National Headlines


(NEW YORK) -- New York state is moving away from a travel advisory that required a two-week quarantine for people coming from COVID-19 hotspots and instead will mandate that all travelers test negative for the virus before and after coming to the state, the governor announced Saturday.

"There will be no quarantine list, there will be no metrics," Gov. Andrew Cuomo told reporters. "There will be one rule that applies across the country."

That rule requires that those coming to New York must test negative for COVID-19 within three days before their arrival, and have proof of the test. Once in New York, they must quarantine for three days and take another test on the fourth day. If they test negative, they can end their quarantine.

Residents of New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania are exempt from this requirement, Cuomo said.

New York residents who travel to another state for 24 hours or fewer must take a COVID-19 test within four days of arrival, the governor said. Any longer and, like non-residents, they must take a test within three days of travel and test negative, quarantine for three days upon return and get tested on the fourth day. If they test negative, "you go about your business," Cuomo said.

It is unclear when the new requirements go into effect.

Cuomo stressed the need for the new policy as Thanksgiving approaches.

"Just because they're your family, doesn't mean they're safe from COVID," he said. "And that's where we're seeing increases."

The original travel advisory, which the governors of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut announced in late June, required that people coming to the region from states with a positive case rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents, or higher than a 10% test positivity rate over a seven-day rolling average, must quarantine for 14 days.

Nine states were on the travel advisory list at the time. On Tuesday, California was the latest state to be added to New York's travel advisory, for a total of 41 states and territories. Neighboring states Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey and Pennsylvania had also met the criteria, but a quarantine was not required given the level of travel between the states. Instead, officials discouraged non-essential travel to those states.

Connecticut's and New Jersey's travel advisories are still in effect, according to their state websites. As of Tuesday, Connecticut had 42 states and territories on its list, while New Jersey had 41. Anyone traveling from those regions is asked to self-quarantine for two weeks.

The announcement comes as New York is targeting "micro-clusters" that have higher testing positivity rates. On Saturday, the positivity rate in these focus areas was 3.01%, while the statewide positivity rate excluding those areas was 1.3%. The statewide positivity rate is 1.49%.

New York has continued to see outbreaks linked to mass gatherings at houses of worship, weddings, funerals and other events, Cuomo said this week.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Breonna Taylor FamilyBy EMILY SHAPIRO, ABC News

(LOUISVILLE, Ky.) -- Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron is defending his decision to not give the grand jury on the case surrounding the death of Breonna Taylor the option to consider murder charges.

"It was not our judgment that there should be other charges that the grand jury should be advised of," Cameron told ABC affiliate WBKO in Bowling Green, Kentucky, on Thursday.

"The grand jury can, you know, as an independent body, bring up other questions or other issues," Cameron said.

"I fully take responsibility for the recommendation that we made," he said. "Based on the facts, that was the appropriate recommendation to make."

Six months after Taylor was killed in March by police at her Louisville home, Cameron convened a grand jury to investigate possible charges against the officers.

In September a grand jury indicted one officer, Brett Hankison, on three counts of first-degree wanton endangerment for firing into the apartment directly behind Taylor's, where three people were inside. Hankison pleaded not guilty.

Hankison was fired and the other officers were placed on administrative duty.

But none of the officers involved in Taylor's death were charged in connection to her loss of life, which ignited months of protests in Louisville and across the U.S.

Taylor, 26, was fatally shot in the early hours of March 13, when Louisville police tried to execute a search warrant as part of an investigation into a suspected drug operation allegedly linked to Taylor's ex-boyfriend.

Taylor's boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, said he thought intruders were breaking in, so he fired one shot from his licensed gun.

One officer was struck in the leg. Police opened fire and Taylor was struck multiple times.

Cameron told WBKO that the officers who opened fire were "justified" because they "returned fire after having been fired upon."

"It is a sad case," he said. "But my responsibility and job as the prosecutor is to make sure that the facts are presented to the grand jury, we made the recommendation as it relates to wanton endangerment to this other officer.”

Cameron told WBKO, "Not everybody is going to be happy with your decision. And I have to to live with that. But we did the right thing in this process."

Attorneys for Hankison and Walker as well as Taylor's family advocated for the release of the grand jury transcript and evidence connected to the case. Walker's civil lawyers filed a successful motion this month to have the evidence collected by Louisville police department's Professional Integrity Unit released to the public.

Last week a judge ruled in favor of an anonymous grand juror in the case, allowing the juror to come forward and speak publicly about the court proceedings. Cameron had argued against grand jurors speaking out, saying it could set a dangerous precedent for courtroom privacy. But after the judge's decision, Cameron said he would not appeal.

Federal officials are also investigating possible civil rights violations.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Marilyn Nieves/iStockBy STEPHANIE WASH, ABC News

(LOUISVILLE, Ky.) -- Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly, the officer shot and wounded during the raid on Breonna Taylor's apartment has filed a counterclaim against Kenneth Walker following Walker's lawsuit against the city of Louisville, numerous Louisville Metro Police Department officers, and city and state officials.

In the filing, Mattingly's attorneys claim that he is entitled to compensatory and punitive damages for battery, assault, and intentional emotional distress. They claim that Mattingly nearly died and needed five hours of surgery for his injury.

Mattingly is requesting a trial by jury and all legal costs to be paid by Walker.

"Walker did intentionally shoot Mattingly or acted recklessly in firing his pistol in the direction of the Police Officers who were serving a search warrant," the filing reads. "Walker's conduct in shooting Mattingly is outrageous, intolerable, and offends all accepted standards of decency and morality."

"Walker's conduct has caused Defendant Mattingly severe trauma, mental anguish, and emotional distress," the filing states.

On March 13, at Taylor's home, Louisville Metro Police Sgt. Mattingly, officer Myles Cosgrove and former police officer Brett Hankison executed what was initially supposed to be a "no-knock" search warrant. In a briefing shortly before the raid, police officers were instructed to knock and announce at Taylor's home, several officers told the public integrity unit in their interview. The plainclothes officers were investigating a suspected drug operation allegedly linked to Taylor's ex-boyfriend.

Mattingly said Taylor's boyfriend, 27-year-old Kenneth Walker, shot him in the leg when police entered the apartment, and Walker opened fire. The police fired 32 shots, eight striking and killing Taylor.

Officials determined Mattingly was shot by Walker, according to Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron. While a Kentucky State Police ballistics report could not determine whether the bullet that hit Mattingly came from Walker's gun, they determined it was his because no one else was carrying that caliber weapon. ABC News has not seen the FBI's report.

Walker and his attorneys dispute Cameron's claim.

Walker, a licensed gun owner, told investigators that he and Taylor asked who was at the door several times but heard no answer. Walker said he only fired a warning shot when the door broke open, because he didn't know who entered the residence. Walker initially was charged with attempted murder of a police officer following the incident, but those charges have since been dropped without prejudice.

Kenneth Walker's attorneys Steve Romines and Frederick Moore III, issued a statement about Mattingly's lawsuit on Thursday.

"This is the latest in a cycle of police aggression, deflection of responsibility, and obstruction of the facts. The counterclaim just brings it full circle. If Kenny can be sued for defending himself, make no mistake, all lawful gun owners' rights are at risk. And that should scare everyone. We intend to defend Kenny -- once again -- from baseless charges intended to harm, intimidate, and cover up the events of March 13, 2020," the statement read

In an exclusive interview with ABC News and Louisville's Courier Journal, Mattingly, a 20-year veteran of the Louisville Metro Police Department, said one of the biggest things he would have done differently was to storm Taylor's residence without giving her time to answer what he claims were multiple knocks on her door accompanied by repeated announcements of "Police, search warrant!"

Several neighbors dispute Mattingly's account and claim they never heard police announce themselves.

Mattingly also told ABC News he was a victim as well. "My family has been a victim in this. They have to go in hiding. They have had death threats," he said.

ABC News' Christina Carrega, Bill Hutchinson, Samara Lynn, Sabina Ghebremedhin and Emily Shapiro contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Galina Shafran/iStockBy JULIA JACOBO, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- The United States produced more plastic waste than any other country in the world in 2016 -- about 92.6 billion pounds, researchers have now discovered.

The findings of a study published by Science on Friday also suggest that despite a "robust and accessible waste management system" between 309 million and 904 million pounds of plastic waste was illegally dumped in the U.S.

Another 331 million to 2.2 billion pounds was mismanaged after it was shipped to other countries for recycling, the study found. More than 88% of waste was shipped to countries that inadequately managed more than 20% of waste.

The authors of the study used data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency with an assumption of a 2% litter rate to make the determination.

The researchers also determined that the U.S. contributed up to five times more plastic waste to coastal environments in 2016 than it did in 2010.

Scientists have found that plastic waste contaminates all major ecosystems and are concerned about the potential for plastic to affect wildlife and human health. especially as smaller and more widespread plastic particles are identified in natural environments.

Global plastic production increased 26% between 2010 and 2016, from about 736,000 pounds to about 974,000 pounds, according to the study.

The countries that followed the U.S. in plastic waste production were also the ones with the highest populations, China and India, followed by the 28 countries collectively within the European Union.

However, the researchers cautioned that since the data in the study is now several years old, the plastic waste cycle may have been further altered by societal changes resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Ovidiu Dugulan/iStockBy WILLIAM MANSELL, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- A pandemic of the novel coronavirus has now killed more than 1.18 million people worldwide.

Over 45 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.

The United States is the worst-affected nation, with more than 8.9 million diagnosed cases and at least 228,668 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 is developing Friday. All times Eastern:

Oct 30, 3:19 pm
Belgium introduces strict 'last-chance measures'

Belgium, Europe’s hardest-hit nation at this time, is introducing strict new rules.
Nonessential businesses are closing for six weeks and a nighttime curfew is in place. Outside gatherings are limited to three people, and residents can only have one person over to their home.
Prime Minister Alexander De Croo called these "last-chance measures" as Belgium hopes to prevent the collapse of its health care system.
Belgium reported a 21.1% positivity rate on Tuesday. Last week, there were an average of 13,052 new cases reported each day.

ABC News’ Aicha el Hammar and Kirit Radia contributed to this report.

Oct 30, 3:11 pm
Illinois reports record high number of cases

Illinois on Friday reported 6,943 cases, exceeding Thursday's record of 6,363.

“Things are moving in a bad direction all across our state,” Gov. JB Pritzker said. "We have a real problem on our hands and people’s lives hang in the balance."

The state's seven-day positivity rate has increased to 8.5%. At least 402,000 people have been diagnosed, and at least 9,711 have died.

ABC News’ Will Gretsky contributed to this report.

Oct 30, 2:24 pm
Ohio breaks yet another daily case record

Ohio reached a record number of daily cases for the second day in a row on Friday, Gov. Mike DeWine said.
With 3,845 more cases in the last 24 hours, the state now has over 212,000 people diagnosed.

Sixteen more people died in Ohio in the last 24 hours, bringing the state’s death toll to 5,291, according to state data.

Oct 30, 2:00 pm
Georgia governor quarantining after exposure

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and his wife are quarantining after learning on Friday that they “were recently exposed to an individual who received a positive test,” tweeted Kemp’s press secretary, Cody Hall.

Kemp and the first lady, Marty Kemp, have since been tested, Hall said. Results of their tests have not yet been released.

Oct 30, 12:23 pm
Florida tops 800,000 cases

Florida reported 5,592 daily COVID-19 cases, bringing the state’s total to 800,216, according to Florida’s Department of Health.

Florida, a key state in the election, has the third-highest number of COVID-19 cases in the country, behind California and Texas, respectively.

There were 92 more deaths recorded in Florida in the last 24 hours, bringing the fatality total to 16,947, according to state data.
Florida’s positivity rate stands at 5.89%.

ABC News’ Scott Withers contributed to this report.

Oct 30, 11:36 am
California reports case of flu, COVID-19 co-infection

A resident of Solano County, California, has a co-infection of COVID-19 and the flu, the county’s health department said.

The resident was not identified, but the health department said he or she is under the age of 65 and is the first person in the county with a confirmed co-infection.

“With the likelihood of both COVID-19 and seasonal flu activity this winter, contracting either disease may weaken your immune system and make you more susceptible to the other disease,” Solano County Health Officer Bela Matyas said in a statement. “Getting a flu vaccine this year is more important than ever."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone at least 6 months old get a flu shot each year by the end of October.

Oct 30, 10:33 am
29 states reported record number of new cases in October

These 29 states, as well as Puerto Rico, hit a record number of new cases in October, according to the COVID Tracking Project: Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

Forty-one states, as well as Washington, D.C., Guam and Puerto Rico are seeing an uptick in hospitalizations, according to the COVID Tracking Project.

The only states seeing a decrease in hospitalizations are Delaware, Hawaii and Kansas.

In six states, hospitalization rates are flat: Alaska, California, Maine, Oregon, South Carolina and Vermont.

Oct 30, 7:23 am
ICU beds are 80% filled in quarter of US hospitals

With COVID-19 cases spiking across the U.S., hospitals are once again filling up. At least 25% of hospitals across the country have more than 80% of their ICU beds filled, according to an internal Health and Human Services memo obtained by ABC News.

The percentage of hospitals at that number was 17-18% during the summertime peak.

Two of the hardest-hit states include Idaho and Wisconsin.

Hospitals in Idaho are so constrained that the governor is moving the state back to Stage 3 of reopening plans.

Death rates in Idaho doubled from 22 to 44 between Oct. 19-25, as the statewide test positivity rate rose from 16.7% to 18.7%. That rate is more than triple the national rate. Hospitalizations have climbed sharply since the beginning of October and now the state has reported a new four-month peak of 14.7 hospitalizations per 100,000 people during the week ending Oct 25.

In the southern town of Twin Falls, one out of every four hospitalized patients is infected with COVID-19 and regional hospitals have postponed non-emergency surgeries. At St. Luke Magic Valley, the COVID unit is 97% full, ICU units are running at least 125% above normal and adequate staffing is an issue, HHS said in its memo.

In Wisconsin, the state reported 5,262 new cases and a record 64 new deaths on Oct, 27, both of which were the highest for the state since the beginning of the pandemic.

The seven-day case average in the Badger State is 3,975 while the test-positivity rate is 25.7%.

Officials, according to the HHS memo, anticipate the situation will get worse in the coming weeks. At least 84% of all beds in the state are occupied with 447 patients on ventilators but Wisconsin does have 2,324 ventilators available.

Oct 30, 5:28 am
Global cases top 45 million, US nears nine million

As the number of new cases of COVID-19 surge across Europe and the United States, the global total of diagnosed coronavirus cases is now over 45 million, according to a count kept by Johns Hopkins University.

There are at least 8,945,891 cases as of 4 a.m. Friday in the U.S. and the country will likely hit nine million cases before the end of the day as cases, hospitalizations and deaths from the virus are increasing.

The U.S. on Thursday saw a record single-day high of coronavirus cases with more than 88,000 reported, according to the COVID Tracking Project. Deaths are up 3.6% week-over-week, while new cases are up 24.8% and the test-positivity rate increased to 6.2% from 6% over the same seven-day period, according to an internal Health and Human Service memo obtained by ABC News.

Forty-three states and territories are in an upward trajectory of new cases, while eight jurisdictions are at a plateau and five are going down, the HHS memo said.

Meanwhile, Europe now accounts for 46% of global coronavirus cases.

This month, many countries in the continent, such as France and Spain, have declared states of emergency, while many others are imposing more restrictions so that ICUs do not become overwhelmed.

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(NEW YORK) -- The first snow of the season is expected Friday morning for millions in the Northeast as Zeta weakens in the Atlantic.

Cold air and a coastal storm are changing rain to snow for many in the Northeast, especially in upstate New York and into southern New England.

Some computer models are showing snow trying to sneak into coastal Connecticut, New York City and northern New Jersey later Friday morning.

Some areas could see up to 4 inches of snow from New York to Massachusetts. A dusting is possible for the Hudson Valley and into Connecticut and Rhode Island.

Boston Logan airport is reporting 1-mile visibility and snow with a temperature of 33 degrees Friday.

The storm will move out later Friday morning, taking the precipitation with it.

However, the coldest air of the season will follow behind the storm, bringing wind chills all the way down into the teens and 20s for most of the Northeast by Friday night into Saturday morning.

Zeta remnants brought wind gusts to more than 80 mph in the Carolinas Thursday and near 50 mph to coastal New Jersey. Winds gusted up to near 40 mph in New York City.

Flash flooding was reported Thursday from Georgia to Delaware.

As of Friday morning, more than 1.4 million people are still without power in the South due to Zeta.

Meanwhile, a new tropical system is trying to develop in the Caribbean. If it becomes a tropical storm, it would be called Eta.

At this time, it does not look like it will bring any threat to the U.S., but heavy rain and gusty winds are possible for Central America early next week.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


kali9/iStockBy WILLIAM MANSELL, ABC News

(PHILADELPHIA) -- Two people were charged Thursday with multiple felonies after police found explosives in a van in Philadelphia amid unrest in the city over the death of a 27-year-old Black man, Walter Wallace Jr., by police officers.

Brian Larue and Eric Murray have each been hit with three felony charges, including possession of weapons of mass destruction, conspiracy, and risking a catastrophe, along with several misdemeanor charges, authorities said.

“These individuals who have been charged today tried to use a message of justice to provide cover for their own gain,” Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro said in a statement Thursday. “This is an incredibly challenging time for communities in Philadelphia, across Southeast Pennsylvania, and around the country. We will not allow criminals to hijack, and take advantage of, lawful protests as an opportunity to sow chaos.”

Also found in the van were quarter or half sticks of dynamite, a handheld propane tank torch, a taser and various tools, including electric drills, bolt cutters and machetes.

Authorities said those types of tools are used to dismantle and steal money from ATMs, which has happened at least 11 times since Monday, Philadelphia officials reported.

The van's discovery happened as police observed a group of 10-15 vehicles in a hotel parking lot, the attorney general said in a statement. That's when officials saw the group of cars "suspiciously leave" the parking lot after police arrived. A pursuit ensued, which led to vehicles trying to ram through a Target parking lot barricade and then led authorities onto the highway. That's when, officials said, the van pulled over and the explosives were found.

The van's discovery happened as protests, rioting and looting were taking place in the city following the shooting death by police of Wallace.

The shooting happened around 4 p.m. on Monday after Wallace's brother called 911 and requested an ambulance and medical intervention for Wallace, who the family said had a history of mental health issues.

After police arrived, Wallace became irritated. Wallace's mother tried to separate her son, who was holding a knife, from police, before officers drew their guns, cellphone video of the encounter showed.

When Wallace broke free from his mother, he walked toward the officers with a knife in hand. That's when officers fired 14 shots, hitting him multiple times, police said.

Body camera footage of the incident has been reviewed by police, city officials and the Wallace family. It has not, however, been released publicly.

The body camera footage and 911 audio will likely be released by the end of next week, "after certain matters are resolved with Mr. Wallace's family and their legal counsel," Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said Thursday.

On the first night of protests this week following Wallace's death, police said 30 officers were injured and 91 people were arrested. At least 81 people were arrested Tuesday night and into Wednesday, including eight charged with assault on police officers and 53 charged with burglary. At least 23 officers suffered minor injuries on the second night of unrest. There were 40 people arrested on Wednesday night into Thursday, four for assault on police, 29 for burglary, two for stolen auto and five for failure to disperse/violation of curfew, city officials said Thursday.

In total, 212 people have been arrested since the protests began Monday and 57 officers have been injured.

A citywide curfew that was in place since Monday expired Thursday night.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



(NEW YORK) -- Six people, including two former airport workers, have been indicted in connection with two cargo heists totaling over $6 million in designer goods, prosecutors in Queens, New York, announced Thursday.

The charges in the 22-count indictment include grand larceny, conspiracy and criminal possession of stolen property, for allegedly stealing and selling designer goods that were shipped to John F. Kennedy International Airport, authorities said.

Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz identified the main defendants in the two heists as David Lacarriere, 33, and Gary McArthur, 43, both former truckers at JFK Airport who "allegedly used forged documents and their insider knowledge as former airport workers to steal air cargo," she said in a statement.

The first alleged heist occurred earlier this year on Jan. 31, authorities said. Lacarriere allegedly used a forged document to intercept a shipment of Prada products at the receiving office of an air cargo importer. He, McArthur and two others then allegedly used a tractor trailer to load them into a truck and drive away.

Police located the empty trailer, which had been doused in bleach, a few days later, authorities said. The bags, clothes and accessories allegedly netted the defendants $804,000, the DA said.

Authorities were alerted to the alleged heist when the "true truckers" showed up the next day to pick up the cargo, Katz said.

The routine was repeated in the second alleged heist, the DA said. On May 17, Lacarriere, McArthur, a third defendant -- former Delta Airlines employee Davon Davis, 32 -- and others allegedly hauled away thousands of Chanel and Gucci products valued at more than $4.4 million. Police found one of the trailers allegedly used in the heist nearly two weeks later, with shipping pallets, wrapping material, shipping tags and display cases inside. The interior was also doused in bleached, authorities said.

In June, police say they traced McArthur, Lacarriere, Davis and an unapprehended co-conspirator to a shuttered Queens beauty salon that was allegedly used as a stash house for the stolen goods. Lacarriere and McArthur allegedly sold to a fourth defendant -- Alan Vu, 51 -- nearly 120 items through another unapprehended co-conspirator. Law enforcement observed Vu allegedly load more than $300,000 worth of merchandise into his Mercedes SUV.

While executing a search warrant at the salon, police found "mountains of boxes packed with designer gear," Katz said at a press briefing Thursday. More than 3,000 Gucci items and more than 1,000 Chanel products were recovered, estimated to be worth more than $2.5 million, the district attorney's office said.

The defendants had "already sold a considerable amount of the stolen property," Katz said. Products were allegedly sold at about half their value, she said.

The months-long investigation was assisted by detectives from the Port Authority Police Department and agents with the FBI.

Calling the case "a bit of an anomaly," Port Authority Criminal Investigation Bureau Chief Matthew Wilson said at Thursday's press briefing that the multiple agencies worked together to "mitigate the vulnerabilities."

As a result of the investigation, new enhanced security protocols have been implemented at JFK cargo warehouses, Katz said, including the photographing of truck drivers who pick up high-value cargo, the installation of updated video surveillance equipment, and the strengthening of requirements for the release of cargo.

"It is imperative in Queens County, where the two airports are part of my district, that this office and our law enforcement partners send the message out that our airports are safe for travel, that our airports are a place that people can entrust with their families," Katz said. "And this is one step closer to making sure that that happens."

Lacarriere, McArthur and Davis all pled not guilty at their arraignment Wednesday. Each faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted.

Seth Koslow, the attorney for Lacarriere, told ABC News his client was surprised by the charges.

"We're anxious to see what the evidence is the people allege they have," he said. "They said a lot of things, but they haven't shown us anything yet."

Davis' attorney, Gary Merit, told ABC News his client is "seeking due process and looks forward to his next day in court."

ABC News was unable to reach an attorney for McArthur.

The three defendants are next due in court on Dec. 7.

Vu faces up to 15 years if convicted. He was taken into custody in New Jersey and is awaiting extradition to Queens, authorities said.

The two other unapprehended co-conspirators are still being sought, authorities said.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Florida Dept. of Law EnforcementBy JAMES HILL, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- Billionaire investor Leon Black addressed his prior relationship with sex offender Jeffrey Epstein during an earnings call Thursday morning for Apollo Global Management -- which has $433 billion of assets under management. Black is the founder, chairman and CEO of Apollo.

On the earnings call, Black called his relationship with Epstein a "horrible mistake."

"By nature, I am a private person, and it runs counter to my nature to speak publicly about personal matters," Black said in opening his remarks about Epstein. "But this matter is now affecting Apollo, which my partners and I spent 30 years building. And it's also causing deep pain for my family. Knowing all that I have learned in the past two years about Epstein's reprehensible and despicable conduct, I deeply regret having had any involvement with him. With the benefit of hindsight, working with him was a horrible mistake on my part. I am not seeking to excuse that decision, but I do believe it may be helpful to convey some relevant facts."

Earlier this month, The New York Times reported in a deep dive on Black's dealings with Epstein that his relationship with Epstein went deeper than previously known, and reportedly included at least $50 million in payments from Black to Epstein and a 2012 visit by Black to Epstein's private Caribbean island for a cookout.

That Times report, with the headline "The Billionaire Who Stood by Jeffrey Epstein," has resulted in renewed scrutiny of Black's dealings with Epstein and has reportedly caused some institutional investors to reevaluate or pause their investments with Apollo, according to Bloomberg and other reports.

"The existing Apollo commitments were made under the previous administration and we have no plans to commit further capital to their funds at this time. We reviewed Apollo this spring and determined, based on a variety of due diligence criteria, they did not meet our standards for making a new capital commitment," said Gabrielle Farrell, director of communications for Connecticut State Treasurer Shawn T. Wooden in a statement to ABC News. Connecticut Retirement Plans and Trust Funds, an Apollo investor, consists of six state pension funds and nine state trust funds.

Black and some of his related family entities have also been subpoenaed for documents by the U.S. Virgin Island's attorney general's office, which is conducting a wide-ranging investigation of Epstein's financial dealings and his alleged sex-trafficking scheme.

Black said he had requested that the Apollo board initiate a review of his relationship with Epstein and said an independent conflicts committee is now working on gathering information. Black said he hoped the review would be completed expeditiously and that he expects it will "assure all of our stakeholders that they have the relevant facts and demonstrate that everything I have said about my relationship with Epstein is accurate and truthful. The review is now underway, and I am cooperating fully."

Black reiterated that Epstein and his related companies never did any business with Apollo. But he acknowledged paying Epstein millions of dollars annually for a six-year period between 2012 and 2017 for "professional services to my family partnership and related family entities involving estate planning, tax, structuring of art entities and philanthropic advice." Black said that all of Epstein's advice was vetted by leading law firms, accounting firms and other professional advisors.

"Let me be clear," Black said. "There has never been an allegation by anyone that I engaged in any wrongdoing because I did not. And any suggestion of blackmail or any other connection to Epstein's reprehensible conduct is categorically untrue."

Black said that he first met Epstein in 1996 -- long before any allegations of Epstein's alleged sexual crimes became public -- and he noted that Epstein was then advising prominent clients on estate tax matters and that his "network of relationships" included luminaries that Black admired and respected, including "several heads of state, heads of prominent families in finance, a U.S. Treasury secretary, accomplished business leaders, Nobel Laureates, acclaimed academicians and noted philanthropists."

Black said he first became aware of the allegations against Epstein in late 2006, when it was publicly reported that state and federal authorities in Florida were investigating Epstein. He said that after Epstein got out of jail in 2009, Epstein returned to his previous financial advisory activities and "once again began working and associating with many prominent individuals, spanning the worlds of finance, academia, science, technology, philanthropy, business and government."

"The distinguished reputations of these individuals gave me misplaced comfort in retaining Epstein's services in 2012 for my personal estate planning, tax structuring and philanthropic advice. Like many other people I respected, I decided to give Epstein a second chance," Black said. "This was a terrible mistake. I wish I could go back in time and change that decision, but I cannot. Had I known any of the facts about Epstein's sickening and repulsive conduct, which I learned in late 2018, more than the year after I stopped working with him, I never would have had anything to do with him."

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



(NEW YORK) -- A pandemic of the novel coronavirus has now killed more than 1.1 million people worldwide.

Over 44.9 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 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.

The United States is the worst-affected nation, with more than 8.8 million diagnosed cases and at least 228,636 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 is developing Thursday. All times Eastern:

Oct 29, 10:48 pm
Twp-week shutdown ordered in El Paso as state attorney general pushes back

Just days after issuing a countywide curfew, a judge in El Paso County, Texas, ordered a two-week shutdown of nonessential businesses -- a move that was met with pushback from the state attorney general.

Judge Ricardo Samaniego announced Thursday that beginning at midnight, El Paso County will enter a two-week shutdown of nonessential businesses and services, including tattoo parlors, hair salons, gyms and in-person dining. Essential businesses, including polling sites and schools that provide meals, will remain open, he said.

"Since the inception of this pandemic, El Paso County has never seen this level of infections through our community," Samaniego told reporters at a press briefing Thursday evening. "Our hospitals are at capacity, our medical professionals are overwhelmed and if we don't respond, we will see unprecedented levels of deaths."

The judge said that El Paso had seen a 365.2% increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations since the beginning of the month.

Following the announcement, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton tweeted that Samaniego "has no authority to shut down businesses" and was violating Gov. Greg Abbott's executive order.

"My office is quickly exploring all legal actions," Paxton said.

El Paso Mayor Dee Margo also questioned the new county order.
"The Judge did not consult me and refuses to return my call, so I am seeking clarification from the Attorney General on the new County order, which does not supersede the Governor's orders," Margo said in a statement.

"We must strike a balance of keeping our neighbors safe while not destroying people's abilities to feed their families," he added.

Several community leaders joined Samaniego in supporting the order.

"In recent days it's apparent that stricter measures are necessary to flatten the curve and, bottom line, save lives," Texas state Rep. Cesar Blanco, a Democrat, said at Thursday's briefing. "The status quo, it's no longer working."
There were 937 hospitalizations due to COVID-19 in El Paso on Thursday, a new record, University Medical Center CEO Jacob Cintron said.
On Sunday, Samaniego ordered a two-week curfew to limit mobility in the community amid rising COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, and after intensive care units at all area hospitals reached 100% capacity as of Saturday. The curfew has been imposed for 10 p.m. to 5 a.m., and trick-or-treat activities on Halloween are not allowed, Samaniego said.

Oct 29, 9:15 pm
Clemson's Trevor Lawrence, likely No. 1 NFL pick, tests positive

Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, the likely No. 1 pick in next year's NFL Draft, has tested positive for COVID-19.

Lawrence's positive test was confirmed by his coach late Thursday.

"Trevor has authorized us this evening to announce that he has tested positive for COVID-19 and is now in isolation," Dabo Swinney said in a statement. "He is doing well with mild symptoms but will not be available for this week’s game against Boston College."

The Tigers are currently the No. 1 team in the nation and are 6-0 on the season. They are a huge favorite over Boston College.

The Clemson star was one of the top lobbyists among college players to hold a college football season. He argued the athletes would be less protected if they did not compete and instead stayed at home for remote learning.

"People are at just as much, if not more risk, if we don’t play," he wrote in a tweet on Aug. 9.

Lawrence has been the projected No. 1 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft ever since he exploded on the scene as a freshman in leading the Tigers to a national championship in 2018. He was also the offensive MVP of that game.

Swinney has admitted it's unlikely the junior will return for a fourth season. NFL teams are already salivating over the prospect of the 6-foot-6 signal caller joining their rosters.

Oct 29, 8:15 pm
US sets single-day record for cases

As the U.S. continues to battle a second surge of coronavirus cases, the country has set a new single-day record for cases, according to The COVID Tracking Project.

There were 88,452 cases reported on Thursday, well above the seven-day average of 76,302. The U.S. also tested 1.3 million people.


Our daily update is published. States reported a record number of cases—88.5k—and 1.3 million tests. 46k people are hospitalized. The death toll was 1049.

— The COVID Tracking Project (@COVID19Tracking) October 29, 2020


While cases and hospitalizations continue to surge, deaths have been increasing, but at a slower rate. The death toll on Thursday was 1,049, about 250 more than the seven-day average. The death toll's relative stagnation is likely due to younger people getting sick and better treatment strategies.

Oct 29, 4:38 pm
US sets new record number of weekly cases

The U.S. has set a new record for the number of weekly cases, according to the COVID Tracking Project.

Thirty-nine states had a rise in hospitalizations this week, the largest increases being in Texas and the upper Midwest, the COVID Tracking Project found.

The U.S. is reporting a record 8.2 million tests, but case growth is outpacing test increases. Forty-seven states as well as Washington, D.C., have seen cases rise faster than tests since Oct. 1, according to the COVID Tracking Project.

ABC News’ Brian Hartman contributed to this report.

Oct 29, 4:07 pm
Wisconsin hospitals strained, patients up 16%

In Wisconsin, 1 in 5 hospitals reported critical staffing shortages, said DHS Deputy Secretary Julie Willems Van Dijk.

Hospitalizations are up 16% and the number of patients in ICUs continues to grow, she said.

Seventy out of Wisconsin's 72 counties are reporting very high COVID-19 activity. Over 214,000 people in Wisconsin have been diagnosed and at least 1,948 people have died.
ABC News’ Rachel Katz contributed to this report.

Oct 29, 3:53 pm
US death toll could reach 256,000 by Thanksgiving: CDC

The U.S. could lose another 15,000 to 28,000 lives to COVID-19 by Nov. 21, according to the weekly ensemble forecast released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

That would mean a total of 243,000 to 256,000 American lives lost to the coronavirus by the weekend before Thanksgiving.
ABC News’ Brian Hartman contributed to this report.

Oct 29, 2:58 pm
Utah seeing 'very serious spike'

Utah is “in the middle of a very, very serious spike,” Greg Bell, president and CEO of the Utah Hospital Association, said Thursday.
The state’s seven-day positivity rate has climbed to 18.1%, up from 15% last week, state epidemiologist Angela Dunn said at a news conference.

Utah’s ICUs are 72% full, Dunn said.

“Our hospitals are getting too full to function,” Gov. Gary Herbert warned.

Herbert said gatherings will be limited to 10 people.

“I know you have holidays coming up, Halloween and Thanksgiving … it can be done,” Hebert said. “That will help us get past this surge.”

ABC News’ Bonnie McLean contributed to this report.

Oct 29, 2:25 pm
Ohio exceeds 3,000 daily cases, another record

Ohio hit another record high number of daily cases on Thursday, with 3,590 more people diagnosed, Gov. Mike DeWine said.

“It’s the first time we’ve surpassed 3,000 [daily] cases -- and 25% more than Saturday’s previous record high,” he tweeted.

Ohio now has over 208,000 COVID-19 cases and at least 5,275 deaths.

"The virus is raging throughout Ohio. There is no place to hide,” DeWine tweeted.

“Today I'm calling on the leaders of each county, each community, in Ohio to come together to create a COVID Defense Team. This is what we need to fight back. It should include commissioners, mayors, hospital leaders, business leaders, religious leaders, health commissioner, etc.,” DeWine continued. “These teams should assess their county's situation, inventory assets, and focus on what steps are needed to turn this around.”

Oct 29, 1:36 pm
1 boy likely responsible for more than 100 cases at retreat: CDC

A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) case study released Thursday found that one ninth grade boy, who tested PCR negative before traveling, likely spread COVID-19 to over 100 people at a boys’ overnight summer school retreat in Wisconsin.

Among the 152 high school aged boys, counselors and staff members, there were 118 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 38 probable cases, the CDC said.

The tightly packed students, in session from July 2 to Aug. 11, didn't wear masks and shared dorms with beds close together.

The ninth grade boy who likely set off the spread had a negative PCR test less than a week before the retreat, but he developed symptoms the day after arriving, according to the CDC. A family member of the boy tested positive while he was at the retreat.

In order to lower the risk in this type of setting, the CDC said it is critical to implement pre-arrival quarantine and testing, symptom monitoring, early identification and isolation of cases, mask use, distancing and enhanced hygiene and disinfection practices.

ABC News’ Eric Strauss contributed to this report.

Oct 29, 12:36 pm
Hospitals full in Belgian city with 41% infection rate

Liege, Belgium, is emerging as an epicenter of Europe's worsening coronavirus crisis.

In Liege, where there's a roughly 41% infection rate, the local hospital is at full capacity. ICU numbers have tripled in the last three weeks.

A doctor told ABC News that health workers who have tested positive for COVID-19 are still treating patients to keep the hospital system from crashing.

ABC News’ James Longman contributed to this report.

Oct 29, 11:48 am
New York City’s positivity rate ‘worrisome,’ mayor says

New York City's positivity rate on Thursday jumped to 2.7%, "a worrisome number," Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

"It is literally twice yesterday," he said. "We cannot allow that number to keep growing. We really have to double down."

The mayor said there's no particular reason for the uptick. The city's seven-day positivity rate average is 1.92%.

De Blasio repeated his message that "people really should not travel for the holidays unless it’s absolutely necessary.”
“Unfortunately, pretty much everywhere is doing worse at fighting coronavirus,” he said. “And if you go someplace else, the chance of bringing it back with you is high."

The mayor also warned New Yorkers to avoid large gatherings for Halloween.

"People want to trick or treat outdoors, small groups with masks on, that’s great. Big gatherings, parties, that’s not great at all,” he said, warning, "we find out about them, we are going to break them up."

ABC News’ Aaron Katersky contributed to this report.

Oct 29, 9:24 am
Hospitalizations in Oklahoma could triple by December: Officials

Officials in Oklahoma are warning that COVID-19 hospitalizations in the Sooner State could triple by the end of December if people don't change their personal behaviors or if local ordinances are not enacted.

Projections from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation showed that if local mask and social distancing mandates don't change, cases, hospitalizations and deaths will all increase in Oklahoma.

"We elected leaders to protect us, that’s one of their main responsibilities," Dr. George Monks, president of the Oklahoma State Medical Association, told ABC News affiliate KTUL-TV in Tulsa. "To protect their citizens, you may upset a minority number of citizens in your district, but you’ve got to step up."

If mandates are eased, those numbers could go up even more, officials said.

From Oct. 16-22, the number of cases in Oklahoma increased 20.2% and the week-over-week deaths increased 34.5%, according to the Oklahoma Department of Health.

Monks said IHME projects said the state would reach its maximum need of 2,711 beds for COVID patients on Dec. 28. It doesn't have to be that way, he said, if everyone wore masks.

"It is projected we will reach our maximum number of new COVID-19 cases per day on 12/09/2020 at 5,005 cases/day," Monks said on Twitter. "This number changes significantly if we implement universal masking."

In Oklahoma, more than 119,000 people have been diagnosed with COVID-19, with at least 1,286 deaths.

Oct 29, 9:21 am
Vaccine effectiveness will be known by December, Fauci says

Researchers should know by December whether the vaccines in development are safe and effective, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

“I can predict, I believe with some degree of certainty, that by the end of November to the beginning of December, we will know -- based on the size of the trial and rate of infections that are ongoing in this country -- if we will have a safe and effective vaccine,” Fauci said Wednesday in a virtual keynote address at the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s COVID-19 research symposium.

Fauci added that he's "cautiously optimistic that we will have a safe and effective vaccine even though you can never make absolute predictions."

Oct 29, 8:30 am
Tents set up at every hospital in El Paso

Hospitals in El Paso, Texas, are setting up tents to deal with the increase in COVID-19 patients as the U.S. sees a surge of new cases across the country.

All hospitals in the city, according to ABC News affiliate KVIA-TV, have now started to build tents as of Wednesday night.

"Our hospitals continue to implement our surge plans to expand capacity to help manage the influx of Covid-19 patients to meet the rapidly expanding needs of El Paso," a Hospitals of Providence spokesperson told the station. "Medical tents will help decompress the Emergency Departments."

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott also announced on Wednesday that the El Paso Convention Center is being converted into a health care facility to expand hospital capacity in the area.

"The State of Texas is also providing local hospitals with auxiliary medical units, medical staffing, and medical equipment," the Texas Division of Emergency Management said.

There were 845 new cases of COVID-29, which brings the city to at least 13,653 active cases as of Wednesday, according to local officials. There were three new deaths, which brings the death toll in El Paso to 583.

The seven-day rate of positivity in El Paso is 15.57%. There are 908 people currently hospitalized with coronavirus in the city, with 223 patients in ICUs and 111 on ventilators. There are 285 ICU beds in total in El Paso.

With the spike in cases in El Paso, city officials asked residents this week to largely stay at home: "For the next two weeks, we are asking you to please stay home unless for essential activities to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and prevent strain on our hospitals."

In Texas, there have been more than 911,000 diagnosed cases since the pandemic began, with at least 18,162 deaths.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



(NEW YORK) -- At least five people are dead after Hurricane Zeta slammed into the South, leaving a trail of destruction before turning toward the Northeast.

A 55-year-old died from electrocution in Louisiana, the governor said, and another person was killed in Biloxi, Mississippi. In Acworth, Georgia, a man died when a large oak tree was uprooted and fell through the corner of a mobile home, and in Gwinnett County, Georgia, two people were killed when a tree fell on their house, pinning them inside, authorities said.

More than 1.4 million customers still were without power as of 1 a.m. Friday across Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina.

Due to the power outages, 15 counties in Georgia were forced to open early voting locations later in the day, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said Thursday morning.

In Douglas County, in the Atlanta metropolitan area, there wasn't power at any of the six early voting locations, and none opened. Douglas County officials said the voting sites would reopen on Friday.

Georgia requires every county to have three weeks of early voting.

"We're still assessing the situation ... but we don't see that to be an overall impact of voting at this time because we still have early voting for the balance of today and tomorrow, and obviously, the full election on Tuesday," Raffensperger said. "Georgia Power understands the critical importance of elections and we're really grateful for them and really getting these polling locations up and as soon as possible."

In Louisiana, Gov. John Bel Edwards warned residents to not "go sightseeing" to inspect the damage.

"Zeta has left hazards like flooded roads, downed power lines and displaced wildlife in our communities that no one should take lightly," he tweeted Thursday.

Zeta, with winds reaching 110 mph, made landfall Wednesday as a Category 2 storm in Cocodrie, Louisiana, just south of New Orleans. Zeta is the strongest storm to hit the U.S. this late in the season since 1899, and it's the fifth to strike hard-hit Louisiana this hurricane season.

Zeta is now moving north, with gusty winds slamming the Carolinas and Virginia, and heavy rain battering much of the mid-Atlantic -- Washington, Baltimore and Philadelphia could see up to 4 inches and potential flooding.

By Thursday evening, the heaviest rain will be hitting Philadelphia, New York City and southern New England, where residents should be on the lookout for flash flooding.

Further north, in upstate New York, Massachusetts, Vermont and New Hampshire, as much as 4 inches of snow is possible by Friday morning.

A dusting of snow is possible in Connecticut and New York's Hudson Valley. New York City could even see some snowflakes mixed in with the rain.

Behind the storm, the Northeast will be hit by the coldest air of the season with wind chills possibly plunging to the 20s.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



(NEW YORK) -- In September, according to authorities, Pascale Ferrier sent letters to President Donald Trump filled with ricin, and a few days later she was arrested at the northern border with a firearm.

That weapon was one of 142 firearms Customs and Border Protection (CPB) officers on the northern border seized coming in and out of the country this year, representing a nearly 30% increase over the number of weapons seized in 2019, according to the agency.

"The movement of any type of firearms -- whether it's coming into the United States or into the country on the black market -- is obviously for criminal organizations, and that is a major concern," Aaron Bowker, supervisory CBP officer and public affairs liaison for the agency's Buffalo Field Division, told ABC News.

Customs and Border Protection also saw an increase of cash, drug, and ammunition seizures along the northern border during fiscal year 2020, according to statistics released by the agency on Thursday.

In total, CBP seized 42,000 pounds of drugs coming into the country from the north. The majority of those drugs were marijuana, which saw almost a 1,000% increase over 2019. Cocaine seizures were also up 125% from last year and heroin seizures were up 72%.

"The legalization of marijuana in Canada has led to an overproduction of marijuana and subsequently, because of the current street value in the United States, it's led to criminal organizations attempting to ship that in to make a higher profit on their product," Bowker said.

"The surge in narcotics and firearm seizures across the northern border is the result of strong partnerships between Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), CBP, and Canadian law enforcement," said Kevin Kelly, Special Agent in Charge of HSI Buffalo. "It is also an indication of the growing organized crime elements attempting to exploit the U.S. and Canadian border for illicit gain and that pose a significant threat to our communities."

CBP Buffalo Field Office Director Rose Brophy lauded the agency's officers who have been working through the pandemic to make those seizures despite the public health crisis.

"They continued to enforce our laws and intercepted thousands of pounds of narcotics, seized large amounts of unreported currency related to criminal organizations, took hundreds of firearms and criminals off of our streets, and intercepted hundreds of pests that can cause irreversible damage to our environment and economy," Brophy said.

In addition to the increase in drugs, ammunition seizures were up 46%, from 1,551 rounds in 2019 to 2,271 rounds in 2020.

CBP also reported a nearly 1,000% increase in cash flowing across the border. In 2019 CBP intercepted $46,967 in cash, while in 2020 they intercepted $499,962.

"Through our Border Enforcement Task Force (BEST), HSI is committed to the deployment of its investigative resources and to the multiagency collaboration needed to dismantle the transnational criminal organizations exploiting our shared border," Kelly said.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


M. Von Holden/WireImageBy MEGAN STONE, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- Leanza Cornett, who was crowned Miss America in 1993, has died at the age of 49.

The Miss America Organization confirmed the beauty queen's passing on Wednesday, writing, "Leanza had a bright and beautiful spirit and her laugh was infectious. We know she meant so much to so many, including all of you."

The industry has been "devastated by this sudden loss," and "are deeply sorry for her family and close friends for their loss."

The organization declined to reveal her cause of death, writing, "At the moment, we do not have any further information regarding a service for Leanza and we ask that you please respect her family during this difficult time."

Cornett's ex-husband Mark Steines, who shared sons Kai, 18, and Avery, 16, with her, took to Instagram to honor his late wife, vowing, "We will always remember the wonderful times shared during her short time here on earth. I find comfort knowing Kai and Avery will forever have the best guardian angel watching over them as they navigate life's path."

Cornett went on to play the first live-action Ariel in The Little Mermaid stage production at Walt Disney World, and had cameos in shows such as Weeds and Saved by the Bell: The New Class.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


beerkoff/iStockBy LUKE BARR, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- The FBI, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) are warning of an upcoming ransomware attack on hospitals.

“CISA, FBI, and HHS have credible information of an increased and imminent cybercrime threat to U.S. hospitals and healthcare providers. CISA, FBI, and HHS are sharing this information to provide warning to healthcare providers to ensure that they take timely and reasonable precautions to protect their networks from these threats,” a warning from the agencies said.

The agencies say that the malware “Trickbot” is the primary method used to attack hospitals.

According to the technology firm ForcePoint, malware is "short for malicious software, malware typically consists of code developed by cyberattackers, designed to cause extensive damage to data and systems or to gain unauthorized access to a network."

According to the firm, the attacks usually start in the form of a suspicious email.

“CISA, FBI, and HHS assess malicious cyber actors are targeting the HPH Sector with Trickbot malware, often leading to ransomware attacks, data theft, and the disruption of healthcare services,” they say.

The agencies said that because of the targeted nature of these attacks, hospital workers should be on alert for phishing scams and ransomware attacks.

Best practices include patching networks, changing passwords and multifactor authentication. The three agencies also said hospital systems should be prepared and should have a risk mitigation plan that can easily be activated.

In September, one of the country's largest hospital chains said that all 250 of its locations had been hit with a ransomware attack.

United Health Services said that it "have had no indication that any patient or employee data was accessed, copied or misused."

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



(PHILADELPHIA) -- The city of Philadelphia is on high alert Thursday after authorities discovered a van filled with explosives and other suspicious cargo -- including propane tanks, torches and possibly sticks of dynamite -- on Wednesday night following two nights of protests and unrest after the shooting death of a Black man by police in West Philadelphia on Monday afternoon, according to ABC News’ Phildaelphia station WPVI-TV.

It is unclear how authorities came to be aware of the vehicle containing the explosives or who the owner or operator of the vehicle is but the bomb squad is on the scene and investigating.

Meanwhile, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney announced in a virtual press conference on Wednesday night that an undetermined number of Pennsylvania National Guard troops will begin arriving in Philadelphia on Friday to assist police.

"I have requested the assistance of the Pennsylvania National Guard,” said Kenney. “Their role, first and foremost, will be to safeguard property and prevent looting. They will also provide assistance for our police department and other operational departments as needed.”

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw also addressed the public in the virtual press conference and discussed the latest on the investigation into the shooting death of Walter Wallace Jr., the use of police force and the recent unrest in the city.

"As I said yesterday, this investigation has many moving parts and we are working hard to ensure that a fair and thorough investigation takes place,” said Outlaw. “We plan on releasing premise history audio of 911 calls and body cam footage of the discharging officers in the near future."

What started out as a peaceful protest of about 1,000 people at Malcolm X Park on Tuesday night ended up turning into violent activity against the police where at least 23 officers were left injured and, according to information gathered by WPVI, authorities say they had bricks and even blood thrown at them.

Meanwhile, the police union called for the release of the police body cam footage which they say will show that Walter Wallace Jr. failed to drop the knife as he was ordered repeatedly to do and instead lunged at officers with it.

"We're calling on the city leadership to release the facts of this case, it's not hard, it's cut and dry. Release what you have," said Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5 President John McNesby.

Commissioner Outlaw says they want the Wallace family to get the facts first.

"We will be meeting with members of Mr. Wallace's family, to ensure they get an opportunity to view the materials first," said Outlaw.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


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