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.)
For the first time in nearly 10 years, the U.S. economy lost jobs in the month of March, ending a record-breaking streak of job growth, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The unemployment rate climbed to 4.4%, after a 50-year low of 3.5%.
The actual unemployment rate and number of job losses are even higher because the BLS report does not include the data from the past two weeks, when more and more businesses have shut down and laid off employees. Nearly 10 million Americans have applied for unemployment benefits during this period.
— Marina Fang
Prince Charles has officially opened a new 4,000-bed temporary hospital at a London exhibition center, after himself being diagnosed with COVID-19 in March. The National Health Service Nightingale Hospital has been built to treat coronavirus patients at the ExCel center in east London.
Speaking from his home in Scotland via video link, the prince paid tribute to workers who built the facility and frontline workers across the UK who are caring for those hit by the coronavirus outbreak. The Nightingale, named after nursing pioneer Florence Nightingale, will need an army of up to 16,000 staff in clinical and ancillary roles to keep it running.
“It is, without doubt, a spectacular and almost unbelievable feat of work in every sense, from its speed of construction – in just nine days as we’ve heard – to its size and the skills of those who have created it. An example, if ever one was needed, of how the impossible could be made possible and how we can achieve the unthinkable through human will and ingenuity,” Charles said.
— James Martin
City of Miami Mayor Francis Suarez on Thursday urged President Donald Trump to suspend all flights from international and domestic “COVID-19 hotspots” to Miami International Airport in an effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
“I have personally witnessed its speed, its spread, and its lethality among my residents in Miami, and now in the state of Florida,” Suarez wrote in an open letter to the president that he shared on Twitter.
— Lee Moran
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has told international visitors in Australia it’s time they returned to their usual place of residence. “As lovely as it is to have visitors to Australia, it is time – as it has been for some while – to make your way home,” the prime minister said in a press conference Friday.
His comments come as Australia’s Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy remained coy when asked if he believes the coronavirus statistics coming out of China and the U.S. “The only numbers I have total faith in are the Australian numbers,” he told media. “I’m certainly not confident that even the numbers out of the U.S. aren’t much higher than being reported because nobody else in the world has been doing testing like we have.”
At least 5,307 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Australia and 28 people have died. Read more on HuffPost Australia
— Francesca Syrett
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Thursday that the temporary hospital facility at the Javits Center will start treating COVID-19 patients, a change from the facility’s original plan to treat non-coronavirus illnesses spilling over from other hospitals.
“As we all know the growing coronavirus cases are threatening the capacity of our hospital system,” Cuomo said in a statement. “The original plan for Javits was that it be used to take non-COVID patients from hospitals to open up hospital beds. However, the number of COVID positive patients has increased so dramatically that it would be beneficial to the state if Javits could accept COVID positive patients.”
President Donald Trump confirmed at his Thursday briefing that he granted Cuomo’s request to convert the 2,500-bed alternate care facility into a hospital that would take in coronavirus patients. The facility is being run by the U.S. Army.
“The federal government is doing a lot of things it wasn’t anticipating it would do,” Trump said at the briefing.
― Sanjana Karanth
The Food and Drug Administration has approved the first test for coronavirus antibodies in the U.S., the agency announced Thursday.
Unlike other coronavirus tests that search for fragments of viral genes that would indicate an ongoing infection, the antibody test can detect whether a patient has ever had exposure to the coronavirus, which would potentially give that person some immunity. Experts expect the test will help them identify people who’ve caught the virus but didn’t experience any of its telltale signs.
“If we don’t know the asymptomatic or mild cases, we won’t know if it’s killing a sizable fraction of the people who have it, or only people who have underlying conditions or are very unlucky,” Dr. Carl Bergstrom, an infectious diseases expert at the University of Washington in Seattle, told The New York Times.
— Lydia O’Connor