Coronavirus updates: Florida approves return of high school sports

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At least 168,446 people have died of COVID-19 in the U.S.

The novel coronavirus has now killed more than 762,000 people worldwide.

More than 21.1 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 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 United States is the worst-affected country in the world, with more than 5.3 million diagnosed cases and at least 168,446 deaths.

Latest headlines:

  • Florida approves return of high school sports
  • Here’s how the news is developing today. All times Eastern. Please refresh this page for updates.

    6:22 a.m.: Florida high school sports start date approved

    Fall high school sports in Florida are a go after the Florida High School Athletics Association voted Friday to begin sports throughout in the Sunshine State on Aug. 24.

    Practices can begin this month with games set to resume in September. Teams, according to FHSAA, can start later and not opt-in to state-wide play due to coronavirus hot spots.

    The organization also said that “schools may opt out of the State Series by September 18th with the ability to form their own regional schedule upon approval from the FHSAA.”

    Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has been a strong advocate for reopening schools and sports in the state, despite the summer surge in cases and deaths.

    “To our parents – you deserve the choice of in-person instruction or distance learning and I’m glad that so many school districts are making this vision a reality,” DeSantis said a press conference this week. “To our teachers and school administrators – thank you for refusing to let obstacles stand in the way of providing opportunities for our kids. This has been a difficult time, but I believe your hard work will do more than you know to get our society back on its feet.”

    In Florida, more than 563,000 people have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and at least 9,141 people have died of the virus.

    The state reported more than 6,200 new COVID-19 cases and 200 deaths on Friday.

    What to know about coronavirus:

  • How it started and how to protect yourself: Coronavirus explained
  • What to do if you have symptoms: Coronavirus symptoms
  • Tracking the spread in the U.S. and worldwide: Coronavirus map
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