Coronavirus updates: France to require masks in offices following ‘upsurge’ in cases

By MORGAN WINSOR, ABC News

(NEW YORK) — A pandemic of the novel coronavirus has now killed more than 781,000 people worldwide.

Over 22 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.

Since the first cases were detected in China in December, the United States has become the worst-affected country, with more than 5.4 million diagnosed cases and at least 171,823 deaths.

Here’s how the news is developing Wednesday. All times Eastern:

4:45 a.m.: France will require face masks in offices starting next month

France’s labor ministry announced Tuesday that face masks will be required in enclosed shared office spaces starting Sept. 1, citing an “upsurge” in COVID-19 cases.

Mask will not be mandatory in individual offices so long as only one person is present, the ministry said.

The wearing of face masks is already compulsory in public indoor spaces across France. Several cities, including Paris and Marseille, have imposed mask requirements in some outdoor areas, such as popular beaches.

There were 2,238 new cases of COVID-19 identified in France on Tuesday, according to the health ministry, which is requiring on-the-spot tests for travelers coming from over a dozen nations with active virus circulation, including the United States.

3:50 a.m.: US reports more than 1,300 new deaths in a single day

There were 44,813 new cases of COVID-19 identified in the United States on Tuesday, according to a count kept by Johns Hopkins University.

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

An additional 1,324 coronavirus-related deaths were also recorded Tuesday — a nearly threefold increase from the previous day but still under the record 2,666 new deaths that were reported on April 17.

A total of 5,482,602 people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since the pandemic began, and at least 171,823 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.

While week-over-week comparisons show that the nationwide number of new cases has continued to decrease in recent weeks, the number of new deaths has increased, according to an internal memo from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, obtained by ABC News on Tuesday night.

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