WORLD NEWS
05/18/2020 09:22 EDT | Updated 05/20/2020 09:19 EDT

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 4.7 million cases of the virus have been confirmed worldwide, and more than 315,000 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.)

All 50 States Have Now Begun To Reopen In Some Form — 5/20/20, 9:00 a.m. ET

Connecticut began to modestly ease some coronavirus restrictions on Wednesday, becoming the final state — out of the 42 that had issued stay-at-home orders — to start reopening in some form during the pandemic.

The Nutmeg state will now allow people to eat in outdoor sections of restaurants and visit retail shops. Offices, outdoor museums and zoos are also allowed to reopen.

Connecticut is taking “baby steps,” Gov. Ned Lamont (D) told CNN. “We have followed the metrics, hospitalization is down, fatalities are down. We have a lot of [personal protective equipment] right now. We have the gowns and masks. And finally, we have the contact tracing in place.”

Some governors who never issued statewide stay-at-home orders, like Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R), loosened restrictions earlier this month on salons, tattoo parlors and other businesses.

— Hayley Miller

Brazil Records Grim New Milestone As Daily Death Toll Rockets — 5/20/20, 6:25 a.m. ET

The daily COVID-19 death toll in Brazil hit 1,179 on Tuesday, setting a new record for fatalities recorded in a single day by any country.

The figure is more than 250 more than the 919 deaths recorded by Italy in late March when it was the epicenter of the global coronavirus outbreak.

More than 18,000 people have now died in Brazil, according to official data, while 271,628 cases have been recorded, placing the country third behind the U.S. and Russia in total number of infections.

However, HuffPost Brazil reported that the true death toll is likely to be even higher due to the slow processing of laboratory tests.

On Tuesday, President Jair Bolsonaro doubled down on chloroquine as a possible remedy as Donald Trump said he is considering a travel ban from Brazil.

— Marcella Fernandes

Radicalized Instagram Stars Are Mainstreaming COVID-19 Conspiracy Theories — 5/20/20, 6:00 a.m. ET

HuffPost’s Jesselyn Cook reviewed Instagram accounts of more than a dozen seemingly radicalized influencers who have been using their platforms to push coronavirus misinformation. They try to discredit Dr. Anthony Fauci, claim that face masks are harmful, and push 5G conspiracy theories. With their large, dedicated followings, these women are in a unique position to open people’s minds to false and dangerous information.

Read more.

— Liza Hearon

Indian Government Data Questioned As COVID-19 Cases Rocket — 5/20/20, 5:45 a.m. ET

HuffPost US

The government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is using incomplete data to justify its decisions and underplay the extent of the COVID-19 crisis, a HuffPost India report has found

An analysis of publicly available data, local health bulletins, government documents, interviews with district and state-level officials, and infectious disease experts suggests that the highest levels of government do not have a real-time picture of how the pandemic is unfolding.

The government significantly relaxed India’s national lockdown on May 17, the day the country recorded the largest single-day spike in fresh coronavirus cases and fatalities.

The crisis in India’s data gathering, and the way this data is deployed by policymakers, is likely to become more pronounced in the coming weeks as travel restrictions ease and COVID-19 cases spike, HuffPost India reports.

India has recorded just over 100,000 cases and more than 3,000 deaths, according to official data. 

Read more.

— Samarth Bansal

Oregon Supreme Court Says Virus Restrictions Still In Force, Halting Lower Court’s Order — 5/19/20; 5:50 a.m. ET

Democratic Gov. Kate Brown’s emergency coronavirus restrictions will remain in place for now, the Oregon Supreme Court ruled on Monday night.

The court’s decision stoppered a rural judge’s ruling earlier in the day that had nixed Brown’s executive orders aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19. That ruling — which took effect immediately — had been issued in response to a lawsuit filed earlier this month by a group of Oregon churches and others that claimed the state’s social distancing rules were unconstitutional.

The governor tweeted a response to the Supreme Court’s decision. “There are no shortcuts for us to return to life as it was before this pandemic. Moving too quickly could return Oregon to the early days of this crisis, when we braced for overfilled hospitals and ventilators in short supply,” she wrote.

— Dominique Mosbergen

Australia’s Coronavirus Death Toll Hits 100 As Nation Embraces Easing Of Restrictions — 5/19/20, 3:00 a.m. ET

Australia recorded its 100th coronavirus death on Tuesday, more than two months after the country saw the first fatality linked to COVID-19.

Officials said a 93-year-old woman died in the state of New South Wales this week, the 19th death at an aged care facility hit with an outbreak of the virus. But the country has so far avoided widespread infection rates seen in many other nations, including the United States, and the government has begun easing stay-at-home orders in an attempt to return some normality to Australian life.

Reuters notes new cases nationwide have averaged just 15 a day over the past week after peaking at 430 in mid-March.

The country effectively closed its borders in early March and dramatically restricted movements between states in an effort to stop the spread of the virus.

— Nick Visser

U.S. Death Toll Surpasses 90,000 — 5/18/20, 4:45 p.m. ET

The United States surpassed 90,000 coronavirus-related deaths on Monday, according to data tracked by Johns Hopkins University.

Of those, nearly a third — 28,339 — are in New York state alone. New Jersey, the second-hardest hit state, has seen an additional 10,439 deaths.

Massachusetts (5,797 deaths), Michigan (4,915), Pennsylvania (4,705), Illinois (4,177) and Connecticut (3,450) round out the next five most affected states.

Confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S. also ticked past 1.5 million Monday.

— Ryan Grenoble

Texas To Let All Summer Camps Open In Two Weeks — 5/18/2020, 3:50 p.m. ET

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) announced Monday that all youth summer camps, including both day and overnight camps, may reopen on May 31. 

The move comes despite public health warnings that camps, schools, day cares, and other large congregations of children are hotbeds for the spread of coronavirus. Guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said such gatherings should only take place when coronavirus cases are on the decline. The CDC outlines strict social distancing policies that should be in place upon resuming child care services.

The restrictions that Texas summer camps will have to comply with are not yet clear.

— Lydia O’Connor

First Coronavirus Vaccine Trial Produces Promising Results, Company Says — 5/18/20, 11:20 a.m. ET

The first coronavirus vaccine to have been tested in people appears to be safe, according to the vaccine’s manufacturer.

The trial involved eight people who each received two doses of the vaccine beginning in March, The New York Times reported Monday. The company, Moderna, will now test the vaccine in two more phases with a larger sample size of people.

If the trials continue to show promising signs, the vaccine could become widely available by the end of the year or early next year, Moderna told the Times. But it’s unclear how many doses the company could produce.

On Friday, President Donald Trump and his administration boldly claimed there would be a full-scale vaccine readily accessible in the United States by January. But public health experts have warned that vaccine development could take anywhere between 12 to 18 months, perhaps longer. 

— Marina Fang

China Pledges $2 Billion In Virus Help At WHO Assembly — 5/18/2020, 8 a.m. ET

Chinese President Xi Jinping said in a speech to the World Health Assembly that China will provide $2 billion over two years to fight the coronavirus pandemic. China’s pledge comes as the Trump administration has cut off funding to the WHO and the U.S. president is reportedly changing his mind on whether to reinstate limited funding.

At the assembly, EU member states and other countries supported the idea of an independent evaluation of the WHO’s initial response to the pandemic, the Associated Press reported.

— Liza Hearon

Italy’s Next Phase Leaves Retailers In Limbo — 5/18/20, 6:05 a.m. ET

Almost 2,000 shops will remain closed in Rome today despite Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte giving in to demands by regional leaders to allow restaurants, bars and beaches to reopen weeks ahead of schedule.

“We are confronting this risk and we need to accept it. Otherwise, we would never be able to relaunch,” Conte said.

But many business owners in the Italian capital will keep their doors shut amid uncertainty over the hurriedly published rules and fears that they will carry liability if employees become infected, HuffPost Italy reported.

Italy is finally emerging after being under one of the world’s longest and strictest lockdowns, with hairdressers, places of worship and museums also allowed to open their doors again to the public.

Tight sanitary protocols and social distancing rules will require people to stay one meter apart. Security guards will count how many people are in a store at any one time and clothes tried on in changing rooms will be quarantined for 24 hours.

Almost 32,000 Italians have died of COVID-19 since the outbreak came to light on Feb. 21, the third-highest death toll in the world after the United States and Britain.

— James Martin

Health Workers Create ‘Guard of Dishonor’ For Belgian P.M. — 5/18/20, 5:50 a.m. ET

Belgian Prime Minister Sophie Wilmès received a cold reception at the Saint-Pierre hospital in Brussels on Saturday after hospital staff turned their backs on her in a “guard of dishonor.”

For months, local nursing staff have been demanding greater recognition and demonstrating against the recruitment of what they call “unqualified personnel” to carry out traditional nursing tasks, HuffPost France reported.

Belgium, which has a population of 11 million, has recorded the 8th highest number of infections in Europe at 55,280 and reported just over 9,000 deaths. 

Schools in Belgium will partially reopen Monday after a two-month lockdown, along with markets, museums and zoos.

— James Martin

UK To Get 30 Million Vaccine Doses By September If Trials Succeed — 5/18/20, 5:30 a.m. ET

The U.K. will be first in line for 30 million doses of Oxford University’s coronavirus vaccine by September if it passes trials, government officials have said.

Business minister Alok Sharma said that a deal struck between the university and AstraZeneca means the pharmaceutical giant will work to make the doses available as part of an agreement to deliver 100 million doses in total, if ongoing trials succeed.

“The U.K. will be first to get access,” Sharma told the government’s daily COVID-19 briefing. Sharma said Oxford was one of the world’s “frontrunners” in the race for a vaccine, with clinical trials “progressing well” and all phase one participants receiving their vaccine dose on schedule earlier this week.

The number of people who have died in Britain rose by 170 on Sunday to 34,636. Sharma said 243,303 people have tested positive for the virus, an increase of 3,142 since Saturday. 

Read more.

— Arj Singh

Judge: Thousands Of Homeless People Living Near Freeways In Los Angeles County Need To Be Relocated — 5/18/2020; 1:14 a.m. ET

A federal judge has ordered Los Angeles County officials to find alternative housing for thousands of homeless people who live near freeways in the county. 

In his ruling Friday, U.S. District Judge David O. Carter said homeless residents living near freeways are not only at risk of getting hit by cars and being exposed to pollutants but also of contracting COVID-19 and transmitting the disease throughout the community, The Los Angeles Times reported

Some 6,000 to 7,000 homeless people will be affected, the newspaper reported.

— Dominique Mosbergen

Texas Reports Largest Single-Day Increase In Coronavirus Cases As State Eases Restrictions — 5/18/2020; 1:00 a.m. ET

The Texas Department of Health reported 1,800 new COVID-19 cases in the state on Saturday. According to CBS News, that was the largest single-day increase in cases in Texas since the pandemic began.

To date, more than 47,000 people in Texas have been diagnosed with the new coronavirus. Over 1,300 have died.

Despite these numbers, Texas is among a handful of states that have started easing lockdown restrictions. Restaurants, retail outlets, movie theaters, museums and libraries have been permitted to open, though at reduced capacities. Churches have also been given the green light to reopen with social distancing measures in place. 

— Dominique Mosbergen


For earlier updates on the pandemic, go here.

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