Coronavirus Live Updates: UK Could See 50,000 Cases A Day Within Weeks

Stay up to date as we cover the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and its effects across the world.

Since Chinese officials implemented the first coronavirus lockdown in the city of Wuhan in January, there have been more than 31.3 million cases of COVID-19 across the planet.

More than 964,000 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.)

Spanish Capital Slides Back Into Partial Lockdown, Requests Military Help — 9/22/20 4:45 a.m. ET

More than 850,000 people in poorer regions of Madrid have been placed into a partial lockdown, sparking complaints of discrimination and protests among residents.

A recent spike in coronavirus infections in Spain, peaking at over 10,000 per day, took cumulative cases above 670,000 as of Monday, the highest in Western Europe, while the number of deaths from COVID-19 stands at 30,663.

Residents in the southern Madrid district of Vallecas, one of the areas where a partial lockdown took effect on Monday, were upset about the curbs and called for more health services and fewer police controls in their neighborhood.

HuffPost Spain reported that protesters also complained that they had to take Madrid’s crowded subways, where social distancing was not being respected.

“It’s okay to go to work and serve them at the bar, but then we have to come back at night and be confined here while they do what they want elsewhere,” a protester said.

“It is horrendous and bad because it is discrimination. They should regulate the metro, (where) we are packed like sardines,” a Vallecas resident said.

The head of Madrid’s regional government also requested the army’s assistance to fight a surge in cases in the city, Spain’s worst-hit region. At the height of the first wave of the pandemic in March-April, Spain deployed thousands of troops to help civilian authorities contain the outbreak.

“We need help from the army for disinfection...and to strengthen local police and law enforcement,” Isabel Diaz Ayuso, the chief of Madrid’s regional government, told a news briefing after meeting Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez on Monday.

— James Martin

UK To Face 50,000 COVID-19 Cases A Day Within Weeks, Top Scientist Says — 9/21/20 7 a.m. ET

Britain could see 50,000 daily cases of COVID-19 by mid-October and 200 deaths a day by mid-November if the current rate of infection is not halted, Chief Scientific Officer Patrick Vallance said at a snap public briefing in Downing Street on Monday.

The news comes after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned on Friday that a second wave “is coming” to the U.K. Last week, the R0 rate of the virus, which shows whether the pandemic is growing, jumped to between 1.1 and 1.4, HuffPost U.K. reported.

On Monday, Health Secretary Matt Hancock refused to guarantee that pubs would be open this weekend. However, he also said the country would not return to the full lockdown seen in March, stressing that restrictions would be “different to last time.”

Nearly 42,000 people have died from the coronavirus in the U.K., the highest COVID-19 death toll in Europe and the fifth largest in the world. New cases are rising by at least 6,000 per day in Britain, and hospital admissions are doubling every eight days.

— Rachel Wearmouth and James Martin

W.H. Task Force Member: A Few Million Early Doses Of Vaccine Could Make ‘Enormous Impact’ — 9/20/20, 3:30 p.m. ET

A coronavirus vaccine likely won’t be available to all Americans until mid-2021, but even a few million doses in November or December could have an “enormous impact” on the number of hospitalizations and fatalities, Assistant Health Secretary Adm. Brett Giroir said Sunday.

“From my perspective, even a few million doses early in November or December, if we have 5 or 10 percent of the population that we can vaccinate, we can get 80 or more 90 percent of the benefit,” Giroir, a member of the White House coronavirus task force, said during an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

“For example, if we could vaccinate workers in nursing homes, we could protect the elderly and the vulnerable from disease,” he added. “That would make an enormous impact on mortality, if we could vaccinate our teachers and those with preexisting conditions or those surrounding those people. ... A vaccine as early as possible, even in a few million doses, will be a godsend in terms of outcomes, hospitalizations, morbidity and deaths.”

Giroir and Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, testified last week that hundreds of millions of doses of a safe and effective vaccine would likely be available in the second or third quarter of 2021.
During a news briefing Friday, Trump pledged 100 million doses of a vaccine by the end of 2020, contradicting the CDC’s predictions. In the best-case scenario, the CDC estimated 35 million to 45 million doses could be available by late December.

Democrats and some public health experts have expressed concerns that Trump will threaten the integrity of vaccine development by pressuring the Food and Drug Administration to hasten its approval.

Giroir said Sunday that a vaccine would only be approved once the data has shown it’s effective and safe.

“I just want to assure the American people that, when a vaccine is authorized by the FDA, it will be based on science and data,” he told CNN. “If I’m prioritized, I will be in line. If my granddaughter’s prioritized, she will be in line. We can have confidence that, when that happens, it will be safe and effective, but not before. We have to let the evidence and the data drive it.”

― Hayley Miller

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now says that people who have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19 should get tested themselves, even if they have no symptoms — backtracking on a controversial change made in August. The new guidance reflects the advice that medical experts have been giving for months.

The CDC sparked alarm in the health care community last month when it said — reportedly against its own scientists’ strenuous objections — that it was not necessary for people to get tested after being around someone who has the virus. Critics had worried that the guidance would lead to the unchecked spread of COVID-19.

On Friday, however, the agency reversed course and added another precaution: Close contacts should self-quarantine for 14 days even if they test negative, staying away from other household members as much as possible. “Close contact” is defined as being within 6 feet of a person who’s sick for 15 minutes or longer.

— Sara Boboltz

For more on the pandemic, go here.

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