Coronavirus Live Updates: World’s Biggest Vaccine Study Begins In U.S.

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.)

Trump’s National Security Adviser Tests Positive — 7/27/20, 9:20 a.m. ET

Robert O’Brien, national security adviser to President Trump, has tested positive for COVID-19, according to multiple reports.

O’Brien apparently contracted the virus at a family event, Bloomberg reported. He is reportedly quarantining at home and continuing to work remotely.

O’Brien’s diagnosis makes him the highest profile Trump administration official known to have tested positive for the virus. Vice President Mike Pence’s press secretary tested positive in May, as did one of Trump’s personal valets. Several Trump campaign staffers, including top fundraising official Kimberly Guilfoyle, have also tested positive in recent weeks.

— Hayley Miller

Birx Urges Several States To Close Bars, Limit Social Gatherings — 7/27/20, 9 a.m. ET

Dr. Deborah Birx, the coronavirus response coordinator for the Trump administration, urged states with rising infections to impose new restrictions that include closing bars, reducing indoor restaurant capacity and limiting social gatherings to 10 people.

“We can see what is happening in the South is moving north,” Birx told reporters in Kentucky on Sunday, suggesting that new hot spots outside of Florida, Texas and other Southern states are beginning to emerge.

Birx said she is specifically focused on controlling the pandemic “before it gets worse” in Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio, Indiana and Virginia, and she recommended that “100%” of individuals in these states wear masks when they’re in public or around others.

Kentucky allowed bars to reopen on June 29, but Gov. Andy Beshear (D) said Sunday that he planned to announce new restrictions early this week amid a surge in new cases. As of Monday, the state has recorded more than 27,000 cases and at least 718 deaths. Meanwhile, Florida and California have surpassed New York, once the epicenter of the virus in the U.S., in known infections.

— Hayley Miller

World’s Biggest Vaccine Study Begins In U.S. — 7/27/20, 8:05 a.m. ET

The biggest COVID-19 vaccine study to date is now underway in the United States.

Beginning Monday, the first 30,000 volunteers will help test shots created by the National Institutes of Health and biotechnology company Moderna, the Associated Press reported. Researchers will inject volunteers with either the experimental vaccine or a placebo and track which people contract the virus as they go about their lives. The researchers will also track any potential negative side effects of the vaccine.

Several other vaccines made by China and Britain’s Oxford University are in the final stages of testing.

Read more from AP here.

— Hayley Miller

Florida Records More Coronavirus Infections Than New York — 7/27/20, 3 a.m. ET

According to figures released on Sunday, Florida has now recorded more coronavirus cases than New York, which was once the U.S. epicenter of the outbreak. 

Johns Hopkins University reported that Florida had reached a total of more than 423,00 cases, nearly 77,000 of which were reported in the last seven days. That figure exceeds New York’s 416,000, which has seen just under 5,000 cases in the last week.

California currently has the most cases of any state in the country.

Despite the official figures, it’s hard to know just how many people have been infected in epicenters of the pandemic as both New York and California had surges earlier this year when testing was limited, The New York Times reported. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said this month’s true figures may be more than 10 times higher than the reported figures in some areas.

— Nick Visser

North Korea Declares Emergency Over Suspected Coronavirus Case — 7/26/20, 12:10 p.m. ET

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un declared a state of emergency on Saturday after the country for the first time acknowledged a suspected coronavirus case within its borders.

In response to the apparent case, Kim locked down the city of Kaesong, located near the country’s border with South Korea. North Korea has previously denied having any cases of the virus, though outside experts have questioned that claim, according to The Associated Press.

North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency said the suspected virus patient had illegally entered the country last week after fleeing to South Korea three years ago. The patient, anyone who had contact with them, and those who were in Kaesong recently have been placed under quarantine, according to KCNA.

During an emergency meeting of top North Korean officials, Kim was quoted as saying there was a “critical situation in which the vicious virus could be said to have entered the country.”

Read more from the AP here.

— Hayley Miller

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