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 5.1 million cases of the virus have been confirmed worldwide, and more than 333,000 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.)

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

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

Media Under Attack As Brazil Records Fourth Day Over 1,000 Deaths — 5/27/20, 5:50 a.m.

 

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

WHO Suspends Trial Of Hydroxychloroquine Over Safety Fears For COVID-19 Patients — 5/26/2020, 7:15 a.m.

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

UK Minister Quits In Protest Over Advisor’s Lockdown Journey — 5/26/20, 5:55 a.m.

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

California Issues Guidelines For Safe Reopening Of Houses Of Worship — 05/26/2020; 4:55 a.m. 

California on Monday issued guidelines for the reopening of churches, synagogues, mosques and other religious institutions. Under these guidelines, houses of worship are encouraged to keep in-person gatherings small and worshipers have been urged to wear masks. Shaking hands, hugging and sharing religious materials like prayer books or rugs are discouraged.

It’s not immediately known how soon in-person religious services will resume in the state. Gov. Gavin Newsom has said such services will only be allowed to take place in phase three of his four-phase reopening plan. Individual counties will, however, ultimately decide when to permit houses of worship to open for in-person gatherings. Counties without major virus outbreaks may choose to move more quickly than others, AP noted. 

— Dominique Mosbergen

Latam, South America’s Biggest Airline, Files For U.S. Bankruptcy Protection — 5/26/2020; 3:45 a.m.

Latam Airlines is the latest travel industry casualty of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Santiago, Chile-based airline — South America’s largest — sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Tuesday. 

“We are looking ahead to a post-COVID-19 future and are focused on transforming our group to adapt to a new and evolving way of flying, with the health and safety of our passengers and employees being paramount,” the airline’s CEO Roberto Alvo said in a statement.

— Dominique Mosbergen

Hydroxychloroquine, Hawked By Trump, Linked To Higher Risk Of Death, Study Finds — 5/22/20, 3:05 p.m. ET

The antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine, touted by U.S. President Donald Trump as a treatment for the coronavirus despite no solid evidence as such, is linked to an increased risk of heart problems and death, according to a study of nearly 100,000 COVID-19 patients published Friday in the medical journal The Lancet.

Health authorities, including the Food and Drug Administration and the World Health Organization, have warned against using the drug — which is typically prescribed for malaria and autoimmune diseases — to treat COVID-19.

But Trump has repeatedly promoted the drug, and earlier this week he claimed to be taking it himself as a preventive measure — even though there is no evidence of its effectiveness in preventing COVID-19.

Read more here.

— Marina Fang

Trump Calls On Governors To Reopen Houses Of Worship, But He Doesn’t Have The Authority To Do So — 5/22/20, 2:56 p.m. ET

U.S. President Donald Trump declared houses of worship “essential places that provide essential services” and called on state governors to reopen them, despite lacking the legal authority to do so under the U.S. Constitution’s 10th Amendment.

“Some governors have deemed liquor stores and abortion clinics as essential but have left out houses of worship. It’s not right,” Trump said during an impromptu announcement. “So I’m correcting this injustice by calling houses of worship essential.”

Though many businesses in several states have started to resume operations, public health experts have repeatedly warned against reopening large enclosed public spaces where it is difficult to practice social distancing and ward off the spread of the coronavirus. Trump’s announcement is likely a move to satisfy his political base.

Read more here.

— Marina Fang

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

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. ET

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 U.K., 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. ET

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 said 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 reported.

“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. ET

HPBR 22 May
HPBR 22 May

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.

Infections also continue to rise, with 18,508 new cases in 24 hours, HuffPost Brazil reported. 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.

CORRECTION: A prior version of this entry said Brazil was the only country to have recorded more than 1,000 deaths from the coronavirus in a single day. The U.S. has recorded more than 1,000 deaths a day nearly every day since April 1.

— Marcella Fernandes

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

For more on the pandemic, go here.


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