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Coronavirus 2020 Outbreak: Latest Updates

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This article was updated on May 29, 2020, at 12:06 p.m. ET.

The United States leads the world in cases of COVID-19. We'll provide the latest updates on coronavirus cases, government response, impacts to our daily life, and more.

What is the latest news?

NY Businesses May Bar Customers Without Face Masks

May 29, 11:42 a.m.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed an executive order that authorizes business owners to turn away customers who don’t wear face coverings.

The move is an escalation of the mid-April executive order requiring New Yorkers to wear face masks in public when social distancing is not possible to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.

“We’re giving the store owners the right to say if you’re not wearing a mask, you can’t come in. That store owner has a right to protect themselves, that store owner has a right to protect the other patrons in that store,” Cuomo said Thursday at his daily news briefing.

“You don’t want to wear a mask, fine, but you don’t have a right to then go in that store if that store owner doesn’t want you to,” he said.

The order will be in effect through June 27.

Cuomo said the state would keep encouraging the use of face masks and that actors Rosie Perez and Chris Rock will partner with the state to encourage mask wearing, testing and social distancing.

 More than 8 million masks have been distributed to New York City’s hardest-hit neighborhoods, and another 1 million will be distributed starting Thursday, he said.

“The masks work,” he said Thursday. “They are deceptively effective. They are amazingly effective, and we made them mandatory in public settings.”

New York has reported more than 366,000 coronavirus cases and 29,000 coronavirus-related deaths -- far more than any other state.

The United States as a whole has reported 1.7 million cases and more than 102,000 deaths.

COVID-19 Didn’t Originate in Wuhan Seafood Market, Chinese Official Says

May 28, 6:10 p.m

New research indicates the coronavirus did not originate in a Wuhan seafood market as many scientists have believed, a top Chinese health official says.

But Gao Fu, director of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, didn’t say where the virus, which has killed 350,000 people worldwide, came from originally.

He told the state-controlled Global Times this week that further research shows no connections between food sold there and the coronavirus.

"At first, we assumed the seafood market might have the virus, but now the market is more like a victim. The novel coronavirus had existed long before," he said.

COVID-19 was first discovered in late 2019 in Wuhan. Gao told Global Times he went to Wuhan to collect coronavirus samples in early January, but no viruses were detected in the animal samples. Viruses were only found in environmental samples, including sewage, he said.

A paper published in January in the online medical journal The Lancet also challenged the idea that the market was where COVID-19 originated.

The paper written by Chinese scientists says 13 of the first 41 confirmed cases of the coronavirus had no link to the market.

“That’s a big number, 13, with no link,” Daniel Lucey, MD, an infectious disease specialist at Georgetown University, says in the online magazine Science.

New Poll: 1 in 5 Teachers Won't Return to Classrooms This Fall

May 28, 3:30 p.m.

If schools reopen this fall, about 1 in 5 teachers say they're unlikely to return to their classrooms, according to a new online poll from USA Today and Ipsos.

Specifically, 18% said they would leave their job if schools reopened, including 25% of teachers over age 55, according to detailed findings from Ipsos.

The poll, conducted online May 18-21, asked 505 K-12 teachers about several concerns about the coronavirus pandemic, distance learning, and schools reopening.

About 57% said they'd support a plan for their district to return for the full 5 days per week in the fall, and 69% would support 2 or 3 in-person days with distance learning to fill in the gaps.

A parallel poll also included thoughts from 2,000 adults in the U.S. About 64% think schools will reopen in the fall, and 46% supported a return to school before a coronavirus vaccine is available.

In a subset of the poll among 403 parents with a school-aged child, 59% said they were “very” or “somewhat” likely to switch to at-home learning. Parents in the Midwest were least likely to say this, and parents in the South were more likely to say so.

If schools reopen in the fall, 68% of parents said their child would find it difficult to follow distancing guidelines. About 70% would ask their child to wear a mask at school.

Teachers expressed concerns about their students falling behind as well. About 76% said their classes were behind, though 64% said students would “eventually be able to make up any lost ground.” They also reported broad concerns about parental support.

Some states, such as Illinois, will likely plan to keep schools closed, according Today.com. Other states plan to reopen.

Teachers are also concerned about students who are struggling to balance classwork with supporting their families, the news outlet reported. Others don't have reliable internet access or have housing issues.

“We have kids that don't even have reliable internet. We have kids that when their parents lost their jobs ... they're helping their families stay afloat,” Jasmine Chung, a high school English teacher outside of Chicago, told TODAY. “How do I balance (one student) that made a YouTube channel that blew up ... and is turning in zero work, but then we have (another student) who is working 80 hours a week and Zooms in once or twice just to tell me that he's there?”

New Zealand Reports No New COVID-19 Cases in 5 Days

May 28, 11:20 a.m.

New Zealand hasn't had a new coronavirus case in 5 consecutive days, the country's health officials announced Wednesday.

No patients are being treated for COVID-19 at hospitals either. The last patient with confirmed COVID-19 was discharged from Auckland's Middlemore Hospital.

“I think this is the first time in a couple of months we haven't had someone in hospital. That's another good position to be in,” Ashley Bloomfield, MD, the country's director-general of health, said during the news briefing.

New Zealand has 21 active COVID-19 cases left out of the previous 1,504 confirmed or probable cases, he said. The country has recorded 22 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

“We are really well-placed, and we are making good progress,” New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said in a live video on Facebook on Wednesday.

Ardern appeared live after a video call with officials in other countries such as Singapore, Australia, Norway, Greece, and the Czech Republic. The officials discussed case numbers, testing, and vaccine development, she said.

The island nation shut its borders to noncitizens and nonresidents in mid-March and followed shelter-in-place orders for 6 weeks while working on testing and contact tracing.

Now the country has eased restrictions and is at Alert Level 2, according to the country's website, which allows businesses to reopen and gatherings up to 10 people. New Zealand and Australian officials are talking about reopening travel between the two countries.

“Australia has had a few more cases over a period of weeks, but still very, very low numbers, so absolutely on the right track,” Ardern said during her live video.

Australia has recorded more than 7,100 COVID-19 cases and 103 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins University data.

“We just want to make sure we're both in the right spot where we can have travel between us without requiring quarantine, because that's the key,” Ardern said. “I doubt anybody would want to travel for short periods of time if they're spending 2 weeks of their holiday in a hotel.”

U.S. COVID-19 Deaths Top 100,000

May 27, 6:56 p.m.

Deaths from COVID-19 in the U.S. have topped 100,000, according to Johns Hopkins University and others tracking the data. The country has far more deaths than any other in the world -- the U.K. is second with more than 37,500. China, the nation at the center of the outbreak, has fewer than 5,000 deaths.

The grim milestone comes at a time when states have been easing stay-at-home orders and in some places people are crowding newly reopened beaches, bars, and other public areas. Public health officials have urged people to continue with social distancing measures and to wear masks in public to avoid a second spike in infections.

According to data compiled by The New York Times, cases are decreasing in 17 states, increasing in 15, and about the same in the rest. Deaths have been decreasing nationwide.

The U.S. reported its first case in Washington state in late January.


How many people have been diagnosed with the virus, and how many have died?

According to Johns Hopkins University, there are more than 5.85 million cases and more than 361,000 deaths worldwide. Over 2.44 million people have recovered.

How many cases of COVID-19 are in the United States?

There are more than 1.73 million cases in the U.S. of COVID-19, and more than 101,700 deaths. Almost 400,000 Americans have recovered from the disease, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. See a map of cases and deaths by state here

What travel restrictions are there?

The State Department has urged all U.S. citizens to avoid any international travel due to the global impact of the new coronavirus.

If you are currently overseas, the department wants you to come home, “unless [you] are prepared to remain abroad for an indefinite period,” according to a statement.

“Many countries are experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks and implementing travel restrictions and mandatory quarantines, closing borders and prohibiting non-citizens from entry with little advance notice,” the agency says.

In addition, the State Department says it will not issue any new passports except for people with a “qualified life-or-death emergency and who need a passport for immediate international travel within 72 hours.” The U.S. is banning all foreign travel to the United States from most of Europe for 30 days beginning midnight Friday, March 13.  American citizens are not included in the ban. 

The U.S. has also temporarily suspended nonessential travel to Mexico and Canada.

 Carolyn Crist and Ralph Ellis contributed to this report.


WebMD Health News Reviewed by Arefa Cassoobhoy, MD, MPH on May 29, 2020



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