Coronavirus Live Updates: Fauci Guides Americans On Memorial Day Weekend Activities

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.)

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. Brazil is the only country to have recorded more than 1,000 deaths from coronavirus in a single day.

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.

— 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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