Coronavirus Live Updates: Cruise Companies Cancel Trips Through End Of 2020

Liza Hearon
·Editor, Breaking News, HuffPost
·20 min read

The coronavirus continues to disrupt daily life around the globe, with more than 48.2 million people confirmed to have contracted COVID-19 since Chinese officials implemented the first coronavirus lockdown in the city of Wuhan in January.

In the U.S., the coronavirus has become a campaign talking point, with President Donald Trump repeatedly shunning advice of public health officials and mocking his Democratic opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden, for listening to scientists. Michael Osterholm, a renowned infectious disease expert, said “the next six to 12 weeks are going to be the darkest of the entire pandemic” in the U.S.

Meanwhile, after months of improvement, European countries are going back into lockdowns or ramping up restrictions as infections spike.

More than 9.49 million Americans have contracted the coronavirus, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. More than 1.2 million people, including more than 233,000 Americans, have died.

Read the latest updates 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.)

U.S. Sets Record For COVID-19 Cases Amid Election Battle — 11/5/20, 6:30 a.m. ET

States around the country set all-time highs Wednesday and the U.S. set another record for daily confirmed coronavirus cases as the country awaited results of the presidential race, the AP reports.

In the time until President Donald Trump’s term expires on Jan. 20, 100,000 more Americans will likely die from the virus if the country doesn’t change strategy, said Dr. Robert Murphy, executive director of the Institute for Global Health at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine.

Daily new confirmed deaths are at a record 7-day average of 86,352, according to Johns Hopkins University data. Deaths are up to an average of 846 a day.

“Regardless of the outcome of the election, everyone in America needs to buckle down,” said Dr. Susan Bailey, president of the American Medical Association.

Liza Hearon

Cruise Companies Cancel Trips Through End Of Year — 11/3/20, 6:45 a.m. ET

Royal Caribbean Group, Norwegian Cruise Lines Holdings and Carnival Corp. will cancel most cruises through the end of the year, the companies said Monday.

The companies had already suspended cruises through Nov. 30 amid the COVID-19 pandemic, USA Today reported.

The cancellations follow a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “Framework for Conditional Sailing Order,” issued Friday. It stipulates that cruises sailing in U.S. waters would first need to do simulation sailings with no paying passengers on board to show compliance with CDC standards.

Since the outbreak of the pandemic, some cruises have restarted in Asia and Europe with COVID-19 protocols, but ocean cruises have yet to restart in U.S. waters.

Cruise ships were vectors for the spread of the coronavirus in the early days of the pandemic with several outbreaks on board ships. Hundreds of passengers were quarantined off Japan for weeks on the Diamond Princess cruise ship.

Liza Hearon

Record Number Of U.S. Children Diagnosed With COVID-19 Last Week — 11/3/20, 5:40 a.m. ET

More than 61,000 children were diagnosed with COVID-19 in the week ending Oct. 29, the highest number since the pandemic began, the American Academy of Pediatrics said Monday.

While it appears at this time that severe illness due to the coronavirus is rare among children, there’s a need to research the long-term impacts on children, including on mental and physical health, the academy said.

Children represented 11.1% of cases in states that reported their cases by age. The report found that, in October, the Western states of Alaska, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico and Utah reported the greatest rises in the number of children with the coronavirus. Overall, the percentage of pediatric cases nationwide has crept up, from around 2% in mid-April.

“It just keeps going from horrible to even worse,” said Dr. Greg Demuri, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at UW Health in Madison, Wisconsin, NBC News reported.

The U.S. has reported about 9.3 million cases of the coronavirus since the start of the pandemic, with more than 231,000 deaths.

Liza Hearon

WHO Indirectly Helped China Whitewash Its Early Failures In Handling Outbreak: NYT — 11/2/20, 7:45 a.m. ET

The World Health Organization may have botched its early investigation into the origin of the COVID-19 pandemic by bending to pressure from China, indirectly helping the country whitewash its initial failures in handling the outbreak, The New York Times reported Monday.

Though the WHO has led the world on COVID-19 testing, treatment and vaccine science, its quiet concessions to China have created a geopolitical divide: European leaders wants to reform the organization in light of its recent blunders while U.S. President Donald Trump has essentially abandoned it, withdrawing the U.S. from the group in May.

Meanwhile, the world ― with perhaps, the exception of China ― remains in the dark about the virus’s origins, which could be key to curbing its spread, preventing future outbreaks and shaping the global response to pandemics. Many scientists now doubt the initial theory that the outbreak began in a wet market in Wuhan, though evidence suggests the virus passed naturally from animals to humans, according to the Times.

Read more here.

— Hayley Miller

WHO Chief Self-Quarantines After Exposure To COVID-19 — 11/2/20, 5:45 a.m. ET

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the head of the World Health Organization, said Sunday that he will self-quarantine after being identified as a contact of a person who tested positive for COVID-19.

He said that he is well and without symptoms but will work from home in line with WHO protocols. The WHO director-general has been at the forefront of the global response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Also on Sunday, Geneva, where the WHO is headquartered, declared a fresh state of emergency and imposed tougher lockdown restrictions than the rest of Switzerland, closing all bars, restaurants and non-essential shops. The Geneva region, which includes about 500,000 people, has recorded more than 1,000 new cases a day recently.

Liza Hearon

COVID-19 Surge Ahead Of Election Day Creates Concerns For Polling Places — 11/01/2020, 3:10 p.m. ET

A surge in coronavirus cases across the country, including in key presidential battleground states, is creating mounting health and logistical concerns for voters, poll workers and political parties ahead of Election Day.

Iowa election official Joel Miller said he is concerned about contracting the virus after spending hours this week assisting voters. He said he was worried about the virus spreading at polling places Tuesday, noting that voters cannot be required to wear masks.

“Heck yes I’m concerned,” Miller said. “I’m going to have 500 people working on Tuesday. I don’t want it on my conscience that somebody caught COVID at a polling place and got sick. ... It could happen. It could happen to me.”

Read more from The Associated Press.

― Hayley Miller

Boris Johnson Announces New National Lockdown For England — 10/31/20, 4:05 p.m. ET

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced Saturday that England will return to a lockdown next week as COVID-19 cases in the country are quickly rising.

The new lockdown will begin Thursday and last until Dec. 2.

Nonessential retail, leisure, and entertainment businesses will be closed. Restaurants, bars, and pubs will be allowed to offer take-out and delivery only.

Schools, including universities, will stay open, as will workplaces, where working from home is impossible — like those in the manufacturing and construction sectors.

Johnson said that people may only leave home for specific reasons, including education, work, outdoor recreation, medical appointments, shopping for essentials, and providing care for vulnerable people.

“No one wants to be imposing these kinds of measures anywhere,” said Johnson. But, he added, “no responsible prime minister can ignore” the rising numbers.

— Hilary Hanson

Boris Johnson Expected To Announce New National Lockdown For England — 10/31/20, 10:20 a.m.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to announce Saturday that England will return into a lockdown next week as COVID-19 cases are soaring.

“Unlike the first wave, where we had a national lockdown which protected huge swathes of society, this outbreak is now running riot across all age groups,” Calum Semple, a professor and member of Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies said on BBC Radio 4 Today ahead of the announcement.

Semple noted that women between the ages of 20 and 40 were were three to four times likely as men in the same age group to end up in the hospital because of their increased likelihood of working in hospitality, retail or educational fields where they could be exposed.

The expected lockdown could last until Dec. 1.

— Hilary Hanson

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp Says He’s Under Quarantine After Potential COVID-19 Exposure — 10/30/20, 3:30 p.m. ET

Brian Kemp, the Republican governor of Georgia, announced Friday that he and his wife, Marty Kemp, were quarantining after “direct exposure within the last 48 hours to an individual who recently tested positive” for the coronavirus.

Kemp — who earlier in the pandemic was criticized by President Trump for allowing the reopening of some businesses in the state too quickly — also announced Friday that he was extending the state’s COVID-19 emergency order into December.

According to a statement from Kemp’s office, the governor was not “currently experiencing any symptoms.”

Georgia has reported more than 350,000 cases of the coronavirus since the pandemic began. More than 7,900 people in the state have died from the virus to date.

— Dominique Mosbergen

U.S. Coronavirus Cases Hit New Record With Nearly 90,000 New Infections In 1 Day — 10/30/2020, 10:35 a.m. ET

The United States has set yet another grim milestone as the deadly coronavirus continues to surge throughout the country.

John Hopkins University reported more than 88,000 new U.S. cases of the coronavirus in the past day, surpassing the previous record of 80,000 cases on Wednesday. The university on Thursday also recorded 982 deaths in the country, which is leading the world’s death toll with nearly 230,000 deaths. Experts have warned that by the end of the year, the number of deaths in the United States could double to 400,000.

President Donald Trump, who has downplayed the pandemic from the start, continued to dig his heels into falsehoods earlier this week when he inaccurately claimed that the United States is “rounding the turn” even as nationwide cases of COVID-19 continue to shatter records.

— Sebastian Murdock

Boston Mayor Encourages All Residents To Take Coronavirus Test — 10/30/20, 6:30 a.m. ET

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh on Thursday encouraged all residents of his city to take a coronavirus test under a new program called “Get The Test Boston.”

City workers will receive one paid hour every 14 days to get tested during their normal work hours, Walsh said. Several city businesses such as the Boston Red Sox, Bruins and Celtics have committed to ensuring their employees get tested.

Coronavirus cases have been rising in Boston, with the city’s positivity rate rising to 7.8% on Saturday compared with 6.2% the previous week.

The Massachusetts health department reported more than 1,000 new cases in the state for a fifth consecutive day on Wednesday.

Liza Hearon

North Carolina Suspends Evictions Through End Of 2020 ― 10/29/2020, 10:50 a.m. ET

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) signed an executive order Wednesday that will suspend all evictions in the state for the thousands of renters who are out of work because of the coronavirus.

More than 300,000 people in the state are unable to pay rent, Cooper’s order says. And without the suspension of evictions, more than a quarter of a million eviction filings could be filed by January 2021.

The order will last until the end of 2020. Landlords and utility providers will also receive money from the state’s new order.

— Sebastian Murdock

India Surpasses 8 Million COVID-19 Cases — 10/29/20, 2 a.m. ET

India has officially reported 8 million cases of COVID-19 and remains one of the world’s worst-hit countries, according to figures released by the Indian health ministry.

At least 120,527 people have died from the virus in the country since the pandemic began.

Nearly 50,000 new infections were reported in the last 24-hour reporting period. Officials have also issued warnings ahead of the upcoming festival season that participating in celebrations could lead to renewed rates of infection.

The Associated Press reported that the capital of New Delhi experienced its worst day of infections with 4,853 cases on Wednesday, although rates across the country were just under half of what they were during the height of the pandemic in mid-September.

— Nick Visser

Mike And Karen Pence Test Negative For COVID-19 — 10/28/20, 10:40 a.m. ET

Vice President Mike Pence and his wife, Karen Pence, tested negative on Wednesday for COVID-19, according to the vice president’s office.

The test results come after at least five aides to Mike Pence, including chief of staff Marc Short, tested positive in the last week. Despite the outbreak, Mike Pence has continued to campaign across the country, making the most of the week leading up to Election Day on Nov. 3. The vice president visited Minnesota on Monday and North Carolina on Tuesday.

The Pences also said they tested negative for the coronavirus on Monday, though the vice president declined to preside that day over the Senate’s vote confirming Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett. Democratic leaders asked him to not attend the vote due to the potential health risks of his presence following the outbreak in his office.

— Sanjana Karanth

Senior Trump Official Tests Positive After Trip To Europe — 10/28/20, 6:50 a.m. ET

Peter Berkowitz, director of policy planning at the State Department, tested positive for the coronavirus after a trip to Britain, Hungary and France, the Washington Post reported.

U.S. embassy staff in Europe were concerned about him traveling during the pandemic and his mask-wearing and social-distancing practices were lax during the trip, according to one official.

The diagnosis has prompted Britain to become more selective on which American delegations they receive. Hungary sent a series of cables to Washington about the issue but had no complaints about his conduct during the trip, according to the official.

Europe is battling another wave of the coronavirus and lockdowns and restrictions are being reinstated across the continent. The UK alone reported more than 22,000 new cases on Tuesday and 367 deaths ― the first time daily deaths have exceeded 350 since May.

Liza Hearon

Coronavirus May Age Some Survivors’ Brains 10 Years, Study Says, But More Research Is Needed — 10/27/20, 5:25 p.m. ET

People who survive COVID-19 may suffer alarming side effects in the brain, a new, not-yet-peer-reviewed study suggests. Doctors at Imperial College London found that some patients experienced cognitive decline equivalent to the brain having aged 10 years.

More than 84,000 coronavirus patients were tracked for the study. However, scientists not involved in it caution that each patient’s cognitive function before the virus was not known, meaning that the results may not be reliable. It is also unknown whether the effects on the brain improve over the patient’s long-term recovery.

“Overall (this is) an intriguing but inconclusive piece of research into the effect of COVID on the brain,” Derek Hill, a professor at University College London who was not part of the study, told Reuters.

“As researchers seek to better understand the long-term impact of COVID, it will be important to further investigate the extent to which cognition is impacted in the weeks and months after the infection, and whether permanent damage to brain function results in some people.”

Sara Boboltz

Pfizer Says It Has Not Yet Analyzed Vaccine Effectiveness — 10/27/20, 1:10 p.m. ET

Pfizer revealed Tuesday that the company had not yet conducted an efficacy analysis on its coronavirus vaccine, making it all but certain that a vaccine will not come before Election Day as President Donald Trump has suggested.

The company had previously said that it could have the efficacy data as early as the end of October. It may still become the first drugmaker to roll out a coronavirus vaccine. CEO Albert Bourla said earlier this month that Pfizer aims to ask the Food and Drug Administration for emergency authorization to distribute the vaccine sometime in late November.

Pfizer already has agreements with several nations, including the United States and the European Union, to deliver hundreds of millions of doses — if the vaccine is deemed effective.

Sara Boboltz

Russia Implements National Mask Mandate — 10/27/20, 6:30 a.m. ET

Russia has reinstated a national mask mandate as coronavirus infections surge across the country, the Moscow Times reported Tuesday.

From Wednesday, Russians will be required to wear masks in crowded places, including public transport and parking lots, the country’s consumer safety watchdog said. It wasn’t clear how the mandate would be enforced.

After a lockdown in April and May, Russian President Vladimir Putin had resisted taking nationwide measures over the last couple of months, leaving the decisions instead to the regions, the New York Times reports.

But the numbers of cases and deaths have reached new heights over the past few weeks. Russia has recorded more than 16,000 new cases a day for five days in a row, and there were 320 deaths on Tuesday — a single-day record.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Russia has reported more than 1.5 million cases and more than 26,400 deaths.

Liza Hearon

Study: Antibody Response To Coronavirus Could Decline Over Time — 10/27/20, 6:00 a.m. ET

Antibody response to the coronavirus could fall over time, a large study in England suggests.

Researchers with Imperial College London and Ipsos MORI tested more than 365,000 people in England between June and September to see if they had COVID-19 antibodies, which are the type of protein produced by the body to fight an infection. It still remains unclear whether antibodies provide immunity to COVID-19, HuffPost UK reports.

Six percent of people tested positive for antibodies between June 20 and July 13 but this dropped to 4.4% by the end of September.

But the reduction in the prevalence of antibodies wasn’t equal among age groups. Those aged 18 to 24 had the highest prevalence of antibodies that dropped at the slowest rate, while people aged 75 and older had the lowest prevalence and the highest rate of decline.

— Jasmin Gray

Pence To Skip Barrett Confirmation Vote Unless Needed: Reports — 10/26/20, 12:15 p.m. ET

Vice President Mike Pence is not planning to preside over Monday’s Senate vote on Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett unless he is needed to break a tie, reported Politico and CNN.

Democratic leadership had urged Pence not to attend the vote because five of his aides ― including his chief of staff, Marc Short ― have tested positive for COVID-19 in recent days. Pence and his wife, Karen Pence, tested negative Saturday, Sunday and Monday, according to the vice president’s office.

Despite an outbreak in his office, Pence will continue to campaign across the country, his office said. He is scheduled to visit Minnesota on Monday and North Carolina on Tuesday.

― Hayley Miller

Pence Tests Negative, Democrats Ask Him To Skip Barrett’s Confirmation Vote — 10/26/20, 9:55 a.m. ET

Vice President Pence and his wife, Karen Pence, tested negative for COVID-19 on Monday, the vice president’s office said.

At least five aides to Pence ― including his chief of staff, Marc Short ― have tested positive for the coronavirus in recent days. Despite the outbreak, Pence will continue to campaign across the country, according to his office. He is scheduled to visit Minnesota on Monday and North Carolina on Tuesday.

The White House said Monday that Pence would preside over the Senate’s vote on whether to confirm Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett later in the day.

Democratic leaders have asked Pence not to attend Monday’s final vote in the Senate on Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation due to the potential health risks of his presence.

“With five of your closest aides recently testing positive for COVID-19, it is not a risk worth taking,” the Democrats wrote in a letter to Pence. “We ask you to reconsider. ... Nothing about your presence in the Senate tomorrow can be considered essential. You will not need to cast the deciding vote to break a tie.”

“We believe that if you and President Trump finally began to take this crisis seriously, instead of taking actions that further increase the spread, we would all be safer and better off,” the letter continued.

― Hayley Miller

GOP Governor Faults Trump For Sending ‘Confusing Messages’ About Masks — 10/25/20, 1:45 p.m. ET

Arkansas’ Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson criticized President Donald Trump on Sunday for sending “confusing messages” about whether Americans should wear masks and practice social distancing to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Margaret Brennan, host of CBS’ “Face the Nation,” asked Hutchinson whether Trump’s reluctance to endorse mask-wearing enthusiastically hurt the governor’s ability to persuade his constituents to practice virus mitigation measures.

“Well, it makes it confusing,” Hutchinson said. Trump has “made it very clear that wearing a mask is important. I saw him wear a mask going into the polls yesterday. But obviously, with the rallies, there is confusing messages there.”

Trump’s own public health officials have urged Americans to wear masks and socially distance in an effort to curb the contagion.

But the Trump campaign continues to host large rallies, and while it said it encourages attendees to wear masks, many rallygoers do not.

Read more here.

— Hayley Miller

W.H. Chief Of Staff: ‘We’re Not Going To Control The Pandemic’ — 10/25/20, 12:10 p.m. ET

White House chief of staff Mark Meadows on Sunday said the United States is “not going to control” the pandemic, contradicting President Donald Trump’s repeated claims that his administration has the virus “under control.”

Instead, the U.S. is going to “control the fact that we get vaccines, therapeutics and other mitigation areas,” Meadows told CNN’s Jake Tapper.

Tapper interrupted, “Why aren’t we going to get control of the pandemic?”

“Because it is a contagious virus,” Meadows responded. “Just like the flu.”

There have been more than 224,000 coronavirus-linked deaths nationwide, more than any other country in the world. The U.S. recorded 83,000 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, the highest number reported since the pandemic began.

While many wealthy countries have been able to control the spread of the virus through strict mitigation measures, the U.S. has consistently been leading the world in reported cases and deaths.

Read more here.

― Hayley Miller

Spain Declares 2nd Nationwide State Of Emergency ― 10/25/20, 10:30 a.m. ET

Spain has declared its second nationwide state of emergency after it became the first European country this week to surpass 1 million COVID-19 cases amid a resurgence of infections.

Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez on Sunday ordered an overnight curfew across the country in hopes of scaling back cases.

“The reality is that Europe and Spain are immersed in a second wave of the pandemic,” Sánchez said. He added that he plans to ask Parliament to extend the state of emergency to six months.

The declaration allows the government to temporarily restrict basic freedoms that are guaranteed in Spain’s Constitution, including the right to free movement.

Spain declared its first state of emergency back in March. That was lifted in June.

― Nina Golgowski

Several Pence Aides Test Positive — 10/25/20, 9:45 a.m. ET

At least five aides to Vice President Mike Pence have reportedly tested positive for COVID-19 in recent days, including his chief of staff, Marc Short.

Short tested positive on Saturday. He is quarantining and will assist in the contact tracing process, Pence’s office said in a statement.

Pence senior political adviser Marty Obst also tested positive earlier this week, The New York Times and CNN reported.

A source told the Times that three other Pence staff members have also tested positive.

Both the vice president and his wife, Karen Pence, tested negative for the coronavirus Saturday and again on Sunday and “remain in good health,” according to Pence’s office. Despite the new COVID-19 cases, the vice president intends to continue his campaign schedule. He plans to travel to North Carolina on Sunday.

Read more here.

― Hayley Miller

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This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.