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.)
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 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 up 7.8% from Thursday.
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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