CORONAVIRUS

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 5.6 million cases of the virus have been confirmed worldwide, and more than 351,000 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.)

Boston Marathon Canceled — 5/28/20, 2:51 p.m. ET

This year’s Boston Marathon, initially postponed from its traditional April date to September, will not be held in-person this year, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh (D) announced Thursday. Walsh said organizers have deemed it “not feasible,” given the continued threat of COVID-19′s spread, especially through large events.

Any marathon runner who had entered will receive a full refund, and is invited to run a virtual marathon from Sept. 7-14. Organizers will also hold a series of virtual events that week in lieu of the in-person race, which is a major event for the city.

— Marina Fang

Unemployment Tops 40 Million Across U.S. — 5/28/20, 11:30 a.m. ET

Another 2.1 million people applied for unemployment benefits across the country last week, bringing the total number to around 41 million since the crisis dramatically worsened in March. 

Not all of that number are still jobless. Around 21 million are currently receiving unemployment aid, the Labor Department reported Thursday, providing a rough count of the unemployed.

 The increase in applications, however, suggests businesses are cutting staff even as all 50 states work to reopen at least some parts of their economies. 

In April, the national unemployment rate reached nearly 15%, which is the highest since the Great Depression. While businesses work on reopening with added restrictions to prevent spread of the coronavirus, the question remains of how quickly customers — some spooked by threat of the virus, others struggling economically — will come back. 

The economy is thought to be shrinking by 40% in the April-June quarter, according to The Associated Press.

— Sara Boboltz

Trump Acknowledges 100,000 Dead Americans A Day Late — 5/28/20, 10:30 a.m.

Trump tweeted a message of condolence Thursday, a day after the confirmed COVID-19 U.S. death toll surpassed 100,000.

“We have just reached a very sad milestone with the coronavirus pandemic deaths reaching 100,000,” his account tweeted. “To all of the families & friends of those who have passed, I want to extend my heartfelt sympathy & love for everything that these great people stood for & represent. God be with you!”

The delayed acknowledgement is in keeping with Trump’s messaging throughout the crisis. He spent months publicly downplaying the severity of the pandemic, even as deaths soared.

In April, Trump patted himself on the back and predicted the death toll would top out at around 60,000. “It looks like we’ll be at about a 60,000 mark, which is 40,000 less than the lowest number thought of,” he said at the April 19 briefing. The U.S. passed that threshold one week later.

Of the 13 hours Trump spent talking at the daily coronavirus briefings (which have since been canceled), he spent just 4.5 minutes expressing condolences for coronavirus victims, a Washington Post analysis found.

— Ryan Grenoble

Coronavirus Contact Tracing Program Launched In England — 5/28/20, 5:45 a.m.

People who come into close contact with someone with COVID-19 will be told to self-isolate for two weeks as the British government launches its coronavirus tracing system in England.

Under the Test and Trace program, a team of 25,000 contact tracers will work out who those infected with coronavirus have been in contact with in a bid to control local flare-ups.

Everyone who tests positive for the virus will be asked to share details about who they have seen and where they have been with the tracers. This person’s close contacts will then receive an email or a text, telling them they must stay at home for 14 days – even if they don’t have any symptoms – to avoid unknowingly spreading the virus. Anyone with coronavirus symptoms should still self-isolate at home, along with their household, and get tested for COVID-19. 

Britain, which has the second-highest death toll from the virus globally, abandoned a strategy of testing and tracing in March when the virus started spreading exponentially and there was insufficient capacity to test more than a fraction of those with symptoms.

The government says there is now enough capacity for all who need tests to get them. It is aiming to provide test results within 24 hours. Read more 

— Jasmin Gray

Devastating Impact Of COVID-19 On Italy’s Restaurants Revealed — 5/28/20, 4:40 a.m.

The much-anticipated reopening of restaurants, pizzerias and bars in Italy has got off to a difficult start with businesses reporting a 70% fall in turnover compared to pre-lockdown levels.

HuffPost Italy reports (in Italian) that a survey of the sector has revealed few customers returned in the first week of reopening while costs have increased, with many small businesses not expecting to see an improvement until the fall.

Italy, which was the epicenter of Europe’s coronavirus outbreak, imposed one of the longest and strictest lockdowns in the world. Parts of the hospitality industry were given the green light to reopen May 18.

Figures reported by the Italian Federation of Public Establishments cite the lack of tourists, fewer office workers commuting to city centers, and a cautiousness among Italians about the risks of eating out, as reasons for the sharp declines in revenue.

However, businesses that have reopened have reported customers have largely complied with social distancing regulations and rules on wearing masks and hand washing.

— James Martin

U.S. Coronavirus Deaths Top 100,000 In Bleak Milestone — 5/27/20, 7:45 p.m.

More than 100,000 people have died from the coronavirus in the United States, a somber milestone in the country’s fight against the ongoing pandemic.

Johns Hopkins updated its tally on Wednesday evening, which comes just under four months after President Donald Trump claimed, without evidence, that the virus would likely disappear “in April as the heat comes in.” Those estimates proved far from reality: More than 1.6 million people in the U.S. have now tested positive for the virus and while infection rates are declining in some outbreak centers, they are still rising in regions across the country.

Trump has routinely revised his predictions for the ultimate U.S. death toll as cases spread and has continued to urge states to reopen their economies despite bleak warnings from medical officials that doing so too soon could result in a second wave of infections.

A study released by Columbia University earlier this month found that if the U.S. had imposed broad social distancing measures just a week earlier than it did in March, around 36,000 lives could have been saved.

— Nick Visser

Several Florida Theme Parks Announce Reopening Plans — 5/27/20, 12:06 p.m.
Several popular theme parks have announced plans to reopen in recent weeks, as a number of states across the U.S. continue to ease social distancing guidelines amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

On Wednesday, Disney World in Orlando, Florida, presented plans to a Central Florida economic task force outlining a strategy to reopen some portions of its theme park on July 11 and others on July 15. The park temporarily closed in March to curb the spread of the virus.

Disney World patrons will be required to adhere to the park’s newly established health guidelines, including undergoing a temperature check and wearing a mask, which the park says will be provided to patrons without them. 

Seaworld Orlando also announced plans on Wednesday to reopen to the public beginning July 11. Similarly, Seaworld guests will reportedly undergo a temperature check prior to entry and will be instructed to practice social distancing once inside. Both Seaworld Orlando and Disney World say they will institute contactless pay methods to avoid the exchange of physical currency. 

Wednesday’s reopening proposals are expected to be approved by Florida’s governor, Ron Desantis (R). They follow a previous announcement from Universal Studios Orlando declaring the park will reopen on June 5.

Ja’han Jones

France Bans Hydroxychloroquine To Treat COVID-19 — 5/27/20, 6:15 a.m.

HPFR 27 May
HPFR 27 May

France has halted the use of hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for patients suffering severe forms of COVID-19.

HuffPost France reports (in French) that the decision comes just two days after the World Health Organization said it was pausing a large trial of the malaria drug due to safety concerns.

British medical journal The Lancet reported that patients getting hydroxychloroquine had increased death rates and irregular heartbeats, adding to a series of other disappointing results for the drug as a way to treat COVID-19.

U.S. President Donald Trump and others, including Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro, have pushed hydroxychloroquine in recent months as a possible coronavirus treatment.

France decided at the end of March to allow the use of hydroxychloroquine in specific situations and in hospitals only. No vaccine or treatment has yet been approved to treat COVID-19 which has killed more than 350,000 people globally.

— James Martin

HPBR 27 May
HPBR 27 May

The march of coronavirus through Brazil shows no sign of slowing after the country recorded more than a thousand deaths in a day for the fourth time.

The total death toll in Brazil now stands at 24,512, while infections have risen to 391,222, second only to the U.S.

HuffPost Brazil reports (in Portuguese) that the state of São Paulo has recorded 6,423 deaths, followed by Rio de Janeiro with 4,361 deaths. The latest figures come as Brazil’s four largest news media outlets said they have withdrawn their reporters from coverage of President Jair Bolsonaro’s official residence due to the lack of security to protect them from heckling and abuse by his supporters.

Bolsonaro has made a habit of stopping at the residence’s entrance to speak to cheering supporters, take selfies with them and make comments to the journalists, but in recent days his supporters at the gates have turned on the reporters with angry verbal attacks. On Monday, about 60 supporters heckled the reporters loudly, with shouts of “liars,” “scum” and “communists.”

The attacks on journalists have intensified as Bolsonaro’s political situation has deteriorated under criticism of mishandling the coronavirus crisis. He is also under investigation for allegedly interfering in law enforcement and his supporters see the media as part of a plot to oust him.

— James Martin

New York Stock Exchange Reopens — 5/26/20, 10:50 a.m.

For the first time since it shut down in mid-March, traders returned to the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Tuesday morning, operating under COVID-19 safety measures, including temperature checks for anyone entering the building, mandatory mask-wearing and reduced capacity on the trading floor.

To commemorate Wall Street’s reopening, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) rang the bell at 9:30 a.m., which signals the traditional beginning of the trading day. 

—Marina Fang

The World Health Organization is pausing an international trial of hydroxychloroquine — the anti-malarial drug touted by President Donald Trump as a possible treatment for the coronavirus — due to concerns for the safety of patients, HuffPost’s Mary Papenfuss reports.

Officials cited a large study of 100,000 patients published Friday in The Lancet. Researchers found that patients treated with the drug in the hospital had a “significantly higher risk of death” than those who weren’t given it.

An April study of U.S. veterans produced similar results.

Since March, Trump has pitched the treatment as a “game-changer,” without evidence. On Sunday, he said in an interview that he had just completed a two-week course of treatment. “And by the way, I’m still here,” he told Full Measure News.

— Liza Hearon

Pressure continues to build on Prime Minister Boris Johnson after a junior minister resigned from the British government over an alleged breach of lockdown rules by the U.K. prime minister’s top advisor, HuffPost U.K reports.

Douglas Ross, a junior minister in the Scotland Office, said Tuesday that he was quitting after hearing about Dominic Cummings’ efforts to defend his 270-mile trip from London to the northeast of England in March.

Ross said he could not “in good faith” tell his constituents who could not care for sick relatives or say goodbye to dying ones while obeying lockdown rules that Cummings acted appropriately.

Cummings remains under fire over allegations he breached coronavirus lockdown restrictions but Johnson’s chief adviser has said he does not regret his actions and declined to apologize.

At least 15 Conservative MPs have said Cummings should go, while several others have spoken out against his actions.

— Ned Simons

For more on the pandemic, go here.

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