CORONAVIRUS

Coronavirus Live Updates: Read The Latest About The COVID-19 Outbreak

Stay up to date as we cover the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and its effects across the world.

Since Chinese officials implemented the first coronavirus lockdown in the city of Wuhan in January, there have been more than 21.6 million cases of COVID-19 across the planet.

More than 775,000 people have died from the disease, 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 shuttered in hopes of slowing transmission. After months of precautions and lockdowns, governments have begun to reopen their economies.

HuffPost reporters around the world are tracking the pandemic and its effects.

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.)

Italy Imposes First New Restrictions Since Reopening — 8/17/20, 6 a.m. ET

Italy will shut discos and clubs and make it compulsory to wear a mask outdoors in some areas during the night in the first reimposition of restrictions as cases of coronavirus pick up across the country, especially among younger people.

New cases in the past week in Italy, the first European country to be hit hard by the coronavirus, were more than double those registered three weeks ago and the median age of people contracting the virus has dropped below 40, data showed.

The new rules will start on Monday — two days after an Italian holiday when many young Italians go out dancing — and will run until early September.

Masks will be required between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. in areas close to bars and pubs and where gatherings are more likely.

HuffPost Italy reports (in Italian) that the twin factors of the continuous increase in new positives (3,351 in the last week, with daily peaks not recorded since May) and increases in neighboring European countries forced the government to act.

“We cannot nullify the sacrifices made in past months. Our priority must be that of opening schools in September, in full safety,” Health Minister Roberto Speranza said on Facebook.

Since its outbreak came to light on Feb. 21, Italy has recorded more than 35,000 deaths.

— James Martin

New Zealand Postpones General Election — 8/17/20, 5:30 a.m. ET

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced a four-week delay to the general election in New Zealand as the country tackles a new coronavirus outbreak.

“Ultimately, the 17th of October ... provides sufficient time for parties to plan around the range of circumstances we will be campaigning under,” Ardern said in a news conference. The election had been scheduled to be held Sept. 19.

Pressure had been mounting on Ardern to postpone the vote amid the resurgence of COVID-19 infections in New Zealand’s biggest city, Auckland, after the country had been free of coronavirus cases for 102 days.

The main opposition National Party had called for a delay after it was forced to cancel campaign events due to restrictions on movement and crowds. It has accused Ardern of using the crisis to shore up support.

New Zealand law requires the election to be held before Nov. 21, however Ardern added she did not intend to change the election date again. 

Read more

— Carly Williams

FDA Approves Yale’s Saliva Test For Emergency Use — 8/16/20, 8:55 a.m. ET

The Food and Drug Administration has granted emergency use authorization to Yale School of Public Health’s saliva test to detect COVID-19, after a trial on NBA players and staff.

SalivaDirect, the fifth saliva test approved by the FDA for the disease, requires no swab or collection device and uses spit from people suspected of having the coronavirus, the agency said in a statement Saturday.

FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn called the test “groundbreaking” in its efficiency and in being unaffected by crucial component shortages.

Read more from Reuters.

― Hayley Miller

CDC Clarifies Guidance On The Protections Recovered COVID-19 Patients Have — 8/15/20, 6:25 p.m. ET

People who have recovered from COVID-19 do not need to quarantine or get tested for the virus for up to three months after recovery so long as they do not develop symptoms again, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said earlier this month.

The guidance suggested that recovered patients are likely protected to some degree from the virus in that time span.

But the agency was forced to issue a clarification Friday to point out explicitly that does not mean recovered COVID-19 patients are immune from the virus in the months after their illness. “This science does not imply a person is immune to reinfection with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, in the three months following infection,” the CDC said in a statement.

“The latest data simply suggests that retesting someone in the three months following initial infection is not necessary unless that person is exhibiting the symptoms of COVID-19 and the symptoms cannot be associated with another illness.”

Recovered patients who are not infectious to others can nevertheless continue to test positive for months, the CDC said.

— Sara Boboltz

Museums, Other Cultural Centers To Reopen In New York City — 8/15/20, 11:50 a.m. ET

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Friday that museums, aquariums and other cultural centers in New York City will reopen in the coming weeks.

“Low-risk cultural activities, museums, aquariums, other low risk cultural arts can reopen in New York City Aug. 24 so they can get their protocols in place,” Cuomo said on a conference call with reporters.

The newly reopened centers will operate at 25% capacity and will issue timed ticketing with staggered entry. Face masks will be required inside.

Bowling alleys will open on Monday, operating at 50% capacity. Cuomo said he will also lay out plans to reopen gyms on Monday.

Once the epicenter of the virus in the U.S., New York has seen a dramatic decrease in coronavirus cases and deaths in the last few months thanks to practices including social distancing and wearing masks in public.

— Sebastian Murdock

PPE, Testing Supplies, Ventilators And More On FDA’s Shortages List ― 8/14/20, 6:35 p.m. ET

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration released a list Friday of all the medical devices the country is running low on. 

On that list are various types of personal protective equipment needed during the COVID-19 pandemic, including masks, surgical gowns and gloves. Other items in short supply include ventilators, respirators, sterile swabs and other testing supplies.

The FDA is not saying who manufactures each item because doing so “will adversely affect the public health by increasing the potential for hoarding or other disruptions in device availability to patients.”

This is the first time the FDA has published such a list. Releasing it became mandatory under the CARES Act signed into law in March. 

― Lydia O’Connor

New Jersey Election To Be Done Primarily Through Mail-In Votes — 8/14/20, 12:00 p.m. ET

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) said everyone in the state will get a mail-in ballot for the November presidential election in an effort to keep people safe from the coronavirus.

“It doesn’t matter what party you’re in, everybody gets a ballot,” Murphy told CNN on Friday.

Murphy suggested that in-person voting will only be done with provisional ballots, meaning voters will have to go to one of a reduced number of polling places to cast a vote, according to The Associated Press.

This year, a record 76% of all Americans will be eligible to vote by mail in the upcoming election due to the virus, The New York Times reported. That hasn’t stopped President Donald Trump from attempting to stop mail-in voting, falsely claiming the practice leads to voter fraud even as the president himself has taken advantage of voting by mail.

Earlier this week, Trump seemingly admitted to sabotaging the United States Postal Service in an attempt to stop mail-in voting by cutting its funding and removing mail sorting machines.

“Now they need that money in order to make the post office work so it can take all of these millions and millions of ballots,” Trump said Thursday in an interview on Fox Business. “But if they don’t get those two items, that means you can’t have universal mail-in voting.”

— Sebastian Murdock

Fresh Blow For Europe’s Struggling Tourism Industry — 8/14/20, 6:45 a.m. ET

Attempts to revive tourism in Europe have been dealt a fresh blow after the British government added France, the Netherlands and Malta to a growing list of countries requiring returning holidaymakers to quarantine for 14 days.

The decision comes a month after ministers announced that travelers arriving in the U.K. from Spain would have to quarantine, essentially blocking holidays to the two most popular destinations for British tourists.

The decision to add France will cause dismay for thousands of British holidaymakers currently in the country. It was made in response to the spread of the virus, with the latest 14-day cumulative figures showing 32.1 Covid-19 cases per 100,000 people in France, compared with 18.5 in the U.K.

The move will come as a bitter blow to the hard-pressed French tourism industry which relies heavily on visitors from the U.K., and could lead to “reciprocal measures” from France against British tourists.

An estimated 160,000 holidaymakers are expected to look to return to the U.K. from France before the quarantine deadline on 4 a.m. Saturday.

Read more

— Jasmin Gray

Joe Biden Calls For Nationwide Mask Mandate ‘Immediately’ — 8/13/20, 6:25 P.M. ET

Joe Biden called for a nationwide mask mandate on Thursday and urged all Americans to wear protective face masks for at least the next three months as the coronavirus pandemic continues to take lives.

“Every single American should be wearing a mask when they’re outside for the next three months, at a minimum,” the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee told reporters in Wilmington, Delaware.

“This is not about Democrats, Republicans or independents. It’s about saving Americans’ lives,” he said. “Let’s institute a mask mandate, nationwide, starting immediately, and we will save lives.”

Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) were in Wilmington to hold their second public appearance together since he announced the senator as his running mate.

The federal government’s response to the pandemic is sure to be a hot topic as Biden moves closer to accepting the Democratic presidential nomination next week and becoming President Donald Trump’s official opponent.

Back in June, Biden said that, as president, he “would do everything possible” to require people to wear masks in public.

— Carla Russo

U.K. To Test New Contact-Tracing App — 8/13/20, 12 p.m. ET

The U.K. is set to begin trials of a new contact-tracing app after ditching efforts to develop its own technology in June amid accuracy issues and concerns about privacy.

The app will include alerts based on postcode, QR check-in at venues, a symptom checker and a way to book tests, using Google- and Apple-developed technology.

Trials will begin Thursday on the Isle of Wight and with volunteer health workers across England, followed shortly by people in the London borough of Newham ― one of the most diverse and densely populated communities in Europe. The second version adopts an Apple and Google-developed system ― already used in several countries around the world ― that handles data in a more privacy-friendly manner, using Bluetooth to keep an anonymous log of people a user has been close to that they may not know, such as a stranger on a bus.

It will log the time and distance a user has spent near anyone, even if they don’t know them, so it can alert them if necessary if that person later tests positive for COVID-19.

Read more on HuffPost U.K.

— Ned Simons and Rachel Wearmouth

AMC Theaters To Reopen Some Locations Next Week — 8/13/20, 8:42 a.m. ET

AMC, the nation’s largest movie theater chain, is set to reopen about one-sixth of its U.S. locations next Thursday, offering 15-cent tickets to entice moviegoers, the company said Thursday.

Regal, the second-largest movie theater chain, is also reopening some of its locations next Friday. Both companies have said they will enact COVID-19 safety measures, such as requiring face masks and reducing capacity.

But it’s unclear to what degree movie theaters can reopen nationwide. Large indoor spaces are among those at highest risk for spreading the virus.

Read more from the Associated Press.

— Marina Fang

U.S. Reports Highest Single-Day Death Toll Since May — 8/13/20, 2:30 a.m. ET

The U.S. saw its highest one-day death toll from the novel coronavirus since May on Wednesday. According to figures released by Johns Hopkins University, more than 1,500 people died in the past 24 hours from COVID-19.

The death toll in a 24-hour period hasn’t been that high since May 27 when such rates began to decline due to a spate of lockdown measures across the country. Fatalities have risen in recent weeks, however, as the country reopened and cases surged, forcing some regions to scale back such measures.

Despite the bleak milestone on Wednesday, President Donald Trump once again spent the day urging schools and businesses across the country to reopen, noting he wanted to watch college football this fall. 

“We’ve got to open up our schools and open up our businesses,” Trump said at the White House. “All schools should be making plans to resume in-person classes as soon as possible.”

— Nick Visser

3 In 10 Laid-Off Americans Worried About Food And Housing: Poll — 8/12/20, 4:15 p.m. ET

Three in 10 Americans who lost their jobs during the coronavirus crisis this year said they will have “a very difficult time meeting basic needs,” including paying for groceries or rent, according to a new Reuters/Ipsos poll.

Half of those surveyed said they were financially stressed but will be able to make ends meet.

Results of the poll, conducted Monday and Tuesday, come nearly two weeks after a $600 weekly enhanced unemployment benefit was allowed to expire with no replacement plan in sight. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said earlier Wednesday that Democrats and Republicans are “miles apart” on reaching a deal on a fresh round of pandemic relief.

Respondents pinned blame fairly evenly on all parties involved in the negotiations.

— Sara Boboltz

Fauci Expresses Doubt About Safety Of Russian Vaccine — 8/12/20, 7 a.m. ET

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that having a vaccine and proving that it’s safe and effective are two different things, casting doubts on Russia’s claim on Tuesday that it has a vaccine ready for use.

In a preview of an interview for National Geographic released Tuesday, Fauci said the U.S. had more than half a dozen vaccines in development, and could start administering them as soon as “next week” if “we wanted to take the chance of hurting a lot of people, or giving them something that doesn’t work. But, that’s not the way it works.”

“So, I hope, but I haven’t heard any evidence to make me feel that’s the case, I hope that the Russians have actually, definitively proven that the vaccine is safe and effective,” Fauci continued. “I seriously doubt that they’ve done that.”

Read more here.

— Lee Moran

Florida, Georgia Both Surpass Daily Coronavirus Death Toll Records — 8/11/20, 7 p.m. ET

Florida and Georgia both set new records for their daily death tolls due to the coronavirus pandemic, health officials said Tuesday. 

Florida, one of the nation’s ongoing epicenters of the COVID-19 crisis, said 276 people had died in a 24-hour period ending Tuesday, higher than the previous death toll record set on July 31. The state has seen more than 542,000 cases and 8,500 deaths. 

Georgia, which was one of the first states to reopen under orders from Republican Gov. Brian Kemp, said 137 people had died, surpassing the state’s record that was set just last week. More than 4,200 people have died in Georgia due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Cases of COVID-19 are still rising in some states and territories, and health officials have long warned that while other states may have seen surges decrease, the number of deaths attributed to infections lags just behind such peaks.

— Nick Visser

Local Transmission Of Virus Breaks Out Again In New Zealand After 102 Days — 8/11/20, 7:30 a.m. ET

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Tuesday that four coronavirus cases have been found in an Auckland household with no history of overseas travel, the first cases in 102 days, the Associated Press reports.

Auckland, the country’s largest city, will go into lockdown until Friday, with people asked to stay at home and bars and many other businesses closed. The rest of the country will be banned from gatherings of more than 100 and people will need to social distance from each other.

“We had all hoped not to find ourselves in this position again. But we had also prepared for it. And as a team, we have also been here before,” Ardern said.

— Liza Hearon

Russia Claims Vaccine Is Ready For Use Despite Lack Of Phase 3 Testing — 8/11/20, 6 a.m. ET

Russia has registered a coronavirus vaccine and declared it safe for use, despite international skepticism about the testing of it, the Associated Press reported.

President Vladimir Putin said one of his two daughters had participated in the experiment and received the vaccine.“I would like to repeat that it has passed all the necessary tests,” he said. “The most important thing is to ensure full safety of using the vaccine and its efficiency.”

Scientists have voiced concern about Russia potentially rushing a vaccine before the end of Phase 3 trials, which typically take months and involve thousands of people.

Russia has recorded over 890,000 cases of coronavirus and reported nearly 15,000 deaths.

— Liza Hearon

Coronavirus Cases Top 20 Million Worldwide — 8/10/2020, 8:35 p.m. ET

There are now more than 20 million COVID-19 cases worldwide, a tally by Johns Hopkins University reported Monday. More than one-quarter of those cases are in the United States. Brazil and India trail the U.S., with 3 million and 2.2 million cases, respectively.

— Lydia O’Connor

California Governor Won’t Say Why State’s Public Health Director Resigned ― 8/10/2020, 4:35 p.m. ET

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) remained tightlipped when asked Monday to explain the sudden resignation of the state’s public health director, Dr. Sonia Angell.

“I try not to have personnel discussions in public,” he said when a reporter asked him if he requested she step down.

Angell resigned Sunday night after news broke that a series of data failures had led to a backlog of around 300,000 coronavirus test results in California.

“Forgive me for being human here,” Newsom said when another reporter pressed him to elaborate. “I’m governor; the buck stops with me,” he added, noting he wanted to maintain respect for Angell, whom he said he considers to be a friend.   

He offered slightly more clarity when a third reporter challenged him, saying Californians deserved to know the circumstances of Angell’s departure. Newsom hinted Angell had to take the fall for the data glitch.

“We’re all accountable for our respective roles, for what happened underneath us,” he said.  

Newsom also noted that the state had seen a 19% decrease in hospitalizations related to COVID-19 in the last two weeks. 

— Lydia O’Connor

 

Almost 100,000 U.S. Children Tested Positive For COVID-19 In Last 2 Weeks Of July — 8/10/20, 7:42 a.m. ET

More than 97,000 children in the U.S. tested positive for the coronavirus in the last two weeks of July, according to a new report from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association, as schools around the country grapple with if or how they can safely reopen this fall.

The report included data from 49 states, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico and Guam. But it didn’t include complete data from Texas, currently a virus hotspot, so the number of confirmed cases involving children could be much higher.

Read more here. 

— Marina Fang

California Public Health Director Resigns — 8/10/20, 5:50 a.m. ET

Dr. Sonia Angell, the head of California’s public health department, resigned late Sunday, the Associated Press reports. While she didn’t give a reason, her departure comes days after the state announced a fix to a technical glitch that was causing coronavirus test data to become backlogged.

Some 300,000 records had become backlogged in the system, which is used to make decisions about reopening businesses and schools. Not all of the records were coronavirus cases, though.

— Liza Hearon

Trump Adviser Calls Testing In U.S. ‘A Miracle’ Despite Long Waits ― 8/9/20, 12 p.m. ET

White House national security adviser Robert O’Brien praised the Trump administration’s coronavirus testing apparatus, calling it “a miracle,” despite widespread reports of test results taking days or even weeks to process.

In his first TV interview since recovering from COVID-19, O’Brien was asked how long before the average American is able to access speedy, asymptomatic testing like White House officials or professional athletes can.

“Well, we’re working on testing,” O’Brien told CBS News’ “Face the Nation.” “I think what’s happening with testing in America is really a miracle. I mean we haven’t ― there’s no country in the world that comes close to what America is doing on testing. But we’re working on getting more testing out there.”

The country’s coronavirus testing systems have been overwhelmed in recent weeks by a surge in demand, creating multiday backlogs. For some workers, the delays are causing them to miss paychecks as they await results so they can return to work.

The U.S. on Sunday surpassed 5 million confirmed cases of COVID-19, continuing its run as the country with the highest number of known infections. President Donald Trump has blamed increased testing in the U.S. over the past few months for the surge in confirmed cases, but public health officials have attributed the rise in cases to further spread of the virus.

“Well, we’ve had a lot of infections as a country and again this is something we need to keep in mind,” O’Brien told CBS News on Sunday before shifting the focus to China. “We’ve got to remember where it came from.”

― Hayley Miller

The U.S. surpassed 5 million confirmed cases of COVID-19, continuing its run as the country with the most recorded infections in the world by far, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. There have been at least 162,000 coronavirus-related deaths nationwide.

The actual number of infections in the U.S. is likely undercounted since many of those who contract the virus present mild symptoms or are asymptomatic, according to public health experts.

The failure of the U.S. to contain the virus has been met with shock and alarm in Europe, reported The Associated Press.

“We Italians always saw America as a model,” said Massimo Franco, a columnist with Italian daily newspaper Corriere della Sera. “But with this virus we’ve discovered a country that is very fragile, with bad infrastructure and a public health system that is nonexistent.”

― Hayley Miller

New Zealand has marked 100 days without a domestic transmission of the coronavirus, but leaders have warned against complacency as countries like Vietnam and Australia ― which once had the virus under control ― now battle a resurgence in infections.

The Pacific island nation of roughly 5 million people has recorded more than 1,200 COVID-19 cases and at least 22 deaths related to the virus. New Zealand has attributed its success to stringent border control measures, a strict lockdown and a widespread program of testing and contact tracing.

Vietnam ― which went three months without detecting any domestic transmission ― is now racing to control a new outbreak in Danang, fueling fears in New Zealand that further loosening of measures could spark a similar resurgence.

“We have seen overseas how quickly the virus can re-emerge and spread in places where it was previously under control, and we need to be prepared to quickly stamp out any future cases in New Zealand,” said New Zealand Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield.

― Hayley Miller

For more on the pandemic, go here.

A HuffPost Guide To Coronavirus