Global cases surpass 1 million, 6.6 million unemployment claims filed

Here are the latest coronavirus updates from around the world.
Image: Mask
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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New York has 85,000 volunteers to fight pandemic as deaths in state pass 2,000

New York has 85,000 volunteers who will be sent to hospitals to help fight the coronavirus pandemic, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Thursday at a press conference.

"New Yorkers will return the favor," the governor promised in announcing the volunteer army days after he publicly pleaded for people from around the country to help his state.

Cuomo also announced new figures showing the scale of the state's challenge in fighting the spread of the deadly virus.

  • The death toll has passed 2,000 to 2,373, with the total number of cases now 92,381.
  • The state will run out of ventilators in six days given projected, continued demand.
  • New York City has 51,809 cases, up by 4,370.

In a break from the typical press conference format, the governor's brother, CNN anchor Chris Cuomo, who has tested positive for coronavirus, joined remotely.

"I’m so proud of him for showing New York what this vicious virus looks like and for demystifying it," Andrew Cuomo said on Twitter of his younger brother.

Photo: Messages for NHS in Britain

A child at Westlands Primary School paints a poster in support of the National Health Service in Newcastle-under-Lyme, England, on Thursday.Carl Recine / Reuters

Georgia's GOP governor admits he just learned asymptomatic people can spread coronavirus

Brian Kemp, the Republican governor of Georgia, admitted on Wednesday that he had only just learned that asymptomatic individuals can still spread coronavirus — even though health experts had warned about the possibility as early as January.

Kemp, in a press conference on Wednesday said the fact that he’d just learned that information contributed to him issuing a statewide shelter-in-place order in Georgia.

Kemp, said that he had, in just the last 24 hours, learned “that this virus is now transmitting before people see signs.”

“This is a game-changer for us,” he added.

Read more here.

NYC emergency medical services to stop taking unresponsive cardiac patients to hospitals

Cardiac arrest patients are no longer to be transported to hospitals if they do not have a pulse, according to a new order issued by the governing body of New York City's emergency medical services, Regional Emergency Medical Services Council of New York.

Typically, if someone has had cardiac arrest - such as a heart attack or severe trauma - EMS units will try and take that person to the hospital, even if there's no blood flow, while working to bring their pulse back en route.

Emergency officials told NBC News that the reasoning behind the order is it will prevent extra patients going to hospitals if those patients really have no hope of being saved. It will also decrease the amount of time emergency medical technicians are out on a call where there is no hope for saving someone. The body will be taken care of with respect, officials said.

EMTs will not initiate resuscitation for patients with obvious signs of death or a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) order. For patients EMTs do attempt to resuscitate, if after 20 minutes of CPR, the defibrillator or the heart monitor shows a "no shock indicated" or a non-shockable rhythm and there is no blood circulation, CPR is to be terminated.

Putin extends stay-at-home guidance until the end of April

In an address to the nation Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that a current nationwide work from home guidance has been extended until the end of April, warning that the worst of the coronavirus epidemic has yet to come.

Putin announced the guidance last Wednesday, describing it as a week-long non-working holiday in which he urged Russians to stay at home. Later, lower-level officials clarified it was a work-from-home order.

The week at home, which saw most everything save for grocery stores and pharmacies closed nationwide, bought Russia valuable time, Putin said, “but we still need to be aware that the threat — the peak of this epidemic — is not yet over.”

“That is why I have taken the decision to extend the non-working period until the end of the month, April 30,” Putin said. “This will be paid leave.”

Putin, however, left the specifics up to regional leadership, claiming that Russia is too large for a blanket policy. He also pointed out that some regions have larger outbreaks, requiring harsher measures.

Texas city says it may fine, jail residents who do not cover their face

A new emergency law in Laredo, Texas, that went into effect Tuesday morning imposes a criminal penalty on residents who do not shelter in place or wear a face covering of some kind as a way to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.

Police will be enforcing this new law with a fine up to $1,000 or jail time of up to 180 days, according to an announcement from city officials.

Laredo has said there are some exceptions to when face coverings are no longer required, such as “engaging in a permissible outside physical activity" and riding in a personal vehicle, among other instances.

Michigan closes its school buildings for the rest of the academic year

Michigan's governor has ordered schools closed for the remainder of the school year, with remote lessons to continue.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed the order Thursday "for the sake of our students, their families, and the more than 100,000 teachers and staff in our state," she said in a statement.

All of the state's K-12 schools will be closed, unless restrictions are lifted, although school employees will be able to use the buildings for giving remote instruction while practicing social distancing.

“My number one priority right now is protecting Michigan families from the spread of COVID-19," Whitmer said in the statement. “As a parent, I understand the challenge closing schools creates for parents and guardians across the state, which is why we are setting guidelines for schools to continue remote learning and ensuring parents have resources to continue their children’s education from the safety of their homes."

Health care workers running short of drugs for COVID-19 patients turn to Twitter

Health care workers who say they are running low on the drugs they need to keep coronavirus patients sedated while they are on ventilators are sharing their stories on Twitter.

Using the hashtag #WeNeedMeds, doctors and nurses say they are running out of fentanyl, versed, propofol and paralytic drugs, which are used to sedate COVID-19 patients so they can be intubated to help them breathe. A combination or cocktail of the drugs is often used to induce a deep sleep and manage pain.

Thailand issues nationwide curfew to contain outbreak

A woman eats her lunch at home in front of a litter of cats in Bangkok on Wednesday, as the government recommended that people stay home to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.Mladen Anotonov / AFP - Getty Images

Thailand will introduce a six-hour curfew in a bid to control the virus outbreak until further notice, authorities said Thursday. The authorities warned that anyone who breached the order faced a two-year jail term and up to a $1,200 fine.

The curfew bans everyone in the country leaving their homes from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. local time starting on Friday, although essential staff, such as medical workers, are exempt. Nearly half of Thailand’s 1,875 reported cases are in the country's busy capital of Bangkok, according to Reuters. Fifteen people had died in the country as of Thursday.

Photo: Raising awareness about social distancing in India

A police officer wears a coronavirus-themed outfit as he walks through a market in Chennai on Thursday.Arun Sankar / AFP - Getty Images