There are more than 2.1 million confirmed cases of the virus worldwide, and more than 145,000 people have died from it, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Efforts to curb the outbreak have led to the global disruption of daily life and the economy, as schools and workplaces shutter in hopes of slowing transmission.
HuffPost reporters around the world are tracking the pandemic and the measures being taken to flatten the curve of transmission.
Read the latest updates on the coronavirus pandemic below. (To see the latest updates, you may need to refresh the page. All times are Eastern. For earlier updates on the pandemic, go here.)
Wuhan Raises Coronavirus Death Toll By 50% — 4/17/20, 4 a.m. ET
Officials in Wuhan, China have revised the coronavirus death toll by 50%, increasing the number of fatalities by 1,290 to the 2,579 previously counted and bringing the total to 3,869.
State media reported on Friday that the undercount was due to admission facilities at hospitals being overwhelmed during the peak of the crisis.
The number of total cases in the city of 11 million people was also raised by 325 to 50,333, accounting for approximately two-thirds of China’s total 82,367 announced cases.
Questions have long swirled about the accuracy of China’s case reporting, with Wuhan, in particular, going several days in January without reporting new cases or deaths ― leading to accusations that officials were seeking to minimize the impact of the outbreak.
— Sarah Turnnidge
China’s economy plummeted by 6.8% in the first three months of 2020 compared with a year earlier, according to data released Thursday by the National Bureau of Statistics of China, ending a decades-long period of growth.
It’s the country’s first contraction since at least 1992, when China first began reporting its quarterly GDP, Reuters reported.
The historic slump comes as the world’s second-largest economy starts to re-emerge from the coronavirus crisis after it came to a near standstill to contain the spread of the pandemic.
The drop was larger than the 6.5% decline forecast by Reuters analysts and a reversal of a 6% expansion in last year’s fourth quarter. The data is a stark sign of the challenges ahead in restoring the global economy.
“What is really important was that before March, everybody was expecting China to have a V-shaped recovery because it was actually [about] China supply disruption, but now we are seeing this demand shock,” Bo Zhuang, chief China economist at TS Lombard, told CNBC.
“The internal demand shock was massive. That tells us that after coronavirus, even after the lockdowns have been lifted, people are cautious to consume. Shopping malls are open but they are not consuming, and that is the key.”
― Josie Harvey
The number of coronavirus deaths reported in a single 24-hour period in the United States skyrocketed on Thursday to 4,591 people, according to several reports.
Both The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post, citing data released by Johns Hopkins University, said the death rate was more than double the previous record set on Wednesday. A reported 2,569 people died that day after being infected with COVID-19, many in New York, an epicenter of the pandemic.
More than 662,000 people in America have been infected with the coronavirus and more than 33,000 have died. Cases globally topped 2 million this week.
— Nick Visser
Early data on coronavirus cases in California shows that Black people are dying at disproportionately high rates from COVID-19, per the state’s Department of Public Health.
While Black people make up 6% of California residents, they represent 7% of reported COVID-19 cases in the state and 12% of deaths so far, per CDPH data released Wednesday.
It’s worth noting this data analysis reflects only 65% of total COVID-19 cases and 87% of deaths reported to the state department. Overall, California has seen over 27,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and more than 880 deaths, as of Thursday.
The disproportionate rate of death from COVID-19 among Black people matches reports from other localities, including Michigan, Louisiana, Chicago, Milwaukee and more.
Earlier this week, Sens. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and other lawmakers introduced legislation to require the federal government to report data on race and ethnicity in coronavirus cases nationwide.
— Sarah Ruiz-Grossman
Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) announced new legislation on Thursday, called the VoteSafe Act, which seeks to expand access to voting during the pandemic. The legislation would expand vote-by-mail and early voting and provide funds to states to implement curbside voting and other initiatives.
Earlier this month, voters in Wisconsin were forced to stand in long lines and gather in large groups in order to vote, despite public health guidelines of social distancing, after Republicans in the state and U.S. Supreme Court overruled efforts to postpone the election.
“The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the obstacles many already face when voting,” Harris said in a press release. “Even before the pandemic, Native Americans, Black and Latinx voters, and voters with disabilities too often faced long lines, inaccessible voting locations, and outright hostility by election officials.”
Harris’ bill would spend $5 billion on improving access to voting, compared to the $400 million committed to the task in the coronavirus stimulus package that Congress passed in late March.
— Sarah Ruiz-Grossman
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) is extending the state’s stay-at-home order, NYS on PAUSE, until May 15, and neighboring states are expected to follow suit, he said at his daily press conference Thursday.
“What happens after then?” he said. “I don’t know. We will see based on what the data shows.”
The state reported another day of stabilizing infections. The three-day average rate of change in hospitalizations sharply decreased on Wednesday, and the rate of intubations also decreased. Both indicators have dropped for several consecutive days. However, about 2,000 people are still being hospitalized each day, and on Wednesday, the state reported 606 more deaths.
On Wednesday, Cuomo announced an executive order mandating the use of masks and other face coverings in places where it is difficult to practice social distancing, such as public transit and grocery stores.
During his press conference Thursday, he outlined some possible approaches to gradually reopening the economy, such as evaluating business reopenings based on whether they are more or less essential and their risk of infection. A key obstacle to figuring out when and how to reopen is the lack of widespread testing and contact tracing.
— Marina Fang
The United Kingdom’s coronavirus lockdown will be extended for three weeks, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab announced Thursday.
The decision was made as the country’s epidemic appears to be reaching its peak number of infections.
The extended lockdown means Britons will have to continue staying at home, practice social distancing when they go outside for exercise, work or essential shopping if necessary, and self-isolating if they have COVID-19 symptoms.
Ministers and officials have stressed that it will not be possible to lift any of the lockdown measures until the U.K. is past the disease’s high point.
Raab, who is deputizing for Boris Johnson while the prime minister recovers from the coronavirus, announced the measures after chairing the government’s COVID-19 meeting on Thursday.
His announcement came as the number of people who have died in U.K. hospitals rose by 861 in 24 hours, bringing the total to 13,729.
— Arj Singh
A series of mishaps prevented millions of Americans from receiving federal stimulus payments on Wednesday, The Washington Post reported, citing the Treasury Department officials and economic experts.
Many Americans had expected to see $1,200 or more deposited into their bank accounts, as part of the economic stimulus package passed in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act last month. But those who filed their taxes via H&R Block, TurboTax and other tax services did not receive payments because the IRS did not have their direct deposit information.
Some parents reported that the IRS failed to include the $500-per-child-under-17 payments outlined in the CARES Act. Others were frustrated when they tried to use the IRS’s “Get My Payment” tool to track the status of their payments, only to receive the message “Payment Status Not Available.”
The IRS has the “appropriate banking information for all TurboTax filers, which can be used by them to distribute stimulus payments,” a TurboTax spokesperson told HuffPost. “This is true regardless of whether a customer chose to receive their refund on a debit card, selected refund transfer or other services.”
IRS and Treasury officials told the Post they are aware of the issues and are working to fix them.
— Hayley Miller
Another 5.2 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week, bringing the total number of jobless claims in the past month to a staggering 22 million, the Labor Department reported Thursday.
Layoffs are spreading beyond service industries like hotels and restaurants into white-collar professional occupations, according to The Associated Press. Roughly one-third of U.S. jobs — or about 50 million positions — are vulnerable to coronavirus-related layoffs, economists told the AP.
Read more here.
— Hayley Miller
The virus’s death toll in the U.S. has doubled to 30,000 in just a week, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. The number of deaths hit 15,000 on April 9.
Of the world’s more than 2 million confirmed cases of COVID-19, roughly 30% ― or about 600,000 people ― are in the U.S., making it the country with the most known infections. Spain is a distant second with more than 182,000 confirmed cases and over 19,000 deaths.
— Hayley Miller
The U.K. health secretary has confirmed that 27 National Health Service staff have now died after contracting COVID-19.
Matt Hancock told the BBC on Thursday there had “very sadly” been 27 verified deaths, referring explicitly to the death of 28-year-old Mary Agyeiwaa Agyapong, a heavily pregnant nurse who died after contracting the virus.
More than £65,000 has now been raised for Agyapong’s family, including her newborn daughter who was delivered via emergency caesarean. Read more on HuffPost U.K.
— Sarah Turnnidge
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti thinks it is “very difficult to see” any large events happening before the year is over. That includes concerts and professional sports, he said on CNN.
“It’s difficult to imagine us getting together in the thousands anytime soon, so I think we should be prepared for that this year,” Garcetti said, adding that “until there’s either a vaccine, some sort of pharmaceutical intervention or herd immunity, the science is the science.”
— Lydia O’Connor
On Wednesday, thousands of largely right-wing protesters demonstrated at Michigan’s capitol in Lansing to protest the governor’s stay-at-home order meant to prevent further spread of the coronavirus.
In a press conference, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) said the demonstration was “going to come at a cost to people’s health.” After the protest began with people in their cars blocking streets, dozens of protesters got out of their vehicles and intermingled without masks and without remaining the recommended six feet apart.
“The sad irony is that they were protesting that they don’t like this stay-home order, and they may have just created a need to lengthen it,” Whitmer said.
With the U.S. leading the world in COVID-19 confirmed cases and deaths, Michigan has seen more than 28,000 reported cases and over 1,900 deaths so far.
— Sarah Ruiz-Grossman
California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that the state will dedicate $75 million to a disaster relief assistance fund for undocumented immigrants impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Philanthropic partners will contribute another $50 million. The fund will provide a one-time payment of $500 to an estimated 150,000 undocumented Californians, who can apply for the relief starting next month.
Undocumented immigrants were left out of the federal government’s stimulus checks, which started to go out today, due to their immigration status.
“California is the most diverse state in the nation. Our diversity makes us stronger and more resilient,” Newsom said in a statement. “Every Californian, including our undocumented neighbors and friends, should know that California is here to support them during this crisis. We are all in this together.”
— Sarah Ruiz-Grossman
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo plans to issue an executive order that will require all New Yorkers to wear a mask or face covering when they are out in public and unable to physically distance themselves from others.
“If you are going to be in a situation, in public, where you come into contact with other people in a situation that is not socially distanced, you must have a mask or a cloth covering nose and mouth,” he said at a press conference. The public has three days to obtain a mask or cloth covering before this rule is enforced.
Cuomo said there won’t be a penalty for not wearing a mask but if enough people don’t comply he may make it a civil violation, which would not be treated as a crime.
His announcement followed New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio encouraging his city’s stores to require shoppers to wear masks to enter.
— Nina Golgowski
More than a dozen Senate Democrats sent a letter to President Donald Trump slamming his administration for what they described as a failure to properly manage the Strategic National Stockpile amid the coronavirus pandemic, which has so far killed 24,000 people across the U.S.
The Democrats, led by Sens. Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin and Patty Murray of Washington state, urged Trump to explain why the federal stockpile was nearly depleted of critically needed personal protective equipment as the pandemic continued to worsen in the country.
The letter highlighted dozens of governors’ requests to receive supplies from the stockpile in order to protect public health workers and medical professionals who are fighting the spread of the virus. “However, your Administration has failed to sufficiently respond to these requests,” the letter read.
“It should not take public pleas from governors or letters from congressional delegations for states to obtain the supplies they need,” the senators continued. “The stockpile was intended to support a response to a large scale disaster, and yet, as the country finds itself experiencing exactly the kind of crisis the stockpile was created to mitigate, your Administration has failed to respond with the urgency that is so clearly needed.”
The senators sent the president five questions to clarify what the administration’s strategy was when sending stockpile supplies to states, including how it prioritized states’ requests.
The Democrats also asked Trump how his administration would ensure that the distribution of supplies to states would not be politicized.
— Carla H. Russo
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio encouraged the city’s stores to require customers to wear masks inside, telling store owners that this is “legal and appropriate” and that the city will help enforce the rule if necessary.
“We will back up those stores,” he said at a press conference. “We need to keep each other safe. We need to keep these grocery and supermarket workers safe. That’s the smart thing to do.”
In Washington, D.C., where shoppers are already required to wear masks in stores, people were asked on Tuesday to wear masks when using public transportation. Face covering will not be mandatory to ride but it is strongly encouraged.
Cities and counties in Florida have also implemented their own mask rules. Miami-Dade County, which has the state’s highest number of confirmed cases, last week ordered people to wear masks in grocery stores, convenience stores and pharmacies. Osceola County, south of Orlando, is also requiring people to wear a face covering when out in public.
California has not mandated the statewide use of face masks but does have localized rules on wearing them in public.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently began advising the public to wear masks to help prevent the virus’ spread. This update followed studies finding that people who have the coronavirus are able to transmit it to others before showing symptoms and being aware that they are infected.
― Nina Golgowski
Families losing loved ones to coronavirus will get “the right to say goodbye,” Matt Hancock, the United Kingdom’s health secretary, said Wednesday.
The chance to make contact with loved ones a final time would be rolled out “wherever possible,” Hancock said at the Downing Street press briefing.
The announcement comes as many are left distraught that they are unable to see those who are severely ill in care homes and hospitals due to the risk of infection.
“I’m pleased to say that, working with Public Health England, the care sector and many others, we are introducing new procedures so we can limit the risk of infection while wherever possible, giving people’s closest loved ones the chance to say goodbye,” Hancock added.
More than 12,800 people in the U.K. have now died in hospitals after contracting COVID-19, an increase of 761 in the past 24 hours.
— Rachel Wearmouth
Top officials in Beijing were warned of a likely pandemic from a new coronavirus in January, but stayed silent for six days, the Associated Press reports. During that time, more than 3,000 people were likely infected, and the Chinese government lost crucial time in which they could have taken measures against the virus. China denies suppressing information in the early days of the outbreak. Read the full story here.
— Liza Hearon
The Indian Ministry of Home Affairs issued fresh guidelines Wednesday to enforce the extended national lockdown to contain the spread of coronavirus, HuffPost India reports.
All kinds of public transport and opening of public places will remain prohibited till May 3. However, grocery stores, fruits and vegetable shops/carts, milk booths, and poultry, meat and fish shops will remain open during lockdown.
The government has made wearing of masks compulsory in public places across India. Spitting in public has been made a punishable offense and a strict ban enforced on the sale of liquor and tobacco.
India has nearly 11,500 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 9,756 patients currently under treatment and a death toll of 377, the health ministry said.
— Meryl Sebastian
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has issued a direct plea to teachers, asking them to return to classrooms and be the “great heroes” of Australia. In a televised address to the nation, the prime minister said their place in society has “always been critical,” insisting teachers must join cleaners, supermarket staff and health workers on the frontline to fight COVID-19.
“I want teachers to know from me, both as a parent and as a prime minister, just how appreciated you are and how important the job is that you’re doing right now and how much you are needed,” he said.
Although many will adapt to remote learning, for the schools that will remain open, Morrison said the risk of COVID-19 spreading among school-age children is low and reminded Australia many disadvantaged families cannot take part in distance learning.
“Your students and their families are relying on you more than ever. The education of our children hangs in the balance,” Morrison said.
— Carly Williams
President Donald Trump’s name will be printed on the economic stimulus checks that the Internal Revenue Service will distribute to individuals to help mitigate losses caused by the coronavirus, according to The Washington Post.
The addition ordered by the Treasury Department is reportedly expected to delay the delivery of paper checks by several days at a time Americans are losing their jobs at an exponential rate and are in immediate need of the money.
The phrase “President Donald J. Trump” will be printed in a memo line on the left side of the checks, below a line that says “Economic Impact Payment,” according to the Post. Americans are expected to receive these checks ― most will total $1,200 per individual ― after the IRS adjusts its printing technology for the addition.
This is the first time a president’s name will appear on a payment from the IRS. The checks are part of the federal government’s $2 trillion stimulus package to help boost the economy as the coronavirus pandemic shuts down most of the country.
― Sanjana Karanth
Amid testing struggles, officials in New York City are no longer limiting the local death toll to confirmed cases of COVID-19, adding more than 3,700 victims to the official tally, The New York Times reported Tuesday. More than 10,000 people are now believed to have died of the virus in the nation’s largest city.
The patients added to NYC’s official coronavirus death toll on Tuesday were presumed to have had the virus because of their symptoms and medical histories. The city’s health department had been tracking such cases for weeks, and the tally was expected to increase sharply with the change in reporting guidelines, as reported by Gothamist last week.
The additions brought the country’s coronavirus death toll to more than 26,000. Due to the severe shortage of testing capacity, however, experts believe the true tally is far higher.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said Tuesday morning that the “curve” ― the number of new hospitalizations due to the virus each day ― appears to be flattening out, hopefully heralding an eventual decline. But he emphasized that current social distancing measures would still be necessary in the weeks ahead.
― Sara Boboltz
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