CORONAVIRUS

Coronavirus Live Updates: India, France Extend Lockdown, UK Unemployment May Rise By 2 Million

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 1.6 million confirmed cases of the virus worldwide, and more than 96,000 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.)

Tokyo Olympics Chief Hints Games Could Be In Doubt Even In 2021 — 4/10/20, 8:34 a.m. ET

The 2020 Olympics in Tokyo have been postponed an entire year, but even that timeframe could be in doubt, the head of the organizing committee suggested Friday.

“I don’t think anyone would be able to say if it is going to be possible to get it under control by next July or not,” Toshiro Muto, the Tokyo organizing committee’s CEO, told reporters at a remote news conference, The Associated Press reported. “We’re certainly are not in a position to give you a clear answer.”

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the International Olympic Committee postponed the games last month, giving a new start date of July 23, 2021, for the Olympics and Aug. 24, 2021, for the Paralympics.

But the COVID-19 outbreak has worsened in Japan since then. Abe declared a state of emergency earlier this week.

“All we can do is work hard to prepare for the games,” Muto said Friday. “We sincerely hope that come next year mankind will manage to overcome the coronavirus crisis.”

— Marina Fang

Boris Johnson Is ‘Not Out Of The Wood’ Yet, Says Father — 4/10/20, 4:40 a.m. ET

Boris Johnson’s father says the prime minister will need a period of rest after being moved from the intensive care unit at St Thomas’ Hospital in London.

Stanley Johnson said the whole family was “amazingly grateful” for the efforts of the National Health Service and for the huge outpouring of support. However, he downplayed suggestions that his son would quickly return to work at Downing Street.

“This is pretty straightforward now. He must rest up. As I understand it, he has moved from the ICU into a recovery unit but I don’t think you can say this is out of the wood now,” Stanley Johnson told the BBC. “He has to take time. I cannot believe you can walk away from this and get straight back to Downing Street and pick up the reins without a period of readjustment.”

He also said his son’s illness had underlined just how serious the coronavirus outbreak was.

Read more on HuffPost U.K. 

— Nadine White

Australia Cracks Down On Easter Travel — 4/10/20, 4:10 a.m. ET

Australia will deploy helicopters, set up police checkpoints and hand out hefty fines to deter people from breaking an Easter travel ban, officials warned Friday, in their toughest crackdown against the novel coronavirus.

With places of worship closed, bans on public gatherings of more than two people and nonessential travel limited to combat the spread of the virus, Australians were told to stay home this year or face dire consequences.

“Police will take action,” New South Wales Police Deputy Commissioner Gary Worboys told reporters, adding that police had issued almost 50 new fines for breaches of public health orders in the previous 24 hours.

Australia had 6,152 coronavirus infections by Friday, up 100 from the previous day, with 53 virus-related deaths.

Read more.

— Reuters

Yemen Announces Its First Case Of Coronavirus ― 4/10/20, 3:20 a.m. ET

Yemen authorities announced Friday that the country had its first confirmed case of the novel coronavirus.

Even before the announcement, the U.N. had described Yemen as the world’s worst humanitarian disaster. Since war erupted there in 2014, over 100,000 people have been killed. Many of the country’s citizenry are on the brink of starvation and more than half of Yemen’s health facilities have been destroyed or closed. A COVID-19 outbreak there could be devastating, according to The Associated Press.

― Jade Walker

New York State Has More Confirmed Coronavirus Cases Than Any Country ― 4/9/20, 10:28 p.m. ET

The state of New York now has more confirmed cases of coronavirus than any country.

New York had 161,799 confirmed cases as of Thursday evening, according to the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center. After the United States, the country with the highest number of confirmed cases is Spain with 153,222 cases.

The increase in the number of virus patients hospitalized in New York has grown at a slower rate over the past two weeks, from over 20% a day at one point to just a 1% increase from Wednesday to Thursday.

But the number of New Yorkers dying of COVID-19 keeps growing, with the state recording another one-day high from Wednesday to Thursday with 799 deaths.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo stressed that social distancing and other guidelines must continue to be enforced so that the state can maintain its progress.

― Sanjana Karanth

Boris Johnson Released From Intensive Care — 4/9/20, 2:30 p.m. ET

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been released from intensive care into a hospital ward. 

A spokesman for Johnson said: “The prime minister has been moved this evening from intensive care back to the ward, where he will receive close monitoring during the early phase of his recovery. ... He is in extremely good spirits.”

Johnson has spent three nights in intensive care at London’s St. Thomas’ Hospital after he was admitted on Sunday night with persistent symptoms of coronavirus. 

Read more.

— Rachel Wearmouth

Members Of Congress Call For Recurring Monthly Payments To Americans Throughout COVID-19 Crisis — 4/9/20, 2 p.m. ET 

More than 60 members of Congress wrote a letter Thursday to Senate leader Mitch McConnell (R) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D) asking to include in the next coronavirus relief bill “recurring direct cash assistance to all,” particularly for low-income workers and families.

The last $2 trillion relief bill “provided a multi-year bail out for large companies, but it provided most American families with only a few months’ worth of assistance, at best,” the lawmakers — including Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and “Squad” members Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) and Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) — wrote of the stimulus checks included in the bill.

“Without ongoing and robust direct payments lasting at least the duration of this crisis, we will fail to address the pain our communities are experiencing from this crisis,” the legislators wrote, noting that 4 in 10 adults in the U.S. say they would not be able to afford an unexpected $400 expense. “Now is not a time for timid solutions. In the face of an unprecedented moment in economic history and public health, we need to offer bigger, bolder and far more aggressive policies.” 

record 16.6 million Americans filed for unemployment in the last three weeks as businesses have shuttered nationwide. And as many Americans await their stimulus paychecks, millions of undocumented workers on the front lines of the pandemic won’t be getting a dime

— Sarah Ruiz-Grossman

San Francisco Opens New Temporary Housing For Domestic Violence Survivors  — 4/9/20, 1:30 p.m. ET 

San Francisco Mayor London Breed and District Attorney Chesa Boudin announced that the city will be making 20 apartments available for domestic violence survivors to stay in for up to 90 days at no cost. 

Domestic violence reports have increased worldwide as millions of people are forced to stay home to help prevent the spread of coronavirus, leaving victims in increased proximity to abusers

In the week after the San Francisco Bay Area issued its shelter-in-place order, the DA’s office saw a 60% increase in clients who were referred to victim services compared to the same week last year. 

Domestic violence shelters in San Fransisco are still open, as they are considered essential, and the city is searching for additional temporary housing. Experts recommend that victims still go to shelters, even with social isolation guidelines, as these will have protocols in place to ensure health and safety.  

Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) for the National Domestic Violence Hotline.

— Sarah Ruiz-Grossman

CNN Says Pence’s Office Is Blocking Health Officials From Appearing On Network — 4/9/20, 11:30 a.m. ET

Vice President Mike Pence’s office is blocking some of the nation’s top public health experts from appearing on CNN, citing the network’s decision not to air President Donald Trump’s daily news briefings in full, CNN reported Thursday.

CNN said it has tried over the last seven days to book experts from the White House’s coronavirus task force, including Drs. Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx, but the requests have been denied.

“When you guys cover the briefings with the health officials, then you can expect them back on your air,” a Pence spokesperson told CNN.

CNN said it often only broadcasts the question and answer portion of the White House’s coronavirus briefings, which sometimes include the health care officials. Some journalists have urged networks to stop broadcasting the briefings live, warning that the misinformation frequently peddled by Trump could be harmful to Americans navigating the pandemic.

— Hayley Miller

Fauci Warns Going Back To Normal Won’t ‘Be A Light Switch That You Turn On And Off’ — 4/9/20, 11:19 a.m. ET

While expressing “cautious optimism” that the spread of COVID-19 in the U.S. may be reaching a turning point, Dr. Anthony Fauci again advised Americans not to expect a quick return to anything approaching “normal.” The nation’s top infectious disease expert urged people to continue social distancing and other mitigation efforts “in order to keep those numbers down, and hopefully even get them lower.”

“When you say ‘get back to normal,’ it’s not going to be a light switch that you turn on and off,” he said on “CBS This Morning.”

Fauci, head of the National Institute on Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said it’s too early to even begin thinking about what life after the pandemic may look like. Even when the risk subsides, the process of how people return to work and school, as well as resume public gatherings, will likely be different across various states and cities depending on the virus’s spread, he said.

Read more here.

— Marina Fang

More Than Half Of U.S. Counties With Reported COVID-19 Cases Don’t Have A Daily Newspaper, New Analysis Shows — 4/9/20, 11:06 a.m. ET

As journalists scramble to document the spiraling effects of the pandemic in their communities, a new analysis from the Brookings Institution underscores the crisis in local journalism in the U.S. Of the counties that have reported COVID-19 cases as of Monday, 50% are considered news deserts, meaning they contain only one local newspaper or none at all. In addition, 57% of the counties “lack a daily newspaper and 37% saw local newspapers disappear between 2004 and 2019,” the analysis found.

The pandemic has exposed a variety of existing inequities, including the growing crisis in local journalism over the past the decade since the Great Recession. Local media outlets across the country have been facing dire straits, such as dwindling revenue and being gutted due to mismanagement from corporate owners. Many have been forced to drop print editions to a few days a week, go entirely digital or shutter completely. As HuffPost’s Travis Waldron and Tara Golshan reported last month, the pandemic has worsened these trends, as advertising sales have cratered. Across all levels of journalism, from national to local, outlets have laid off or furloughed journalists, or have asked them to take pay cuts in response to the pandemic.

— Marina Fang

California Sends Ventilators To New York, New Jersey, Illinois — 4/9/20, 8:52 a.m. ET

California has sent 100 ventilators each to New York, New Jersey and Illinois, three U.S. states where COVID-19 cases are likely approaching their peak.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) promised to “repay the favor when California needs it,” and on Wednesday night, when the ventilators arrived, they contained a message of encouragement, according to a photo he tweeted.

The state also sent 50 ventilators each to Maryland, Washington, D.C., Delaware and Nevada. California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) has said he expects cases in California to reach their peak in May. The state enacted containment measures early on, which has led to a flatter curve.

— Marina Fang

6.6 Million Americans Filed For Unemployment Last Week — 4/9/20, 8:35 a.m. ET

A staggering 6.6 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week, adding to the nearly 10 million people who filed jobless claims over the two previous weeks, the Labor Department reported Thursday.

The shutdown of businesses across the country due to the pandemic has resulted in more job losses in just three weeks than the most recent recession produced over two years, reported The New York Times.

The weekly unemployment numbers are likely to remain high as states work through backlogs of unemployment aid applications and companies burn through their cash reserves and resort to layoffs in order to cut costs, according to the Associated Press.

— Hayley Miller

Boris Johnson ‘Sat Up And Engaging With Medical Staff’ — 4/9/20, 4:20 a.m. ET

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is “sat up and engaging with medical staff” treating him for coronavirus, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has said. The prime minister spent a third night in intensive care on Wednesday at St. Thomas’ Hospital in London.

Asked about his condition on Thursday morning, Dowden told the BBC: “He’s in a stable condition, he seems to be doing reasonably well, he was sat up and engaging with medical staff.”

Meanwhile, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, who is deputizing for Johnson, will chair a Cobra emergency committee this afternoon to discuss the U.K. lockdown measures with leaders of the devolved nations.

No decision is expected to be made at that meeting in Johnson’s absence, with key figures in the response instead discussing how it will be resolved next week. Read more on HuffPost U.K.

— Ned Simons

GOP Senator To Sell Off All Individual Stocks After Coronavirus Trade Backlash — 4/8/20, 5:14 p.m.

Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) is liquidating all of the individual stock shares she and her husband own together weeks after reports revealed that she sold up to $3.1 million in stock after Congress was briefed by U.S. health officials on the coronavirus in January.

The reports of her and another Republican senator’s sell-off ignited widespread criticism focusing on Republicans’ attempts to downplay the severity of the pandemic and its impact on the U.S.

Loeffler defended herself in an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday, denying that she sold off the stocks based on the confidential information she received. In that same op-ed, she said she and her husband, Intercontinental Exchange chairman Jeffrey Sprecher, plan to “divest from individual stocks” and move them into exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and mutual funds.

— Carla H. Russo

Coronavirus Has Crept Into Most Rural Counties — 4/8/20, 3:32 p.m. ET

More than two-thirds of rural U.S. counties have at least one case of COVID-19, according to data compiled by The New York Times. It’s a troubling development for residents who hoped distance would shield them from the virus. 

Around 1 in 10 of those counties have reported at least one death, the Times said.

Complicating matters, rural areas across the country have been losing hospitals at an alarming rate. Nearly 200 have shut their doors in the past 15 years, which has already prompted concerns about how residents will be able to receive health care — particularly if they require ventilators. Rural residents are more likely to be older and poorer than other areas.  

— Sara Boboltz

‘Don’t Politicize This Virus,’ WHO Head Says After Trump Funding Threat — 4/8/20, 1:55 p.m. ET

A day after President Trump threatened to withhold funding to the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the agency’s director-general, urged world leaders on Wednesday to refrain from politicizing the coronavirus, warning that a failure to unite across party lines and ideologies will result in “many more body bags.”

“The focus of all political parties should be to save their people,” Tedros said during a news briefing in Geneva. “Please don’t politicize this virus. It exploits the differences you have at the national level. If you want to be exploited, and if you want to have many more body bags, then you do it.”

His remarks were in response to a reporter’s question about Trump accusing WHO during a White House press briefing Tuesday of leading a very “China-centric” response to the pandemic. The president said he would put a “very powerful hold” on U.S. funding to the organization, though later softened his stance when pressed on whether he should do so during a pandemic.

“I’m not saying I’m going to do it, but we’ll have a look,” the president said.

Tedros, who did not mention Trump by name, pleaded with world leaders on Wednesday to resist using the virus to “score political points.”

“If we care about our people, if we care about our citizens, please work across party lines, across ideology, across beliefs,” he said. “That’s how we can defeat that virus. ... The worst is yet to come if we don’t rush to ensure the unity.”

— Hayley Miller 

Boris Johnson ‘Sitting Up’ In Hospital Bed As Condition Improves — 4/8/20, 12:30 p.m. ET

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been “sitting up in bed” and engaging with medics while he is treated for coronavirus in intensive care. 

The prime minister’s condition is “improving” and he is receiving “excellent care,” finance minister Rishi Sunak said at the Downing Street press briefing today. “The latest from the hospital is the prime minister remains in intensive care where his condition is improving,” said Sunak. 

“I can also tell you that he has been sitting up in bed and engaging positively with the clinical team. The prime minister is not only my colleague and my boss but also my friend, and my thoughts are with him and his family.”

The PM has been receiving round-the-clock care at St Thomas’ Hospital in London after he was admitted on Sunday night. On Monday, when his condition worsened, he was moved to an intensive care unit where he was given oxygen. 

— Rachel Wearmouth

Broadway Will Remain Dark Until At Least June — 4/8/20, 11:56 a.m. ET

New York City’s Broadway theaters, which have been shuttered since March 12, will continue to stay closed through at least June 7.

Theater industry leaders initially estimated that shows would return April 13, but a prolonged closure seemed inevitable given the continued spread of the virus, the state’s extended stay-at-home order, and the CDC’s guidelines to continue restricting gatherings.

A major industry for the city, Broadway turning off its lights has put thousands of theater performers and staff out of work

— Marina Fang

Initial Racial Breakdown Of Deaths In New York Shows What We Unfortunately Already Knew: Black And Brown People Are Disproportionately Dying — 4/8/20, 11:20 a.m. ET

New numbers released by officials in New York indicate what many experts initially suspected: Black and brown people are disproportionately dying from COVID-19.

In New York City, 34% of the reported fatalities were of Hispanic people and 28% were Black, both disproportionate to their populations, according to preliminary data released Wednesday.

When adjusted for age, 22.8 deaths per 100,000 were of Hispanic people and 19.8 were Black.

Across the country, metropolitan areas have reported a disproportionate amount of Black and brown people dying from the virus.

The data has been slower to catch up. When asked whether the state was seeing racial disparities in COVID-19 cases, Melissa DeRosa, top aide to Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), said Tuesday that many hospitals don’t collect data on race when reporting fatalities, so state officials have had to call coroners’ offices to compile the racial breakdown of deaths.

The pandemic is “just the latest episode” in a long history of systemic racial disparities in health care access in the United States, HuffPost’s Michael Hobbes and Nina Misuraca Ignaczak reported.

— Marina Fang

Birx Sees ‘Some Flattening’ Of The Curve, But Warns Against Complacency — 4/8/20, 10:54 a.m. ET

Some “shoots of success” indicate that social distancing guidelines and stay-at-home orders have begun to flatten the curve of COVID-19 infections in the U.S., according to White House coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx, but she stressed that Americans need to remain vigilant.

“We are beginning to see some flattening of the number of new cases per day in specific metro areas,” she said Wednesday.

The curve has been “persistently flat” in Washington and California, Birx said. In New York and New Jersey, the number of cases initially rose much more sharply, but “we’re seeing that stabilizing, and that gives us great encouragement,” she added.

However, Birx warned Americans that if they fail to adhere to social distancing guidelines, “a very acute second wave” of infections could erupt.

Read more here.

— Marina Fang

CDC May Loosen Restrictions For Some People Already Exposed To The Virus, Pence Says — 4/8/20, 10:20 a.m. ET

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is considering loosening its self-isolation guidelines to allow people who have already been exposed to someone infected with COVID-19 to return to work if they do not have symptoms — especially workers in essential jobs, the Associated Press reported.

Under the proposed guidance, people who are exposed to someone infected would be allowed back on the job if they have no symptoms, test their temperature twice a day and wear a face mask, said a person familiar with the proposal under consideration. The person was not authorized to publicly discuss the draft because it had not been finalized and described the proposal on the condition of anonymity.

The announcement could come as soon as Wednesday, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said.

Read more here.

— Marina Fang

Boris Johnson ‘Responding To Treatment’ In Intensive Care — 4/8/20, 8 a.m. ET

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is “responding to treatment” for his coronavirus symptoms, Downing Street said Wednesday afternoon. Johnson has now spent two nights in intensive care in St. Thomas’ Hospital in London.

“The prime minister remains clinically stable and is responding to treatment,” Johnson’s spokesperson said. “He continues to be cared for in the intensive care unit at St Thomas’ Hospital.”

The spokesperson added that Johnson remained “in good spirits” and was “receiving standard oxygen treatment and is breathing without any other assistance.”

Foreign secretary Dominic Raab, who is standing in for the prime minister where necessary, said the day before that he was “confident” Johnson would pull through and that Johnson was a “fighter.”

Read more.

— Ned Simons & Arj Singh

Joyous, Emotional Scenes In Wuhan As Lockdown Lifts — 4/8/2020, 6:30 a.m.

Thousands of Wuhan residents traveled back to their hometowns as the city eased its lockdown restrictions on Wednesday, after 76 days. While some restrictions are still in place, like school closures, city leaders want to bring back social and commercial life to the city.

The government reported no new infections in the city on Wednesday, but there has been some dispute over the veracity of China’s statistics, the AP reports.

“We were too excited to fall asleep last night. I was looking forward to lockdown lift very much. I set up an alert to remind myself. I was very happy,” said Xiao Yonghong, who was waiting for a train.

— Liza Hearon

Deliberate COVID-19 Transmission In Australia Could Result In ‘Imprisonment For Life’ —  4/8/20, 5:10 a.m. ET

Following recent cases of Australians assaulting, threatening or coughing on healthcare workers, the maximum penalty for trying to deliberately spread coronavirus has been announced, HuffPost Australia reports.

“The deliberate transmission of COVID-19 is an offense under the general criminal laws that apply in every state and territory. The most serious of these offenses may carry maximum penalties up to imprisonment for life if somebody was to take a step which led to the death of a healthcare worker,” Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said at a press conference on Wednesday.

Hunt said two people had already been charged for “this type of behavior” and the government’s plan supports “stepping up our protection of healthcare workers.”

At least 5,900 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Australia and 49 people have died.

— Alicia Vrajlal

14 Transport Workers Die In London —  4/8/20, 4:30 a.m. ET

Fourteen public transport workers have died in the England capital after testing positive for coronavirus, London Mayor Sadiq Khan has said.

“They are in my thoughts and prayers and my condolences to their families,” he told Sky News.

Khan said the death toll includes nine bus drivers, as well as three Transport for London workers, an Underground employee and a worker for one of TfL’s suppliers.

Bus drivers last week told HuffPost UK they were being forced to work without adequate personal protective equipment (PPE), and worried about being exposed to COVID-19.

“I’m scared about catching coronavirus and what it’ll mean for my family,” one said.

On Monday, a union called for London Underground drivers to be provided with masks and gloves to help protect them from contracting coronavirus.

— Nadine White

Walgreens To Open Drive-Thru COVID-19 Testing Sites In 7 States ― 04/08/2020, 1:10 a.m.

Walgreens announced on Tuesday that it plans to offer drive-thru testing for the novel coronavirus outside 15 of its stores in Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Tennessee and Texas. 

The tests, which promise results within minutes, will be self-administered outside stores, the company said. Pharmacists will on hand to assist. 

The expansion of Walgreens’ drive-thru testing efforts comes weeks after President Donald Trump announced that four companies — Walmart, Target, CVS and Walgreens — would be offering drive-thru COVID-19 tests. However, as CBS News reported on Tuesday, to date, only CVS and Walgreens have opened a handful of testing sites. 

— Dominique Mosbergen

For earlier updates on the pandemic, go here.