More than 3.6 million cases of the virus have been confirmed worldwide, and more than 258,000 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.)
Unemployment in the United States has reached its highest levels since the Great Depression, a horrifying milestone that may take the country years to recover from.
Some 20.5 million jobs disappeared in the worst monthly loss on record, meaning that nearly all of the job growth since the 2008 recession has been lost in one month.
The new coronavirus has wrought economic devastation with stunning speed, considering the unemployment rate was just 3.5% in February. During the Great Depression, that figure reached nearly 25%.
In New York, the epicenter of the public health crisis, a statewide pause on eviction proceedings was enacted so families struggling the most do not have to pay rent during the crisis. Across the country, Americans have turned to food banks as they go weeks without paychecks.
— Sara Boboltz
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced some extra protections for renters in his state on Thursday. They include a moratorium on evictions due to nonpayment of rent until Aug. 20, which extends the ban 60 days past its original end date in June. It applies to both residential and commercial tenants.
“People literally are worried about being able to pay rent. You don’t work for two months and that rent bill keeps coming in,” he said at a press conference Thursday.
Cuomo added that he is banning any fees on late rent payments. Additionally, landlords must continue to let tenants dip into their security deposits to pay rent.
“I hope it gives families a deep breath. Nothing can happen until Aug. 20,” he said, noting they will continue to assess the situation between now and then.
― Lydia O’Connor
Nearly 3.2 million laid-off workers in the U.S. applied for unemployment aid last week, bringing the total number of Americans who have filed unemployment claims since the coronavirus pandemic forced widespread business shutdowns to 33.5 million, The Associated Press reports.
One in five Americans who had been in the workforce as of February have now been laid off.
The pandemic has caused the country’s worst economic downturn in decades. The Department of Labor’s April jobs report, which will be issued Friday, is expected to be the worst one in 60 years. Economists predict the U.S. unemployment rate will reach at least 16%, the highest since the Great Depression.
In February, the unemployment rate had dropped to 3.5%, a 50-year low.
— Marina Fang
The U.N. has increased the amount of money it’s asking for to fight the pandemic in poorer countries, from $2 billion to $6.7 billion. Humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock said that while the peak of the pandemic isn’t expected to hit the world’s poorest countries for another three to six months, there is already evidence of job losses and disruption to food supply.
“Unless we take action now, we should be prepared for a significant rise in conflict, hunger and poverty,” he warned. “The specter of multiple famines looms.”
Since March 25, the U.N. has raised $1 billion to support efforts across 37 fragile countries, The Associated Press reports.
— Liza Hearon
The Trump administration has shelved a 17-page report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that gives guidance to local leaders on how to safely reopen public places like daycare centers and restaurants, The Associated Press reports.
The document was supposed to be published last Friday, but CDC officials were reportedly told it “would never see the light of day.”
The CDC is typically in charge of giving local governments advice during public health crises. But the Trump administration has sought to control the release of information during the coronavirus pandemic, and put the onus on local governments to control the disease.
— Liza Hearon
Black women and girls are 4.3 times more likely to die from a coronavirus-related cause than their white counterparts, and Black men and boys are 4.2 times more likely than white men and boys, official data from the U.K. has revealed.
The figures, which have been adjusted for age, suggest that men and women from all ethnic minority groups — except females with Chinese ethnicity ― are at greater risk of dying from COVID-19 compared with those of white ethnicity, HuffPost UK reports.
The U.K.’s Office for National Statistics used data on death registrations up to April 17, combined with 2011 Census records, to model the impact coronavirus is having on different ethnic groups.
Concerns have been growing in Britain about the disproportionately high death rate among Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) people, with the U.K. government being accused of having a “blindspot” in its coronavirus response.
— Sara C. Nelson
Everyone in the Canadian province of British Columbia who’s been longing for a hug since the COVID-19 pandemic began will soon get their wish — with some limitations.
Marking 100 days since the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in the province, Premier John Horgan announced B.C.’s multiphase reopening plan for the coming weeks and months.
The Pacific Coast province reported Canada’s first death from COVID-19, and its first case of community transmission, but reported only 23 new cases on Wednesday.
The reopening plan means people can slowly start to expand their social networks when “phase two” kicks off in mid-May. B.C.’s reopening plan also features details on restaurants reopening, dental offices firing up their chairs and when people can finally see a barber.
B.C. has a population of about 5 million people and shares a border with Washington state, where the first major U.S. outbreak occurred. As of Wednesday, there were 62,458 reported coronavirus cases in Canada and 4,111 deaths.
— Melanie Woods
After Donald Trump suggested Tuesday that he plans to dissolve the team of White House officials coordinating the U.S. response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the president appeared to backpedal Wednesday, claiming in a series of tweets that the group “will continue on indefinitely with its focus on SAFETY & OPENING UP OUR COUNTRY AGAIN.”
Trump cited the task force’s “success,” even though cases continue to rise in many parts of the U.S., while some governors are reopening businesses in their states.
“We may add or subtract people to it, as appropriate,” he added. “The Task Force will also be very focused on Vaccines & Therapeutics.”
Trump, who has been intent on reopening the economy as soon as possible, on Tuesday defended scaling back the team and suggested its work was done — heightening concerns that he is curtailing the roles of public health experts on the team, such as Drs. Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx.
“We’ve learned a lot, you know. We’ve learned a lot about the coronavirus,” Trump told reporters.
— Marina Fang
Concerns are growing among teachers and parents in France as the government pushes ahead with plans to reopen schools on Monday.
France is one of a handful of countries in Europe that has reopened schools, with Italy and Spain both delaying the return of students until later in the year, while the U.K. is yet to give a date on the resumption of classes.
Under strict rules imposed by the government, parents will need to take the temperature of their children before arriving at school, lesson times will be staggered and class sizes will be limited to allow for a meter spacing between desks, HuffPost France reported.
Other measures include banning ball games and toy sharing, while masks for teachers and students will be compulsory in all situations where “compliance with the rules of distancing may not be respected.”
However, the government has been accused of forcing local authorities to reopen schools at a “forced march,” while a recent YouGov survey found 76% of French people would have preferred schools to reopen in September.
— James Martin
A key expert in Britain’s coronavirus response who advised Prime Minister Boris Johnson has resigned after it was revealed that he broke social distancing rules to meet his married lover.
Professor Neil Ferguson’s research with Imperial College London colleagues warned that 250,000 people could die in the U.K. without drastic action shortly before Johnson imposed the lockdown restrictions.
The Telegraph claimed that Ferguson allowed his lover to visit him at home in London on at least two occasions during the lockdown. Admitting he made an “error of judgment,” Ferguson said he was stepping back from the U.K’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE).
He told the newspaper: “I acted in the belief that I was immune, having tested positive for coronavirus, and completely isolated myself for almost two weeks after developing symptoms. I deeply regret any undermining of the clear messages around the continued need for social distancing to control this devastating epidemic. The government guidance is unequivocal, and is there to protect all of us.”
Johnson announced the U.K. lockdown on March 23 ordering the public to stay at home as he shut most shops and gave police unprecedented enforcement powers. Under those measures, partners who do not live together were told they can no longer see each other. Read more
— Graeme Demianyk
Shelley Luther, a Dallas salon owner who made headlines for reopening her business early in defiance of county and state COVID-19 restrictions, was sentenced Tuesday to seven days behind bars. Luther was also ordered by a judge to pay at least $3,500 in fines — $500 for each of the seven days that her salon was open despite orders for nonessential businesses to remain closed.
According to The New York Times, Luther was unrepentant despite the punishment, disagreeing with Judge Eric Moyé’s pronouncement that her decision to reopen was selfish. “I have to disagree with you, sir, when you say that I’m selfish, because feeding my kids is not selfish,” she reportedly said. “So, sir, if you think the law’s more important than kids getting fed, then please go ahead with your decision. But I am not going to shut the salon.”
— Dominique Mosbergen
At least 730 employees at a Tyson Foods factory in Perry, Iowa have tested positive for coronavirus, The Des Moines Register reported on Tuesday.
According to the Iowa Department of Public Health, a total of 1,600 workers at meatpacking plants have been infected.
A second Tyson plant in Indiana reported last week that nearly 900 employees had tested positive for the virus. Other meatpacking facilities have emerged as hotspots, including a Smithfield Foods plant in South Dakota.
The cases add to a growing concern about the nation’s meat supply. Some stores have already begun placing caps on the amount of fresh beef, pork and poultry customers can buy.
— Nick Visser
For earlier updates on the pandemic, go here.
- What happens if we end social distancing too soon?
- What you need to know about face masks right now
- Will there be a second stimulus check?
- Lost your job due to coronavirus? Here’s what you need to know.
- Why it takes so long to make a coronavirus vaccine
- Parenting during the coronavirus crisis?
- The HuffPost guide to working from home
- What coronavirus questions are on your mind right now? We want to help you find answers.
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