Global cases surpass 1 million, 6.6 million unemployment claims filed

Here are the latest coronavirus updates from around the world.
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A pedestrian wears a face mask as he walks past a mural of a fish while strolling on the boardwalk at Coney Island, in Brooklyn, New York on April 2, 2020.Kathy Willens / AP

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The White House is expected to recommend that Americans wear a face covering when they go out.

On Thursday, the coronavirus death toll in the U.S. topped 5,000 on Thursday, according to NBC News' tally, and nearly 240,000 cases have been confirmed across the country. Globally, more than 1,000,000 people have tested positive and more than 50,000 have died from COVID-19, according to Johns Hopkins University.

In the United States, government relief payments will begin the week of April 13 — although people who don’t have direct deposit on file with the Internal Revenue Service may have to wait months for checks to arrive, according to a memo obtained by NBC News.

The economic fallout from the pandemic accelerated with a record 6.6 million jobless claims filed last week.

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WHO says 95 percent of Europe's dead are over 60 years of age, but young not immune

More than 95 precent of those who have died of coronavirus in Europe have been over 60, but young people should not be complacent, the head of the World Health Organization's Europe office said in an online press conference on Thursday.

Dr. Hans Kluge — noting the most affected countries in Europe are Italy, Spain and France — said age is not the only risk factor for getting a severe case of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

“The very notion that COVID-19 only affects older people is factually wrong,” he said. "Young people are not invincible.”

“All of us, at all ages, need to act in solitary to prevent the further community spread of the virus,” he said.

A record 6.6 million Americans filed for unemployment last week

A record 6.6 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week, the latest brutal reminder of the toll the coronavirus pandemic is taking on the U.S. economy.

Thursday's figure eclipses the record-shattering 3.28 million jobless claims for the week ending March 21, which was the first real marker of the impact from the coronavirus on the workforce.

Read the full story here.

Global update on Spain's grim death toll, a quarantined migrant camp, Duterte's warning, and more

High speed trains continue to relocate patients in France to ease hospital pressure

The Paris Seine Civil Protection, a French first aid organization, posted pictures on Wednesday of the inside of high speed trains in Paris where victims of coronavirus being placed by medical volunteers in order to be transported elsewhere.

France has already been shuttling patients from last week by TGV speed trains from places in the country where the outbreak has overwhelmed hospitals, to other less saturated areas and regions in the country.

France is battling to free up space in life-support units, which has now become critical in the country’s capital. In Paris, the number of beds in intensive care units is practically at the same level as the number of patients, according to Reuters.

France has more than 50,000 confirmed cases as of Thursday and is in the midst of a two-month long state of emergency.

Foster kids who can't visit parents are struggling under isolation

A typical morning for Arnie Eby begins at 6 a.m. He and his wife, Donna, fix breakfast for their four adopted kids and three foster children, then check their backpacks and pack lunch boxes. Once his wife heads to work as the health manager of a local Head Start program, he sees the children onto five different school buses and then sits down for a cup of coffee.

Since the threat of COVID-19 closed schools in Maryland nearly three weeks ago, life in Eby's home has changed dramatically. Local nonprofits that provide mental health services and programs for children with disabilities — which Eby and his wife rely on to support their seven children, who range in age from 5 to 18 and have differing levels of special needs and histories of trauma — closed shortly after.

Child welfare advocates say that America's foster care system, which relies on in-person contact and human connection, is struggling under the weight of this unprecedented period of isolation, which is risking the well-being of children, foster parents and biological parents.

Read the full story here.

Italy will receive first coronavirus aid, E.U. says

Municipal police officers stand guard by a deserted Trevi Fountain in Rome on Wednesday. Filippo Monteforte / AFP - Getty Images

Italy will be the first country to receive financial help from the European Union, the head of European Commission announced on Thursday. 

In a letter published in Italian daily La Repubblica, Ursula von der Leyen said the European Union would allocate up to 100 billion euros ($110 billion) to the countries most affected by the pandemic, starting with Italy, to make up for the reduction in wages and to preserve jobs amid the economic havoc wreaked by coronavirus restrictions. 

Italy has been hit the hardest by the global coronavirus pandemic, and on Wednesday recorded more than 13,000 deaths. Some Italians have voiced criticism of the E.U. for not doing more to help in the country's fight against coronavirus.

Massachusetts gets 1 million N95 masks from China — with help from the New England Patriots

States short on medical supplies are turning to any means necessary for sourcing and transportation. In Massachusetts, that means help from the New England Patriots.

Gov. Charlie Baker tweeted on Thursday that 1 million N95 masks had arrived from China on board one of the two team planes owned by the Patriots. Baker thanked the family of Patriots owner Robert Kraft and included a slogan used by Patriots head coach Bill Belichick: "No days off."

Out of the hospital, Rep. Ben McAdams says COVID-19 'hit me really, really hard'

Rep. Ben McAdams, D-Utah, said Thursday that he's feeling much better now that he's out of the hospital where he stayed for more than a week with COVID-19. 

"I found myself in the hospital for eight days, and I just had trouble breathing couldn't keep my oxygen levels up, and it hit me really really hard and so it's good to be back on my feet right now. I'm virus free," McAdams said in an interview on the "TODAY" show.

He said that he knew it was time to call the doctor and go to the hospital because he said he couldn't get out of bed and walk across the room without being out of breath. 

"I just never could breathe on my own without that supplemental oxygen or keep my levels up," he said. 

The 45-year-old, who said he has no underlying conditions, implored people to take the disease seriously because he said, "You don't know how it's going to get you, how it's going to affect you."

Vacation towns have a message for seasonal residents: Stay away

Seasonal homes in Oak Bluffs on Martha's Vineyard.Kayana Szymczak / for NBC News

Martha's Vineyard, an island retreat off Massachusetts for the Northeast's elite, is a health care desert.

The Vineyard has one hospital with 25 beds and seven ventilators. Local officials estimate the current population at 25,000, meaning the island has about 1 bed per 1,000 residents, far fewer than the state average of 2.4 per 1,000.

Because the Vineyard is isolated from the mainland, its limited medical infrastructure could quickly crumble if a coronavirus outbreak were to sweep across the island. The vacation community is one of many across the country flooded by seasonal residents hoping to escape urban centers amid the pandemic.

Read the full story here.