Coronavirus Outbreak: Live Updates

Healthline will not be updating this article Friday, May 1. Live updates will resume Saturday, May 2. Visit our coronavirus hub for more information on the COVID-19 outbreak.

  • The outbreak, initially identified in China, is continuing to grow.
  • The disease is called COVID-19. It’s caused by an infection with the new coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, which is one of multiple coronaviruses that can be transmitted to humans.
  • Other examples of coronaviruses include SARS, MERS, and even the common cold.
COVID-19 cases
  • Globally, there have been more than 3.2 million confirmed cases and more than 230,000 associated deaths, according to Johns Hopkins.
  • The United States currently has the highest reported number of COVID-19 cases, with more than 1 million. However, due to a lack of testing, the number of actual cases may be far higher.
  • More than 61,000 people in the United States have died from the disease.
Los Angeles will offer free COVID-19 tests to anyone who wants one

The Mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti, said the city will offer free tests for COVID-19 to all residents who want one. People do not need to have symptoms to get tested, but those with symptoms will get priority.

Study finds airborne coronavirus in hospitals

A new study out this week in NatureTrusted Source found that the virus that causes COVID-19 was detected in the air in certain areas of two hospitals.

The two hospitals in Wuhan, China are at the center of the outbreak in that country. Researchers found evidence of aerosolized SARS-CoV-2 in the toilet area and in areas prone to crowding.

The study has given more information about whether the virus is easily transmitted through the air. Researchers said proper ventilation and disinfection may help stop the virus from spreading in other similar areas.

FDA expected to allow emergency use of drug to treat COVID-19

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is expected to give emergency use authorization for the drug remdesivir to treat people with COVID-19.

The antiviral drug is being studied in multiple tests as a potential treatment for COVID-19. Early research has found that the drug may help people recover from the virus more quickly, according to the New York Times.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director for the National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Diseases, told the New York Times that administering the drug to people with COVID-19 may shorten their recovery time by about a third.

“Although a 31 percent improvement doesn’t seem like a knockout 100 percent, it is a very important proof of concept because what it has proven is that a drug can block this virus,” Fauci said. “This is very optimistic.”

However, more research will need to be done to understand what — if any — long-term benefit there is to taking the drug.

Another study from the Lancet found no benefit for patients taking remdesivir compared to patients taking a placebo.

Pug is first dog in U.S. to test positive for COVID-19

The dog of a family taking part in a COVID-19 study has tested positive for the virus according to CBS News.

In addition to the pug named Winston, a mother, father, and son also tested positive. But Winston was the only pet to test positive at the family’s house. Another dog and cat tested negative.

Experts say that pet owners shouldn’t be too worried of their pets developing COVID-19, as early evidence shows it doesn’t seem to result in severe symptoms in animals.

U.S. cases top 1 million

Less than 4 months after the first COVID-19 case was detected in the United States, the number of U.S. cases has now topped 1 million, according to Johns Hopkins.

The new milestone was reached as some states including Georgia, Colorado, and Texas are in the process of loosening restrictions requiring people to stay at home.

The United States currently accounts for about one-third of the global total of COVID-19 cases.

Quest releases first at-home test for COVID-19 antibodies

Quest Diagnostic has released the first at-home test to detect COVID-19 antibodies.

People who have COVID-19 antibodies have likely already had the disease and may have immunity against the virus in the future. Although it’s still too early to tell for certain.

“Antibodies are only a part of the immune response to a virus. There are other viruses where antibody responses are clearly not associated with protection,” Dr. Otto Yang, a virologist at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA told Healthline in an earlier interview.

The test will cost $119 and people can order it without visiting a doctor. After ordering the test, you’ll have to go to a site in order to have your blood drawn.

Texas to end shelter-in-place order at end of April

Texas is joining other states like Georgia and South Carolina in relaxing shelter-in-place or stay-at-home orders.

Governor Greg Abbott said that certain businesses like movie theaters, restaurants, and retail stores will be allowed to open on May 1 but only at 25 percent normal capacity.

Other businesses like gyms and hair salons will not be able to open until May 18, when the state can see if new infections have ticked up.

“Now more than ever, Texans must remain committed to safe distancing practices that reduce the spread of COVID-19, and we must continue to rely on doctors and data to provide us with the safest strategies to restore Texans’ livelihoods,” Abbott said in a statement.

As Texas and other states look at opening up, other areas of the country including Michigan, New York, and northern California have extended their shelter-in-place orders.

First responders are disinfected in personal protective gear. John Moore/Getty Images
UK warns COVID-19 may be causing severe symptoms in children

Officials in the U.K. are warning that COVID-19 may lead to dangerous symptoms in children.

The U.K. Paediatric Intensive Care Society posted an alert on Twitter from the U.K.’s National Health Service warning that they’re seeing new cases of children with COVID-19 who have arrived at the hospital with severe symptoms.

These symptoms include abdominal pain, gastrointestinal issues, cardiac inflammation, and signs of toxic shock syndrome and Kawasaki disease, which is characterized by an inflammation of blood vessels.

“Over the last three weeks there has been an apparent rise in the number of children of all ages presenting with a multi-system inflammatory state requiring intensive care,” the NHS warning read.

Officials said they’re concerned they’re seeing a new symptom of SARS-CoV-2 that could be especially dangerous for children.

In general the most severe symptoms have mainly been seen in older adults, although there have been some reports of children being hospitalized or dying from the disease.

COVID-19 immunity controversy; Up to 80 percent ‘silent carriers’

The World Health Organization (WHO) stated, “There is currently no evidence that people who have recovered from COVID-19 and have antibodies are protected from a second infection,” in an April 24 scientific brief.

However, health experts disagree.

They emphasize that the presence of antibodies indicates protection from future infection by the virus that causes COVID-19, but what’s unknown is how long that protection will last.

Paul Hunter, a professor in medicine at the University of East Anglia, told The Guardian that everyone, or almost everyone, who recovers from COVID-19 “will have developed immunity, otherwise they would not have recovered.”

He added, “What we do not know is how long that immunity will last. It almost certainly will not last for life.”

The WHO walked back the controversial statement in a social media post on April 25, admitting, “We expect that most people who are infected with #COVID19 will develop an antibody response that will provide some level of protection.”

So far, the virus has spread to nearly 3 million people worldwide. However, many people don’t show symptoms, and recent studies suggest up to 80 percent of people with SARS-CoV-2 are “silent carriers.”

Testing of pregnant women in New York City revealed that “at this point in the pandemic in New York City, most of the patients who were positive for SARS-CoV-2 at delivery were asymptomatic.”

Testing also revealed that “the true prevalence of infection may be underreported because of false-negative results of tests to detect SARS-CoV-2.”

The CDC recommends all adults wear face masks to cut down on developing COVID-19. Getty Images
COVID-19 may increase stroke risk

In late March, doctors at Mount Sinai Hospital noticed something strange happening to patients’ blood, reported Reuters.

“Across New York City, we were seeing a large number of strokes and that these strokes were extremely concerning, and they were blocking big vessels to the brain,” Dr. J. Mocco, a Mount Sinai neurosurgeon, said in an interview.

Reuters also reported that under a new protocol, higher doses of a blood thinner normally used to dissolve clots will be given to COVID-19 patients at Mount Sinai before any clots are detected.

“We’re seeing clots everywhere, high rates of clots in veins of the legs. So, across the board, for sure, we all believe that — and there’s objective evidence that this disease increases clot formation,” Mocco said.

The American Society of Hematology has noted COVID-19-associated clotting.

Its guidance to physicians states the benefits of blood-thinning therapy for those patients not already showing signs of clotting are “currently unknown.”

New studies find many more people than previously thought have had COVID-19. Antonio Masiello/Getty Images
U.S. deaths from COVID-19 top 50,000

In less than 3 months, more than 50,000 people have died due to COVID-19 in the United States. The first known death occurred in Northern California on Feb. 6.

As of April 26, there have been at least 54,000 deaths.

The number of dead in the United States far surpasses other countries, including Spain and Italy.

FDA warns about dangers of using hydroxychloroquine

The FDA is reiterating its warningTrusted Source that people shouldn’t take hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine unless they’re under careful supervision from a physician.

The warning comes as serious side effects were noted during medical studies of the drug on people with COVID-19.

Some of the patients had serious side effects including abnormal heart rhythms and some even died.

Lysol warns against ingesting products

The Lysol brand is warning users from ingesting or injecting any disinfectant products to treat the virus that causes COVID-19.