More than 6.6 million cases of the virus have been confirmed worldwide, and more than 391,000 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.)
The Canadian government will now allow anyone with immediate family members in Canada to enter the country if they do not have COVID-19 or show symptoms, provided they self-quarantine for 14 days upon arriving.
The loosening restrictions go into effect at midnight Eastern time tonight, the government said, “to keep families together and support unity while respecting the need for continued vigilance and border measures at this time.“The U.S.-Canada border, which has been closed to discretionary travel since March 21 and limited to essential purposes like deliveries of food and medical supplies, will remain restricted through at least June 21.
Read more on the revised conditions here.
— Marina Fang
New York City, the area of the U.S. hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic, officially begins its phased reopening process Monday, with a handful of businesses resuming operations.
It’s a major milestone for the city, where new COVID-19 cases have plummeted in recent weeks, after peaking in mid-April. Across New York state, the percentage of COVID-19 tests coming back as positive has leveled off at about 1% for the past few days, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said over the weekend.
Businesses in phase one of the reopening include manufacturing, wholesale, construction, landscaping and some retail, if they can ensure curbside or contactless pickup. Employers are required to provide masks to employees and follow cleaning protocols and, under a state executive order, businesses can turn away customers if they are not wearing masks.
About 400,000 New Yorkers are expected to return to work Monday. Mayor Bill de Blasio and public transit officials have faced fierce criticism for not coming up with a robust plan to ensure safety on the city’s buses and subways. They initially told riders to make their own decisions on whether they feel comfortable taking mass transit, or recommended commuting via car instead, even though most workers do not have the means to do so.
Since then, the city has pledged to make masks and hand sanitizer available at stations and will increase the frequency of buses and trains to limit crowding. The subway system will remain closed from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. each night until further notice so that transit workers can disinfect the trains.
— Marina Fang
Coronavirus restrictions such as stay-at-home orders prevented about 4.8 million confirmed infections (and about 60 million total infections) in the U.S., according to a study published Monday in the scientific journal Nature.
In their study, researchers at the University of California at Berkeley examined the effects of 1,717 local, regional and national policies on the growth rate of infections in six countries: China, France, Iran, Italy, South Korea and the U.S. They found that the combined effect of these policies reduced the infection rate by “a substantial and statistically significant amount.”
There have been over 1.9 million documented cases of the coronavirus in the U.S. and more than 110,000 deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
— Hayley Miller
The Brazilian government has been accused of “masking” the deadly impact of the pandemic after the health ministry removed months of data from a website that had been tracking COVID-19.
The ministry also stopped giving a total count of confirmed cases, which have shot past 685,000 – more than anywhere outside the United States – or a total death toll, which passed Italy this week, and was nearing 38,000 on Sunday.
“The cumulative data ... does not reflect the moment the country is in,” President Jair Bolsonaro said on Twitter. Neither Bolsonaro nor the ministry gave a reason for erasing most of the data on the covid.saude.gov.br website, which had been a key public resource for tracking COVID-19.
Diego Iraheta, the Editor-in-Chief of HuffPost Brazil, wrote in an editorial that the move was “yet another attack on the free press” in the country.
“The Bolsonaro government is trying to mask the dramatic reality of the pandemic in Brazil. It acts with intent to restrict access to public information about public health, which should be easily available to the press to report the (increasing) size of the problem,” Iraheta wrote.
Bolsonaro has long played down the dangers of the pandemic, replaced medical experts in the health ministry with military officials and argued against state lockdowns to fight the virus, hobbling the country’s public health response.
— James Martin
Arrivals into Britain are now required to self-isolate for two weeks under new government rules, in a bid to prevent a second wave of COVID-19. All passengers – bar a handful of exemptions – will have to fill out an online locator form giving their contact and travel details, as well as the address of where they will isolate.
People who fail to comply could be fined £1,000 ($1,260) in England, and police will be allowed to use “reasonable force” to make sure they follow the rules.
The plans have been met with strong criticism from opposition parties as well as the travel industry. British Airways has begun legal proceedings over what it calls the government’s “unlawful” quarantine measures.
Speaking about the quarantine for international arrivals, Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary said: “What’s irrational about it is all of those countries have a much lower COVID rate than the UK.”
He added: “Millions of jobs are going to be lost in British tourism because British hotels, British guest houses, British visitor attractions – all over London, the Globe, the London Eye, Madame Tussauds – will be empty, because the hundreds of thousands of Italians and Spanish and French people you get coming to Britain every July and August simply won’t travel.” Read more.
— James Martin
With the recovery of its last known COVID-19 case, New Zealand appears to have eradicated the coronavirus. The nation of 5 million people will lift almost all lockdown restrictions but keep strict border controls in place, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Monday.
Ardern said she did a little dance in her living room when she heard the news. “We can hold public events without limitations. Private events such as weddings, functions and funerals without limitations,” Ardern said. “Retail is back without limitations. Hospitality is back without limitations. Public transport and travel across the country is fully opened.”
Experts say that New Zealand’s remote location and Ardern’s quick action to lock down the country helped it eliminate the spread of the disease. New Zealand has had 1,504 cases of the disease, with 22 deaths.
— Liza Hearon
There have now been at least 400,000 coronavirus-linked deaths reported worldwide, as the number of documented cases globally inches toward 7 million, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
Roughly a quarter of those deaths — or about 100,000 — have occurred in the United States, largely within New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts. The U.S. has the highest number of documented cases and deaths in the world.
Nearly 2 million cases have been reported nationwide as of Sunday, though experts believe that number is likely an undercount.
Coronavirus cases have spiked in some states, including Texas, Utah and Arizona, as local governments begin reopening their economies.
More than half of the COVID-19 cases in Utah happened in the last 30 days, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.
Texas’ biggest cities recorded new cases this past week, ABC News reported: Dallas County had 298 new cases while Harris County, home to Houston, had 108.
Arizona also hit a new record number of cases, bringing the state total to 25,451 on Saturday, according to Arizona Central.
New York City, which has had the highest rates of coronavirus infections and deaths in the U.S., saw its biggest drop yet in deaths this week.
Newly released records put out by the city show there were zero confirmed coronavirus deaths Wednesday, the New York Daily News reports. However, three deaths were listed as having a “probable” connection to COVID-19, which may later be reclassified to count as coronavirus-related deaths.
The first confirmed death from the virus in the city occurred March 11. The death toll hit its peak on April 7, with 570 deaths in one day.
— Sebastian Murdock
As protests continue across the country demanding police accountability and justice for the death of George Floyd, the nation’s top infectious diseases expert is warning of the potential health risks.
Dr. Anthony Fauci told WTOP about the likelihood of the coronavirus spreading during nationwide protests attended by thousands of people at a time.
“It’s a perfect set-up for further spread of the virus in terms of creating some blips that could turn into some surges,” he told WTOP. “There certainly is a risk.”
— Sebastian Murdock
Brazil’s coronavirus death toll surpassed Italy on Thursday, as the Health Ministry reported 1,437 deaths in the last 24 hours.
HuffPost Brazil reports (in Portuguese) that the country has now reported 34,021 deaths from COVID-19, trailing only the United States and the United Kingdom. With 30,925 confirmed cases in the last 24 hours, the total number of infections reached 614,941, according to Thursday’s bulletin. However, experts consider the tally a significant undercount due to insufficient testing.
The latest data was released three hours later than usual and after evening news bulletins had gone to air.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has played down the threat of the disease, criticizing social distancing measures and urging regional governments to lift restrictions for the sake of the economy.
On Tuesday, Bolsonaro told Brazilians that death is “everyone’s destiny.”
— James Martin
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Friday issued a stern warning to those planning to attend Black Lives Matter protests around the country this weekend amid fears the events could spread coronavirus.
“The health advice is very clear, that it’s not a good idea to go,” he told reporters. “Let’s find a better way and another way to express these sentiments, rather than putting your own health at risk, the health of others at risk, and the great gains we have been able to make as a country in recent months.”
People in the Australian cities of Perth and Sydney have protested this week against police violence and mourned not just George Floyd but Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander lives lost at the hands of police.
“Stop Black Deaths In Custody” protests are planned in most major Australian cities for this weekend but Morrison has made it clear people should still be very wary of contracting coronavirus. Australia has not reported a death from coronavirus for more than a week. It has recorded 102 COVID-19 deaths and almost 7,200 infections.
— Carly Williams
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Thursday that it will require coronavirus testing sites to collect demographic data from patients amid growing concerns that COVID-19 disproportionately affects communities of color.
CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield cited healthy food as one of the many resources that communities of color often cannot access.
“There’s no question that the social determinants of health as pertained to access to quality food have enormous public health — health outcomes,” he said at a House Appropriations Committee hearing.
Gathering better data about the way COVID-19 affects those communities opens new doors, he said, calling it “the key first step that we need to do to address the health disparities.”
The development comes as protesters nationwide call out the systemic racism that the Black community faces, both in law enforcement and other facets of government, including public health. In April, data from the CDC found that nearly one-third of those who have died from the coronavirus are Black.
— Lydia O’Connor
Three of the authors behind an influential article that found that hydroxychloroquine increased the risk of death in COVID-19 patients retracted the study on Thursday, citing concerns about the quality of the data behind it.
The study’s authors said Surgisphere, the company that provided the data, would not transfer the full data set for an independent review.
“As such, our reviewers were not able to conduct an independent and private peer review and therefore notified us of their withdrawal from the peer review process,” the authors wrote in a statement, adding, “Based on this development, we can no longer vouch for the veracity of the primary data sources.”
President Donald Trump has touted hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for COVID-19, despite a dearth of scientific evidence to back up his claim. He has said that he’s taken hydroxychloroquine as a prophylactic against the coronavirus. However, results of a rigorous study published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine found that using the anti-malarial drug to prevent COVID-19 proved ineffective.
— Hayley Miller
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