WORLD NEWS
06/26/2020 09:48 EDT | Updated 06/29/2020 07:12 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.

Since Chinese officials locked down the city of Wuhan in January, there have been more than 10.1 million cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, across the planet.

More than 501,000 people have died from the disease, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Efforts to curb the outbreak 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.) 

More Than 500,000 People Have Died Of The Coronavirus Worldwide — 6/29/2020, 7:00 a.m. ET

At least 500,000 people worldwide have died of the coronavirus, Johns Hopkins University reported Sunday night. Over the weekend, worldwide infections passed the 10 million mark. The grim milestone comes as infections surge in the U.S., prompting governors to rein in opening plans.

The U.S. now has had more cases and deaths than any other nation. But cases are also surging rapidly in Russia and Brazil.

— Nick Visser

Pelosi Calls For National Mask Mandate ― 6/28/20, 2:50 p.m. ET

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) called for a federal mask-wearing mandate to curb the spread of the coronavirus amid a surge of infections across some parts of the country.

“It’s time for this administration to take this seriously,” Pelosi said in an interview ABC News’ “This Week.”

She added: “We are 4% of the world’s population; we are 25% of the cases and the deaths. ... We have the worst record any country in the world, and the president says we’re making progress.”

Asked if it’s time to mandate mask wearing nationwide, Pelosi said, “definitely, long overdue for that. My understanding that the [CDC] has recommended the use of masks but not ... required it because they don’t want to offend the president. The president should be [an] example. You know, real men wear masks. Be an example to the country.”

— Hayley Miller
 

U.S. Death Toll Hits 125,000 As Global Cases Surpass 10 Million ― 6/28/20, 12:05 p.m. ET

There have been over 125,000 coronavirus-linked deaths in the U.S. and more than 2.5 million confirmed cases of the virus nationwide, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. The number of known cases globally has surpassed 10 million.

The U.S. has by far the highest number of confirmed cases and deaths; Brazil has the second highest numbers, with over 1.3 million recorded infections and at least 57,00 deaths as of Sunday.

The U.S. appeared to be flattening its curve, but surges in infections across some parts of the country in recent weeks have led to record numbers of hospitalizations. Vice President Mike Pence said earlier this week that the death toll in the U.S. could top 240,000.

— Hayley Miller

Former CDC Chief: Increased Testing Doesn’t Account For Surge In Cases— 6/28/20, 11:40 a.m. ET

Dr. Tom Frieden, the former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said that new spread of the coronavirus — not increased testing capacity — is largely responsible for the surge in COVID-19 cases across parts of the country.

His statement contradicts President Donald Trump’s claim that the number of confirmed cases has skyrocketed simply because more tests have been made available.

“As a doctor, a scientist, an epidemiologist, I can tell you with 100% certainty that in most states where you’re seeing an increase, it is a real increase,” Frieden told “Fox News Sunday.”

He continued: “It is not more tests. It is more spread of the virus. ... The numbers you’re seeing are just a tip of the iceberg of even more spread.”

On Friday, the U.S. reported over 45,000 new cases, shattering the record for the country’s largest single day total. Hospitalizations have increased dramatically in several states, including Arizona, Florida, Texas and South Carolina.

Frieden on Sunday suggested that these states reopened too early.

“If you open when cases are still increasing, as many states did, it’s like leaning into a left hook: You’re going to get hit hard,” Frieden said.

He estimated that another 15,000 people in the U.S. will die from COVID-19 in the next month.

 Hayley Miller

Scientists Beginning To Understand How COVID-19 Affects The Body — 6/27/20, 4:38 p.m. ET

Studies on the long-term effects of COVID-19 are getting started as scientists begin to understand the toll the virus takes on the human body.

Although much of the focus in the early days of the crisis was on how the virus affects the lungs, patients can also experience blood clotting that leads to strokes, as well as various neurological complications, from headaches to seizures.

“We thought this was only a respiratory virus. Turns out, it goes after the pancreas. It goes after the heart. It goes after the liver, the brain, the kidney and other organs. We didn’t appreciate that in the beginning,” Dr. Eric Topol, a cardiologist and director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute, told Reuters.

People who contract the most serious cases of COVID-19 face extensive recovery time. It can take seven days in rehab for every one day spent on a ventilator to recover, and not every patient regains the same level of function.

― Sara Boboltz

American Airlines Says It Will Book Full Flights Despite Growing Number Of Coronavirus Cases ― 6/27/20, 4:00 p.m. ET

American Airlines announced Friday that it plans to resume selling every available seat on flights, even as coronavirus cases have surged in states across the country.

“As more people continue to travel, customers may notice that flights are booked to capacity starting July 1,” the carrier said in a statement.

The airline added that passengers will be notified of full flights and can change flights at no additional cost.

The decision to book full flights comes as some states are grappling with a surge of new cases. Early reopening plans and a lack of guidance from the White House have contributed to the spread.

Other airlines, including JetBlue, Southwest and Delta, are still selling seats at reduced capacity.

― Sebastian Murdock

U.S. Hits Record Number Of Daily New Coronavirus Cases, 1 Day After Previous High ― 6/27/20, 1:10 p.m. ET

The United States has once again broken its single-day record for new COVID-19 cases, based on data from Johns Hopkins University.

On Friday, the nation saw 45,255 new cases, a jump from its previous record ― just the day before ― of 39,972 new cases in one day, according to USA Today.

Before that, the BBC notes, the record high occurred on April 24, with 36,400 new cases, though testing was not as frequent at that point.

― Hilary Hanson

U.S. Travelers ‘Unlikely’ To Be Allowed Into European Union As U.S. Cases Ramp Up ― 6/27/20, 12:09 p.m. ET

The nations of the European Union are preparing to reopen to international visitors ― but U.S. travelers hoping to fly to the EU in the near future may not get the chance, as coronavirus cases in the U.S. continue to explode.

Though the terms are not yet final, one EU diplomat told CNN Friday that it was very “unlikely” travelers from the U.S. would be allowed in when the bloc reopens, adding that “the U.S.’s chances are close to zero.”

The U.S. would join Russia among the excluded nations should the EU finalize the decision, The New York Times first reported Friday. Travelers from more than a dozen other countries that have successfully slowed the spread of the virus would be allowed into the EU.

The U.S. has more than 2 million cases, and as states have begun to reopen prematurely, they’re seeing their case numbers skyrocket.

― Sebastian Murdock

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott Admits He Should Have Slowed Down Reopening ― 6/27/20, 11:30 a.m. ET

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) on Friday expressed regret for opening bars too early as the state sees a new surge of coronavirus cases.

“If I could go back and redo anything, it probably would have been to slow down the opening of bars, now seeing in the aftermath of how quickly the coronavirus spread in the bar setting,” Abbott told KVIA in El Paso.

Abbott allowed bars in the state to reopen starting May 22, at 25% indoor capacity. He reversed the decision on Friday, issuing an executive order restricting business activity in the state. The order grants indoor religious services an exception from the occupancy limit.

There are more than 140,000 confirmed cases of the virus in Texas. Abbott has so far declined to issue a mandatory mask directive.

― Sebastian Murdock

California Governor Pushes High-Case County To Close ― 6/26/2020, 7:38 p.m. ET

California Gov. Gavin Newsom said Friday that Imperial County, which has one of the highest rates of positive coronavirus cases in the state, should reinstate its social distancing orders.

“We’re now in a position where we are working with county officials and advising them to pull back and once again reinstitute their stay-at-home orders,” Newsom said, adding, “If they’re not able to come to some consensus, I am committed to intervening.”

Imperial County, a rural area east of San Diego, just reported a seven-day average positive rate on coronavirus tests of 23%, compared with the statewide rate of 5.7%.

― Lydia O’Connor

Texas Rolls Back Reopening Measures As COVID-19 Outbreak Spreads — 6/26/20 11:00 a.m. ET

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) issued an executive order Friday restricting business activity in the state as coronavirus cases in the state continue to soar.

Under the new rules, bars are limited to takeout and delivery only, rafting and tubing businesses must close, restaurants are limited to 50% capacity, and outdoor gatherings of 100 or more people require local government approval.

“As I said from the start, if the positivity rate rose above 10%, the State of Texas would take further action to mitigate the spread of COVID-19,” Abbott said in a release. “At this time, it is clear that the rise in cases is largely driven by certain types of activities, including Texans congregating in bars.”

Notably, the order exempts indoor religious services from the occupancy limit, even though churches are responsible for many of the “superspreading” events where large numbers of people fall ill. Earlier this month, 236 members of a church congregation in eastern Oregon became sick after attending services there.

Abbott urged Texans to “wear a mask, wash their hands, stay 6 feet apart from others in public, and stay home if they can.”

— Ryan Grenoble

Florida Reports Single-Day High Of Nearly 9,000 New Coronavirus Cases — 6/26/20, 11:15 a.m. ET

Florida is experiencing a surge of new coronavirus cases as the state continues to reopen, with a single-day high of 8,942 new cases reported on Friday. The one-day increase is a new record since the pandemic began, and it’s a 7.8% increase from Thursday in the total number of cases in the state.

Though experts have warned that the virus is particularly harmful to older people, cases among young people have also skyrocketed amid a downplaying of concern and a lack of wearing masks. In a now-viral video, residents in Palm Beach County erupted in anger over a new mandatory mask rule.

Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis has been accused of “cooking the books” on the true number of those infected by the state’s former leading COVID-19 data scientist. Florida has reported more than 120,000 cases so far, and that number doesn’t appear to be slowing down any time soon.

— Sebastian Murdock

Trump Administration Asks Supreme Court To End Obamacare — 6/26/2020, 5:40 a.m. ET

The Trump administration filed a brief Thursday night asking the Supreme Court to invalidate the Affordable Care Act, threatening health care coverage for 20 million Americans as the nation smashed a record for new COVID-19 cases in a single day.

The Supreme Court will hear arguments later this year but a decision might not come until 2021.

Solicitor General Noel Francisco argued the “entire ACA thus must fall” because Congress invalidated the individual coverage mandate in 2017.

Democrats slammed the move.

“There is no legal justification and no moral excuse for the Trump Administration’s disastrous efforts to take away Americans’ health care,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement.

— Mary Papenfuss

UNICEF: Millions Of Children Could Starve As Coronavirus Sweeps Yemen — 6/26/2020, 5:30 a.m. ET

Yemen’s poor health care infrastructure is unprepared to handle the coronavirus pandemic after five years of war between a Saudi-led military coalition and the Iran-backed Houthi rebels, and an already dire situation for children there could become worse, UNICEF warned Friday.

The number of malnourished children could rise by 20%, to 2.4 million, by the end of the year. The situation in Yemen is expected to get worse as donor countries cut aid.

Yemen has officially reported more than 1,000 cases of COVID-19 and 275 deaths, but the actual number is expected to be much higher.

— Liza Hearon

CDC Director Estimates 10 Undiagnosed Coronavirus Cases For Each Positive Test — 6/25/20, 3:40 p.m. ET

The U.S. has seen more than 2.3 million reported coronavirus cases. But CDC Director Robert Redfield said Thursday that the true number of Americans infected with COVID-19 could be 10 times higher — or more than 20 million.

“Our best estimate right now is that for every case that’s reported, there actually are 10 other infections,” Redfield told reporters, according to The Washington Post.

He said younger people are currently driving the spike in cases across the Sun Belt, where states have been reopening large parts of their economies. More than 90% of the country remains susceptible to the virus, Redfield said.

The CDC’s alarming estimate bolsters public health experts’ calls to increase U.S. testing capabilities to combat the virus. However, President Donald Trump has argued for less testing over the last week, on the basis that accurate statistics paint his administration’s response in a negative light. The U.S. reportedly has conducted more than 30 million tests since the crisis began.

— Sara Boboltz

Africa Begins Continent’s First COVID-19 Vaccine Trial ― 6/25/2020, 2:47 p.m. ET

Oxford University rolled out a coronavirus vaccine trial in South Africa on Wednesday, marking the first such human study on the African continent.

The human trial, conducted in partnership with the Johannesburg’s University of the Witwatersrand, involves 2,000 volunteers from 18 to 65 years of age.

“Once 60% of the population, especially the adult population, becomes immune, we expect that effective reproductive rate to go under 1, which basically means the virus will still be around, it will still circulate, but its chain of transmission has been interrupted,” Shabir Madhi, a professor of vaccinology involved in the trial, told Reuters.

― Lydia O’Connor 

Texas Governor Hits Pause On Reopening, Suspends Elective Surgeries In Some Counties — 6/25/20, 12:10 p.m. ET

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) pressed pause on his state’s phased plan to reopen the economy due to a surge in coronavirus cases that has put great strain on local hospital systems. 

Abbott also ordered elective surgeries to be suspended in Bexar, Dallas, Harris and Travis counties — which include the cities of San Antonio, Houston, Austin and Dallas — to help free up hospital beds.

The state added around 30,000 cases in the last week alone, for a total of more than 130,000 cases since early March.

“These four counties have experienced significant increases in people being hospitalized due to COVID-19 and today’s action is a precautionary step to help ensure that the hospitals in these counties continue to have ample supply of available beds to treat COVID-19 patients,” the governor said Thursday in a statement. “As we work to contain this virus, I urge all Texans to do their part to help contain the spread by washing their hands regularly, wearing a mask, and practicing social distancing.”

Hospital systems across the Houston area warned officials earlier this week that they were nearing ICU bed capacity — considered to be a key metric in how well an area is handling the coronavirus outbreak.

Nearly all Texas businesses have been allowed to reopen at half or limited capacity. Businesses that have already been allowed to reopen can continue to operate under current health protocols.

Read more here.

— Sara Boboltz 


 
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