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.

COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, was officially declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization on March 11.

There are more than 2.5 million confirmed cases of the virus worldwide, and more than 178,000 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.)

Lysol Maker Warns People Not To Ingest Disinfectants After Trump Remarks — 4/24/20, 6:35 a.m.

Reckitt Benckiser (RB), the company that manufactures Lysol and Dettol brands, issued a statement Friday morning warning that their products shouldn’t be ingested into the body through any route. It didn’t mention Trump by name.

“Due to recent speculation and social media activity, RB has been asked whether internal administration of disinfectants may be appropriate for investigation or use as a treatment for coronavirus,” the company said.

“As a global leader in health and hygiene products, we must be clear that under no circumstance should our disinfectant products be administered into the human body through injection, ingestion or any other route.”

— Chris York

UK’s COVID-19 Website Runs Out Of Tests, Shuts Within Minutes — 4/24/20, 6:10 a.m.

The U.K.’s much-lauded coronavirus testing program for essential workers ran out of capacity and had to be “closed” within minutes of opening Friday morning.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock on Thursday announced he was expanding the government’s testing program to include key workers and people from their households. A daily allowance of 1,000 home test kits – to be posted out to people – was to be made available as part of the push, but the gov.uk/coronavirus site ran out almost straight away.

As scores of people logged on to apply for a test, a message informed them: “Currently, only drive through tests are available.” But then, just minutes later, it appeared that nobody was able to book a test at all, as the site told them: “Coronavirus test: applications closed.” Hancock admitted this morning that the government had only finished coding the website yesterday. Read more

— Rachel Wearmouth

Brazil Records Highest 24 Hour Death Toll As Total Cases Near 50,000 — 4/24/20, 5:50 a.m.

Brazil on Thursday confirmed 407 new deaths from coronavirus, the country’s highest day-to-day increase so far. HuffPost Brazil reports (in Portuguese) total deaths in Brazil have now reached 3,313, with total confirmed cases totaling 49,492.

Sao Paulo Mayor Bruno Covas said Thursday that “the worst is still to come” to the city, while health care systems in the cities of Manaus, Recife and Fortaleza are close to collapse.

Brazil’s death toll is now 11th highest in the world, however, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who favors an unscientific approach to controlling coronavirus, has said he hopes social isolation measures in the country will end in the next few days.

— James Martin

Australia’s Medical Chief Questions Trump’s ‘Toxic’ COVID-19 ‘Cure’ — 4/24/20, 5:25 a.m. 

Australia’s chief medical officer has warned against following Donald Trump’s suggestion of injecting disinfectant or ultraviolet light as a cure for coronavirus. During a press conference in Canberra on Friday, Brendan Murphy said he would “caution against the injection of disinfectants” and said they could be “toxic to people.”

Trump had earlier suggested injecting people with disinfectant or light to fight off COVID-19, after a Department of Homeland Security official presented studies showing that ultraviolet rays may be effective at killing the virus on surfaces and in the air.

Australia has so far avoided the high coronavirus death toll of other countries, with only 78 deaths, largely as a result of tough restrictions on movement that have brought public life to a standstill. Read more

— Alicia Vrajlal

Trump Ponders Whether Light Or Disinfectant Injections Can ‘Cure’ Coronavirus — 4/23/20, 10:15 p.m. ET

President Donald Trump suggested injecting people with disinfectant or light to fight off COVID-19 after a senior Department of Homeland Security official presented studies showing that ultraviolet rays may be effective at killing the coronavirus on surfaces.

At the daily pandemic press briefing on Thursday, Bill Bryan said that experiments have shown the virus does not survive well in sunlight, warm temperatures or humidity. Trump then began proposing his own solutions.

“Suppose that we hit the body with tremendous, whether it’s ultraviolet or just very powerful light, and I think you said that it hasn’t been checked and you’re going to test it,” the president said. “Suppose you can bring the light inside the body.”

“Then I see the disinfectant where it knocks it out in one minute,” Trump continued. “Is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside, or almost a cleaning? ... It would be interesting to check that.”

Bryan, who is the senior official performing the duties of undersecretary for science and technology at Homeland Security, had given a presentation on experiments testing how solar light affects the coronavirus on surfaces and in the air. Higher temperatures and humidity may kill the virus more quickly, he said.

He also warned that “it would be irresponsible for us to say that we feel that the summer is going to totally kill the virus. ... That’s not the case.”

Bryan added that these new observations about the virus’s interactions with light should not be taken as a reason to ignore the guidance set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Other health officials on the coronavirus task force were wary of Trump’s suggestions about using light to kill the virus.

When Trump asked whether sunlight and heat could “cure” the virus, task force coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx said no.

“Not as a treatment,” Birx told the president. “Certainly, fever is a good thing. When you have a fever, it helps your body respond. But not as ... I’m not seeing heat or light as ...”

Trump interjected, saying it would be “a great thing to look at.”

Earlier this month, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. infectious disease expert, acknowledged that warmer weather does affect other viruses, but he warned that it wasn’t likely to end the pandemic. Other leading infectious disease experts, including professionals at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, gave a similar warning this month

— Carla H. Russo

California Governor Signs Order Aimed To Help Schools Focus On COVID-19 Response ― 4/23/20, 8:31 p.m. ET

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) issued an executive order on Thursday that he said “empowers schools” to focus on responding to the coronavirus pandemic and to increase transparency within their communities.

Under the order, local educational agencies, including school districts, will publish written reports explaining how they are responding to COVID-19, including steps they’ve taken to “deliver high-quality distance learning opportunities, provide school meals in non-congregate settings, and arrange for supervision of students during ordinary school hours.” Schools will also need to explain how they are meeting the needs of low-income students, English-language learners and foster children.

The order waives required physical education minutes and annual fitness testing, and extends the deadlines for completing annual planning processes to allow schools to prioritize more pressing needs. A previous executive order had already waived academic assessments.

― Sanjana Karanth

Activists In Cars Leave ‘Body Bags’ Outside Trump’s D.C. Hotel To Protest His Coronavirus Response — 4/23/20, 7:22 p.m. ET

Dozens of protesters honked their car horns in Washington, carrying signs reading “Trump lies, people die” and “Give us PPE,” to demonstrate against the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

More than 60 cars first circled the White House on Thursday. Then the activists, led by organizers with the Center for Popular Democracy and immigrant rights group CASA, headed to the Trump hotel to leave over 20 “body bags” outside. The bags were meant to serve as a “stark reminder of what’s to come” in the pandemic, tweeted CASA.

The U.S. continues to lead the world in reported coronavirus cases and deaths, with over 870,000 confirmed cases and over 49,000 deaths so far.

— Sarah Ruiz-Grossman

Lawyers For Former BARDA Director Rick Bright To File Whistleblower Complaint ― 4/23/20, 6:25 p.m. ET

Lawyers representing Dr. Rick Bright, the now-transferred director of the federal agency responsible for developing drugs to fight the coronavirus, said Thursday that they will file a whistleblower complaint alleging retaliatory treatment of Bright by top officials at the Department of Health and Human Services.

On Wednesday, Bright released a public statement contending that he was demoted for resisting Trump administration officials who wanted to promote an unproven drug with potentially deadly side effects, hydroxychloroquine, as an effective treatment for COVID-19. 

“We will soon be filing a whistleblower complaint with both the Office of Special Counsel and the HHS Inspector General on behalf of Dr. Rick Bright detailing the retaliatory treatment to which he was subjected by HHS political leadership,” attorneys Debra Katz and Lisa Banks said in Thursday’s statement. 

The two lawyers said the complaint will show that Bright was inappropriately removed from his role as director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, also known as BARDA. 

“In our filing we will make clear that Dr. Bright was sidelined for only one reason ― because he resisted efforts to provide unfettered access to potentially dangerous drugs, including chloroquine, a drug promoted by the Administration as a panacea, but which is untested and possibly deadly when used improperly,” they added. 

Trump had repeatedly touted hydroxychloroquine as a potential cure for COVID-19.

― Ja’han Jones

Rep. Maxine Waters Says Sister Dying After Contracting Coronavirus — 4/23/20, 2:20 p.m. ET

During a speech on the House floor Thursday, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) said her sister is deathly ill after contracting the coronavirus. The congresswoman revealed her sister’s diagnosis while discussing the latest coronavirus relief bill, which is expected to pass in the chamber later in the day.

“I’m going to take a moment to dedicate this legislation to my dear sister, who is dying in a hospital in St. Louis, Missouri, right now, infected by the coronavirus,” Waters said.

Waters, who was born in St. Louis, has 12 siblings. It wasn’t immediately clear which of her siblings contracted the virus. Her office did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment.

— Hayley Miller

Preliminary Antibody Study Results Released In New York — 4/23/20, 12:54 p.m. ET

In a study conducted this week, just over 21% of New York City residents tested positive for antibodies, meaning they were infected with COVID-19 at some point and either never developed symptoms or have now recovered, according to preliminary results from a sample of 3,000 New York state residents.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) emphasized that the results are preliminary and contain several key caveats, but they could be instructive in understanding the spread of the coronavirus and when and how the state could reopen.

The study surveyed people shopping at grocery stores, which means the participants have been outside the home and exposed to other people, but they are likely not essential or frontline workers.

Statewide, 13.9% of the participants tested positive. New York City residents made up 43% of the study’s sample.

When applying the sample to the state as a whole, Cuomo said about 2.7 million people could have been infected statewide, with a death rate of 0.5% of the people who were infected.

However, he said that’s not an accurate picture of the number of deaths because the state has not been able to accurately document people who died at home, many of whom were not tested for COVID-19. 

Last week, New York City officials adjusted the city’s data to include nearly 4,000 “probable” deaths: residents who likely died of COVID-19 before they could go to the hospital and therefore did not receive a laboratory-confirmed test.

Elsewhere, studies of antibody tests have faced scrutiny for producing faulty results. For example, one study in Santa Clara County, California, resulted in false positives and did not contain a representative sample.

— Marina Fang

Privacy Advocates Skeptical Of CT Town’s ‘Pandemic Drone’ Pilot Program — 4/23/20, 8:25 a.m. ET

The Westport Police Department in Connecticut announced Tuesday that it’s testing a new “pandemic drone” program that can allegedly detect people’s fever or cough from 190 feet away, drawing skepticism and concern from some privacy advocates.

The drone, which can also identify sneezing, high blood pressure and rapid heartbeats, does not employ facial recognition technology and will not be used in private yards, Westport police said in a statement posted to Facebook. During the testing phase of the program, no action will be taken if the drone finds someone with a fever or cough, a spokesperson for the police department told NBC News.

“We know that social distancing is working to flatten the curve and ultimately saving lives,” First Selectman Jim Marpe said in the statement. “In an effort to continue safeguarding the citizens of Westport during the COVID-19 outbreak, and as we position ourselves to gradually return to our routines, we should explore ways to prevent a possible resurgence of the virus.”

But David McGuire, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut, raised concerns about the program.

“Towns and the state should be wary of self-interested, privacy-invading companies using COVID-19 as a chance to market their products and create future business opportunities,” McGuire said in a statement Wednesday.

“Any new surveillance measure that isn’t being advocated for by public health professionals and restricted solely for public health use should be promptly rejected, and we are naturally skeptical of towns announcing these kinds of partnerships without information about who is operating the drones, what data they will collect, or how or if that data will be stored, shared or sold,” he added.

McGuire also expressed doubt about the program’s ability to “flatten the curve.” Even if the drone can accurately detect symptoms, he said, some people who have the virus are asymptomatic and others who have a fever or cough are not infected.

— Hayley Miller

World’s Most Polluted Capital Records Rare Spell Of Clean Air — 4/23/20, 7:45 a.m.ET

Residents of the Indian capital New Delhi are experiencing the longest spell of clean air on record, according to new government data. New Delhi has been subject to a strict lockdown to prevent the spread of coronavirus, meaning all transport and construction has been suspended.

A combination of industrial, agricultural and vehicle pollution regularly blankets New Delhi and dozens of other Indian cities with a thick grey smog for several months of the year. Delhi was the world’s most polluted capital for the second year running in 2019, according to IQ AirVisual.

COVID-19 has infected more than 17,000 people and killed more than 600 people in India, according to official data. Read more

— Reuters

Almost Half Of Europe’s Coronavirus Deaths ‘Are In Care Homes’ — 4/23/20, 7:30 a.m. ET

The number of people dying from coronavirus in Europe’s care homes could make up nearly half of all deaths from the disease, new estimates suggest.

The World Health Organization’s regional director for Europe told a press conference on Thursday there was a “deeply concerning picture” emerging regarding those in long-term care, HuffPost UK reports.

Describing the deaths as an “unimaginable human tragedy,” Dr. Hans Kluge said: “According to estimates from countries in the European region, up to half of those who have died from COVID-19 were resident in long-term care facilities.”

While Kluge didn’t provide a country-by-country breakdown for the estimates, England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty, admitted Wednesday that the number of U.K. deaths in care facilities is likely to be an “underestimate.”

Care sector bosses in the U.K. have warned that daily death tolls are “airbrushing out” hundreds of elderly people who have died at care homes. Matthew Reed, chief executive of charity Marie Curie, said last week that the figures released everyday of hospital deaths are “lagging behind the big number” as care home deaths are not part of the daily figures published by the U.K. government. 

— Chris York 

French Study Says Lockdown Has Saved 60,000 Lives — 4/23/20, 6 a.m. ET

More than 60,000 lives have been saved by France’s strict lockdown rules just in four weeks, according to a new study.

HuffPost France reports (in French) that researchers from the School of Advanced Studies in Public Health found that if authorities had let coronavirus spread, the country’s health system would have been overwhelmed.

However, according to the report which looked at the period from March 19 to April 19, the numbers of lives saved could actually be much higher, as the research doesn’t take into account data from outside of hospitals.

France has suffered the world’s fourth-highest reported coronavirus death toll at more than 20,000, with more than 158,000 infections.

— James Martin

Fight Over Texas Abortions Amid Coronavirus Orders Is Dropped — 2/22/20, 10:35 p.m. ET

Abortion clinics in Texas can now resume services nearly a month after Gov. Greg Abbott (R) issued an executive order banning all nonessential surgeries and procedures, saying it would preserve medical resources as the state prepared for the COVID-19 pandemic.

The original order put a halt to all abortions, forcing some women to cross state lines to get the procedure. In response, several abortion clinics filed a lawsuit against Abbott and state lawmakers, triggering a legal battle over what they claimed was a time-sensitive, essential service.

Abbott issued a new executive order, which took effect Wednesday, that eased restrictions and allowed for more procedures to be exempt from the nonessential surgery ban.

Though the order didn’t specifically identify abortions as an exempt procedure, the state attorney general’s office said in legal documents filed late Wednesday that abortions could continue under Abbott’s new order.

State lawyers said that there was no longer a legal issue since the plaintiffs in the lawsuit ― the abortion clinics ― had “already certified they are in compliance with an exception” under Abbott’s new executive order.

— Carla H. Russo

Las Vegas Mayor Offers City As Social Distancing ‘Control Group’ In Call To Reopen Businesses — 4/22/20, 7:32 p.m. ET

Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman said Wednesday that she wants to reopen businesses like hotels and casinos, volunteering her city and the people in it as a “control group” to see if social distancing actually works to slow the spread of the coronavirus. In an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, Goodman also said it was not her responsibility as mayor to provide guidelines on how to safely reopen businesses.

Nevada had 163 coronavirus-related deaths as of Wednesday, 141 of which come from Clark County, which includes the city of Las Vegas. Goodman touted the number in comparison to Nevada’s population of about 3 million but refused to say whether that number is due to social distancing guidelines.

“How do you know until we have a control group? We offered to be a control group,” the mayor said, adding that a statistician told her she could not do that. Geographically, the strip casinos are not in Las Vegas itself but in the unincorporated town of Paradise, Nevada.

Rep. Dina Titus (D-Nev.), whose district includes Las Vegas, said Goodman “does not represent the Las Vegas Strip, literally or figuratively.”

— Sanjana Karanth

HHS Chief Alex Azar Had Aide, Former Dog Breeder, Steer Pandemic Task Force — 4/22/20, 7:15 p.m. ET

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar tapped a former professional dog breeder to lead the agency’s day-to-day response to the coronavirus pandemic, according to a Reuters report published on Wednesday.

Brian Harrison joined the department as Azar’s aide after running a Labradoodle-breeding business for six years. The HHS picked an aide with minimal public health experience to lead the COVID-19 response by the department, which oversees nearly every federal public health agency in the country. 

Azar’s choice of an inexperienced manager represents his department’s larger, often troubled response to the pandemic. Two of the agencies overseen by HHS — the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration — were unable to come up with viable tests for nearly six weeks despite other countries and the World Health Organization already having prepared their own.

— Sanjana Karanth

Top Vaccine Official Says He Was Demoted For Resisting Unproven Drug Pushed By Trump — 4/22/20, 7:07 p.m. ET

The doctor leading the Trump administration’s vaccine agency said he was removed from his post at the Department of Health and Human Services and moved into a smaller role at another agency in retaliation for pushing for “scientifically-vetted solutions” over drugs that have not been proven to treat the coronavirus.

Dr. Rick Bright said in a statement to The New York Times on Wednesday that he had clashed with HHS “political leadership” over his resistance to funding “potentially dangerous drugs promoted by those with political connections.”

That disagreement led to Bright’s removal as the director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority in HHS, which leads the federal effort to develop vaccines and other drugs. The director of that agency is not appointed by Congress.

Bright told the Times that he specifically limited the “broad use of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, promoted by the administration as a panacea, but which clearly lack scientific merit.”

“While I am prepared to look at all options and to think ‘outside the box’ for effective treatments, I rightly resisted efforts to provide an unproven drug on demand to the American public,” Bright said Tuesday.

Bright believes his transfer to the National Institutes of Health was in response to his “insistence” that the federal government invest the “billions of dollars allocated by Congress” in science-backed solutions to the COVID-19 pandemic instead of “drugs, vaccines and other technologies that lack scientific merit,” he said in a statement. Bright’s attorneys Debra Katz and Lisa Banks called the health official’s removal “retaliation plain and simple,” according to CNN.

— Carla H. Russo

Pentagon To Dispatch Blue Angels To ‘Champion National Unity’ — 4/22/20, 6:00 p.m. ET

The Pentagon said Wednesday it is planning a tour across U.S. cities with the military’s flight demonstration teams to “champion national unity,” The Washington Post reports.

Flight teams the Blue Angels and the Thunderbirds will participate in the shows, which cost at least $60,000 per hour to perform. An unnamed military official told The Washington Post the idea was conceived as a way to “acknowledge those who are pitching in.”

More than a dozen cities will see the flyovers.

— Sebastian Murdock

California Gov. Gavin Newsom Says Elective Surgeries Can Begin Again — 4/22/20, 3:45 p.m. ET

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) announced that scheduled surgeries can begin again after they were paused, as hospitals focused on treating patients with the coronavirus. California coordinated with Oregon and Washington state in its decision to allow elective surgeries to begin again.

Newsom said this would be a key step in reopening the state, and went on to explain that the state’s framework for handling the spread will include testing, developing treatments for the virus, and reopening businesses and schools. He clarified that the decision to eventually open businesses could be reversed if the virus starts to spread rapidly again.

— Sebastian Murdock

California Highway Patrol Halts Permits For Protests After Anti-Lockdown Demonstration — 4/22/20, 2:10 p.m. ET

California Highway Patrol said it will not be issuing any more permits for demonstrations on state property after anti-stay-home protesters on Monday broke rules about gatherings in large groups, reported the Sacramento Bee.

Hundreds of mostly right-wing demonstrators protested at the state capitol in Sacramento on Monday against Gov. Gavin Newsom’s shelter-in-place order. While some were in cars, hundreds gathered in person without following public health safety guidelines of maintaining 6 feet of distance and wearing masks.

The anti-lockdown protest mirrored dozens of others across the country, many of which have been led or attended by white nationalists and other extremists.

Meanwhile coronavirus cases and deaths keep climbing across the country, with over 830,000 confirmed cases and more than 45,000 dead so far.

— Sarah Ruiz-Grossman

New York, New Jersey, Connecticut To Develop Coordinated Contact Tracing System — 4/22/20, 12:20 p.m.

New York will coordinate a contact tracing system with New Jersey and Connecticut, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced at his daily press conference.

Public health experts have said widespread contact tracing, which involves locating and then testing people who have come into contact with an individual who tests positive for COVID-19, is a key condition for reopening businesses and lifting stay-at-home orders and other restrictions aimed at stemming the spread of the virus.

The coordinated effort will be funded in part by a $10 million donation from billionaire and former New York City mayor Mike Bloomberg, in partnership with an institute at Johns Hopkins University, which Bloomberg has also funded. 

— Marina Fang

Tyson Foods Closes Meat Processing Plant In Iowa Indefinitely After Outbreak ― 4/22/20, 9:45 a.m. ET

Tyson Foods announced it’s suspending operations indefinitely at its pork processing plant in Waterloo, Iowa, citing numerous employee absences due to the coronavirus.

The Waterloo facility is the company’s largest pork plant. All 2,800 of the plant’s workers will be asked to come in for COVID-19 testing later this week, reported The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier. The timeline for reopening of the plant depends on the results of the testing.

“The closure has significant ramifications beyond our company, since the plant is part of a larger supply chain that includes hundreds of independent farmers, truckers, distributors and customers, including grocers,” Steve Stouffer, group president of Tyson Fresh Meat, said in a statement. “It means the loss of a vital market outlet for farmers and further contributes to the disruption of the nation’s pork supply.”

Tyson Foods is the second largest chicken, beef and pork processor in the world. At least two employees at the company’s pork processing plant in Columbus Junction, Iowa, have died from COVID-19, and more than 200 workers have tested positive. The company resumed some operations at the plant on Tuesday.

― Hayley Miller

UK Parliament Holds First-Ever Virtual Prime Minister’s Questions — 4/22/20, 8:50 a.m. ET

Lawmakers in Britain have brushed aside hundreds of years of tradition by staging the first-ever virtual session of Prime Minister’s Questions. Under temporary measures drawn up by House of Commons authorities, members of Parliament were able to quiz the acting leader of the government on Wednesday through video chat.

The session took place in a sparsely populated Commons chamber, where tape was placed on the chamber floor to mark out where the small number of lawmakers who attended in person should walk. Cards showing green ticks and red crosses also denoted where MPs should sit in a bid to comply with social distancing rules of keeping a gap of 2 meters.

Under the temporary measures, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab stood in for Prime Minister Boris Johnson and answered questions from new opposition leader Keir Starmer.

A number of screens have been placed around the Commons chamber to allow the speaker and MPs in Westminster to see their remote-working colleagues.

— James Martin

California Says It’s First State To Prioritize Testing For Some Asymptomatic People — 4/22/20 8:30 a.m. ET

California public health officials said local authorities should administer coronavirus tests to people working or living in “high risk settings,” including hospitals, prisons and homeless shelters, The Associated Press reported.

State officials said the new guidelines make California the first U.S. state to prioritize testing for people who don’t have symptoms.

Read more here.

— Hayley Miller

California IDs Coronavirus Deaths Weeks Earlier Than First Reported U.S. Case — 4/22/20, 6 a.m. ET

Santa Clara County in California said a medical examiner found that two people had died at home of COVID-19 on Feb. 6 and Feb. 17, well before the first coronavirus-linked deaths were reported in Washington state around Feb. 26. The findings are significant because it means that the virus was spreading in the U.S. even longer than previously thought.

— Nick Visser

Children To Be Allowed Outside As Spain Eases Lockdown — 4/22/20, 5:45 a.m. ET

A controversial bar on children leaving the home will be eased in Spain as the government begins to relax its strict lockdown restrictions. Children up to 14 years of age will be given permission to go outside for walks from this Sunday, as long as they are accompanied by an adult, HuffPost Spain reports (in Spanish).

With the world’s second-highest number of infections ― more than 200,000 ― and Europe’s second-highest death toll ― 21,282 ― Spain has imposed one of the severest lockdowns. It has begun taking tentative easing steps, including allowing some workers to return from last week, but most restrictions remain in force.

On Tuesday night, the government bowed to public pressure and said children under 14 would be able to take short walks outside under supervision. The cabinet had initially said children would only be allowed to accompany parents to buy food or medicine, provoking criticism on social media and pot-banging protests on balconies.

— James Martin

Coronavirus Vaccine Trials To Begin In UK On Thursday — 4/22/20, 5:30 a.m. ET

U.K. trials of a coronavirus vaccine on people will begin Thursday, the government has announced.

Britain’s Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the government-funded research at the University of Oxford had been accelerated due to the global pandemic. “In normal times, reaching this stage would take years and I’m very proud of the work taken so far,” Hancock said.

However, Britons have been warned that developing any treatment, including vaccines, will require lengthy testing periods on both animals and humans.

Professor Ravi Gupta, told HuffPost UK: “We need to prepare for a world where we don’t have a vaccine. To base public policy on the hope of a vaccine is a desperate measure. We should hope for a vaccine but we shouldn’t expect one in the next year and a half.

“Anyone who says we can is bonkers.”

Read more

— Rachel Wearmouth and Chris York

Missouri Becomes First U.S. State To Sue China For Lying, Not Doing Enough About COVID-19 — 4/22/20, 2:53 a.m. ET

Missouri is the first state to sue China for the country’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak. 

State Attorney General Eric Schmitt filed the civil suit on Tuesday, alleging the Chinese government lied and didn’t do enough to prevent the spread of the virus during the early days of the crisis.

“The Chinese government lied to the world about the danger and contagious nature of COVID-19, silenced whistleblowers and did little to stop the spread of the disease,” Schmitt said in a statement. “They must be held accountable for their actions.” 

Legal experts say efforts to hold China accountable for its coronavirus response in U.S. courts aren’t likely to be successful.

— Dominique Mosbergen

Nurses Read Names Of Health Care Workers Who’ve Died In Pandemic During White House Protest — 4/22/20, 2:20 a.m. ET

Nurses hailing from all over the U.S. held a protest in front of the White House on Monday to call out the unsafe conditions they and their colleagues have had to endure on the front-lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.

During the demonstration, which was organized by the National Nurses United union, nurses held photos and read the names of healthcare workers who’ve become infected or died from coronavirus.

“We are not heroes. We’re human beings and we are susceptible just like everyone else is. And if we are dying then we can’t take care of our patients,” said Britta Breenan, a National Nurses member and critical care nurse at Washington Hospital Center, CBS News reported. “We have had nurses from our hospital die from COVID-19. And they are not dignified deaths.” 

— Dominique Mosbergen

CDC Director Warns Americans Of Potential Second Wave Of Coronavirus This Winter ― 4/21/20, 9:25 p.m. ET

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s director warned that a potential second wave of the novel coronavirus could be far more deadly than the current pandemic if it overlaps with the beginning of the winter flu season.

Government leaders at all levels must use the months ahead to prepare for such a health crisis even as some states are planning to resurrect their economies, CDC Director Robert Redfield told The Washington Post in an interview published Tuesday.

“There’s a possibility that the assault of the virus on our nation next winter will actually be even more difficult than the one we just went through,” Redfield told the Post. “And when I’ve said this to others, they kind of put their head back, they don’t understand what I mean.”

The health official said the virus could be more harmful in a potential second wave because having concurrent outbreaks of the flu and COVID-19 would put immense pressure on the nation’s health care system. Both viruses can cause respiratory illness and would require similar protective gear and medical equipment.

Part of the preparation for a potential second wave of COVID-10 includes persuading Americans to get their flu shots in the coming summer months so that public health officials can minimize the number of people requiring hospitalization during two respiratory outbreaks. Redfield said that getting vaccinated for influenza “may allow there to be a hospital bed available for your mother or grandmother that may get coronavirus.”
― Sanjana Karanth

For earlier updates on the pandemic, go here.

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