Samara Heisz/iStockBy MORGAN WINSOR, EMILY SHAPIRO, IVAN PEREIRA and MEREDITH DELISO, ABC News(NEW YORK) — A pandemic of the novel coronavirus has now killed more than 1.2 million people worldwide.Over 52.3 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 national governments are hiding or downplaying the scope of their outbreaks. The criteria for diagnosis — through clinical means or a lab test — has also varied from country to country.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 nation, with more than 10.4 million diagnosed cases and at least 242,248 deaths.Nearly 200 vaccine candidates for COVID-19 are being tracked by the World Health Organization, at least 10 of which are in crucial phase three studies. Of those 10 potential vaccines in late-stage trials, there are currently five that will be available in the United States if approved.Here’s how the news developed Thursday. All times Eastern:Nov 12, 10:49 pmSt. Louis to limit private gatherings due to COVID spikeSt. Louis will ban all private gatherings with more than 10 people starting Saturday, the city’s mayor announced.“Over the last few weeks, especially after Halloween, it’s no secret we continue to see a resurgence of new #COVID19 cases and hospitalizations,” Mayor Lyda Krewson said in a Twitter post Thursday night announcing the limit. “In the City, contact tracing tells us transmission is primarily happening among friends, families, and neighbors via informal gatherings around homes and neighborhoods.”About half of new cases are people in their 20s and 30s, she added.The new order applies to any private social event or gathering, including house parties, dinner parties and celebrations. It also recommends that any private gathering include at most two households.The order, which will be in effect indefinitely, does not detail any penalties for violating the limit.The new restriction comes as the city’s positivity rate is over 10% and inpatient and intensive care unit beds in St. Louis Metropolitan Task Force Hospitals are at 90% or greater occupancy, the order noted.Nov 12, 9:48 pmCases reach another high amid record growthThe number of new COVID-19 cases hit another high on Thursday, as the country experiences record growth in cases, according to The COVID Tracking Project.There were 150,526 new cases reported on Thursday, according to the data tracker. The seven-day average stands at nearly 130,000 cases, which is a dramatic 71% increase from more than two weeks ago, it found.“Cases nationwide are trending up more quickly than at any point in the pandemic,” The COVID Tracking Project said.This week, 1 in every 378 U.S. residents tested positive for COVID-19, based on the tracker’s data.Current hospitalizations also hit a new high on Thursday, at 67,096. The death toll was 1,104.Nov 12, 7:48 pm52 states and territories in upward trajectory of new cases: HHSAn internal memo from Health and Human Services obtained by ABC News on Thursday night shows that 52 states and territories are in an upward trajectory of new COVID-19 cases. One jurisdiction is at a plateau, and two are in a downward trajectory, the memo said.Nationally, new cases confirmed between Nov. 5 and 11 increased 35.1% over the previous seven-day period, and deaths increased 30.5% in that time frame. The national test-positivity rate increased to 9.8% from 7.7% in week-to-week comparisons.Across the country, 28% of hospitals have more than 80% of their intensive care unit beds filled. That number was 17% to 18% of hospitals during the summertime peak.ABC News’ Josh Margolin contributed to this report.Nov 12, 7:46 pmIvy League cancels winter sports seasonThe Ivy League has canceled its winter sports season, officials from the Division I conference announced Tuesday.Competition for spring sports also has been postponed through at least the end of February 2021, the league said.Additionally, fall sports, which were canceled this semester, will not compete during the spring semester. The option had initially been seen as a possibility. “Regrettably, the current trends regarding transmission of the COVID-19 virus and subsequent protocols that must be put in place are impeding our strong desire to return to intercollegiate athletics competition in a safe manner,” the Ivy League Council of Presidents said in a statement.The league is the first to cancel its winter sports season, according to ESPN. The impacted sports include men’s and women’s basketball, wrestling, indoor track and field, swimming and fencing.Nov 12, 7:05 pmDon Young, oldest member of Congress, tests positiveAlaska Republican Rep. Don Young, who is the oldest member of Congress, has tested positive for the coronavirus, he announced Thursday.“I have tested positive for COVID-19,” he said on Twitter. I am feeling strong, following proper protocols, working from home in Alaska, and ask for privacy at this time. May God Bless Alaska.”The 87-year-old has served in Congress since 1973 — winning 24 terms in the state’s at-large seat.He was projected by The Associated Press to win reelection over Democrat Alyse Galvin last week. He is currently leading 57%-43% with 82% of precincts reporting.Nov 12, 6:39 pmCDC predicts COVID death toll to reach upward of 282K by Dec. 5In its latest forecast, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention predicted there could be as many as 282,000 COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. by Dec. 5. Its national ensemble forecast predicts that there will likely be 5,500 to 13,400 newly reported COVID-19 deaths in the week ending on Dec. 5, and 260,000 to 282,000 COVID-19 total deaths reported by this date. As of Thursday evening, 242,557 people in the U.S. have died from the virus, according to Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. is on track to meet last week’s CDC prediction that at least a quarter of a million people will die from COVID-19 by the end of Thanksgiving weekend. ABC News’ Anne Flaherty contributed to this report.Nov 12, 6:26 pmDisneyland to remain closed at least through end of yearWhile Disney World in Orlando, Florida, has reopened with limitations, don’t expect to return to Southern California’s Disneyland anytime soon.On an earnings call Thursday, Disney said the park will remain closed at least through the end of the year. The tight COVID restrictions in California earned condemnation from Disney CEO Bob Chapek.“Unfortunately, we remain extremely disappointed that the State of California continues to keep Disneyland closed, despite our proven track record,” Chapek said in a statement. “We look forward to the time when all of our parks and ships are operating again and we’re able to create even more magical experiences for our guests.”California reported 6,927 new cases on Thursday as the state crept to 991,000 overall since the pandemic began. It will become just the second state, behind Texas, to cross 1 million cases. Orange County, where Disneyland is located, currently has a test-positivity rate of 3.7% — the highest percentage since Sept. 17.The Parks, Experiences and Products division, which also includes resorts and cruise lines, lost $2.4 billion in operating income in the last quarter, according to the report. The division also fell 61% in revenue last quarter.Disney World reopened in mid-July after being closed for nearly four months.Walt Disney is the parent company of ABC News.Nov 12, 3:53 pm1 in 378 Americans tested positive for COVID-19 this weekAcross the U.S., COVID-19 cases are up 41%, hospitalizations are up 20% and deaths are up 23%, according to the COVID Tracking Project’s weekly update.With 875,401 new cases, one in 378 Americans tested positive for COVID-19 this week, according to the COVID Tracking Project.Twenty-seven states this week hit a record for the number of new cases reported.The seven-day average of deaths now exceeds 1,000 per day, a level not seen since the summer. States reported another 7,382 lives lost to COVID-19 in the past week, according to the COVID Tracking Project.ABC News’ Brian Hartman contributed to this reportNov 12, 3:26 pmUtah positivity rate at 23.3%, cases ‘accelerating’In Utah, where the seven-day positivity rate stands at 23.2%, cases are “accelerating,” said Gov. Gary Herbert.“The positivity rate should cause us all concern,” Herbert said.The governor warned, “The rooms in intensive care units are getting to the point of being overcrowded.” Hospitals are at 87.5% capacity, said state epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn.Nov 12, 3:03 pmGeorgia secretary of state quarantining after wife tests positive Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican who held a news conference Wednesday in the wake of the presidential election, is now self-quarantining after his wife tested positive for COVID-19, Raffensperger’s deputy, Jordan Fuchs, told ABC News.The secretary of state will be tested and results will be released.ABC News’ Quinn Scanlan contributed to this reportNov 12, 2:48 pmStay-at-home advisory to go into effect in Chicago due to ‘ongoing surge’A stay-at-home advisory will go into effect in Chicago on Monday morning “due to the alarming and ongoing surge in COVID-19 cases,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced Thursday.Lightfoot is asking residents to “stay home unless for essential reasons” and “stop having guests over—including family members you do not live with.”She’s urging residents to avoid nonessential travel, including canceling traditional Thanksgiving plans.“Our goal now is the same as it was during the first surge: bend the curve. The more we bend the curve, the more we can reopen our businesses and get our lives back to some sense of normalcy,” she tweeted.Nov 12, 2:38 pmHard-hit Ohio sets another daily case recordOhio has set another one-day record with 7,101 new COVID-19 cases.This also marked Ohio’s second-highest day of hospital admissions with 268 people admitted, Gov. Mike DeWine said Thursday.“We are currently at our highest point for both hospitalized and ICU patients since the beginning of the pandemic,” DeWine said.Over 274,000 people have been diagnosed and at least 5,658 people in the state have died.DeWine announced new restrictions on Wednesday, including that universities will be remote after Thanksgiving businesses must post mask requirement signs at their entrances.Nov 12, 1:49 pmGermany, Greece report record case increasesGermany’s Robert Koch Institut reported a record one-day increase of 21,866 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, bringing Germany’s total to over 727,000 people diagnosed.Lothar Wieler, president of the RKI, warned, “it is possible that patients may no longer be able to receive optimal care.”Greece’s National Public Health Organization also reported a record increase in new cases and fatalities on Thursday. Greece has over 66,000 people diagnosed and at least 959 deaths.Italy’s Civil Protection Agency reported 37,978 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, bringing the nation’s total to 1,066,401. There were 636 new fatalities, bringing Italy’s death toll to 43,589.ABC News’ Christine Theodorou contributed to this report.Nov 12, 1:16 pmCorey Lewandowski tests positiveTrump adviser Corey Lewandowski has tested positive for COVID-19, according to a person briefed on the diagnosis.Lewandowski tested positive for the virus on Wednesday. He has been in Philadelphia this week as the Trump campaign continues to bring lawsuits related to the election results.Lewandowski was among 400 attendees at an indoor election night party at the White House. Many attendees were not wearing masks or social distancing, including chief of staff Mark Meadows, who also tested positive in the days after the event.Jeff Miller, a lobbyist and longtime Republican political strategist, has also tested positive for the coronavirus, according to a person familiar with the diagnosis. Miller was also at the election night party at the White House.At least 15 people in President Donald Trump’s orbit have tested positive for COVID-19 since Meadows’ diagnosis last Wednesday.Richard Walters, the chief of staff for the Republican National Committee, has also tested positive for COVID-19, according to an RNC official.“The RNC is following CDC guidance and notifying staff who came in contact with him,” the official said.Walters has not been to the White House recently.ABC News’ Katherine Faulders contributed to this report.Nov 12, 12:19 pmNYC ‘preparing’ to close schools if positivity rate climbs over 3%New York City is “preparing” to temporarily close schools immediately if the citywide seven-day positivity rate climbs over 3%, Mayor Bill de Blasio said. The seven-day positivity now stands at 2.6%. While noting there is an “unbelievably low level of transmission in our schools,” the mayor nonetheless said the city “will move immediately, the next day schools will be shut down.” “No one wants to see that happen,” he said. “There is still a chance to turn that around. But we are preparing for that possibility.”ABC News’ Aaron Katersky contributed to this report.Nov 12, 12:18 pmCorey Lewandowski tests positiveTrump adviser Corey Lewandowski has tested positive for COVID-19, according to a person briefed on the diagnosis.Lewandowski tested positive for the virus on Wednesday. He has been in Philadelphia this week as the Trump campaign continues to bring lawsuits related to the election results.ABC News’ Katherine Faulders contributed to this report.Nov 12, 11:02 amNew tool shows COVID-19 risk anywhere in the US in real timeWorried about COVID-19 this Thanksgiving?You can calculate the risk level of being exposed to the virus while attending a gathering, given the event size and location, through a new tool developed by the Georgia Institute of Technology.The COVID-19 Event Risk Assessment Planning Tool is a free, interactive, peer-reviewed, online dashboard that estimates the risk that at least one individual infected with COVID-19 is present in gatherings of different sizes throughout the United States and, increasingly, around the globe.The tool allows users to adjust the size of the event and hover their cursor over a map of the United States to see the current risk level by county. For example, as of Thursday, there is a 93% chance of being exposed to COVID-19 at a dinner of 15 people in South Dakota’s virus-hit Dewey County.ABC News’ Anne Flaherty contributed to this report.Nov 12, 10:59 amNearly 550 people on Delta’s no-fly listNearly 550 people are on Delta’s no-fly list for not complying with the airline’s mask policy, company CEO Ed Bastion said in an internal memo to employees Thursday.“Fortunately, that number represents a tiny fraction of our overall customers, the vast majority of whom follow our guidelines,” he said.Bastion told employees, “Please continue to conduct a self-assessment every day for symptoms before coming into work and remember mask-wearing continues to be essential.”ABC News’ Amanda Maile contributed to this report.Nov 12, 9:30 amAfrica sees average 8% rise in new cases over past monthAfrica’s top public health official said the continent of 1.3 billion people has seen an average 8% rise in new COVID-19 cases over the past month.“We expected it to happen,” John Nkengasong, director of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told a virtual press conference Thursday, adding that when a second wave of the pandemic hits, “it seems to come back with a lot of full force.”More than 1.9 million cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed across Africa, including over 45,000 deaths. Although testing remains a challenge, the 54-nation continent is on track to surpass two million total cases within days as infections creep up in countries like the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya and Nigeria.Nkengasong urged governments and citizens to follow public health measures.“We are at a critical point in the response,” he said.Nov 12, 7:39 amFauci tells Americans to ‘hang in there,’ ‘help is really on the way’As COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations soar to record rates across the United States, the nation’s top expert on infectious diseases is urging Americans to double down on fundamental public health measures and “hang in there” until a vaccine becomes widely available.“Help is really on the way,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told ABC News’ Robin Roberts in an interview Thursday on Good Morning America.“The cavalry is coming here. Vaccines are going to have a major positive impact,” he added. “They’re going to start being implemented and deployed in December. And as we start getting into the early part of the year — it’s going to be January, February, March — more and more and more people are going to be able to be vaccinated. So if we could just hang in there, do the public health measures that we’re talking about, we’re going to get this under control — I promise you.”Those measures include wearing face masks, maintaining physical distances, avoiding crowds and washing hands as often as possible.“They sound very simple and, given the really very difficult challenge we’re facing, one might think that that doesn’t make any difference. It really does,” Fauci said.Fauci, a key member of the current White House coronavirus task force, said health care providers and those who are deemed most at-risk will have priority access to a COVID-19 vaccine, but that “ordinary” citizens should be able to get it in the second quarter of next year.With November on pace to be America’s worst month yet fighting the coronavirus pandemic, Fauci admitted he didn’t know whether the nation was headed for a lockdown but said “we would like to stay away from that.”“Hopefully we won’t have to do that,” he added. “The best opposite strategy to locking down is to intensify the public health measures short of locking down. So if you could do that well, you don’t have to take that step that people are trying to avoid, which has so many implications both psychologically and economically. We’d like not to do that.”When asked about the political limbo in the wake of the presidential election, Fauci said, “Certainly it’s having no impact negatively on our ability as well as our activity in developing vaccines and developing counter measures.”“It is still a major challenge,” he added. “We’re in a difficult situation and we just got to keep pushing.”Nov 12, 6:55 amBiden coronavirus advisor says US lockdown could control pandemicDr. Michael Osterholm, a coronavirus advisor to President-elect Joe Biden, said a nationwide lockdown could help bring the pandemic under control in the United States and even revive the economy.Osterholm floated the idea during an on-camera interview with Yahoo Finance on Wednesday, saying COVID-19 could be managed until a vaccine becomes available by shutting down businesses for four to six weeks and paying people for lost wages.“We could pay for a package right now to cover all of the wages, lost wages for individual workers, for losses to small companies, to medium-sized companies or city, state, county governments. We could do all of that,” Osterholm said. “If we did that, then we could lock down for four to six weeks.”He said such a scenario could drive down infections and hospitalizations, “like they did in New Zealand and Australia.”“Then we could really watch ourselves cruising into the vaccine availability in the first and second quarter of next year while bringing back the economy long before that,” he added.Osterholm, director of the Center of Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, was named a member of Biden’s transition COVID-19 advisory board on Monday. He previously served as a Science Envoy for Health Security on behalf of the U.S. Department of State from June 2018 to May 2019.During an exclusive interview with ABC News’ David Muir earlier this year, then-Democratic presidential nominee Biden said he “would listen to the scientists” if a nationwide lockdown was recommended.“I will be prepared to do whatever it takes to save lives because we cannot get the country moving until we control the virus,” Biden said.Nov 12, 5:52 amRussia sees record high deaths for second straight dayRussia registered 439 deaths from COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, setting a new single-day record for the second straight day.An additional 21,608 new cases of COVID-19 were also confirmed nationwide over the past day. Russia’s cumulative total now stands at 1,858,568 cases with 32,032 deaths, according to the country’s coronavirus response headquarters.Moscow remains the epicenter of the country’s outbreak and recent surge. Nearly 28% of the newly confirmed cases — 5,997 — and over 16% of the new deaths — 71 — were reported in the capital, according to Russia’s coronavirus response headquarters.Despite the growing number of infections and deaths, Russian authorities have repeatedly said they have no plans to impose another nationwide lockdown.The Eastern European country of 145 million people has the fifth-highest tally of COVID-19 cases in the world, behind only the United States, India, Brazil and France, according to a real-time count kept by Johns Hopkins University.Nov 12, 5:01 amSeven dead, 140 others sick in outbreak at Illinois veterans homeA COVID-19 outbreak at a veterans home in Illinois has left seven people dead and more than 140 others infected, according to a report by Chicago ABC station WLS-TV.Currently, there are 72 residents and 72 employees battling the virus at the Illinois Veterans Home in LaSalle, some 100 miles southwest of Chicago. Four people died this week alone, WLS reported.The facility has been conducting health screenings of staff and residents, maintaining social distancing practices, wearing face coverings as well as intensifying cleaning and disinfecting protocols, according to WLS.“How did this happen so quickly if these protocols are in place?” state Rep. Stephanie Kifowit, a veteran herself who chairs the Veterans Affairs Committee in the Illinois House of Representatives, told WLS. “We need to take care of our veterans. They served us and we need to to serve them and make sure they are safe and they are in safe environment.”Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said it’s challenging to stop the virus from getting into veterans homes and other care facilities.“Our veterans homes really have done an outstanding job of keep our veterans safe,” Pritzker said at a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a long-delayed state veterans home in Chicago on Wednesday morning. “But you can’t 100% keep everybody safe in this environment, especially when our communities, our mayors, our city councils, our county chairs aren’t living up to the mitigations, are not enforcing the mitigations in many parts of the state.”“No matter what we do, there is a level of risk,” he added, “and it is especially risky, frankly, for those who are seniors, people who are over 60. As the age goes up, so does the risk.”Nov 12, 4:22 amUS reports nearly 2,000 new deathsThere were 1,984 fatalities from COVID-19 registered in the United States on Wednesday, according to a real-time count kept by Johns Hopkins University.The latest daily death toll is the highest figure since early May but still under the country’s peak of 2,609 new deaths on April 15.An additional 144,133 cases of COVID-19 were also identified nationwide on Wednesday, marking a new single-day record.It’s the eighth day in a row that the country has reported over 100,000 new infections. Wednesday’s tally tops the nation’s previous all-time high of 136,325 new cases recorded a day earlier.A total of 10,257,825 people in the United States have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since the pandemic began, and at least 239,683 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.Much of the country was under lockdown by the end of March as the first wave of pandemic hit. 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 100,000 for the first time on Nov. 4.Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.