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U.S. and global news on COVID-19

Here are the latest updates from around the world.

NBC News NOW

Nov 27, 2022

Watch right here! Get live updates from the NBC News streaming network News Now.Angela Weiss / AFP - Getty Images

The Senate overwhelmingly passed a massive stimulus package late Wednesday night aimed at softening the economic blow of the coronavirus pandemic for American workers and businesses. The bill includes billions of dollars in credit for struggling industries, a boost to unemployment insurance and direct cash payments to Americans.

The fate of the bill now rests with the House, which will not vote until Friday, according to House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md.

The U.S. reached a grim milestone as the number of deaths linked to the coronavirus passed 1,000 in the country, according to a count of reports of cases and deaths by NBC News. Globally, the death toll topped 20,000, with nearly half a million reported cases.

Meanwhile at the U.N., the Trump administration is pushing the Security Council to call attention to the Chinese origins of the coronavirus, four diplomats posted to the United Nations told NBC News, triggering a stalemate as the global body seeks to cobble together a response to the pandemic.

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975d ago / 6:58 AM UTC

Trump speaks to China's Xi about coronavirus

President Donald Trump tweeted early Friday that he had a "very good conversation" with China's President Xi Jinping, and that the two leaders discussed the coronavirus pandemic and are working closely together.

State-run Xinhua reported that the two leaders had spoken. 

Trump has repeatedly called the coronavirus the "Chinese virus," even though the World Health Organization in 2015 said that diseases should not be named based on geographic locations. The outbreak began in the Chinese city of Wuhan.

Trump this week seemed to back off from the term. Trump was asked about the change in language Thursday and said that the virus did come from China but "I think it was time" and that "I don't have to say it, if they feel so strongly about it."

975d ago / 6:00 AM UTC

Montana governor latest to tell residents to stay home to slow spread of virus

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock issued a stay-at-home directive Thursday, which his office says requires residents to remain in their homes as much as possible and for nonessential businesses to temporarily close in order to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Montana has 90 cases of the coronavirus illness COVID-19, many of them in Gallatin and Yellowstone counties, which is where Bozeman and Billings are located, respectively. The order goes into effect Saturday.

Bullock also announced Thursday that the state has seen its first death related to the illness.

Like other orders around the country, essential businesses like grocery stores and pharmacies will remain open and residents are allowed to leave to go shopping, take walks or other outdoor exercise or to walk dogs, and to care for loved ones, among other activities.

975d ago / 4:46 AM UTC

Navy hospital ship USNS Mercy to arrive in Los Angeles Friday

The Navy hospital ship USNS Mercy is expected to arrive in Los Angeles on Friday to support medical systems amid the coronavirus epidemic.

President Donald Trump on March 18 said two hospital ships — the other is the USNS Comfort, which departs Virginia for New York City on Saturday — would be deployed to help in the outbreak.

The Mercy set sail from San Diego this week. The Defense Department says the ship can hold up to 1,000 hospital beds, which will reduce the burden on regular hospitals that have to handle COVID-19 patients.

COVID-19 is the illness caused by the coronavirus. In Los Angeles County, the number of cases grew to 1,216 Thursday, including 21 people who have died, the health department said. There had been 559 new cases confirmed in the past 48 hours, and the department said the large increase was in part due to greater testing capacity that is allowing officials to identify cases.

975d ago / 4:15 AM UTC

Patient says goodbye to Life Care Center

Image: Outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Kirkland
Judie Shape, 81, who had been diagnosed with coronavirus disease and was a resident at Life Care Center of Kirkland, the long-term care facility linked to confirmed coronavirus cases in the state, leaves the center with her daughter, Lori Spencer, in Kirkland, Washington, on Thursday.David Ryder / Reuters
975d ago / 3:39 AM UTC

House members race back to Washington amid fears the $2 trillion coronavirus bill could be delayed

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WASHINGTON — Democratic and Republican leaders are scrambling members of Congress back to Washington late Thursday night because they suddenly believe the $2 trillion economic relief packagemight not pass by the voice vote planned for Friday and could be delayed if at least 216 members don’t show up to vote on the floor.

Members are now racing to get back to D.C. by Friday morning — in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic — because leaders fear at least one member, likely Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., will demand a recorded vote.

Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., wrote on Twitter Thursday evening: “The CARES Act is historic legislation, which is why I'm driving back to DC to help get this thing over the finish line.” The drive from his Kalamazoo-area district is nearly 10 hours back to Washington.

Ultimately, passage isn’t in jeopardy — but it could be delayed for as long as it takes for 216 members to arrive in Washington. The House gavels in at 9 a.m. on Friday and is expected to have two hours of debate.

Click here for the full story

975d ago / 3:29 AM UTC

4 Massachusetts medical schools to allow early graduation for fourth-year students

Four Massachusetts medical schools will allow their fourth-year classes to graduate a month early to aid hospitals with an anticipated jump in coronavirus cases. 

Deans from Boston University, Harvard, Tufts and the University of Massachusetts accepted the state’s recommendation that students who would graduate in mid-May will now graduate in mid-April and be free to work in hospitals one month earlier than expected. 

“We may need every physician we can get based on what has happened in Wuhan and Italy, and what is happening in New York,” said Karen Antman, dean of Boston University’s School of Medicine.

The announcement came after NYU’s Grossman School of Medicine said Wednesday that it would let its fourth-year students graduate early to work and volunteer in hospitals.

975d ago / 3:21 AM UTC

Sewing group making fabric face masks for facilities, people in need

Image: Masks
Jessy Broughton Gillespie started the Sew You Care project last week for seamstresses to collaborate on sewing fabric face masks to donate to facilities and people in need nationwide.Jessy Broughton Gillespie

People across the United States are pitching in to help sew fabric face masks to donate to hospitals, first responders and other people in need as the country grapples with a shortage of personal protective equipment, or PPE. 

"Everybody just felt the same," said Jessy Broughton Gillespie, who started the group Sew You Care. "These are our people, this is our community. We should protect them."

Gillespie launched the group on Facebook last week, and it now has more than 3,000 members working to sew masks and ship them to facilities and people who have reached out asking for donations. To be safe, she said, the group is asking members to wash their fabric and use sterile equipment. They also tell recipients that the masks are handmade and should be washed before use. Gillespie said they've made up to 8,000 masks this week and won't stop until they're no longer needed. 

"We have to remember that the American spirit is amazing," she said. "In unprecedented times, we really do have unprecedented answers, and this is one of those."

Homemade face masks are not considered PPE, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but might be used by health care personnel as a last resort. CDC guidance says homemade masks "should ideally be used in combination with a face shield that covers the entire front (that extends to the chin or below) and sides of the face." 

975d ago / 2:36 AM UTC

Idaho reports first 3 deaths linked to COVID-19

Idaho health authorities on Thursday announced the state's first deaths related to the coronavirus illness COVID-19, a day after the governor issued a stay-at-home order.

The deceased were three men, all over age 60, the state health department said. Two were from Blaine County, and the third was from Canyon County. The Canyon County man had underlying health issues but it was not clear if the other two had any, the health department said in a statement.

There have been 189 cases in the state, according to the department. On Wednesday, Gov. Brad Little announced a stay-at-home order for Idaho in an effort to slow the spread of the virus.

975d ago / 2:09 AM UTC

3 more escapees from South Dakota jail in custody

A total of 155 inmates are under observation at a South Dakota jail where another prisoner tested positive for the coronavirus, and state officials announced three more inmates who escaped this week are back in custody.

The two inmates still missing from the minimum-security unit of the Pierre Community Work Center were identified as Philomene Boneshirt, 25, and Sylvia Red Leaf, 25, the state Department of Corrections said.

The inmate who tested positive for COVID-19 remains in isolation, and no other inmates in the state system have tested positive, the department said.

But the 155 are under observation because they had potential exposure to that inmate, the department said. Nine inmates escaped from the facility on Monday, but six have been returned to custody.

975d ago / 2:02 AM UTC

NYU dean sends 'tone deaf' dancing video to students

A video sent by a New York University dean in an email upset multiple students, some of whom called it “tone deaf.” Dean Allyson Green of Tisch School of the Arts at NYU inserted a video of herself dancing to R.E.M. in an email she sent to all Tisch students with campus updates regarding coronavirus. The email included the information that students would not be receiving tuition refunds.

Green argues in her email that refunding tuition would be challenging for the university because remote learning is costing millions of dollars. She also argues the university has to pay for facilities.

“But we are still paying for these whether or not they are empty for the rest of the semester. We are also continuing to support payments to our valued colleagues, and we just won’t let them down,” the email said.

Neither Green nor the university immediately responded to a request for comment.

Students took issue with the juxtaposition of the carefree video and the bad news on tuition.

“There’s a feeling amongst the students, Tisch specifically, that we are being cheated out of something, so everyone thought it was really ridiculous and tone deaf,” said Tisch senior Michael Price. “She’s not answering any of our questions and it’s just her dancing to ‘Losing my Religion.’”

975d ago / 1:51 AM UTC

John Miller, NYPD counterterrorism expert, hospitalized

John Miller, the NYPD's deputy commissioner for counterterrorism and intelligence, is in a hospital with the coronavirus, four law enforcement officials said.

Miller had had not been feeling well for a couple of days and went to the hospital, the officials said.

Two other law enforcement sources said Miller had a low fever and went to the hospital as a precaution, and that he is alert and in good spirits and has been taking calls from family and friends throughout the day.

New York City had more than 23,000 coronavirus cases as of Thursday night. There have been 365 deaths in the city related to the illness, according to the health department. The police department said Wednesday that 100 sworn members and 29 civilians have tested positive for the coronavirus illness COVID-19.

Also on Thursday, the department reported its first death from the disease, Custodial Assistant Dennis Dickson.

976d ago / 1:28 AM UTC
976d ago / 1:00 AM UTC

Six degrees of coronavirus? In NYC area, cases get personal

Image: A man wearing a mask checks his phone in Times Square in New York on March 22, 2020.
A man wearing a mask checks his phone in Times Square in New York on March 22, 2020.Kena Betancur / AFP - Getty Images

After returning from a European vacation three weeks ago, Vidal Chávez, a real estate broker in Manhattan, spoke to a friend who had fallen ill. His fever had spiked to 103 degrees.

It was the first conversation with someone he knew locally who may have contracted the coronavirus — but it wouldn't be the last.

Chávez, in his 40s, now knows more than a dozen people who have tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, or are sick with related symptoms but can't access a test or are awaiting results. Two people, including a fraternity brother at the University of California, Berkeley, have died, he said.

Read the full story here. 

976d ago / 12:28 AM UTC

White House expert explains the timeline and risks of creating a vaccine

Dr. Fauci describes the complicated timeline of creating a vaccine for a disease like COVID-19, including the different stages of development and the risks that have to be taken into consideration before releasing to the public.

976d ago / 12:18 AM UTC

Mark Blum, actor on 'Law & Order' and 'Succession,' dies from coronavirus

Veteran character actor Mark Blum — a union activist best known for movies "Desperately Seeking Susan" and "Crocodile Dundee," as well as television work in "Law & Order," "Us" and "Succession" — died of complications from COVID-19, the disease associated with coronavirus, his friends said Thursday.

He was 69.

"This is really tragic and my heart goes out to him, his family and his loved ones," Madonna, his "Desperately Seeking Susan" co-star, said on social media. "I remember him as funny warm, loving and professional when we made Desperately Seeking Susan in 1985!!"

Read the full story here. 

976d ago / 11:53 PM UTC

Texas orders quarantine for travelers from New York tri-state area and New Orleans

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued an order Thursday that restricted all travelers arriving from airports in the New York tri-state area and New Orleans to quarantine for 14 days. 

The order applies to those entering Texas from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut after New York surpassed more than 35,000 confirmed coronavirus cases. New Orleans is also on track to become a coronavirus epicenter as doctors speculate whether the more than 1 million spectators who arrived for Mardi Gras at the end of February could have spread the virus. 

Failing to comply with the Texas self-quarantine order is considered a criminal offense that is punishable by up to a $1,000 fine and/or up to 180 days in jail, according to the governor's office. 

976d ago / 11:08 PM UTC

Trump to visit hospital ship headed for NYC on Saturday

 

President Trump is traveling to Norfolk, Va., on Saturday to "bid bon voyage" to a hospital ship headed to New York City, the current epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S., the White House said in a statement Thursday. 

The hospital ship USNS COMFORT will bring over 1,200 medical personnel and critical supplies to New York City, the statement said. The ship has a dozen operating rooms and 1,000 beds.

The city has seen more than 21,000 cases, according to the state health department.

Earlier this week, the administration sent the hospital ship USNS MERCY to Los Angeles, another coronavirus hotspot. 

976d ago / 11:04 PM UTC

New Jersey governor: There is 'special place in hell' for coronavirus discrimination

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy denounced discrimination against Asian communities saying, "There is a special place in hell," for those vilifying communities in connection with COVID-19.

976d ago / 11:02 PM UTC

U.S. coronavirus cases surpass China

The United States now has more cases of the coronavirus than any other nation, including China.

As of Thursday, there were at least 82,474 cases in the U.S., according to NBC News data. Cases have been reported in every state. More than 1,100 people have died in the U.S.; there have been more than 3,000 deaths in China and more than 8,000 deaths in Italy. 

China has the second highest number of cases, at 81,961, according to the World Health Organization

New York, Washington and California remain the hardest-hit states. 

976d ago / 10:53 PM UTC

Coronavirus checks, direct deposits are coming. Here's everything you need to know.

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Operations At The Bureau Of Engraving And Printing As The $1 Bill Is Printed
Dollar note sheets sit in a stack in Washington, D.C. on April 14, 2015.Andrew Harrer / Bloomberg via Getty Images file

WASHINGTON — As the coronavirus crisis ravages the U.S. economy, millions of Americans are urgently awaiting financial help from Congress in the form of direct cash payments.

Congressional leaders and President Donald Trump announced a bipartisan deal Wednesday on a massive $2 trillion emergency economic package that includes direct cash payments to people across the country to help them through the crisis. The Senate passed the bill 96 to 0, and the House is expected to follow suit on Friday.

Read the full story here. 

976d ago / 10:30 PM UTC

Asian Americans report over 650 racist acts over last week, new data says

Image: San Francisco
People walk along Chinatown's Grant Avenue on Feb. 26, 2020 in San Francisco, Calif.Justin Sullivan / Getty Images file

Seattle resident Kari was at her local grocery store in mid-March when another shopper told her own child she couldn't be in the same line as the Korean American. She would get them sick, the shopper said. A week later at the same store, a cashier refused to check her out, saying she was going on break.

The encounter is one of hundreds of racist and xenophobic incidents that have been reported over the past week, new data reveals. The online reporting forum Stop AAPI Hate shared exclusively with NBC Asian America that since its inception March 18, it has received more than 650 direct reports of discrimination against primarily Asian Americans.

"We live in a scary world, but it's unbelievable that this is happening," said Kari.

Read the full story here. 

976d ago / 10:09 PM UTC

U.S. passes Italy in total coronavirus cases

976d ago / 9:53 PM UTC

Plant that makes MLB jerseys to produce 1 million medical masks and gowns

Image: Fanatics mask and gown
A person models a face mask and gown that the company is now producing.Fanatics

Major League Baseball is going to bat for hospital workers.

MLB and Fanatics, a company that manufactures official league jerseys, is shifting a manufacturing plant in Easton, Pennsylvania, to now make at least 1 million gowns and masks for health care workers and emergency personnel tackling the coronavirus outbreak.

The gear will go to workers in Pennsylvania, and then New York and New Jersey, which are seeing some of the largest numbers of cases in the nation.

The plan is to continue producing the gowns and masks as long as the need exists, Fanatics Executive Chairman Michael Rubin said. MLB's regular season has been delayed.

976d ago / 9:28 PM UTC

'There's only going to be more': NYC nurse dies after contracting coronavirus

An assistant nurse manager at a New York City hospital, who told his family he believed he had contracted the coronavirus after being exposed at work, died Tuesday evening, his sister told NBC News.

The death of James Kious Kelly, 48, was confirmed by Mount Sinai Hospital. It comes amid an escalating crisis in New York where hospitals are faced with surging numbers of coronavirus patients and shortages of crucial medical equipment and protective gear for staffers.

Read the full story here.

976d ago / 9:06 PM UTC

This state rejected Medicaid expansion. Its uninsured residents now stare down a pandemic.

Dr. Stephen Luking
Dr. Stephen Luking and a member of his staff prepare an outdoor clinic for an expected surge of coronavirus patients in Reidsville, N.C.Courtesy of Dr. Luking

Every six months Penny Wingard’s doctor in Charlotte, North Carolina, checks her white blood cell count even though she can’t afford the tests. After a brutal round of chemotherapy for stage 2 breast cancer in 2014 left her with chemical burns, Wingard has a compromised immune system and no health insurance.

Now her medical debt has ballooned to more than $25,000 — an amount she has no hope of paying off as a part-time Lyft driver. With required doctor visits and medicine, her bills are still growing and the debt collectors’ calls haven’t stopped. The drugs she needs also make her more susceptible to the common cold, the flu and now the coronavirus.

“You didn’t ask for any of this, and you didn't ask to get sick,” Wingard said, as her voice broke and she began to cry. “You know, it's not something that you went out there and said, ‘Oh, OK,’ you know. You didn't ask for any of it. And it is a burden. It really is a burden.”

Click here to read the full story, and for even more on this story, subscribe to "Into America," a new podcast from NBC News and MSNBC

976d ago / 8:58 PM UTC

VA more than doubles number of tests administered in a day

The Department of Veterans Affairs more than doubled the number of tests it administered in a day, according to the agency’s latest numbers. It has now administered over 7,425 tests, compared to the 3,378 tests reported Wednesday. Of those tests, the VA has had 484 positive results and six deaths around the country.

The VA sought to reassure the more than 9 million veterans that it’s health care system of more than 1,200 facilities, including 170 VA Medical Centers, has the capacity to respond to them during the coronavirus crisis in a video message from Dr. Richard Stone, the head of the VA’s Veterans Health Administration and a former U.S. Army combat physician.

“There will always be capacity in our system for you as a veteran to be seen,” he said. “In times of great pressure on the healthcare systems, with increasing numbers of coronavirus patients, it could be that your civilian provider is not available. I want you to know that we are.”

976d ago / 8:50 PM UTC

Amy Klobuchar's husband released from hospital after battling coronavirus

Sen. Amy Klobuchar announced Thursday that her coronavirus-stricken husband has been released from the hospital.

"He took a good turn, was just released and is now recovering at home. Thanks to those who cared for him and for all front line health care workers,” the Minnesota senator said in a statement. She also offered “Thanks to all who sent kind words and prayers."

Klobuchar revealed Monday her husband, John Bessler, was in the hospital. Klobuchar said he'd had a persistent temperature and a “bad, bad” cough and then began coughing up blood. He checked into a hospital in Virginia and had “pneumonia and is on oxygen but not a ventilator,” she said then.

Klobuchar did not get tested - the former Democratic presidential candidate said she and her husband had been in “different places for the last two weeks” and was “outside the 14-day period for getting sick.”

976d ago / 8:28 PM UTC

California now has over 3,000 confirmed COIVD-19 cases

California has 3,006 confirmed novel coronavirus cases and 65 deaths, according to the state department of health. The statewide numbers are based on information received by local health jurisdictions as of 2 p.m. PDT on Wednesday.

The case count includes 42 health care workers and roughly half of the cases are among 18- to 49-year-olds. The 3,006 positive cases are out of more than 20,000 test results that have been received back from labs. 57,400 additional tests are pending.

976d ago / 8:26 PM UTC

12,000 Airbnb hosts open up homes for coronavirus responders

Airbnb announced a global initiative that will allow hosts to open up their homes to healthcare workers, first responders and others on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic.

By Thursday afternoon, the same day the company announced the initiative, 12,000 hosts had agreed to offer their homes, CEO Brian Chesky tweeted. 

The company said the goal is to give 100,000 responders around the world a safe and clean place to stay and Airbnb will waive all fees for stays arranged through the initiative. 

The initiative builds on two pilot programs already in place in Italy and France which offers free accommodations to doctors, nurses and other responders helping in the fight against the coronavirus. Airbnb hosts who participate have to abide by "new cleanliness protocols based on recommendations from medical experts," Airbnb said. 

976d ago / 8:19 PM UTC

USS Theodore Roosevelt diverted to Guam; 5,000 aboard to be tested

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The Navy says an outbreak of coronavirus aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt in the Pacific has forced it to divert to Guam, where all 5,000 aboard will undergo testing.

The aircraft carrier remains "operationally capable," according to the acting secretary of the Navy, Thomas Modly. "Sailors flown off the ship are doing fine, none required hospitalization — mild aches and pains, sore throats," Modly said Thursday at a Pentagon news briefing, adding they were "in quarantine now on Guam."

Other officials said the number of infected sailors has risen sharply — from initial reports of three to "dozens" as of Thursday. The carrier is the first U.S. Navy ship to have a reported an outbreak while at sea. About 800 test kits are aboard and more were being delivered, Modly said.

976d ago / 8:18 PM UTC

Why New Orleans is quickly becoming a coronavirus epicenter in the U.S.

New Orleans is on track to become a coronavirus epicenter.

The state's rich cultural history that prizes large social gatherings, coupled with its higher than average rates of obesity and chronic disease, put its population at particular risk.

Read more. 

976d ago / 8:05 PM UTC

Dow closes with gain of 1,300 points as American jobless skyrockets

Wall Street rallied for the third straight day Thursday, with investors showing renewed confidence in the economy despite record-breaking unemployment claims as business activity grinds to a halt nationwide.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended the day with a gain of just over 1,300 points, or almost 6.5 percent. The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq closed higher, up by around 6 percent each.

Traders remain optimistic that Congress will pass the $2 trillion coronavirus relief package that will give a boost to businesses ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic and provide support to unemployed Americans.

Read the full story here.

 

 

976d ago / 7:41 PM UTC

Photo: An opera in Paris

Image: An opera singer performs "O sole mio" for his neighbors in Paris on Thursday.
An opera singer performs "O sole mio" for his neighbors in Paris on Thursday.Philippe Lopez / AFP - Getty Images
976d ago / 7:20 PM UTC

Trump tells governors he is setting new coronavirus social distancing guidelines

President Donald Trump told America's governors in a letter on Thursday that his administration will soon set new social distancing guidelines as the coronavirus pandemic worsens.

Trump said in the letter that new coronavirus testing capabilities would allow his administration to identify "high-risk, medium risk and low-risk" counties. And these new guidelines will assist governors and other officials to decide on "maintaining, increasing or relaxing social distancing and other mitigation measures they have put in place."

The president said by doing "robust surveillance testing," officials will be able to "monitor the spread of the virus throughout the country."

Public health experts have said easing restrictions too soon could overburden hospitals and lead to more deaths and economic damage related to the virus.

Read more here.

976d ago / 7:20 PM UTC

Kylie Jenner donates $1 million to buy hospital masks and medical gear

Image: The nearly empty intersection of Hollywood and Vine in Los Angeles on March 25, 2020.  California Governor Gavin Newsom issued a stay at home order for residences to slow the spread of coronavirus.
The nearly empty intersection of Hollywood and Vine in Los Angeles on March 25, 2020. California Governor Gavin Newsom issued a stay at home order for residences to slow the spread of coronavirus.Mario Tama / Getty Images

Kylie Jenner is donating $1 million to help with the shortage of hospital masks, face shields and other protective gear.

The reality star's doctor, Thaïs Aliabadi, said in an Instagram post on Wednesday that the donation will help buy "hundreds of thousands" of supplies for first responders during the coronavirus pandemic. 

"Too many masks at hospitals are disappearing before making their way onto the faces of our front line heroes," she wrote. "I have never felt more blessed to be a doctor, as helping our brave ER and ICU workers feels just as gratifying as helping my own patients. From the bottom of our hearts, THANK YOU @kyliejenner."  

Aliabadi, who delivered Jenner's daughter, Stormi, said the donation will most likely "help save many precious lives." 

976d ago / 7:15 PM UTC
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976d ago / 7:14 PM UTC

How to get a stimulus check — and how best to spend it

The $2 trillion coronavirus aid package provides up to $1,200 per person up to certain income thresholds, with an extra $500 per child in order to offer relief for families affected by the coronavirus pandemic and to support the economy. 

From buying the essentials to starting a savings account, personal finance experts weigh in on how you can best spend that money.

The checks will start being distributed within three weeks of the signing of the aid bill, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Thursday.

Here's how to make sure you receive your check as quickly as possible.

976d ago / 7:11 PM UTC

Italian mayor prepares pre-recorded drone audio messages to warn citizens

The mayor of a city in southern Italy is going to use drones to keep an eye on all the villages in his province. Cateno De Luca, the 48-year-old mayor of Messina, Italy, announced on his Facebook page.

 “My voice will say ‘where the f--- are you going’?” De Luca said in a video full of expletives.

It’s not the first time that the mayor gained attention with his colorful remarks. Another video showing Italian public officials yelling at people to stay at home garnered over 5 million views on Twitter. 

Italy has been under national quarantine since March 9, with a total of 8,165 certified deaths. Over 80,000 people tested positive since the start of the pandemic.

976d ago / 6:53 PM UTC

Photo: Awaiting cremation in Lombardy

Image: Lombardy
Thirty-five coffins of the deceased are stored in a warehouse in Ponte San Pietro, near Bergamo, in Lombardy, Italy's hardest-hit region, on Thursday before being transported to another region for cremation. Lombardy reported a steep rise in fatalities Thursday compared with the day before and remains in a critical situation, with a total of 4,861 deaths and 34,889 cases.Piero Cruciatti / AFP - Getty Images
976d ago / 6:43 PM UTC

Saints quarterback Drew Brees donates $5 million to Louisiana relief efforts

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees on Thursday committed $5 million to Louisiana charities focused on feeding children, senior citizens and "families in need."

"The priority now is helping our communities get through this tough time," according to a statement by the Super Bowl winning quarterback. "Let’s all do our part, maintain hope, and get through this together." 

The city of New Orleans and state of Louisiana have been particularly hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic. 

976d ago / 6:37 PM UTC

Indy 500 postponed because of coronavirus

The Indianapolis 500, the world's oldest automobile race, has been postponed because of coronavirus.

The race, which was originally scheduled to occur on May 24, has been rescheduled to Aug. 23. 

The Indianapolis 500 began in 1911 and this year marks the first time it won't run on Memorial Day weekend since 1946. The race was canceled six times in the past because of the two world wars.

976d ago / 5:55 PM UTC

Nearly 3 dozen who attended Arkansas church event test positive for coronavirus

Nearly three dozen people who attended a recent children's event at an Arkansas church have tested positive for the coronavirus, according to church officials.

Donald Shipp, a deacon at First Assembly of God church in Greers Ferry, about 75 miles north of Little Rock, told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that 34 people who attended the event in early March at the Cleburne County church had tested positive for the coronavirus, and that an unknown number of others were awaiting test results.

Danyelle McNeill, a spokeswoman for the Arkansas Department of Health, said a number of coronavirus cases have been associated with a church in Cleburne County, which she did not identify.

"We are still investigating newly reported cases and can’t definitively say they are all connected to one church," McNeill told NBC News on Thursday. "This is a cluster within a larger outbreak in that area of the state."

Read the full story here.

976d ago / 5:47 PM UTC

During Stephen Curry's Q&A with Dr. Fauci, a special guest follows along

NBA star Stephen Curry has been hosting a question-and-answer on Instagram live with Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

As tens of thousands on social media follow along, some noticed former President Barack Obama was among them.

976d ago / 5:34 PM UTC

'League' of cybersecurity professionals band together to help hospitals

A growing group of cybersecurity professionals is volunteering their expertise to help hospitals fight off hackers while doctors and nurses fight the coronavirus.

Calling themselves the CTI League — Countering Threat Intelligence, and a nod to the superhero team the Justice League — the group has swelled from a handful of professionals to 450 members worldwide in less than two weeks.

“If some hospital gets attacked by some ransomware and wouldn’t be able to pay, people will die because they wouldn't be able to get the medical services needed," said the group's founder, Ohad Zaidenberg.

Coordinating over Slack, the CTI League identifies what types of vulnerabilities active hackers are using, then searches for hospitals and other medical facilities that might be vulnerable to them so that they can fix them first. "The first thing we want to do is neutralize attacks before they happen. The second is to help any medical organization after they are attacked," Zaidenberg said.

976d ago / 5:32 PM UTC
976d ago / 5:29 PM UTC

'Most photographed' Wall Street trader Peter Tuchman has coronavirus

Image: Peter Tuchman at the New York Stock Exchange on March 9, 2020.
Peter Tuchman at the New York Stock Exchange on March 9, 2020.Spencer Platt / Getty Images file

New York Stock Exchange trader Peter Tuchman revealed in an Instagram post on Thursday that he has the coronavirus. 

Tuchman of Quattro Securities, who has worked as a trader for 35 years, is known as the "most photographed" in his field.

In his Instagram post, he shares photos of a Corona beer and the prayer hands emoji. He writes that he is battling the virus "pretty hard" and has never felt so sick in his life.

Image: Trader Peter Tuchman works the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in 2012.
Trader Peter Tuchman works the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in 2012.Richard Drew / AP file

"Great team of doctors no breathing problems that’s a good thing all the other problems that’s a bad thing will get to the other side of this I’ll be in touch... soon ... send prayers," Tuchman writes.

At least two other floor traders tested positive for the coronavirus on Tuesday despite strict measures taken to prevent those infected from entering the exchange while it remained open last week, according to a memo seen by Reuters

976d ago / 5:23 PM UTC

Connecticut asks for federal disaster declaration

Connecticut on Thursday joined a growing list of states that have asked the Federal Emergency Management Agency for a disaster declaration to cope with the "severity and magnitude" of the coronavirus outbreak.

The state has seen at least 875 cases of the virus and 19 deaths, although officials said they believe there are "many more cases" that have not yet been confirmed. Gov. Ned Lamont said federal assistance could help residents gain additional resources, including for childcare and crisis counseling.

President Donald Trump in recent days has also declared disasters in New York, California, Washington, Louisiana, Iowa, Florida and Texas.

976d ago / 5:04 PM UTC

Pelosi says she doesn't think 'we've seen the end of direct payments,' calls for fourth aid bill

As House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., expressed confidence Thursday that her chamber will pass the third coronavirus relief bill on Friday, she’s already focused on writing a fourth phase of aid and suggested that in a future measure, Congress might consider providing more direct payments to Americans.

“I don't think we've seen the end of direct payments,” Pelosi said at her weekly press conference Thursday on Capitol Hill.

Pelosi said Americans are eager to receive the direct payments provided by the third relief bill, which the Senate passed late Wednesday and the House will consider on Friday. She pointed out that the version Democrats crafted for the third legislative aid bill would have provided “bigger direct payments.”

Read the full story here.

976d ago / 4:43 PM UTC
976d ago / 4:33 PM UTC

Cuomo slams politicians for not providing financial support to state, local governments

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Thursday slammed politicians in Washington, D.C., for not providing financial support to state and local governments in its $2 trillion aid package. 

"I believe what they did failed to address our governmental need," Cuomo said, adding that he spoke to New York's congressional delegation. "I find it irresponsible. I find it reckless."

"When this is over," he added, "I promise I’m going to give them a piece of my mind."

The public health update

  • Cuomo said as of Thursday 37,258 people tested positive, with 5,327 hospitalized, 1,290 people in ICU, and 1,517 patients discharged.
  • There have been 385 deaths in New York, Cuomo said Thursday — up from 285 the day before.
  • More than 8,600 mental health professionals across the country have made themselves available to New Yorkers.
  • 18,650 tests were conducted on Wednesday.
  • Cuomo highlighted an ongoing push to increase Increasing hospital capacity to 140,000 beds from 53,000. He said he has mandated hospitals increase capacity by 50 percent and try to increase by 100 percent.