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

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

Since Chinese officials locked down the city of Wuhan in January, there have been more than 8.4 million cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, across the planet.

More than 453,000 people have died from the disease, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University

Efforts to curb the outbreak 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.)

New York City Enters Phase 2 Of Reopening — 6/22/20, 7:57 a.m.

Once the epicenter of the pandemic, New York City begins its second phase of reopening Monday, as the number of new COVID-19 cases continues to plummet and deaths have been in the single digits.

City officials say between 150,000 and 300,000 New Yorkers are expected to return to work in phase 2, which includes real estate services, some in-store retail, barber shops, salons, certain offices, and restaurants with sufficient outdoor dining space.

Phase 1, which included manufacturing, wholesale, construction, landscaping and curbside or contactless retail, began on June 8, with about 400,000 workers going back to work.

One major obstacle leading up to phase 2: many restaurants in New York City are too cramped to have enough space for outdoor dining. After much criticism from city residents, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced last week that restaurants can use curbs and sidewalks for outdoor seating. And starting in July, restaurants will be allowed to use streets for outdoor seating. Throughout the pandemic, city officials have shut down more and more streets to traffic as part of the city’s Open Streets program, designed to give pedestrians more walking space.

— Marina Fang

Virus Cases Near 9 Million Worldwide With Surges In India, U.S. — 6/22/20, 6:00 a.m.

Nearly 9 million people worldwide have been infected with the coronavirus, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University on Monday, with a surge in cases in India’s rural villages as migrant workers leave major cities.

The World Health Organization reported late Sunday the largest single-day increase in cases by its count, at more than 183,000 new cases in the latest 24 hours, according to the Associated Press.

In East Asia, there were signs of progress in the fight against the disease, with South Korea and China reporting falling numbers of cases.

— Liza Hearon

No Mask Requirement For Trump’s Rally In Tulsa ― 6/19/20, 5:13 p.m. ET

Attendees at President Donald Trump’s rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, this weekend won’t be required to wear masks or follow social distancing guidelines, after the state Supreme Court rejected the requested requirements.

The request — made in part on behalf of two local residents who have compromised immune systems and are classified as more vulnerable to COVID-19 — was rejected on the grounds that the locals didn’t have a clear legal right to the relief they sought, according to the Associated Press.

Meanwhile, Trump warned that those who planned to protest at his rally would be punished, seemingly setting the stage for huge crowds and violent clashes outside the BOK Center. 

“Any protesters, anarchists, agitators, looters or lowlifes who are going to Oklahoma please understand, you will not be treated like you have been in New York, Seattle, or Minneapolis,” he tweeted. “It will be a much different scene!”

Tulsa’s mayor, G.T. Bynum, declared a civil emergency and set a curfew in the area for Saturday night, but the curfew reportedly has been rescinded.

Read more.

Andy Campbell

Why Is Federal Coronavirus Aid Being Funneled Away From Nursing Homes Amid Sweeping Outbreaks? ― 6/19/20, 12:15 p.m. ET 

Lawmakers are asking why the federal agency that regulates nursing homes has failed to distribute most of the money it received to respond to COVID-19 outbreaks at the facilities, NPR reports.

In a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) on Wednesday demanded to know why the agency hasn’t doled out the $200 million set aside for nursing homes as part of the CARES Act.

The lawmakers claim that only $1.5 million of the funds have been provided to a handful of agencies in different states so far. They also asked why the agency only allocated $80 million to bolster oversight of nursing home response, $20 million less than Congress allowed.

“Given the emergency, we do not understand why CMS opted for a slow, burdensome process – or why it took so long to decide on this business-as-usual approach – when it could have quickly released funding to states and territories in need by using an expedited process,” the letter reads.

— Andy Campbell

Britain’s ‘Alert Level’ Lowered As Lockdown Measures Eased — 6/19/20, 6 a.m. ET

The U.K.’s coronavirus alert level has been lowered from level 4 to level 3, the government announced.

The Joint Biosecurity Centre said it had concluded COVID-19 was now in “general circulation” rather than “rising exponentially.” Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the move was a “big moment” for the U.K., and showed the “government’s plan is working.”

“Infection rates are rapidly falling, we have protected the National Health Service and, thanks to the hard work of millions in our health and social care services, we are getting the country back on her feet,” he said.

The U.K. death toll now stands at 42,288, the third highest in the world behind the U.S. and Brazil. Another 135 deaths were recorded on Thursday, including a 13-day-old baby with no known underlying health conditions.

The U.K. announced yesterday that after months of development it had abandoned its own contact-tracing app in favor of a design by tech giants Apple and Google. No deadline has been set on when the new app will be up and running.

Read more here.

— Ned Simons

California Issues Stricter Statewide Mask Requirement — 6/18/20, 6:30 p.m.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) issued an order requiring people to wear masks in nearly all public settings. Previously the guidance left mask rules up to individual counties.

There are exceptions for people who are exercising or dining or who have a medical reason they can’t wear a covering.

The state, which has followed a slower reopening plan than many others, is seeing an uptick in coronavirus cases.

While state officials say that’s mostly due to increased testing and that COVID-19 hospitalizations remain largely steady, some counties are trending in the wrong direction.

— Sarah Ruiz-Grossman

Florida Records Its Highest Number Of New Cases Since March — 6/18/20, 5:30 p.m.

Florida has shattered its previous daily record for the number of new coronavirus infections. The report comes roughly two weeks after the state transitioned from phase 1 into phase 2 of its reopening plan.

The Florida Health Department on Thursday reported 3,207 new cases, marking the largest daily increase since early March. The previous record occurred on Tuesday with the announcement of 2,782 new cases. As of Thursday, Florida has recorded more than 85,000 cases and at least 3,061 deaths.

The recent spike in infections has some experts worried the state could become the next major hot spot for the virus.

“Florida has all the makings of the next large epicenter,” scientists at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s PolicyLab wrote in a blog post Wednesday. “The risk there is the worst it has ever been in our projections.”

Several other states, including Arizona and Texas, have also seen a surge in recent days in new infections and hospitalizations.

— Hayley Miller

New York City To Begin Phase 2 Of Reopening Monday — 6/18/20, 11:18 a.m.

Once the epicenter of the pandemic, New York City is set to begin the second phase of reopening next Monday, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday, as the number of new cases continues to plummet.

Phase 1, which included manufacturing, wholesale, construction, landscaping and curbside or contactless retail, began on June 8. Phase 2 will add more businesses, like some in-store retail, barber shops, salons and certain offices. Restaurants will also be permitted to reopen if they have adequate outdoor seating. On Thursday, de Blasio also announced that the city’s playgrounds will be allowed to reopen.

After much criticism from city residents, de Blasio said restaurants can use curbs and sidewalks for outdoor seating, as many New York City restaurants are too small to have ample outdoor space. Over the last few weeks, city officials have also closed more and more streets to traffic and made them pedestrian-only. Starting in July, restaurants will be allowed to use those streets for outdoor seating if needed, de Blasio said Thursday.

— Marina Fang

1.5 Million More Americans Applied For Unemployment Claims Last Week — 6/18/20, 8:55 a.m. ET

Although the U.S. economy appears to be very slowly recovering, just over 1.5 million workers applied for unemployment benefits last week, and nearly 21 million Americans are officially classified as unemployed, according to the Labor Department’s weekly jobs report.

The number of people seeking unemployment claims has declined for 11 consecutive weeks since peaking in March, when the COVID-19 pandemic began to worsen and shut down the U.S. economy. Now, as most states and many businesses start to reopen, more workers are returning to their old jobs. But the number of job seekers remains high, and economists estimate that as many as 32.5 million people are out of work, higher than the official government number because some people may have stopped looking for work.

In at least a dozen U.S. states, the reopenings have also caused new spikes in COVID-19 cases.

Read more from the Associated Press here.

— Marina Fang

Texas, Arizona And Florida See Record High In Daily Coronavirus Infections — 6/17/2020, 6 a.m.

After implementing and then lifting stay-at-home orders, Texas, Arizona and Florida all reported record increases in daily coronavirus infections on Tuesday.

The increases come as President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and Republican leaders try to downplay the ongoing spread of the virus, using misleading talking points like saying the cases are only rising because of increased testing.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) said he wasn’t considering another shutdown because of the rise in cases.

— Nick Visser

U.S. Open Will Be Played Without Fans — 6/16/20, 12:48 p.m. ET

This year’s U.S. Open in New York City will be held on its usual dates, from Aug. 31 to Sept. 13, but without fans, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo confirmed at his daily COVID-19 briefing Tuesday.

The U.S. Tennis Association, which administers the Grand Slam tournament held in Queens, is finalizing new procedures for players, including frequent coronavirus tests and a limited number of people on players’ support teams, The New York Times reported Monday night.

The pandemic has upended the tennis season. The French Open, normally held in late spring, was postponed to late September. For the first time since World War II, organizers of Wimbledon canceled the tournament altogether. 

— Marina Fang

Fauci Says He Hasn’t Spoken To Trump In 2 Weeks — 6/16/20, 12:05 p.m. ET

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top infectious disease expert on the White House’s coronavirus task force, said Tuesday that he hasn’t spoken with President Donald Trump in two weeks. Meanwhile, coronavirus cases and hospitalizations are on the rise in several states.

“I spoke with him when we made the presentation to explain to him our vaccine development effort,” Fauci told NPR in response to a question about his last conversation with the president. “So it was two weeks ago.”

Vice President Mike Pence, whom Trump appointed to lead the task force, said last month that the White House may wind down the group in early June. The task force isn’t gathering as often as it used to, Fauci said earlier this month, adding that the frequency of his meetings with Trump has been “dramatically decreased.”

Some of the states that have reopened haven’t followed the federal guidelines for doing so, likely causing a spike in cases in those areas, Fauci said Tuesday.

“Congregating together without wearing a mask, that clearly is a risky procedure,” he said. “That’s troublesome because that clearly is increasing the risk and likely explaining some of the upticks that you’re seeing in certain of those states.”

Against the advice of many public health experts, Trump’s reelection campaign has planned a rally in a 19,000-seat arena in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Saturday. The campaign included waiver language on the rally registration website that requires attendees to agree not to sue the campaign if they contract the virus.

― Hayley Miller

Beijing Closes Schools, Reimposes Some Restrictions As New Outbreak Emerges — 6/16/20, 11:41 a.m. ET

Officials in Beijing have ordered schools to close starting Wednesday and are encouraging people to work from home, in response to more than 100 new reported cases since Friday.

China’s capital city raised its COVID-19 emergency response from level 3 to level 2, Reuters and Bloomberg reported, citing Chinese state media. Residents living in medium- or high-risk areas will be barred from leaving the city, and anyone entering the city will be required to get tested and self-quarantine.

Just two weeks ago, officials had lowered the emergency response to level 3, which allowed schools to reopen.

Marina Fang

Low-Cost Drug Improves Chances Of COVID-19 Survival, Study Shows — 6/16/20, 10:55 a.m. ET

Researchers at Oxford University in England said they have the first evidence that a drug can improve COVID-19 patients’ chances of survival.

A cheap, widely available steroid called dexamethasone reduced deaths by up to one-third in severely ill hospitalized patients, according to the results of a study released Thursday. While the drug did not appear to help mildly ill patients, it reduced deaths by 35% in patients who needed breathing machines and by 20% in those only needing supplemental oxygen.

“This is an extremely welcome result,” Oxford researcher Peter Horby said in a statement. “The survival benefit is clear and large in those patients who are sick enough to require oxygen treatment, so dexamethasone should now become standard of care in these patients. Dexamethasone is inexpensive, on the shelf, and can be used immediately to save lives worldwide.”

Read more from the Associated Press here.

— Hayley Miller

A HuffPost Guide To Coronavirus