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.

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

More than 4.1 million cases of the virus have been confirmed worldwide, and more than 283,000 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.) 

Putin Spokesman Hospitalized With COVID-19 As Cases Surge In Russia — 5/13/2020, 7 a.m. ET

Dmitry Peskov, President Vladimir Putin’s press secretary and one of his closest aides, confirmed to state-run media on Tuesday that he had “fallen ill” with the virus. He and his wife, Tatyana Navka, have been hospitalized.

Russia overtook Spain this week as the country with the highest number of COVID-19 cases after the United States. The country has reported over 230,000 confirmed infections to date and about 2,100 deaths.

Several top Kremlin officials have been sick with the coronavirus. But — despite the rising number of cases — Putin announced Monday that the country would start to lift its partial economic lockdown.

— Dominique Mosbergen

Bolsonaro Wants Lockdowns Lifted As Brazil Records Deadliest Day — 5/13/20, 4:15 a.m.

Brazil’s confirmed cases of coronavirus passed Germany on Tuesday, as President Jair Bolsonaro fought states over his calls to reopen gyms and beauty salons, even as his country becomes a new global hotspot for the pandemic.

HuffPost Brazil reports (in Portuguese) that Brazil recorded its deadliest day on Tuesday, with 881 confirmed deaths in 24 hours, taking the total death toll to 12,400. Brazil now has 177,589 confirmed cases, passing Germany and drawing nearly even with France’s tally.

Bolsonaro has continually played down the risks of coronavirus despite the outbreak accelerating in Brazil, and called on states to relax their lockdown orders. The president clashed with governors again this week after declaring gyms and hair salons as “essential” services and exempt from lockdowns.

“Bolsonaro is walking toward the precipice and wants to take all of us with him,” Rio de Janeiro Governor Wilson Witzel said.

The president’s popularity has suffered since the crisis began, polls show. Disapproval of Bolsonaro rose to more than 55% in a survey released on Tuesday, from 47% in January.

— James Martin 

LA Stay-At-Home Orders Likely To Extend Through July ― 5/12/20, 3:21 p.m. ET

Los Angeles County’s stay-at-home orders will be extended through July “with all certainty,” L.A. County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said Tuesday.

Ferrer said at a Board of Supervisors meeting that the orders would continue for the next three months unless there was a “dramatic change to the virus and tools at hand,” the Los Angeles Times reported.

However, Ferrer also said that the agency was hoping to “slowly lift restrictions” if new data allows it.

“Our hope is that by using the data, we’d be able to slowly lift restrictions over the next three months,” she said. 

Los Angeles County is the most populated county in California. There are 32,263 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 1,570 related deaths in Los Angeles alone.

— Carla H. Russo

Broadway Extends Closures Through Labor Day — 5/12/20, 12:02 p.m. ET

New York City’s Broadway will remain dark until at least Sept. 6, theater officials announced Tuesday, as it appears unlikely major cultural venues will resume operations anytime soon.

“While all Broadway shows would love to resume performances as soon as possible, we need to ensure the health and well-being of everyone who comes to the theatre – behind the curtain and in front of it – before shows can return. The Broadway League’s membership is working in cooperation with the theatrical unions, government officials, and health experts to determine the safest ways to restart our industry,” said Charlotte St. Martin, president of the Broadway League, which oversees the city’s major stage productions.

City and state officials have strongly indicated large gatherings and public spaces will remain off-limits throughout the summer, even as smaller businesses begin to reopen. The phased reopening plan New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced this week places arts and entertainment institutions in the final phase of businesses that can reopen, and New York City as a whole will almost certainly be the last part of the state to meet the regional reopening guidelines.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) said Monday the city will not consider easing any COVID-19 restrictions until at least June.

Elsewhere in the theater world, London’s West End shows are currently closed through at least June 28. Legendary British theater producer Cameron Mackintosh predicted last week that many theaters may not be able to reopen until 2021 — and could be among the last major institutions to reopen because it would be difficult for performers, staff and audiences to practice social distancing.

— Marina Fang

Fauci: Number Of Deaths In U.S. Likely Higher Than Official Death Toll ― 05/12/2020, 11:35 a.m. ET

During the Senate hearing Tuesday, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) asked Dr. Anthony Fauci whether the number of coronavirus-linked deaths in the U.S. is higher than the official death toll. Fauci said that’s “almost certainly” the case.

“Most of us feel that the number of deaths are likely higher than that number,” Fauci said.

He pointed to New York City, where people may have died in their homes who were infected with the virus but were not counted as COVID-19 patients because they never got to the hospital to be diagnosed.

“I think you are correct that the number is likely higher,” Fauci told Sanders. “I don’t know exactly what percent higher, but almost certainly it’s higher.”

As of Tuesday, there were more than 1.3 million confirmed cases of the virus nationwide and at least 80,000 deaths, according to data compiled Johns Hopkins University.

Fauci’s new comments throw cold water on conspiracy theories peddled by right-wing media and allies of President Donald Trump, who claim without evidence that the official death toll has been inflated. Trump said last month that the U.S. is “reporting very accurately,” despite retweeting a claim that the mortality rate is being inflated because infection rates are underreported.

― Hayley Miller

Senate Hearing On Coronavirus Response Kicks Off ― 05/12/2020, 10:40 a.m. ET

The Senate Health Committee hearing to discuss whether the U.S. is ready to reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic began around 10 a.m. Eastern time. 

Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) opened the hearing remotely via livestream, as he is self-quarantining for 14 days because a staffer in his office tested positive for the virus. Alexander called the testing efforts nationwide “impressive” but “not nearly enough.“

Dr. Anthony Fauci, who is engaging in a “modified quarantine” after coming in limited contact with an infected person, was the first member of the White House coronavirus task force to address the committee. He said there are at least eight vaccines in various stages of development and that officials hope to know by late fall and early winter if they are successful.

“We have many candidates and hope to have multiple winners,” Fauci said from a remote location.

― Hayley Miller

Millions Of Americans Still Haven’t Received Their Stimulus Checks — 05/12/2020, 6:14 a.m. ET

About 20 million Americans eligible to receive federal stimulus payments are still waiting for their checks. If you’re one of them, the IRS says you have until Wednesday to give the agency your bank details via the agency’s Get My Payment portal

“After noon Wednesday, the IRS will begin preparing millions of files to send to [the Bureau of Fiscal Services] for paper checks that will begin arriving through late May and into June,” the IRS said Friday. 

— Dominique Mosbergen

Restaurants And Cafes Prepare To Reopen In Australia — 5/12/20, 6 a.m. ET

Australia’s most populous state will begin a phased reopening of restaurants and cafes on Friday as the spread of coronavirus slows.

New South Wales will allow venues to seat 10 patrons at a time, permit outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people, and visits of up to five people to a household. The state is the epicenter of COVID-19 in Australia, with almost half of the country’s confirmed 7,000 COVID-19 cases and 97 deaths.

HuffPost Australia reports, however, that business owners have claimed the new rules will make it difficult to reopen venues.

“How can a venue possibly survive on 10 customers? All it will mean is that a handful of people don’t have to leave immediately after they collect their food,” restaurant owner Kenny Graham said.

Despite recording significantly lower deaths and infections than the United States, Britain and Europe, Australia’s finance minister said Tuesday that the country faces a “sobering” economic outlook due to the effects of the coronavirus and will have its largest-ever deficit when a revised budget is released in October. After suffering a coughing fit during his ministerial statement in parliament, Josh Frydenberg immediately went into isolation and was tested for coronavirus. 

— Carly Williams & James Martin

French Schools Reopen To Students After 2-Month Lockdown — 5/12/20, 4:10 a.m. ET

Schools in France will open to students today. However, they will have little in common with those shut prior to the coronavirus lockdown.

Under strict protocols imposed by the government, parents will need to take the temperature of their children before arriving at school, lesson times will be staggered to avoid student contact, and class sizes will be limited to allow for a meter (3.2 feet) spacing between desks.

HuffPost France reports (in French) that teachers have also voiced concerns over how they will teach lessons while wearing a mask, with rules declaring that the use of a face covering is essential “when the rules of social distancing may not be respected.”

“Teachers have multiple tools to do their jobs. They have intellectual resources, like knowledge; materials, such as paintings, pens and notebooks. But they also have their voices, their looks, and all the facial expressions,” said Françoise Lantheaume, a sociologist and professor in educational sciences.

Coronavirus has killed more than 26,000 people in France, the world’s fifth-highest toll behind the United States, U.K., Italy and Spain. Deaths in the country on Monday were almost four times higher than Sunday, and new confirmed cases more than doubled over 24 hours, as it started unwinding an almost two-month national lockdown. 

Read more here

— James Martin

Western States Pact Ask For $1 Trillion In Federal Aid ― 5/22/2020, 7:20 p.m. ET

The Western States Pact, a five-state alliance formed in response to the coronavirus pandemic, is asking the federal government to provide $1 trillion in relief aid across all states to help their economies. 

The pact ― California, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon and Washington ― wrote in a letter to congressional leaders Monday that state and local leaders need the funding to “preserve core government services like public health, public safety, public education and help people get back to work. It would help our states and cities come out of this crisis stronger and more resilient.”

The request comes as Congress debates how much money to provide in such aid. Though Democrats have largely pushed for more, Republicans are divided on whether to expand on the $150 billion stimulus package for states and cities that Congress approved in March. 

― Lydia O’Connor

U.S. Death Toll From Coronavirus Passes 80,000 — 5/11/20, 4:45 p.m. ET

More than 80,000 people have officially died from COVID-19 in the United States, according to Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. continues to lead the world in confirmed coronavirus cases, with more than 1.3 million as of Monday.

Last month, President Donald Trump estimated that the U.S. death toll from the virus would reach 60,000. Just over a week later, the number of deaths surpassed his predicted figure.

The president has urged states to reopen businesses over the last several weeks, and many have begun to do so. Public health experts have warned that reopening too soon could lead to a surge in cases.

— Sarah Ruiz-Grossman

New York Unveils Phased Regional Reopening Plan — 5/11/20, 12:36 p.m. ET

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) marked “a new phase” in the state’s COVID-19 response, laying out a phased reopening plan by region that will begin Friday, when the state’s stay-at-home order is set to expire.

Each region will have to meet seven metrics for reopening, including a consistent 14-day decline in cases, sufficient hospital capacity and enough testing and tracing per capita. The regional approach is a contrast from Cuomo’s previous insistence that COVID-19 measures should be statewide.

Businesses will reopen in four phases, with hotels, restaurants and schools as well and arts, entertainment and recreational facilities among the last that will be allowed to resume operations, Cuomo said.

Some will be exempted, such as landscaping, gardening, any “low-risk outdoor” activities, drive-in movie theaters and restaurants or retail outlets that are already doing contactless or curbside pickup or delivery.

Over the last few weeks, the number of new COVID-19 cases has consistently declined in the state, which has had by far the most cases in the United States.

Cuomo tried to contrast the reopening plan with that of other states, where governors have begun to reopen businesses even as cases in their states continue to rise, unlike in New York.

As HuffPost’s Michael Hobbes reported, these metrics-based reopening approaches can be fairly suspect and do not always hold states and regions accountable, especially given the possibility of a second wave of infections.

— Marina Fang

Disney Reopens Shanghai’s Disneyland, With Strict Controls — 5/11/20, 11:39 a.m. ET

Shanghai’s Disneyland on Monday became the first Disney park to reopen since the coronavirus began spreading in January, serving as a test for the entertainment giant as it assesses when to reopen parks worldwide.

The park is operating at 30% capacity with strict entry controls, including temperature checks and use of the Chinese government’s QR code tracking system, which controls citizens’ movements by assigning each individual green, yellow or red designations based on their health and how much they’ve interacted with people who tested positive or were exposed to the virus.

Read more from the Associated Press.

— Marina Fang

UK Movie Theaters Won’t Reopen Until At Least July 4 — 5/11/20, 11:17 a.m. ET

Officials in the United Kingdom don’t expect movie theaters to reopen until July 4 at the earliest, according to a COVID-19 reopening plan announced Monday.

The plan puts movie theaters in the “high-risk” group of businesses, which will be among the last to reopen. The category also includes restaurants, pubs, hair salons, religious facilities and other enclosed places where it would be difficult to practice social distancing.

Many of these businesses may not be prepared to reopen until even later, the U.K. government said.

“Some venues which are, by design, crowded and where it may prove difficult to enact distancing may still not be able to re-open safely at this point, or may be able to open safely only in part,” the plan read.

Most theater chains around the world remain closed due to the pandemic. Hollywood executives have been aiming for an early July reopening, ahead of the July 17 premiere of Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet.” The action thriller is slated to be the first major blockbuster remaining on the movie calendar to be released, as most other spring and summer movies were pushed back — but even that date seems optimistic.

— Marina Fang

South Korea Donates 2 Million Face Masks To U.S. — 5/11/2020, 3:58 a.m. ET

South Korea’s foreign ministry said Sunday that it had donated 2 million face masks to the United States, in a show of “support for our ally.” The masks were set to arrive in America on Monday aboard a U.S. cargo flight, the ministry said, per South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency.

Harry Harris, the U.S. ambassador to South Korea, thanked the country on Twitter for the shipment. 

“Our alliance and friendship are as vital and ironclad today as it was 70 years ago,” Harris wrote.

— Dominique Mosbergen

Boris Johnson Sets Out ‘5 Alert’ Plan For Britain To Ease Lockdown — 5/10/20, 2:30 p.m. ET

U.K. prime minister Boris Johnson has announced the country’s first changes to the coronavirus lockdown, which will come into force on Wednesday, but warned it would be “madness” to remove restrictions entirely this week.

Johnson said people will be permitted to do “unlimited” outdoor exercise, sunbathe, play sports with members of their household, and “drive to other destinations.” He added that from Monday people who cannot work from home will be “actively encouraged” to return to their jobs.

But in the pre-recorded speech to the nation on Sunday evening, the prime minister said that while some rules will be relaxed, fines for people who break the lockdown guidelines will be increased.

Johnson said some primary-age children could return to school by June 1 “at the earliest.” The “phased” reopening of shops could also be allowed at the start of next month. Under the P.M.’s plan, some of the hospitality industry and other public places could be allowed to reopen at the beginning of July.

A new alert system, similar to that used to monitor active terrorist threats, is being established to monitor the threat posed by the virus. The U.K. is currently at level four of the five-tier system, just below the “most critical” threat.

The number of registered deaths from COVID-19 currently stands at 33,021 across the country.

Read more here.

— Ned Simons

Mnuchin: Actual U.S. Unemployment Rate ‘Could Be’ Close To 25% — 5/10/20, 12:15 p.m. ET

The Labor Department reported this week that the unemployment rate has hit a record 14.7%, but Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Sunday that the actual rate could be closer to 25%.

The latter figure would match the joblessness rate during the Great Depression, which is estimated to have peaked at 24.9% in 1933.

On “Fox News Sunday,” Mnuchin said the reported unemployment numbers would probably “get worse before they get better.”

“That’s why we’re very focused on rebuilding this economy and getting back to where it was,” he said. “This is no fault of American business. This no fault of American workers. This is the result of a virus.”

— Hayley Miller

White House Officials Killed Report On Reopening Country, Not The CDC ― 5/8/20, 7:07 p.m. ET

It was high-ranking White House officials who made the decision to shelf detailed reopening guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, The Associated Press reported Friday.

AP’s findings conflict with claims by White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, who said Friday that CDC Director Robert Redfield did not approve the documents. Emails obtained by the AP show that he did. 

AP also found that CDC officials repeatedly inquired why the White House hadn’t posted their guidance, which included “decision trees,” a type of flow chart that would establish benchmarks for when communities can resume business as usual. But the White House killed the documents for good on April 30. 

― Lydia O’Connor

For earlier updates on the pandemic, go here. 


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