Coronavirus Live Updates: Read The Latest About The COVID-19 Outbreak

Coronavirus Live Updates: Read The Latest About The COVID-19 Outbreak

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

There are more than 1.8 million confirmed cases of the virus worldwide, and more than 114,000 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.)

U.K. Armed Forces Deployed To Help Ambulance Staff  — 4/13/20, 5:15 a.m. ET

Nearly 200 members of the U.K. armed forces are being loaned to the National Health Service to support their work during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Personnel from the Army, Royal Air Force and Navy will be sent to work at five ambulance trusts across the U.K. While their responsibilities will vary, their new duties will include driving ambulances and taking calls from the public. 

The military has already helped to construct the first specialist COVID-19 NHS Nightingale hospital at the ExCel centre in London.

“Our armed forces always step forward at the appearance of threats to the country and its people,” Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said. “Across the United Kingdom, soldiers, sailors, airmen and women have got the backs of our NHS colleagues as they confront coronavirus.”

Read more on HuffPost U.K. 

— Francesca Syrett

South Korea Will Reportedly Ship 600,000 Coronavirus Testing Kits To U.S. This Week — 4/13/2020, 4:28 a.m.

South Korea plans to send 600,000 COVID-19 testing kits to the U.S. on Tuesday, about three weeks after President Donald Trump beseeched the country for help, Reuters reported, citing a Seoul official. 

During a phone call on March 25, Trump asked South Korean President Moon Jae-In to send coronavirus test kits to the U.S., South Korean news outlets reported last month

Reuters said the first shipment of kits is scheduled to leave South Korea aboard a U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency cargo plane on Tuesday night.— Dominique Mosbergen

Spain Loosens Restrictions On Non-Essential Workers  — 4/13/20, 4:15 a.m. ET

Some non-essential workers will be allowed to go back to work on Monday as Spain loosens its strict lockdown measures. 

While authorities have strongly urged those who can work from home to continue to do so, construction workers and those in the manufacturing industry will be allowed to leave their homes and return to work.

The change comes as HuffPost Spain reported (in Spanish) its lowest daily growth in confirmed coronavirus infections in three weeks, with 4,167 cases reported on Sunday. 

Spain’s total number of COVID-19 deaths is 16,972 and its number of confirmed cases ― more than 166,000 ― is second only to the United States. 

— Francesca Syrett

Thousands Of Health Care Workers Sickened With COVID-19 In Southeast Michigan — 4/13/2020, 12:08 a.m. ET

Almost 3,000 people employed by health care firms in the Detroit area have contracted the novel coronavirus, BuzzFeed News reported on Sunday. A large portion of those infected were medical staff.

Health care workers in the region described the fear they experience on the job. 

“I can honestly say the nervousness is apparent in many of us,” a nurse at Detroit’s Henry Ford Hospital who was sickened with COVID-19 told BuzzFeed. “Seeing each other getting sick just increases the anxiety that one of us might be next and bring it home to our family.”

— Dominique Mosbergen

OPEC, Oil Nations Agree To Nearly 10 Million Barrel Cut Amid Coronavirus ―  4/12/20, 6:22 p.m. ET

OPEC, Russia and other oil-producing nations on Sunday agreed to a production cut of almost 10 million barrels ― a tenth of global supply ― in hopes of boosting crashing oil prices amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The group of nations agreed to cut 9.7 million barrels a day beginning May 1, according to the countries’ energy ministers. Mexico was allowed to cut only 100,000 barrels a month, a sticking point in an accord initially reached Friday after a marathon video conference between nations. The deal was reached just hours before Asian markets reopen on Monday.

Efforts to reach an agreement on production cuts had failed in March, sending oil prices crashing. President Donald Trump, a longtime OPEC critic, tweeted on Sunday, “The big Oil Deal with OPEC Plus is done. This will save hundreds of thousands of energy jobs in the United States.”

Sanjana Karanth 

Illinois Launches Mental Health Hotline To Help With Emotional Toll Of Coronavirus ― 4/12/20, 5:30 p.m. ET

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) announced that the state has launched a free support text line for residents experiencing stress and anxiety stemming from the coronavirus pandemic.

The Illinois Department of Human Services’ line, “Call4Calm,” aims to address and aid the mental health of communities and families that have been ravaged by the health crisis. Residents can text TALK to 552020 ― or HABLAR for Spanish speakers ― in to connect with a counselor via the hotline. The same number also helps residents navigate other forms of assistance if they text the hotline with keywords like “unemployment,” “food” or “shelter.”

Pritzker said residents who take advantage of the line “will remain completely anonymous.”

“I want to say to all of you: feel all of it,” Pritzker said Saturday at his daily coronavirus briefing. “We are living in a deeply unprecedented moment, and holding the emotional ramifications of that inside will only be harder on you. It’s OK to feel, and please know you don’t have to feel it all alone. I want you to know that we’re here to help.”

The Illinois Department of Public Health confirmed Sunday that 43 more people had died of COVID-19, bringing the state’s death toll to 720. The department also confirmed an additional 1,672 new coronavirus cases, bringing the state’s total to 20,852.

Sanjana Karanth

Nursing Homes Deaths Soar Past 2,600 In Alarming Surge: Report ― 4/12/20, 1:20 p.m. ET

More than 2,600 deaths nationwide have been linked to nursing homes, an alarming rise from the 450 deaths reported just 10 days ago, according to an investigation The Associated Press published Sunday.

The true impact on the roughly 1 million people who live in nursing homes around the U.S. is likely much higher, experts told the AP, in part because most states’ death tolls don’t include people who died without being tested for COVID-19.

Experts cited chronic staffing shortages in nursing homes, where some of the people most vulnerable seek medical care, as well as a shortage of personal protective equipment, as some of the reasons the death toll continues to climb.

― Hayley Miller

Fauci: Earlier Mitigation Measures ‘Could Have Saved Lives’ ― 4/12/20, 11:15 a.m. ET

Putting aggressive social distancing measures in place earlier in the U.S. could have saved lives, according to Anthony Fauci, the White House coronavirus task force’s top infectious disease expert.

During an appearance on CNN’s “State Of The Union,” Fauci was asked why President Donald Trump didn’t announce such guidelines until mid-March. Fauci and other health experts reportedly pushed the president implement them as early as Feb. 21.

“As I’ve said many times, we look at it from a pure health standpoint,” Fauci said. “We make a recommendation. Often the recommendation is taken. Sometimes it’s not. But it is what it is. We are where we are right now.”

“Obviously, you could logically say that if you had a process that was ongoing and you started mitigation earlier, you could have saved lives,” he added. “But what goes into those kinds of decisions is complicated.” 

Read more. 

― Hayley Miller

Death Toll In U.S. Surpasses 20,000 ― 4/12/20, 11:10 a.m. ET

More than 20,000 in the U.S. have died from the coronavirus, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

The number of coronavirus-linked deaths in the U.S. doubled in less than a week. The U.S. has reported the most confirmed cases of the coronavirus, as well as the highest death toll compared to any other country. More than 530,000 of the world’s more than 1.7 million confirmed cases have been recorded in the U.S. Italy has reported the second highest number of deaths, with more than 19,000.

― Hayley Miller

U.K. PM Boris Johnson Discharged From Hospital ― 4/12/20, 8:40 a.m. ET

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson was discharged from the hospital after being treated for the coronavirus.

He will take time to recover at Chequers, the prime minister’s official country residence located about 40 miles northwest of London.

“On the advice of his medical team, the PM will not be immediately returning to work,” a spokesperson for Johnson said in a statement. “He wishes to thank everybody at St Thomas’ for the brilliant care he has received.”

Read more.

― Hayley Miller

U.S. Overtakes Italy With Largest Number Of Coronavirus Deaths ― 4/11/20, 2:47 p.m. ET

The United States surpassed Italy in COVID-19 fatalities on Saturday to become the nation with the highest number of reported virus deaths worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins data.

Italy has counted 152,271 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 19,468 deaths, while the U.S. has counted 514,415 infections and 19,882 deaths as of early Saturday afternoon.

The U.S., once considered to be two weeks behind Italy, rapidly caught up with the European country’s grim stats. Deaths have been increasing around three times faster in the U.S. compared to Italy in the past week, The Associated Press reported.

Read more.

― Sara Boboltz

Spain Death Toll Falls To Lowest In 19 Days — 4/11/20, 6:25 a.m. ET

Spain’s daily coronavirus death toll fell for the third day in a row on Saturday after 510 fatalities were reported in the past 24 hours, the health ministry said in a statement, marking the smallest overnight increase since March 23. Total fatalities from the virus rose to 16,353, from 15,843 on Friday, the ministry said, while the number of confirmed cases climbed to 161,852 from 157,022.

— Reuters

Record 2,000 People Die From COVID-19 In A Single Day In U.S. — 4/10/20, 9:39 p.m. ET

At least 2,000 people in the U.S. died of the coronavirus in one day, marking the largest number of deaths in a single day in the country. 

By Friday night, there were an estimated 2,108 people who died in the last 24 hours, according to Johns Hopkins University’s outbreak tracker.

The U.S. is the only country in the world to see more than 2,000 people die in a day from complications of the virus.

The total death toll for the country is now at 18,637. Italy, which has seen the most deaths during the pandemic, has a death toll of 18,849.

— Carla H. Russo

Apple And Google Developing Coronavirus Tracking Program — 4/10/2020, 6:40 p.m. ET

Tech titans Apple and Google are launching a system to help alert people if and when they come into contact with someone with a positive COVID-19 diagnosis.

The program will use bluetooth technology to build a contact tracing network, which the companies expect to be available on an app by mid-May. For those who download it, the system will keep data on which phones have been in close proximity to each other and send that information to public health authorities. Then, people who’ve been diagnosed with COVID-19 can report their status to the app, which will alert anyone they’ve been in close contact with that they may be infected.

“All of us at Apple and Google believe there has never been a more important moment to work together to solve one of the world’s most pressing problems,” a statement from the companies said. “Through close cooperation and collaboration with developers, governments and public health providers, we hope to harness the power of technology to help countries around the world slow the spread of COVID-19 and accelerate the return of everyday life.”

— Lydia O’Connor

San Francisco Caps The Cut Delivery Apps Can Take From Restaurants ― 4/10/2020, 3:15 p.m. ET

San Francisco Mayor London Breed announced that the city is instituting a temporary cap on how much of a commission delivery apps can charge the restaurants they partner with.

The charge will be capped at 15%. Apps such as Uber Eats, Grubhub, DoorDash, Caviar and Postmates typically charge anywhere from 10% to 30% per order for use of their services. The cap will be in effect until the statewide emergency is over or until restaurants are able to open again for dine-in service.

“Restaurants are struggling to survive and delivery is their main option for staying open,” Breed tweeted. “I’m instituting a cap on the fees that delivery services can charge restaurants during this emergency, because it can make the difference between them staying afloat or laying-off staff.”

— Lydia O’Connor 

Italy Extends Lockdown Until May — 4/10/20, 3:09 p.m. ET

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte extended the country’s nationwide lockdown to May 3 in order to prevent a potential second wave of infections. The restriction were set to expire on April 13.

Conte said a limited number of businesses would be allowed to reopen before May 3, with more gradually reopening after.

— Marina Fang

U.S. COVID-19 Cases Appear To Be ‘Leveling Off,’ But ‘This Is Not The Time’ To Stop Social Distancing, Birx And Fauci Say — 4/10/20, 2:57 p.m. ET

There is growing evidence that the number of infections is “leveling off” and the rate of increase “seems to be stabilizing,” said the top public health officials leading the COVID-19 response in the U.S.

States and metropolitan areas particularly hard hit by the pandemic have reported encouraging signs this week.

But the experts cautioned that Americans need to continue to practice social distancing and abide by stay-at-home orders in their states in order to prevent further spikes or a potential second wave of infections, especially in states and cities where the virus spread later.

“It’s really about the encouraging signs that we see, but as encouraging as they are we have not reached the peak,” said White House coronavirus coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx.

“This is not the time ... that we can be pulling back at all,” Dr. Anthony Fauci added.

Birx said “a lot of the movement has been driven” by decreases in New York City and the New York metropolitan area, the epicenter of the pandemic in the U.S.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said Friday that daily admissions to intensive care, one of the indicators used to track the pandemic, had gone down for the first time. Throughout the week, the rate of hospitalizations has also slowed dramatically.

— Marina Fang

Global Coronavirus Death Toll Hits 100,000 — 4/10/20, 2:25 p.m.

The number of people around the globe who have died from coronavirus has reached 100,000, according to a tally updated by Johns Hopkins University.

The actual number of victims from this pandemic is believed to be much higher, as there is limited available testing.

The new benchmark was hit as leaders worldwide are urging their Christian residents to celebrate Good Friday and Easter Sunday remotely instead of at in-person church services.

— Carla H. Russo

Boris Johnson Is Now Able To Do ‘Short Walks’ — 4/10/20, 1:15 p.m. ET

Boris Johnson has been able to do “short walks, between periods of rest, as part of the care he is receiving to aid his recovery,” a spokesperson said. “He has spoken to his doctors and thanks the whole clinical team for the incredible care he has received.”

The prime minister is back on a ward at St. Thomas’ Hospital in London after being discharged from the intensive care unit, where he was being treated for COVID-19.

England’s chief nursing officer has pleaded with the British public to stay at home this weekend, saying it’s the best way to thank National Health Service workers on the frontline of the coronavirus crisis. Speaking at the daily press conference, Ruth May said it had been “personally frustrating to see people clearly not social distancing.”

“This is a long weekend,” she said. “We need you to stay at home, and stay safe.”

Read more on HuffPost U.K.

— Ned Simons

Tokyo Olympics Chief Hints Games Could Be In Doubt Even In 2021 — 4/10/20, 8:34 a.m. ET

The 2020 Olympics in Tokyo have been postponed an entire year, but even that timeframe could be in doubt, the head of the organizing committee suggested Friday.

“I don’t think anyone would be able to say if it is going to be possible to get it under control by next July or not,” Toshiro Muto, the Tokyo organizing committee’s CEO, told reporters at a remote news conference, The Associated Press reported. “We’re certainly are not in a position to give you a clear answer.”

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the International Olympic Committee postponed the games last month, giving a new start date of July 23, 2021, for the Olympics and Aug. 24, 2021, for the Paralympics.

But the COVID-19 outbreak has worsened in Japan since then. Abe declared a state of emergency earlier this week.

“All we can do is work hard to prepare for the games,” Muto said Friday. “We sincerely hope that come next year mankind will manage to overcome the coronavirus crisis.”

— Marina Fang

Boris Johnson Is ‘Not Out Of The Wood’ Yet, Says Father — 4/10/20, 4:40 a.m. ET

Boris Johnson’s father says the prime minister will need a period of rest after being moved from the intensive care unit at St Thomas’ Hospital in London.

Stanley Johnson said the whole family was “amazingly grateful” for the efforts of the National Health Service and for the huge outpouring of support. However, he downplayed suggestions that his son would quickly return to work at Downing Street.

“This is pretty straightforward now. He must rest up. As I understand it, he has moved from the ICU into a recovery unit but I don’t think you can say this is out of the wood now,” Stanley Johnson told the BBC. “He has to take time. I cannot believe you can walk away from this and get straight back to Downing Street and pick up the reins without a period of readjustment.”

He also said his son’s illness had underlined just how serious the coronavirus outbreak was.

Read more on HuffPost U.K. 

— Nadine White

Australia Cracks Down On Easter Travel — 4/10/20, 4:10 a.m. ET

Australia will deploy helicopters, set up police checkpoints and hand out hefty fines to deter people from breaking an Easter travel ban, officials warned Friday, in their toughest crackdown against the novel coronavirus.

With places of worship closed, bans on public gatherings of more than two people and nonessential travel limited to combat the spread of the virus, Australians were told to stay home this year or face dire consequences.

“Police will take action,” New South Wales Police Deputy Commissioner Gary Worboys told reporters, adding that police had issued almost 50 new fines for breaches of public health orders in the previous 24 hours.

Australia had 6,152 coronavirus infections by Friday, up 100 from the previous day, with 53 virus-related deaths.

Read more.

— Reuters

Yemen Announces Its First Case Of Coronavirus ― 4/10/20, 3:20 a.m. ET

Yemen authorities announced Friday that the country had its first confirmed case of the novel coronavirus.

Even before the announcement, the U.N. had described Yemen as the world’s worst humanitarian disaster. Since war erupted there in 2014, over 100,000 people have been killed. Many of the country’s citizenry are on the brink of starvation and more than half of Yemen’s health facilities have been destroyed or closed. A COVID-19 outbreak there could be devastating, according to The Associated Press.

― Jade Walker

New York State Has More Confirmed Coronavirus Cases Than Any Country ― 4/9/20, 10:28 p.m. ET

The state of New York now has more confirmed cases of coronavirus than any country.

New York had 161,799 confirmed cases as of Thursday evening, according to the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center. After the United States, the country with the highest number of confirmed cases is Spain with 153,222 cases.

The increase in the number of virus patients hospitalized in New York has grown at a slower rate over the past two weeks, from over 20% a day at one point to just a 1% increase from Wednesday to Thursday.

But the number of New Yorkers dying of COVID-19 keeps growing, with the state recording another one-day high from Wednesday to Thursday with 799 deaths.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo stressed that social distancing and other guidelines must continue to be enforced so that the state can maintain its progress.

― Sanjana Karanth

Boris Johnson Released From Intensive Care — 4/9/20, 2:30 p.m. ET

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been released from intensive care into a hospital ward. 

A spokesman for Johnson said: “The prime minister has been moved this evening from intensive care back to the ward, where he will receive close monitoring during the early phase of his recovery. ... He is in extremely good spirits.”

Johnson has spent three nights in intensive care at London’s St. Thomas’ Hospital after he was admitted on Sunday night with persistent symptoms of coronavirus. 

Read more.

— Rachel Wearmouth

For earlier updates on the pandemic, go here.

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