Coronavirus Updates: COVID-related deaths in US surpass 200,000

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NEW YORK (WABC) -- The death toll from the coronavirus pandemic has surpassed 200,000 in the United States, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center, and some public health experts fear infections could spike this fall and winter, perhaps even doubling the death count by the end of the year.

The bleak milestone, by far the highest confirmed death toll from the virus in the world, was reported by Johns Hopkins, based on figures supplied by state health authorities. But the real toll is thought to be much higher, in part because many COVID-19 deaths were probably ascribed to other causes, especially early on, before widespread testing.

"It is completely unfathomable that we've reached this point," said Jennifer Nuzzo, a Johns Hopkins University public health researcher.

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Here are more of today's headlines:



NYC subway artist captures uses pandemic as inspiration
At a time when most are still avoiding the subway because of COVID-19, artist Devon Rodriguez is drawn to the rails. "I had to capture this, put in my art because this is a moment in history we've never seen before," Rodriguez said.

Coronavirus pandemic puts spotlight on NYC homelessness crisis
Statistics show a growing awareness to homelessness in the city amid the coronavirus pandemic. As the coronavirus pandemic turned parts of New York City into a ghost town, some of the city's most vulnerable residents and the challenges they face became increasingly apparent.

Live entertainment industry fear another 'no event' season
If you had tickets to a canceled concert or were invited to a wedding or party postponed because of the pandemic, you know COVID-19 has hit the live entertainment industry hard. In fact, 85% of the industry's employees - everyone from DJ's to bartenders - have been furloughed.

Founding member of Four Seasons dies
Tommy DeVito, a founding member of the 1960s Four Seasons band, has died from the coronavirus at the age of 92, NJ.com reported.

5 states added to Tri-State Travel Advisory quarantine list
Five states have been added to the Tri-State Travel Advisory that requires travelers to self-quarantine for 14 days, while zero states have been removed this week, officials announced Tuesday. Arizona, Minnesota, Nevada, Rhode Island, and Wyoming now meet the metrics for the quarantine, which applies to any person arriving from an area with a positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents over a 7-day rolling average or an area with a 10% or higher positivity rate over a 7-day rolling average.

CDC discourages trick or treating this Halloween
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has now officially discouraged trick-or-treating in 2020. The new holiday guidance appeared on the CDC website Monday night. America's health protection agency said "many traditional Halloween activities can be high-risk for spreading viruses." High-risk Halloween activities, according to the CDC include door-to-door trick-or-treating, trunk-or-treat events with treats handed out to large groups from trunks of cars, indoor costume parties, indoor haunted houses, hayrides/tractor rides with people who are not in your household, and going to a fall festival outside your community.

Spring Break canceled at state schools in CT
Spring break at Connecticut's four state universities was canceled, and several public schools around the state were closed Monday because of the resurgence of the coronavirus. Leigh Appleby, a spokesman for the Connecticut State Colleges & Universities system, said Monday that spring break, originally scheduled for March 15 to March 21, has been canceled at Central Connecticut State University in New Britain, Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven, Western Connecticut State University in Danbury and Eastern Connecticut State University in Willimantic. The start date for the spring semester at the four universities has also been pushed back one week later to Jan. 26.

6 NYC neighborhoods see uptick in COVID cases, city to ramp up testing
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city is targeting six neighborhoods that have seen recent upticks in coronavirus cases, with an emphasis on expanded testing and contact tracing. As part of its "Get Tested Tuesday" initiative, the city is now focusing its hyperlocal response on Borough Park, Kew Gardens, Midwood, Far Rockaway, Flatbush, and Williamsburg.

"We have some other areas where we need to really focus more, and we're going to see expanded community outreach efforts in some neighborhoods where we are seeing some upticks," de Blasio said. "We need to apply a lot of energy and focus to these areas. You're going to see a lot of activity in the community to remind people of the basics, how important it is what we call the core four things that you can do. That makes such a difference, wear a mask, socially distance, wash your hands, and stay home if you're sick."

NYC Back to School: Working out staffing and other hiccups
After delaying the start of school twice, the DOE is working through some hiccups. There are some staffing problems, in part because the number of families opting for in-person learning is dropping week by week. With 90,000 children - 3K, pre-K and special education students - returning to classrooms Monday, the rest are expected to return next week. The city continues to work on staffing plans after announcing that second delay last week. The intention is to bring on 4500 additional teachers.

Stay informed with ABC7's NYC COVID-19 positivity rate tracker
As New York City public schools inch closer to reopening in-person learning, much of the success will rely heavily on schools keeping the COVID rate of infection in check. According to the city, public schools can only stay open if the COVID positivity rate stays below 3%. To stay informed, you can follow ABC7's NYC COVID-19 positivity rate tracker.



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The sense of doom grew, especially after March 1, when the first confirmed case arrived in Manhattan. Soon, there was a hotspot in New Rochelle, and small curfews and containment zones across the area offered a hint of a frightening future we still thought we could avoid.


RELATED: New York, New Jersey, Connecticut out-of-state travelers quarantine list

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