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.)
A monthlong investigation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found that a sampling of adults who tested positive for COVID-19 were roughly twice as likely to have dined at a restaurant within the two weeks before the onset of illness than those who tested negative for the virus.
The findings, published Friday, follow a review of symptomatic outpatients who sought testing at 11 U.S. health care facilities during the month of July. The review included 154 symptomatic participants who tested positive for the virus and 160 control participants who were symptomatic but tested negative.
Participants were not asked as part of the survey whether they had dined indoors or outdoors.
The report did not find a significant difference in positivity rate when it came to the patients who participated in activities other than dining at a restaurant, such as going shopping, going to a gym or office or using public transportation. This difference with restaurant dining is believed to come down to mask-wearing.
“Exposures and activities where mask use and social distancing are difficult to maintain, including going to places that offer on-site eating or drinking, might be important risk factors for acquiring COVID-19,” the CDC’s report states. “As communities reopen, efforts to reduce possible exposures at locations that offer on-site eating and drinking options should be considered to protect customers, employees, and communities.”
— Nina Golgowski
More than 5.6 million students in Italy are expected to return to their desks on Monday for face-to-face school lessons after a six-month shutdown, the longest in Europe.
The Italian government shut the nation’s schools in early March after the country found itself at the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic. But efforts to make classrooms safe again have been mired in controversy.
Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, whose son will also start school on Monday, admitted that “at the beginning, there are going to be problems” with the resumption of classes, HuffPost Italy reported.
Many of the new 2.4 million single desks needed to guarantee social distancing have failed to arrive on time, unions have said, while thousands of teaching positions remain vacant and older staffers have expressed concerns about the heightened risks they face.
Fifty-nine percent of all Italy’s primary and secondary school teachers are over the age of 50, according to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, making the education system particularly vulnerable to coronavirus outbreaks.
More than 35,000 people have died of COVID-19, the largest death toll in the European Union, and the recent increase in new cases has raised fears of a second wave.
— James Martin
The rate of coronavirus cases and deaths nationwide has declined in recent days, but the U.S. is far from out of the woods, according to Dr. Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota.
“We will, with the colleges and universities opening, with the spillover that’s occurring with even more pandemic fatigue, … we’re going to see these numbers grow substantially,” Osterholm said.
President Donald Trump said a vaccine could be ready as early as November, but Osterholm said any “meaningful” vaccine likely won’t be available to the majority of Americans until the beginning of 2021.
“And then it’s still going to take us months to vaccinate the population of just this country,” Osterholm said. “We really have another 12 to 14 months of a really hard road ahead of us,” he added. “And that’s what I’m concerned about today. … What is our national plan? We don’t have one.”
— Hayley Miller
The rate of reproduction of the coronavirus — called the R rate in the U.K. or R-naught in the U.S. — has risen dramatically above 1.0 across most of the United Kingdom and could be as high as 1.7, British scientists said Friday.
Official estimates by U.K. government scientists put the key figure — which shows how quickly the virus is spreading — between 1.0 and 1.2 across the whole of the country.
An R rate above 1.0 is likely to spark fresh demands for new lockdown measures in Britain as it means that the pandemic is growing rather than shrinking, HuffPost UK reported.
Separate research also suggested that coronavirus cases in England were doubling every seven to eight days at the beginning of September, with the highest rates among 18- to 24-year-olds.
“What we are seeing is evidence of an epidemic in the community and not a result of increased testing capacity,” said Professor Paul Elliott from the School of Public Health. “This is a critical time, and it’s vital that the public, our health system and policymakers are aware of the situation as we cannot afford complacency.”
It comes after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the legal limit on social gatherings in England would be cut from 30 to six from Monday.
The U.K. reported 3,539 new cases on Friday – the highest in almost four months. The rise brings the total number of people in the U.K. infected with COVID-19 during the pandemic to 361,677.
— Rachel Wearmouth and James Martin
For more on the pandemic, go here.