As the global death toll from COVID-19 passed the 400,000 mark, and protests sparked by the death of George Floyd continue around the world, U.S. cities and European nations are this week relaxing measures that have seen millions confined to their homes.
Shops will partially reopen and thousands are expected to go back to work in New York City on Monday, for many weeks the hardest-hit city in the country.But New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo warns "it doesn't mean we're going to back to the way we were."
Spain, Belgium, Ireland and Germany are among the countries to further lighten lockdown restrictions, while the prime minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern, has declared the country free of COVID-19.
- MAPS: Confirmed cases in the U.S. and worldwide; confirmed deaths in the U.S. and globally
- Reopening America: See what states across the U.S. have already reopened.
- The coronavirus has destroyed the job market in every state. See the per-state jobless numbers and how they’ve changed.
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New York City begins reopening
About 400,000 workers can now return to jobs in construction, manufacturing and retail with curbside pickup. Cases in New York continue to decline, while other states that reopened sooner are seeing an increase.
Trump could resume rallies this month despite coronavirus concerns
President Donald Trump's re-election campaign is preparing to present the president with options to resume rallies in June, according to two officials familiar with the plans.
There are no final decisions yet on where and how this could be done safely amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Over the last week, Trump has been asking advisers why he can’t be holding mass rallies when thousands are gathering in the streets to protest the death of George Floyd, these people said.
"Americans are ready to get back to action and so is President Trump. The Great American Comeback is real and the rallies will be tremendous. You’ll again see the kind of crowds and enthusiasm that Sleepy Joe Biden can only dream of," Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale told NBC News in a statement.
Americans drove 112 billion fewer miles this April than April 2019
Americans drove 112 billion fewer miles in April than they did during the same month last year, according to data from the Department of Transportation.
Shelter-in-place orders led to a nearly 40 percent drop in the number of miles Americans drove, the DOT said Monday. With much of the country locked down due to the coronavirus, American motorists clocked 169.6 billion miles.
The response to the coronavirus pandemic, which began in March in many states, also saw travel for the first four months of this year decline 14.8 percent versus 2019, to around 858 billion miles. That was the lowest number since 2001, said the DOT.
All forms of travel were down, reported navigation service Inrix, including personal transportation and long- and short-haul trucking. Travel is just ramping back up as states begin relaxing restrictions, but May and June are expected to still see another year-over-year decline, according to transportation experts.
It's official: The U.S. entered a recession in February
The U.S. is officially in a recession, bringing an end to a historic 128 months of economic growth, after the coronavirus pandemic swept the country and shut down the economy.
For more than a decade, the American economy seemed to contradict the adage, “What goes up, must come down.” That ended in February, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research, the agency that identifies periods of economic growth and contraction.
The economic expansion would have turned 11 years old this month — a span unmatched in the postwar economy.
13 high school students test positive after unsanctioned prom
An unsanctioned prom and beach party has resulted in a group of Texas high school students getting diagnosed with coronavirus and spurred calls for those affected to be banned from attending graduation.
At least 13 students from Foster High School and George Ranch High School have tested positive for COVID-19 after reportedly attending a prom event in Katy on June 5. The event was not sanctioned by the schools, and the group then spent the weekend at a beach house in Galveston, according to the Fort Bend Herald.
Principals of both high schools did not immediately respond for comment. Officials at the Fort Bend County Health & Human Services Department also did not immediately respond.
Stories of the students testing positive have circulated among parents on email. The majority of the students are recent graduates or currently attend Foster High School in Richmond, the parents said.
Connecticut to review COVID-19 response in nursing homes, assisted living facilities
Connecticut will order an independent, third-party review of the preparation and response to the COVID-19 pandemic inside of the state's nursing homes and assisted living facilities, Gov. Ned Lamont said in a news release Monday.
The review will incorporate a top-to-bottom analysis of all elements of the pandemic and how it was addressed in these facilities, which account for more than 60 percent of total deaths in the state, according to the announcement.
“As we prepare for the possibility of a second wave, we must be proactive in analyzing what occurred, what needs to be improved, and how we can ensure the quality and safety of facilities that some of our most vulnerable residents call home,” Lamont said.
Virginia announces temporary moratorium on evictions
Virginia will issue a temporary statewide moratorium on all eviction proceedings, Gov. Ralph Northam said in a news release Monday.
The order will halt all eviction proceedings through June 28 while the Northam administration implements a rent relief program for Virginians impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
“I am grateful to the Chief Justice for granting this order, and for the activists who have been working tirelessly on this important issue,” Northam said.
“Access to safe and stable housing is critically important, and this action will keep thousands of families in their homes as we work to get them the support they need.”
New York City is shaking off the coronavirus cobwebs
Some 100 days after the first case was confirmed and went on to claim nearly 22,000 lives, phase one of Gotham’s grand reopening got underway Monday.
"We're back," Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. "Our mojo is back."
Nearly 400,000 workers were expected to begin returning to retail stores, factories and dormant construction sites as part of the state’s plan to get the mighty economic giant moving again.
“This is a triumphant moment for New Yorkers who fought back against this disease,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said. “We were the epicenter and we got here only because New Yorkers went the extra mile.”
Returning to school in Spain
Pennsylvania reports 351 more COVID-19 cases
The Pennsylvania Department of Health announced 351 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, bringing the statewide total to 75,943.
Black, Asian pregnant women in U.K. more likely to be hospitalized
Black, Asian and other minority groups accounted for the majority of pregnant women in the U.K. who were admitted to the hospital for COVID-19, a study published Monday in The BMJ finds.
The study included data from all 194 obstetric units in the U.K. from March 1 through April 14. During that time, 427 pregnant women were admitted to the hospital with COVID-19. One quarter of the women were Asian and 22 percent were black.
"The high proportion of women from black or minority ethnic groups admitted with infection needs urgent investigation and explanation," the researchers wrote.
Pregnant women admitted with COVID-19 were also more likely to be overweight or obese, the study found. Forty percent of the women were 35 or older and one third had a preexisting medical condition.
Most of the women had good outcomes, and the transmission of the coronavirus from mother to baby was uncommon. Five babies died, but it's unclear whether the virus played a role in their deaths, the authors wrote. One in 100 women pregnant women admitted with COVID-19 died.
Up to 40 percent of U.S. diplomats in Washington to return to work June 15
U.S. diplomats are beginning to return to work as the State Department moves into the first phase of its "Diplomacy Strong" plan for operating during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a letter obtained by NBC News.
As part of this phase, up to 40 percent of U.S. diplomats could return to work in the next few weeks, although "maximum use of telework" is still strongly encouraged.
"Our health and that of our colleagues is dependent on our individual actions," Under Secretary of State Brian Bulatao said in the letter sent across the agency Monday. "Therefore when you do return to the office, it is important to keep strict social distancing measures and to wear cloth face coverings when distancing is not possible."
Almost 100 posts overseas and 10 domestic facilities have moved into the first phase so far and Washington is poised to reopen June 15, but leadership at each individual U.S. mission or bureau is ultimately responsible for determining if the criteria has been met to move to the next step of the plan.
Airbnb sees boost, according to Bloomberg
Puerto Rico reports 61 new cases
Puerto Rico said it had logged 61 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, bringing the total across the U.S. territory to 5,046.
Mask-wearing habits could indicate how you'll vote
WASHINGTON — The latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows that a person's mask-wearing habits could indicate how they'll vote in the 2020 presidential race.
Sixty-three percent of registered voters said they "always" wear a mask when they're in public — like when they go shopping, go to work or be around other people outside of their house. Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, leads President Trump by 40 points among those voters: 66 percent to 26 percent.
And voters who don't wear a mask are nearly just as likely to vote for the president as mask-wearers are to vote for Biden.
Twenty-one percent of voters said they "sometimes" wear a mask — and Trump leads those voters by 32 points: 62 percent to 30 percent.
Perhaps most unsurprisingly, the voters who say the never or rarely wear a mask are nearly all in support of the president. Just 15 percent of registered voters said they don't tend to wear a mask — the president leads Biden with those voters 83-7 percent.
Biden and Trump have sparred on whether it's appropriate to wear a mask. The president has forgone wearing a mask in nearly all of his public appearances since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its guidance to suggest Americans wear masks in public, especially when social distancing is not possible. Biden, meanwhile, has been photographed with a mask nearly every time he has left his Delaware home.
The president retweeted conservative media hosts criticizing Biden's decision to wear a mask, while saying publicly that Biden "can wear a mask" but that it's "unusual" the former vice president isn't seen wearing one indoors. Biden has called said Trump doesn't wear a mask in an effort to look "macho."
Dunkin’ plans to hire 25,000 workers as restaurant industry begins pandemic recovery
Dunkin’ coffee chain is looking to hire 25,000 employees as part of its reopening schedule after the pandemic, the company said Monday.
Millions of restaurant workers have lost their jobs, contributing to the unemployment rate of 13.3 percent, but fast-food chains are bouncing back from the pandemic faster than other segments in the restaurant industry.
However, the shift to remote working has meant that many workers are still making coffee and breakfast at home.
The summer months typically spark fast-food hiring as consumers spend more and teenagers look for work. Yum Brands’ Taco Bell has said it is looking to hire 30,000 new workers this summer.
Morning roundup of coronavirus coverage
Covid-19 stalks large families in rural America [The Wall Street Journal]
New York City begins reopening after three months of outbreak and hardship [The New York Times]
Who discovered the first vaccine? [Wired]
Italy expecting sharp economic hit from COVID-19
Italy's economy will shrink 8.3 percent in 2020 before rebounding in 2021, the country's official statics body has predicted.
Istat said in a statement Monday that the Italian economy was already stagnating at the end of 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic, and the dramatic fall in investment and exports has had a huge impact. Unemployment is forecast to rise to 9.4 percent this year, but Istat predicts both employment and economic output to return to growth in 2021.
"Starting from the end of February the COVID-19 containment measures introduced by the Government was having a deep impact on the economy influencing production, investment and consumption decisions and very negatively affecting the labor market," Istat said.
Lockdowns may have averted 3 million deaths in Europe by curbing COVID-19: study
LONDON — Wide-scale lockdowns including shop and school closures have reduced COVID-19 transmission rates in Europe enough to control its spread and may have averted more than three million deaths, researchers said on Monday.
In a modelling study of lockdown impact in 11 nations, Imperial College London scientists said the draconian steps, imposed mostly in March, had "a substantial effect" and helped bring the infection's reproductive rate below one by early May.
The reproduction rate, or R value, measures the average number of people that one infected person will pass the disease on to. An R value above 1 can lead to exponential growth.
The Imperial team estimated that by early May, between 12 and 15 million people in the 11 countries — Austria, Belgium, Britain, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland — had been infected with COVID-19.
Drive-thru art gallery opens in airport parking garage
Coronavirus disrupts global fight to save endangered species
Biologist Carlos Ruiz has spent a quarter-century working to save golden lion tamarins, the charismatic long-maned monkeys native to Brazil’s Atlantic Forest.
Thanks to painstaking reforestation efforts, the population of these endangered monkeys was steadily growing until an outbreak of yellow fever hit Brazil in 2018, wiping out a third of the tamarins. Undeterred, Ruiz’s team devised an ambitious new experiment: This spring, they would start vaccinating many of the remaining wild monkeys.
Enter the coronavirus, which is now hampering critical work to protect threatened species and habitats worldwide.
European countries continue to ease lockdown measures
Countries across Europe continued to ease their coronavirus lockdowns Monday with Ireland, Belgium, Denmark and Spain all relaxing their rules.
Belgium moved to phase 3 of its plan to lift the lockdown and permitted the reopening of gyms, bars, restaurants religious services and amateur sports. Denmark, likewise, expanded the limit on public gatherings from 10 people to 50.
In Ireland, small businesses were permitted to begin reopening, the business minister announced on Twitter, and in Spain, many regions were moved from 'phase 2' to 'phase 3' meaning sidewalk cafes and bars can reopen with patrons keeping a safe distance. Barcelona and Madrid will, however, face tighter restrictions than other parts of the country as they move to 'phase 2.'
'I did a little dance': New Zealand leader celebrates no active cases of COVID-19
New Delhi orders hospitals to be reserved for residents only as cases surge
The Indian capital New Delhi ordered state hospital beds to be reserved for residents only on Sunday as the city registered a large increase in new cases. Typically, Indians from all across the country travel to New Delhi to get treatment as the capital has some of the nation's best hospitals.
"Delhi is in big trouble . . . corona cases are rising rapidly," state Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said in a video message on Twitter, "if we open Delhi hospitals for patients from all over, where will Delhi residents go when they get infected with coronavirus?"
Kejriwal began self isolating himself Monday after developing symptoms. He'll be tested for the virus Tuesday Sanjay Singh, leader of the chief minister's AAP party said on Twitter.
New Delhi now has over 10 percent of India's approximately 250,000 coronavirus cases. The country now has the fifth highest number of cases in the world, with almost 10,000 more people testing positive Sunday.
U.K. quarantine rules begin despite travel industry anger
New quarantine rules impacting travelers entering the U.K. began Monday morning despite widespread criticism from airline and travel industry.
New arrivals into the U.K., regardless of their nationality, will be required to self-isolate for 14 days. Enforcement action will take place to ensure that the rules are being followed and those who are found to have breached the requirements face a fine of up to £1,000 ($1,270). Exemptions have been made, including for truck drivers and travelers from Ireland.
However airlines including British Airways and Ryanair — already hit hard by a massive decline in air travel — have been highly critical of the approach. Willie Walsh, the chief executive of national flag-carrier British Airways, claimed the rules were "irrational and disproportionate" and threatened legal action. Getlink, the operator of the cross-channel tunnel linking Britain and France, also wrote to Prime Minister Johnson claiming the plans are "fraught with problems."
New York City begins to reopen after coronavirus lockdown, curfew lifted
New York City is set to begin the first phase of re-opening on Monday after nearly three months of coronavirus lockdown restrictions that were capped off last week with a curfew enacted in the wake of protests.
In the wake of the protests that roiled the city after the death of George Floyd, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Sunday a series of new reforms to the New York City Police Department. He also said the city will shift funding from the police force to youth and social services for communities of color.
As many as 400,000 people are expected to return to work on Monday, NBC New York reported. Full subway service and construction work are also set to resume. As of Sunday, the city had 210,166 confirmed coronavirus cases and 21,752 deaths, approximately one-fifth of the entire U.S. death toll.
New Zealand declares itself free of coronavirus, reopens economy
New Zealand is free of coronavirus, the country's health ministry said Monday as it confirmed that the last remaining patient had been "symptom free for 48 hours."
In a televised statement, Prime Minister Jacinda Adern announced that the economy would be fully reopened and the alert level lowered to one. All lockdown restrictions — apart from the border, which remains closed — were lifted as a result.
New Zealand has managed to successfully contain the coronavirus while many other western nations have been much more severely impacted. The country last reported a new case 17 days ago, and has only 1,154 confirmed cases to date.
Global coronavirus death toll tops 400,000 as protesters continue to defy lockdowns
The coronavirus pandemic has now claimed more than 400,000 lives, according to the latest data from Johns Hopkins University. More than a quarter of these were in the U.S., according to the NBC News' tally.
The grisly toll was reached after tens of thousands of people around the world defied COVID-19 lockdown restrictions to protest against the death of the death of George Floyd, a black man who died under the knee of a former Minnesota police officer last month. More protests are planned for Sunday.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, warned about the dangers of such protests on Friday. He told told Washington D.C. radio station WTOP that he was “very concerned” about large crowds congregating in geographic areas where there is active infection transmission.
More than 5,000 cases confirmed in Florida in 4 days
Florida reported more than 1,000 confirmed cases on Saturday, the fourth straight day of cases hitting that threshold as the state continues with its reopening plan.
The Florida Department of Health reported 1,270 new cases Saturday and another 28 deaths, bringing the state's total to 62,758 cases. More than 5,000 cases have been confirmed in the state between Wednesday and Saturday.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis chose to go ahead with the second phase of the state's reopening plan Friday despite the new numbers. As of Friday places such as movie theaters, concert houses, auditoriums, playhouses, bowling alleys and arcades can begin operating at a 50 percent capacity.
Soccer World Cup to go on as planned despite the pandemic
The 2022 soccer World Cup will go on as planned despite the coronavirus pandemic, host country Qatar said Saturday.
The event could be a "cure for the world," Qatar's Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani told the U.K.'s Sky News. Sky News and NBC News are both owned by Comcast.
“Qatar is working very closely and strongly with different healthcare organizations to make sure to deliver a healthy and safe World Cup,” he said.
He added the designs of the stadiums will comply with any changes to health and safety guidance as a result of COVID-19. The Gulf nation has so far reported more than 67,000 virus cases, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
India reports almost 10,000 new cases on the day before lockdown ends
India reported 9,971 new virus cases Sunday in another biggest single-day spike, according to the Ministry of Health, a day before it prepares to reopen shopping malls, hotels and religious places after a 10-week lockdown.
India has now surpassed Spain as the fifth hardest-hit by the pandemic globally with 246,628 confirmed cases and 6,929 fatalities.
India has already partially restored train services and domestic flights and allowed shops and manufacturing to reopen. E-commerce companies have started to deliver goods, including those considered nonessential, to places outside containment zones.
South Korea reports over 50 cases for second day in a row
South Korea recorded more than 50 cases for the second day in a row on Sunday as authorities continue to work to suppress a spike in fresh infections in the country's capital Seoul metropolitan area.
The additional 57 cases reported by the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Sunday took the country’s total to 11,776 cases, while the death toll has remained 273 deaths for the fifth consecutive day. The agency said 10,552 people have recovered.
South Korea’s high caseload peaked in early March, and aggressive tracing and testing prompted authorities to ease strict social distancing rules. The country has since seen an increase in new infections — mostly in the densely-populated Seoul region — linked to nightclub-goers and warehouse workers.
Brazil takes down COVID-19 data, hiding soaring death toll
Brazil removed months of data on its COVID-19 epidemic from public view on Saturday, as President Jair Bolsonaro defended delays and changes to official record-keeping of the world's second-largest outbreak.
Brazil's Health Ministry removed the data from a website that had documented the epidemic over time and by state and municipality. The ministry also stopped giving a total count of confirmed cases, which have shot past 672,000 — more than anywhere outside the U.S. — or a total death toll, which passed Italy this week, nearing 36,000 by Saturday.
"The cumulative data... does not reflect the moment the country is in," Bolsonaro said on Twitter, citing a note from the ministry. "Other actions are underway to improve the reporting of cases and confirmation of diagnoses."
Bolsonaro has played down the dangers of the pandemic, replaced medical experts in the Health Ministry with military officials and argued against state lockdowns to fight the virus.
Neither Bolsonaro nor the ministry gave a reason for erasing most of the data on the government website, which had been a key public resource for tracking the pandemic. The page was taken down on Friday and reloaded Saturday with a new layout and just a fraction of the data, reflecting only deaths, cases and recoveries within the last 24 hours.