot to kill police officers and civilians. The members were found not guilty of sedition in 2012 when a district judge said the prosecutors failed to prove their plot was part of a conspiracy to overthrow the US government itself.

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onurdongel/iStockBy AARON KATERSKY and EMILY SHAPIRO, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- Three days before New York City public schools were supposed to open their doors for in-person learning, officials announced Thursday that classrooms will not reopen as scheduled -- and now middle school and high school students won't be back in classrooms until October.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said education labor officials had reached out with "real concerns" about staffing and safety for the nation's largest school district.

The mayor said he's confident in the safety of classrooms but "the thing we all came together on and said really had to be nailed was the staffing level."

De Blasio announced Thursday that 2,500 more teachers have been hired.

After a conversation with the unions, the schools' new timetable "involves several phases," the mayor said.

The first phase is Monday, Sept. 21, with preschool and special education classrooms opening for blended in-person learning.

On Tuesday, Sept. 29, kindergarten through fifth-grade schools and kindergarten through eighth-grade schools will open for blended learning.

On Thursday, Oct. 1, middle school and high schools will start blended learning.

Remote learning is still continuing.

In a note to parents announcing the changes, one elementary school principal said, "I share your frustration in receiving this information at such a late hour."

But United Federation of Teachers president Michael Mulgrew stressed that "buildings must be ready, and testing and tracing procedures must be in place. A phased re-opening -- and making sure, despite budget challenges, that we have enough staff -- can help ensure that safety."

Council of School Supervisors and Administrators president Mark Cannizzaro added, "Although we are extremely disappointed that the start of in-person learning must be delayed again, it is simply not safe to open buildings to children without a teacher for every class. Our principals have communicated their staffing needs to their superintendents, and the Mayor has committed to providing."

Schools will not reopen if New York City's infection rate climbs over 3%. The city infection rate currently stands at 0.63%.

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imagedepotpro/iStockBy DAN PECK and EMILY SHAPIRO, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- nSally, which made landfall as a Category 2 hurricane near Gulf Shores, Alabama, on Wednesday, crawled ashore at an incredibly slow 2 to 5 mph.

But the leisurely speed shouldn't be mistaken for weakness.

When a tropical system, be it a hurricane or tropical storm, is moving very slowly, the impacts are felt over an extended period, usually leading to more destruction.

Wind


One positive seen among major hurricanes moving very slowly is that they usually begin to weaken before the highest wind speeds reach land.

But either way, when it comes to windspeed, a slower storm means more time with strong winds battering trees, power lines and homes.

Rain


The rating system for hurricanes is based on windspeed, but most of the destruction is from water -- from rainfall to flooding to storm surge -- said Philip Duffy, a climate scientist and president and executive director of the Woods Hole Research Center.

As Hurricane Sally approached the southern U.S. coast at just 2 mph, torrential rain sat over the same areas of Alabama and Florida for an extended period of time.

Rainfall rates reached 3 to 4 inches per hour along the Alabama coast and the Florida panhandle.

This heavy rate of rainfall would trigger flash flooding even with a quick-moving thunderstorm in many cases. With intense rain hitting the same area for hours and hours, the ground and nearby waterways will quickly get overwhelmed, sparking life-threatening flooding.

Hurricane Harvey, which killed several dozen people in 2017, basically came to a standstill over southeast Texas. The Houston metropolitan area was inundated with 2 to 4 feet of rain, submerging neighborhoods.

Multiple locations in the Houston area reported rain totals topping 4 feet, with Nederland, Texas, receiving more than 5 feet.

Storm surge


When you add storm surge to the equation, you have the high winds for a longer period of time, the torrential rain, and now water being pushed toward the coast, flooding nearby areas.

The longer the strong winds and heavy rain last, the more intense the storm surge.

The heavy rain added into the mix only makes that situation worse, because if there are moments that the winds subside or low-tide occurs, any improvement with storm surge would usually get canceled out by the relentless, heavy rain, keeping the flooding from subsiding.

Emergency response


Another danger is emergency response. The longer a storm sits over one area, the longer it may keep emergency crews from responding, including for first aid and water rescues.

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ABC NewsBy MAX GOLEMBO, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- Sally is now a tropical depression and is expected to become a remnant low as it moves from Alabama into Georgia and the Carolinas.

As Sally remnants move east Thursday afternoon and evening, there is a threat for flooding rain from Atlanta to Charlotte and Raleigh, North Carolina. There is also a threat for tornadoes from central Georgia into Charleston, South Carolina, and into Wilmington and eastern North Carolina.

Thursday night into Friday early morning, the flooding threat moves into southern Virginia, from Norfolk to Richmond.

Tornadoes will be possible for eastern North Carolina.

As Sally departs the Gulf Coast, a new tropical system is trying to develop in the southern Gulf. The National Hurricane Center gives this storm a 90% chance of becoming a tropical depression or Tropical Storm Wilfred.

This next tropical system is expected to meander in the Gulf of Mexico for the next week or so, and then some of the long-term models are showing it coming north towards the Gulf Coast by the middle to end of next week, anywhere from Texas to Louisiana.

Besides the new tropical threat in the Gulf, Hurricane Teddy is strengthening and heading close to Bermuda by early next week. Teddy is expected to become a major hurricane by Thursday night.

Sally made landfall at 5:45 a.m. ET Wednesday, as a Category 2 storm with winds of 105 mph. This was the first hurricane to make landfall in Alabama since Ivan in 2004.

The highest storm surge was in Pensacola, Florida, where Gulf water rose 5.6 feet. This was the third-highest surge in the city’s history.

An estimated 30 inches of rain fell just north of Pensacola.

The highest wind gust reported on land was 99 mph in Dauphin Island, Alabama.

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Daisy-Daisy/iStockBy WILLIAM MANSELL, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- All residents at a Connecticut nursing home are being moved following a COVID-19 outbreak at the facility, which has resulted in 28 hospitalizations and four deaths since late July, according to the Connecticut Department of Health.

An emergency order issued by Deidre Gifford, acting director of the state's department of health, called for the immediate discharge and transfer of all residents of the Three Rivers Nursing Home in Norwich, Connecticut.

"Today marks a very sad but necessary step we must take to keep the residents of this nursing home safe and healthy," Gifford in a statement Wednesday. "This represented a risk to the health and safety of residents and staff and so we were compelled to act, based on the recommendation of the Temporary Manager we appointed. Many nursing homes in Connecticut are getting it right when it comes to managing the COVID-19 pandemic with this very vulnerable population. Three Rivers, unfortunately, was not one of them."

The residents will be transferred to nearby nursing homes of their choice.

The state cited Three Rivers with multiple "deficiencies" on Aug. 24, including failing to maintain adequate staffing levels and failing to meet infection control standards.

Following the outbreak, a temporary manager was put in place, but that individual told health officials shortly after taking over that the facility could not meet safety standards by Sept. 30, which prompted the state to move all residents from the facility.

The temporary manager said the facility faced several issues, including the facility's delivery of care, inadequate infection control, deterioration of systems of accountability, lack of staff education and absence of management and policy controls.

"These issues significantly threatened the health and safety of both the residents and the staff," the Connecticut Health Department said in a statement.

Three Rivers said it approves of the state's decision.

"This is a challenging time for Three Rivers Health Care, our residents, and our staff. Since the initial COVID outbreak, we have been cooperating with the State Department of Public Health to bring our facility into full compliance with state and federal regulations, including the engagement of a Temporary Manager to oversee the facility," Three Rivers said in a statement, according to ABC News Connecticut affiliate WTNH-TV.

"Citing the Temporary Manager's assessment, the Commissioner of Public Health has ordered that all residents be transferred to other facilities that can safely meet their needs. Under these circumstances, we support this order," the statement continued. "Our priority now is acting safely and swiftly to relocate our residents to other homes, working closely with their families and loved ones."

The New England Health Care Employees Union blasted the department of health, saying the state should have acted sooner to help residents and staff and Three Rivers.

"If the State had done a better job enforcing and ensuring compliance with infection controls and other safety protocols, including but not limited to bringing in an outside manager to take over operations based on the apparent collapse of the previous management, DPH may have avoided the drastic measures that the State has announced today. DPH must do better, much better, to ensure that infection control protocols are enforced at every nursing home in Connecticut," the union said in a statement Wednesday.

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WJTN News Headlines for Sept. 18, 2020

This week's fourth, COVID-19 relief bill being proposed by a bi-partisan group of House members is getting a lot of attention from the key players in trying to get a new deal in place.  Loc...

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