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 locked down the city of Wuhan in January, there have been more than 12.9 million cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, across the planet.

More than 568,000 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.)

Florida, Arizona, Texas ‘Opened Too Early’ And ‘Too Aggressively,’ Public Health Expert Says — 7/13/20, 8:52 a.m. ET

Florida and other states that have reached a new peak in COVID-19 cases reopened businesses “too early” and “too aggressively,” the director of the Harvard Global Health Institute said Monday.

“We know how we got here. Florida, along with other states, opened too early when they weren’t quite ready,” Dr. Ashish Jha said on NBC’s “Today” show, citing bars and restaurants in particular, which have been the source of many new cases.

Jha added that governors and other leaders have been “slow to react” to the new surge. For example, in Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) has still not mandated masks even though many other states and municipalities have done so, and public health experts widely believe wearing a mask can help limit the spread of the coronavirus.

On Sunday, Florida set a new single-day record for the highest number of new cases, reporting more than 15,000. That exceeded the previous record set in April in New York, once the epicenter of the pandemic in the U.S. but now one of the few states that have largely contained the virus.

Earlier this year, California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) earned praise for acting early to shut down the state. But in the last month, the number of cases has gone up again, and Jha said some parts of Southern California now look a lot like Arizona, Texas and Florida.

When asked why, he said state leaders “pulled back too early” and “were too slow to react” when cases began to increase again. He also said it was ill-advised to leave reopening decisions up to local governments. 

—Marina Fang

Sydney Pub Cluster Adds To Second Wave Fears In Australia — 7/13/20, 7:55 a.m.

Australia’s most populous state reported 14 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, with a growing cluster at a pub used by freight drivers traveling the country adding to fears of a second wave of the virus.

The new cases in New South Wales come after neighboring Victoria last week forced about 5 million people back into lockdown after a surge of new coronavirus cases.

Australia has avoided the high COVID-19 casualty numbers of other nations with swift and strict measures, recording fewer than 10,000 coronavirus cases in total, or about a sixth of the daily cases seen in the U.S. in recent days.

However, authorities are worried about rising cases of community transmission. This accounted for eight of the 14 new cases in New South Wales in the last 24 hours, while the rest were people who have returned from overseas and are already in hotel quarantine or have returned from Victoria.

The bulk of these community transmission cases were people who recently visited a pub in southwest Sydney, the Crossroads Hotel, with authorities confirming Monday afternoon that there are 21 cases linked to that cluster. In a bid to curtail the spread, authorities urged anyone who attended the pub to isolate for two weeks and get tested. On Monday, long lines of cars were waiting more than three hours to attend a drive-through test clinic at the venue.

In Victoria, authorities on Monday reported 177 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, the eighth consecutive day of triple-digit rises in COVID-19 cases, but down from 273 cases the previous day. 

Read more.

— Reuters

200 Workers Quarantined On UK Farm Amid Coronavirus Outbreak  — 7/13/20, 7:45 a.m.

Seventy-three key workers at a farm in the U.K. have tested positive for COVID-19 with dozens more now forced to self-isolate. Around 200 workers are employed for picking and packing work at the farm in Mathon, Herefordshire, in the west of England. Herefordshire Council is arranging food and essential supplies for residents on the site – who live in mobile homes based on the farm during the harvesting season – while they self-isolate.

In a statement farm owners AS Green and Co said: “Our work force and local community are our priority at this difficult time and we continue to follow the guidance of the relevant bodies to ensure that the spread of the virus is controlled and our workforce is supported.

“Public Health England advises that it is very unlikely COVID-19 can be transmitted through food or food packaging, so shoppers can remain confident buying British fruit and veg.”

The U.K. has recorded 44,819 deaths and 321,057 cases. Read more

— Sarah Turnnidge

Florida Sets U.S. Record For New Daily Coronavirus Cases — 7/12/20, 1:10 p.m. ET

Florida on Sunday reported more than 15,000 new cases of the coronavirus, setting a new national record for single-day tallies.

The total of 15,299 new cases, reported by Florida’s health department, is 2,452 cases higher than the daily record set by New York state in April, when it was the epicenter of the U.S. outbreak.

Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) has ordered bars to close in response to the outbreak, but has resisted calls for a statewide mandate to wear masks in public.

Single-day records were also reported in some of Florida’s largest cities on Sunday, including Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, Fort Myers, West Palm Beach, Pensacola and Sarasota.

Read more here

— Nina Golgowski

Louisiana Governor Shutters Bars And Orders State To Mask Up — 7/11/20, 5:18 p.m. ET

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) announced a new mask mandate Saturday as the state’s coronavirus crisis rapidly worsened. People aged 8 and up will be required to don a face covering in public, beginning at 12:01 a.m. Monday. 

“At the end of the day, while I know that this is going to be unpopular with some and controversial with some, we know that face masks work. It really is that simple,” Edwards said in a news conference. “For some reason in this country and in the state of Louisiana, there has been a political dynamic that has emerged around the whole issue of masks. That doesn’t make any sense to me.” 

Bars, which were permitted to reopen last month under the state’s phase two guidelines, will be ordered to close again.

Cases of COVID-19 have spiked in the last month across Louisiana, where the virus once appeared to be concentrated in the New Orleans area. The state has seen nearly 77,000 confirmed cases since the crisis began and in recent days has been adding new cases at a pace of roughly 2,000 per day. Much of the surge can be attributed to people who gather in bars and backyards, according to Edwards.

Edwards halted any further plans to reopen parts of the economy, saying Louisiana will remain in phase two at least until July 24. Certain parishes and municipalities will be able to opt out of the mask mandate, but only if they do not exceed a threshold of cases.

The Southern state’s actions followed a recent trend of backtracking on reopening across parts of the U.S. amid skyrocketing case counts. Local news outlets have reported that intensive care unit beds have become a scarce commodity in some of the state’s hospitals — meaning that some of the sickest patients could face difficulty obtaining treatment.

— Sara Boboltz

Texas Considers Going Back Into Lockdown As Cases Surge — 7/11/20, 3:15 p.m. ET

Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbot warned Friday that the state would have to go back into lockdown amid a surge in coronavirus cases if the public doesn’t start wearing face masks.

“The worst is yet to come as we work our way through that massive increase in people testing positive,” Abbott told KLBK-TV.

He added: “The only way that we can keep our businesses open, the only way that we can continue have people continue to have a job they need to pay their bills is for everyone to adopt this practice of wearing a face mask.”

More than 3,000 people have died in Texas and more than 240,000 others have tested positive for the virus. Many in the state reportedly aren’t following basic rules to combat the spread, such as wearing a face mask or avoiding large gatherings.

Several attendees at a June 20 “pong fest” near Austin tested positive for COVID-19, exposing more than 300 other attendees to the virus.

And a pastor in San Antonio apologized for failing to keep people socially distanced at his evangelical Christian church after he and dozens of congregants reportedly tested positive for COVID-19 since it reopened in May.

“The public needs to understand that this was a very tough decision for me to make,” Abbott said. He added: “I made clear that I made this tough decision for one reason. It was our last, best effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. If we do not slow the spread of COVID-19, … the next step would have to be a lockdown.”

— Sebastian Murdock

Bollywood Superstar Amitabh Bachchan Hospitalized With COVID-19 — 7/11/20, 3:02 p.m. ET

Amitabh Bachchan, one of the world’s biggest movie stars, has been hospitalized in India with the coronavirus, he said on Twitter Saturday.

The 77-year-old Bollywood actor said his family and staff had undergone testing for COVID-19. He encouraged anyone he’s recently come into close contact with to get tested as well.

 

His son, actor Abhishek Bachchan, later said that he too had tested positive for the virus. The younger Bachchan said both he and his dad had “mild symptoms.”

The New York Times reported Saturday that Indian cities were reimposing restrictions amid a surge of new cases nationwide. The country has recorded about 800,000 confirmed infections to date — the third highest globally. At least 22,000 have died from the illness.

—Dominique Mosbergen

Florida Hospitals Close To Running Out Of ICU Beds As Disney World Reopens — 7/11/20, 2:40 p.m. ET

Hospitals across Florida are perilously close to maxing out their intensive care unit beds as the coronavirus crisis continues to rage throughout the state. According to the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration, just 15% of the state’s roughly 6,000 adult ICU beds remain open.

Cases in Florida have risen dramatically over the past month, as parts of the state’s economy — including bars — were allowed to reopen and people flocked to beaches without observing public health guidelines. The situation forced Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) to abruptly reverse course on reopening in late June. More than 250,000 COVID-19 cases have been reported in the Sunshine State.

Yet surging illness has not stopped Disney World from going ahead with its reopening plans. The massive theme park began allowing visitors once more on Saturday, albeit with masks and other safety precautions. A video showing park employees smiling and waving while wearing masks and gloves received instant derision on Twitter.

“America’s plagueground,” quipped one user.

—Sara Boboltz

Los Angeles Apparel Factory Closes After 300 Cases, 4 Deaths Reported — 7/11/20, 11:30 a.m. ET

A garment factory in Los Angeles has shut down after an investigation found that four workers died of the coronavirus and hundreds more were infected, CNN reported.

Los Angeles Apparel had three deaths in June and one in July. On June 19, county health officials were notified of a possible outbreak at the facility. The company reported 151 coronavirus cases that week. As of July 10, there were more than 300 positive cases confirmed at the factory.

“The death of four dedicated garment workers is heartbreaking and tragic,” Dr. Barbara Ferrer of the Los Angeles County health department told CNN. “Business owners and operators have a corporate, moral and social responsibility to their employees and their families to provide a safe work environment.”

LA County reported an additional 51 deaths and more than 2,600 new cases on Friday.

LA Apparel will remain closed until the company “can show that the facility is in full compliance with Public Health mandates,” the health department told CNN.

—Sebastian Murdock

Mississippi’s Biggest Hospitals Have Run Out Of ICU Beds — 7/10/20, 1:10 p.m. ET

Five of the biggest hospitals in Mississippi have run out of ICU beds as coronavirus cases in the state surge. An additional four hospitals have 5% of their beds left or less, and three have less than 10% of their beds available, The Associated Press reports.

State health officials said Mississippi’s rush to reopen has more than wiped out the gains achieved by shutting down the state for a couple of weeks in April.

“We sacrificed a lot in those three weeks,” state health officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs said Wednesday at a news conference, “and we’ve given it all back and then some.”

On Thursday, Gov. Tate Reeves (R) indicated his plans to roll out mandatory mask measures and social distancing precautions early next week in 13 of the hardest-hit counties.

Despite the concerning rise in cases, Reeves also said he’s “100% committed” to reopening the state’s schools next month.

— Ryan Grenoble

South Carolina, Michigan Implement New Restrictions As COVID-19 Cases Spike — 7/10/20, 12:15 p.m. ET

The governors of South Carolina and Michigan have both issued executive orders implementing new restrictions as coronavirus cases surge in their respective states.

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster (R) on Friday ordered restaurants, bars and breweries to cut off alcohol sales at 11 p.m. every night beginning Saturday. The state hopes to limit the spread of COVID-19 among young people by restricting on-premise consumption. Cases in people between the ages of 21 and 30 have grown 966% since early April, according to The Greenville News.

As of Wednesday, South Carolina had one of the worst outbreaks in the world, according to a New York Times analysis.

And in Michigan, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) signed an executive order requiring the use of face masks in indoor spaces and crowded outdoor spaces. The order requires businesses to refuse entry to anyone who won’t wear a mask. People who don’t wear masks risk a $500 fine and a misdemeanor charge.

“The heroes on the front lines of this crisis have gone hours without taking their masks off every day – doctors, nurses, child care workers, grocery store workers. We owe it to them to wear our masks when we’re on a trip to the grocery store or pharmacy,” Whitmer said in a statement. “Masks can reduce the chance of spreading COVID-19 by about 70%.”

“And by wearing masks now, we can put our state in a stronger position so our kids can return to school safely in the fall,” she added. “For the sake of your loved ones, let’s all mask up, Michigan.”

— Ryan Grenoble

India Sees More Local Lockdowns As Cases Near 800,000 — 7/10/20, 4:25 a.m. ET

India reported a record 26,506 new coronavirus cases Friday as authorities re-imposed lockdowns in its most populous state and in an industrial hub, home to automakers, drug factories and brewers.

The new cases pushed India’s tally to nearly 800,000 cases, the world’s third-biggest outbreak, behind only the United States and Brazil in confirmed infections.

There have been more than 21,000 deaths in India since the first case was detected there in January, federal health ministry data showed on Friday.

The capital, New Delhi, along with Maharashtra state, home to the financial capital of Mumbai, and the southern state of Tamil Nadu account for about 60% of its cases.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government, anxious to jump-start an economy crippled by the epidemic and put millions of people back to work, in early June eased an initial lockdown of the 1.3 billion population imposed in March.

But rising flare-ups of the virus have been forcing some major industrial towns and states to impose localized restrictions.

India’s most populous state, Uttar Pradesh, will lock down for two days from late Friday as cases there surged past 32,000, the state government said in a statement.

— Reuters

UK Quarantine Rules Relaxed For Arrivals From Dozens Of Countries — 7/10/20, 3:45 a.m. ET

People traveling into the United Kingdom from around 60 countries and territories will no longer have to self-isolate for two weeks, according to new coronavirus rules that come into force today.

People returning to or visiting England, Wales and Northern Ireland within the “travel corridor,” which doesn’t include the United States, are exempt from quarantine rules. However, Scotland has produced its own smaller list of countries.

Passengers passing through London’s Gatwick Airport early Friday morning admitted they would not be traveling if they were still required to self-isolate for two weeks on their return. “We probably would have gone later,” said Ray Gordge, 64, from Taunton, who was on his way to Paris to see his daughter for the first time in six months, and meet his new grandson, born last week.

The rule change comes as a survey suggested people in four European countries are more likely to oppose inbound UK tourists this summer than they are visitors from the rest of the continent. While between 40% and 54% of Spaniards would disprove of tourists from a group of European nations, the figure rises to 61% for those from the U.K., a YouGov poll found.

The U.K. has recorded 44,602 deaths and 319,075 cases.

Read more here.

— Léonie Chao-Fong

Australia To Halve Numbers Of Returning Citizens As Cases Surge — 7/10/20, 3:30 a.m. ET

Australia will halve the number of citizens allowed to return home from overseas each week, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Friday, as authorities struggle to contain a COVID-19 outbreak in the country’s second-most populous state.

Since March, Australia has allowed only citizens and permanent residents to enter the country. Once they arrive, they enter a mandatory 14-day quarantine in hotels, which is paid for by state governments.

Morrison said from Monday, Australia will cap the figures at 4,000 people each week. Those who return will also have to pay for their quarantine stays. Neighboring New Zealand enacted measures earlier this week to limit the number of citizens returning home to reduce the burden on its overflowing quarantine facilities.

The announcement of new travel restrictions comes days after the state of Victoria reimposed lockdowns in Melbourne. On Friday, Melbourne recorded 288 new cases. The lockdown will last for six weeks following a surge in coronavirus cases linked to social distancing breaches in hotels where returned travelers were held in quarantine.

Despite surging numbers of cases in Victoria, the state’s premier Daniel Andrews has relaxed restrictions on most of the 3,000 people locked down in nine public-housing towers. Residents in eight of the towers are now under the same restrictions as metropolitan Melbourne. The other tower remains in a hard lockdown.

A testing blitz found 158 out of nearly 3,000 residents were infected with the virus. About one-third of those were in one tower, where everyone is being forced to self-isolate for nine more days.

Australia has recorded around 9,000 cases of COVID-19 and 106 deaths. 

Read more here.

— James Martin

Kentucky Governor Orders Mask Requirement For 30 Days Due To COVID-19 ― 7/9/2020, 7:02 p.m. ET

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) signed an executive order Thursday mandating that masks be worn in certain situations statewide as coronavirus cases increase.

The order requires most people in Kentucky to wear a facial covering inside retail stores, restaurants and grocery stores. The order will be effective for just 30 days, starting Friday at 5 p.m.

“Folks, we are still in a battle, and it is not going away,” the governor said at a news conference. “We have a dangerous and deadly virus out there, and we are now seeing a regular increase in cases in Kentucky.”

Health departments and “others” will be enforcing the rule, Beshear said.

“It’s no longer a question. A mask helps to stop the spread,” he said, and therefore, masks are “no longer voluntary. It’s mandatory. It’s time to get serious.”

The governor also noted that Kentucky had 333 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the state total to 18,245.

Four more people infected by the virus have also died, putting the state’s death toll at 612.

― Carla Russo

California Governor Announces Preparations For Wildfire Evacuations Amid Coronavirus Pandemic — 7/9/2020, 6:49 p.m. ET

Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) announced steps that California is taking to prepare for the upcoming peak of wildfire season amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Newsom said the state planned to hire more than 850 additional firefighters. It has also updated its protocols for evacuation shelters given the threat of the virus spreading in large, congregant settings. The new protocols include conducting health screenings as people enter shelters, having cleaning and medical staff at all sites, and distributing pre-packaged meals. The state also said it could secure hotel rooms, college dorms, Airbnb rentals and campgrounds to allow people to shelter in “non-congregate” settings.

“Even in the midst of a global pandemic, the State of California hasn’t taken its eye off the threat of wildfire,” the governor said in a statement. “California is better prepared against the threat of wildfire today than at any time in our history.”

California has experienced record-breaking wildfires that have grown even worse in recent years. In 2017, wildfires near Santa Rosa killed 44 people ― the deadliest blaze in state history at the time. The next year, the Camp Fire surpassed it, killing 85 people and ravaging the town of Paradise.

Meanwhile, the state has seen a steady increase in coronavirus cases in recent weeks, with more than 296,000 confirmed cases and more than 6,700 dead as of Wednesday.

— Sarah Ruiz-Grossman

States Fret Over How To Safely Hold Bar Exams Amid COVID-19 Surge ― 7/9/2020, 3:40 p.m. ET

A surge in coronavirus causes across the county has several states changing or reconsidering their plans to hold in-person bar exams for lawyers.

Kentucky’s Supreme Court announced Thursday that it’s canceling both its July and September in-person exams and replacing them with a single online test in October. The court hopes the change will “protect the health and safety of bar applicants, employees and volunteers,” who would typically gather by the hundreds or thousands in one room for the exam.

The Pennsylvania Board of Law Examiners, which had previously moved its July exam to September, announced Wednesday that it would not hold any in-person exam in 2020 and would instead hold an online exam in October.

Lawmakers in Arizona, where exams are planned to proceed on schedule and in person as usual, are now pushing for similar changes.

“We are alarmed that the July bar exam has been scheduled to proceed, despite the fact that our state is in the midst of a COVID-19 pandemic which has rapidly worsened in the recent weeks,” a letter from several of the Arizona lawmakers said. Test-takers there have the option to take an online bar exam in October, but a passing grade on that exam would only allow them to practice law in Arizona. The results from an in-person test would allow them to practice in more than 30 other states.

― Lydia O’Connor 

For more on the pandemic, go here.


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