Since Chinese officials implemented the first coronavirus lockdown in the city of Wuhan in January, there have been more than 23.6 million cases of COVID-19 across the planet.
More than 813,000 people have died from the disease, 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 shuttered in hopes of slowing transmission. After months of precautions and lockdowns, governments have begun to reopen their economies.
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.)
Florida Judge Rules Against State Order Requiring Schools To Reopen — 8/25/20, 8:30 a.m. ET
A Florida judge on Monday temporarily blocked a state order requiring all brick-and-mortar schools to reopen for in-person instruction by the end of August, ruling that the mandate “arbitrarily disregards safety.”
The state’s education commissioner, Richard Corcoran, issued the order last month, which conditions state funding for schools on reopening five days a week for families who do not want their children to have virtual-only instruction. The Florida Education Association — the state’s largest teachers union — quickly sued the state, contending that local school districts should have the power to decide when it’s safe to reopen.
In his 16-page ruling, Leon County Judge Charles Dodson called the order “unconstitutional” and said it unlawfully denies local school boards the ability to decide for themselves when to reopen.
“If an individual school district chooses safety — that is, delaying the start of schools until it individually determines it is safe to do so for its county — it risks losing state funding, even though every student is being taught,” Dodson wrote.
Florida has appealed Dodson’s ruling.
— Hayley Miller
Spanish Capital To Install 6,100 Cameras For Online Learning — 8/25/20, 7:30 a.m. ET
Classrooms across Spain’s capital Madrid are to be fitted with cameras and the city will buy 70,000 computers as part of wide-ranging plans to keep schools open during the new school year.
HuffPost Spain reports (in Spanish) that Madrid’s regional government plans to install 6,100 cameras in classrooms to teach online classes, and hire up to 8,500 more teachers if the health crisis worsens.
The plans, released just over a week before classes are due to start, come as countries across Europe grapple with getting students back to school after the summer holidays.
Infections have risen sharply since Spain lifted a three-month lockdown in late June, but deaths have been much lower than during the epidemic’s late-March peak.
Spain diagnosed 2,060 coronavirus infections in the past 24 hours, the health ministry said on Monday, bringing the total to 405,436, with the cumulative death toll reaching 28,872.
— James Martin
First Reported Case Of Reinfection ‘Needs To Be Taken Into Context’ — 8/25/20, 7 a.m. ET
British experts have said it is too early to say what a reported case of coronavirus reinfection could mean on a global scale.
Researchers at the University of Hong Kong’s (HKU) department of microbiology have reported that an “apparently young and healthy patient had a second episode of COVID-19 infection which was diagnosed 4.5 months after the first episode.”
They added that the case shows reinfection can occur a few months after recovery from the first infection – potentially casting doubt over theories about immunity, HuffPost UK reports.
However, researchers in the U.K. have said that seeing one case of reinfection is not that surprising.
Dr. Jeffrey Barrett, senior scientific consultant for COVID-19 Genome Project, Wellcome Sanger Institute, said that it is “very hard” to make any strong inference from a single observation. “This may be very rare, and it may be that second infections, when they do occur, are not serious,” he said.
Brendan Wren, professor of microbial pathogenesis, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said: “With over three million cases of COVID-19 worldwide, the first reported case of a potential reinfection with SARS-CoV-2 needs to be taken into context.
“It appears that the young and healthy adult has been reinfected with a slight SARS-CoV-2 variant from the initial infection three months previously.
“It is to be expected that the virus will naturally mutate over time. This is a very rare example of reinfection and it should not negate the global drive to develop COVID-19 vaccines.”
— Sarah Turnnidge and James Martin
Boris Johnson Says Students Face Greater Harm By Staying At Home — 8/24/20, 6:45 a.m. ET
U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has made a personal plea to parents to send their children back to school in September as classrooms in Europe prepare to reopen.
Johnson said pupils face greater damage by continuing to stay at home, while chief medical officers in the U.K. issued a joint statement reassuring parents it was safe to send their children back to school.
They said “very few, if any” children would come to long-term harm from catching COVID-19 by attending school. An analysis published on Sunday showed there were 67 single confirmed cases, four “co-primary cases” (two or more linked cases diagnosed at the same time), and 30 coronavirus outbreaks in schools in England during June.
Elsewhere in Europe, countries are facing a race against time to reopen schools, with Spain’s minister of education forced to deny it was planning to postpone September’s post-summer reopening.
France’s education minister, Jean-Michel Blanquer, has also ruled out delays to starting the school year on Sept. 1, but he left the door open to “local exceptions” on a case-by-case basis. Schools in Italy are also due to begin a phased reopening on Sept. 1.
In Germany, however, at least 41 schools in Berlin have reported that students or teachers have become infected after classes resumed two weeks ago. Berlin was one of the first places in Germany to reopen schools after the summer holidays, but despite rising infection rates the government has said keeping classrooms open is a top priority.
— James Martin
Australia’s Victoria State Records Lowest Daily Rise In Cases For 7 Weeks — 8/24/20, 4:30 a.m. ET
Victoria, the state of Australia that accounts for 80% of the country’s COVID-19 deaths, has reported its lowest daily rise in new infections in seven weeks.
The state, which is almost halfway through a six-week lockdown, recorded 15 deaths from coronavirus in the last 24 hours and 116 cases.
As the spread of the disease slows, state and federal governments have been discussing easing the cap on returning Australians of 4,000 per week to help repatriate those stranded overseas.
In neighboring New Zealand, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has extended a coronavirus lockdown in the country’s largest city until the end of the week and introduced mandatory mask-wearing on public transport across the nation.
Ardern said the four-day extension in the city of Auckland was critical to enable the country to step down its scale of emergency restrictions — and remain at less restrictive levels.
The Auckland lockdown, imposed on Aug. 11 after officials detected the country’s first locally acquired cases of COVID-19 in more than three months, had been scheduled to end Wednesday.
New Zealand, which has a population of 5 million, has so far recorded just over 1,300 COVID-19 cases, including 22 deaths.
Australia has recorded nearly 25,000 COVID-19 infections, including 517 deaths.
— James Martin
Trump Announces Emergency Approval For COVID-19 Plasma Treatment — 8/23/20, 6:50 p.m. ET
President Donald Trump said Sunday that U.S. regulators gave an emergency use authorization for a coronavirus treatment involving blood plasma donated by people who recovered from the disease.
The authorization by the Food and Drug Administration allows for the distribution of COVID-19 convalescent plasma in the U.S. and for health care providers to administer it as appropriate to treat patients hospitalized with suspected or confirmed COVID-19.
The authorization comes after the FDA put the plasma approval on hold earlier this month in response to concerns from top federal health officials. Though donated plasma is considered safe, scientists said clinical trials have not yet proved whether it is effective enough for treating the disease caused by the virus.
“In the independent judgment of experts and expert scientists at the FDA who have reviewed the totality of data — not just the data from this expanded access program, but more than a dozen published studies, as well as historical experience associated with this — those scientists have concluded that COVID-19 convalescent plasma is safe, ensures promising efficacy, thereby meeting the criteria for emergency use authorization,” FDA commissioner Stephen Hahn said at Sunday’s briefing.
“In the independent judgment of experts and expert scientists at FDA … #COVID19 convalescent plasma is safe and shows promising efficacy thereby meeting the criteria for an emergency use authorization.” — FDA Commissioner @SteveFDA pic.twitter.com/7jVsbcujMJ
— U.S. FDA (@US_FDA) August 23, 2020
The authorization came one day after Trump accused FDA employees of intentionally delaying progress on a COVID-19 vaccine and treatment because they were out to hurt the president’s chances in the upcoming election, without any evidence to substantiate the claim.
Hahn declined to say Sunday whether he was pressured into giving the emergency use authorization for convalescent plasma treatment before it was ready.
— Sanjana Karanth
For more on the pandemic, go here.
A HuffPost Guide To Coronavirus
Everyone deserves accurate information about COVID-19. Support journalism without a paywall — and keep it free for everyone — by becoming a HuffPost member today.
Love HuffPost? Become a founding member of HuffPost Plus today.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.