Coronavirus Live Updates: Texas Reports Largest Single-Day Increase In COVID-19 Cases

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.)

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

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. 

— Arj Singh

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

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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