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.

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

More than 5.1 million cases of the virus have been confirmed worldwide, and more than 332,000 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.)

Yemen’s Health System ‘Has In Effect’ Collapsed, UN Says — 5/22/20, 6:35 a.m.

Yemen’s health-care system is collapsing under the strain of the spread of COVID-19, the U.N. warned Friday in an appeal for funding.

Aid workers report turning people away because they don’t have the PPE or oxygen needed to treat them, said Jens Laerke, spokesman for the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Reuters reported.

“We hear from many of them that Yemen is really on the brink right now. The situation is extremely alarming, they are talking about that the health system has in effect collapsed,” he said.

Yemen has reported 197 cases of coronavirus and 33 deaths from the disease, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard. But Laerke said the actual numbers are much higher. The country has been ravaged by war and the malnourished population has among the world’s lowest immunity levels to disease.

— Liza Hearon

Locking Down UK A Week Earlier Could Have Avoided Thousands Of Deaths  — 5/22/20, 6:20 a.m.

Putting the U.K. into lockdown just one week earlier would have had a “dramatic” impact on the number of deaths caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, a leading mathematical modeler has declared.

Writing for HuffPost UK, Kit Yates, co-director of Bath University’s center for mathematical biology, said that speedier intervention could have saved thousands of lives, while making it easier to reopen the economy and protect the National Health Service (NHS) at the same time.

Yates underlined a new analysis by climatologist James Annan that estimated that three-quarters of Britain’s fatalities — at least 27,000 deaths — would have been avoided with a lockdown imposed seven days earlier than March 23, when Prime Minister Boris Johnson finally opted to do so.

“In the early stages of the U.K.’s epidemic, when the case numbers were growing exponentially, it would not have been difficult to predict that earlier suppression would have had dramatic and beneficial consequences for the number of cases and deaths a short time down the line,” he said.

Latest government figures show 36,042 people with the virus have died in the U.K. One model devised by the Financial Times suggests at least 63,000 excess deaths are linked directly or indirectly to COVID-19. Read more

— Paul Waugh 

Fauci: Go Out (But Maintain Physical Distance) Over Memorial Day Weekend — 5/22/2020, 6:00 a.m.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and member of the Trump White House’s coronavirus task force, said people should go out and enjoy the outdoors over Memorial Day weekend, but to practice physical distancing.

At a CNN global coronavirus town hall Thursday night, Fauci said he would be enjoying hikes over the long weekend, but he would be wearing a mask and avoiding crowds.

His comments were welcomed by epidemiologist Julia Marcus, who says that a sustainable, long-term approach is now needed in giving guidance to Americans, instead of the “all-or-nothing” approach in telling Americans to stay at home, HuffPost’s Lee Moran reports.

“I think that’s the approach we need moving forward, is to encourage people to be outdoors where we know the risk of transmission is much lower,” said Marcus.

— Liza Hearon

Brazil Death Toll Surpasses 20,000 After Another Deadly Day  — 5/22/20, 5 a.m.

The COVID-19 crisis in Brazil continues to deepen after the country recorded more than 1,000 deaths in a day for the second time in a week, pushing the total death toll above 20,000. Brazil is the only country to have recorded more than 1,000 deaths from coronavirus in a single day.

HuffPost Brazil reports (in Portuguese) that infections also continue to rise, with 18,508 new cases in 24 hours. The total number of infections in Brazil now stands at 310,087, the third highest in the world behind the United States and Russia.

The latest data reinforces the worsening health crisis in the country. Since May 5, the total number of confirmed deaths from one day to the next has stayed above 600, however, it’s believed the number of fatalities could be even higher than official numbers suggest.

— Marcella Fernandes

Senate Leaves For Recess Until June 1 Without Passing Any New Coronavirus Relief — 5/21/20, 7:45 p.m. ET

The Senate ended its current three-week session on Thursday without taking any legislative action to address the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and will not return until after the Memorial Day holiday.

Republican leaders have remained skeptical about a massive, $3 trillion measure passed by House Democrats to follow up on a series of landmark stimulus efforts meant to stave off the economic fallout from the virus. More than 38 million people in the U.S. have filed for joblessness benefits since the outbreak began, and top Democrats have been calling for more fiscal support measures to help Americans.

But the GOP has so far resisted, and President Donald Trump has promised to veto an initiative of that size.

“It’s illogical to say we’ve spent $3 trillion and we wouldn’t want to take a look whether it’s being efficient before we rush headlong and push another $3 trillion out the door,” Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) said Thursday.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has argued, however: “If you look at our activity across the past three weeks, you’d hardly know there was a COVID crisis.” 

— Nick Visser

Nearly 39 Million Americans Have Filed Unemployment Claims Because Of COVID-19 — 5/21/20, 9:02 a.m. ET

More than 2.4 million workers in the United States applied for unemployment benefits last week, bringing the total number of Americans who have filed unemployment claims over the past nine weeks to nearly 39 million, the Labor Department said Thursday.

That number doesn’t include the 2.2 million self-employed, contractor or gig workers who are newly eligible for unemployment benefits due to the congressional CARES Act, according to the Associated Press.

Many laid-off workers who filed claims weeks ago have yet to receive their unemployment benefits due to antiquated reporting systems and state unemployment websites crashing, as HuffPost’s Arthur Delaney, Emily Peck and Igor Bobic found.

— Marina Fang

Australia’s Political Leaders At War Over Reopening Travel  — 5/21/20, 6 a.m. ET

Australia’s state and territory leaders are bickering over whether to reopen internal borders, a major step to rejuvenating the country’s A$80 billion (US$52 billion) domestic tourism industry, as part of measures to ease coronavirus restrictions.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said he wants the bulk of all social distancing restrictions removed by July under a three-step plan, as the country continues to report low daily numbers of new COVID-19 infections.

But HuffPost Australia reports that the implementation of the federal plan is down to the leaders of individual states and territories, who come from opposing political parties and disagree on how safe it is to allow unrestricted movement throughout the country.

New South Wales (N.S.W.) has called for all borders to be opened as a critical step to giving the ailing economy a much-needed boost. Earlier in the week N.S.W. announced it will lift its limits on regional travel with holidays allowed within the state from June 1.

— James Martin

Brazil Expands Chloroquine Treatment Despite Health Warnings — 5/21/20, 5:40 a.m. ET

Brazil’s health ministry has approved the expanded use of chloroquine to treat mild cases of coronavirus in defiance of public health experts warning of possible health risks.

Wider use of the anti-malarial drug, widely touted by President Jair Bolsonaro, was authorized by interim Health Minister Eduardo Pazuello, an active duty army general, after two trained doctors quit the ministry’s top job under pressure to promote early use of chloroquine.

HuffPost Brazil reports (in Portuguese), that use of the drug was previously restricted to more severe cases when patients could be monitored in the hospital. Patients or family members will have to sign a waiver recognizing potential side effects.

The World Health Organization reiterated Wednesday that hydroxychloroquine has potential side effects and should be reserved for clinical trials.

Brazil’s daily death toll from the outbreak jumped to a record 1,179 on Tuesday, with more confirmed cases than any country but Russia and the United States

— Marcella Fernandes

U.S. Buys 300 Million Doses Of Potential COVID-19 Vaccine — 5/21/2020; 5:30 a.m. ET

The U.S. government has paid more than $1 billion to pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca for an experimental COVID-19 vaccine being developed at the U.K.’s University of Oxford. 

The Department of Health and Human Services said in a Thursday statement that AstraZeneca has promised to deliver at least 300 million doses of the potential vaccine to the U.S., “with the first doses delivered as early as October.”

 If an effective COVID-19 vaccine is distributed before the year ends, it would be — by far — the fastest vaccine ever developed. The mumps vaccine is currently considered the fastest ever approved and that took four years to create. As Bloomberg cautioned, however, AstraZeneca’s vaccine candidate is currently still in human trials with “no guarantee of success.” 

— Dominique Mosbergen

At Least 5 Million People Globally Have Been Infected With COVID-19 — 05/21/20; 3:45 a.m. ET

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases has surpassed 5 million worldwide, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally.

The grim milestone was reached mere hours after the World Health Organization said it had recorded its highest-ever daily number of COVID-19 cases. “We still have a long way to go in this pandemic,” the agency’s chief warned.

— Dominique Mosbergen

California Students And Teachers Can’t Return To School Without PPE ― 5/20/20, 7:30 p.m. ET

California education chief Tony Thurmond announced Wednesday that schools in the state cannot resume instruction unless they have enough personal protective equipment for everyone on campus.

“There have to be masks and hand sanitizer and the ability for hand washing and other resources for our schools to open safely,” he said at a press briefing. “We know that having access to this personal protective equipment is a critical factor in the ability to reopen. Quite frankly, our schools cannot reopen without it.”

California has not mandated a statewide reopening date for schools, which moved online in response to the coronavirus pandemic. While some smaller counties have gotten permission to resume school in person, most don’t plan to bring students back into the classroom until the academic year starting in the fall.

― Lydia O’Connor

All 50 States Have Now Begun To Reopen In Some Form — 5/20/20, 9:00 a.m. ET

Connecticut began to modestly ease some coronavirus restrictions on Wednesday, becoming the final state — out of the 42 that had issued stay-at-home orders — to start reopening in some form during the pandemic.

The Nutmeg state will now allow people to eat in outdoor sections of restaurants and visit retail shops. Offices, outdoor museums and zoos are also allowed to reopen.

Connecticut is taking “baby steps,” Gov. Ned Lamont (D) told CNN. “We have followed the metrics, hospitalization is down, fatalities are down. We have a lot of [personal protective equipment] right now. We have the gowns and masks. And finally, we have the contact tracing in place.”

Some governors who never issued statewide stay-at-home orders, like Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R), loosened restrictions earlier this month on salons, tattoo parlors and other businesses.

— Hayley Miller

Brazil Records Grim New Milestone As Daily Death Toll Rockets — 5/20/20, 6:25 a.m. ET

The daily COVID-19 death toll in Brazil hit 1,179 on Tuesday, setting a new record for fatalities recorded in a single day by any country.

The figure is more than 250 more than the 919 deaths recorded by Italy in late March when it was the epicenter of the global coronavirus outbreak.

More than 18,000 people have now died in Brazil, according to official data, while 271,628 cases have been recorded, placing the country third behind the U.S. and Russia in total number of infections.

However, HuffPost Brazil reported that the true death toll is likely to be even higher due to the slow processing of laboratory tests.

On Tuesday, President Jair Bolsonaro doubled down on chloroquine as a possible remedy as Donald Trump said he is considering a travel ban from Brazil.

— Marcella Fernandes

Radicalized Instagram Stars Are Mainstreaming COVID-19 Conspiracy Theories — 5/20/20, 6:00 a.m. ET

HuffPost’s Jesselyn Cook reviewed Instagram accounts of more than a dozen seemingly radicalized influencers who have been using their platforms to push coronavirus misinformation. They try to discredit Dr. Anthony Fauci, claim that face masks are harmful, and push 5G conspiracy theories. With their large, dedicated followings, these women are in a unique position to open people’s minds to false and dangerous information.

Read more.

— Liza Hearon

Indian Government Data Questioned As COVID-19 Cases Rocket — 5/20/20, 5:45 a.m. ET

HPIN 20 May
HPIN 20 May

The government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is using incomplete data to justify its decisions and underplay the extent of the COVID-19 crisis, a HuffPost India report has found

An analysis of publicly available data, local health bulletins, government documents, interviews with district and state-level officials, and infectious disease experts suggests that the highest levels of government do not have a real-time picture of how the pandemic is unfolding.

The government significantly relaxed India’s national lockdown on May 17, the day the country recorded the largest single-day spike in fresh coronavirus cases and fatalities.

The crisis in India’s data gathering, and the way this data is deployed by policymakers, is likely to become more pronounced in the coming weeks as travel restrictions ease and COVID-19 cases spike, HuffPost India reports.

India has recorded just over 100,000 cases and more than 3,000 deaths, according to official data. 

— Samarth Bansal

For more on the pandemic, go here.

A HuffPost Guide To Coronavirus