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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Fact check: Trump falsely claims U.S. is testing more people per capita than other countries

During Thursday's coronavirus task force briefing, Trump claimed that the U.S. is testing “more than any other country in the world both in terms of the raw number, and also on a per capita basis, the most.”

We've fact-checked Trump's previous testing claims — and while it is technically true that the U.S. has run more tests for the disease caused by the virus than any other country, Trump is wrong on the issue of testing per capita.

The U.S. is not testing the same share of its population as other countries, a key measure that indicates the U.S. lags behind other nations. As of Thursday, April 2, the U.S has done more than 1.3 million COVID-19 tests. That's about one in every 250 Americans. South Korea, as of the same date, has tested about one in every 118 people. 

Read the full story here. 

Navy relieves captain who raised alarm about outbreak on aircraft carrier

Aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt enters port in Da Nang, Vietnam on March 5, 2020.Nguyen Huy Kham / Reuters file

The Navy announced it has relieved the captain who sounded the alarm about an outbreak of COVID-19 aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt.

Capt. Brett Crozier, who commands the Roosevelt, an aircraft carrier with a crew of nearly 5,000, was relieved of his command on Thursday, but he will keep his rank and remain in the Navy.

Crozier raised the alarm earlier this week that sailors on the ship need to be quarantined to stop the spread of the virus. His plea for assistance quickly made headlines.

Read the full story here.

White House doctor: Trump again tests negative for COVID-19

Trump had again been tested for COVID-19, "utilizing new, rapid point-of-care test capability," according to a memo from his physician, and has tested negative.

The memo was released to reporters at the White House at the start of a coronavirus task force news briefing. 

NBC News / via The White House

3 more federal inmates die after testing positive

A four-man cell at the Englewood Federal Correctional Institution in Littleton, Colorado. Federal Bureau of Prisons / via AP file

At least three more federal prison inmates have died after testing positive for coronavirus, authorities said Thursday.

David Townsend, 66, went into respiratory failure at the Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) Oakdale in Louisians on Saturday before dying at local hospital on Thursday, according to the Bureau of Prisons.

Another inmate from that same prison, 57-year-old James Wilson, passed away on Wednesday, authorities said.

Meanwhile at a hospital near the Federal Satellite Low Institution (FSL) Elkton, in Lisbon, Ohio, Woodrow Taylor, 53, died on Thursday, officials said

All three men had long-term, pre-existing medical conditions, the bureau said. 


New York City mayor advises residents to cover faces when in public

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio advised residents to wear some form of protective covering over their face when they go outside.

"It does not have to be a professional surgical mask," de Blasio said. "In fact we do not want you to use the kind of masks that our first responders need, that our healthcare workers need, don't use those. Leave those alone."

As healthcare workers and other first responders struggle to get personal protective equipment, many Americans have begun creating their own handmade masks

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said that wearing a mask is unnecessary for healthy individuals, but Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said federal health officials are actively discussing changing that guidance. 

"It doesn’t need to be a classical mask. But something that would have someone prevent them from infecting others," Fauci said to NBC News' Savannah Guthrie on Tuesday night. "This is actively being looked at."

Global coronavirus cases surpass 1 million

The number of coronavirus cases worldwide has surpassed 1 million, with more than 51,000 deaths, according to the tally kept by Johns Hopkins University.

As of Thursday afternoon, 1,002,159 cases and 51,485 deaths due to coronavirus were reported globally.

There were more than 236,000 cases and at least 5,648 deaths in the United States, according to Johns Hopkins University's tally.

Tennessee issues stay-at-home order

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee announced a stay-at-home order Thursday after traffic patterns showed residents were beginning to travel more despite advice from public health officials. 

Lee said that while "good faith efforts" were made to follow social distancing guidelines, an uptick in traffic beginning Monday indicated many were beginning to disregard the coronavirus precautions . 

“The month of April stands to be an extremely tough time for our state as we face the potential for a surge in COVID-19 cases,” said Lee. “Every Tennessean must take this seriously, remain at home and ensure we save lives.”

The measure follows that of several other states in requiring residents to stay in their homes unless they must engage in an essential activity, such as grocery shopping or utilizing healthcare services.

Biden slams McConnell, calls on Congress to pass fourth coronavirus stimulus package

Joe Biden on Thursday called on Congress to immediately begin working on the fourth phase of stimulus legislation for Americans struggling under the financial stress caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

"We need another plan before this is over," Biden said on a virtual press briefing. "We can’t wait … More people are going to need the help."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calf., has also called for a fourth package, while Senate Majority Leader, R-Ky., has indicated he doesn’t support such an action at the moment — a position Biden hammered him on.

“The majority leader of the Senate was wrong and slow the first time around. And he’s wrong and slow this time around,” Biden said.

A new app asks people to submit crucial data — how they feel each day

A new app launched Thursday by a group of academics, researchers and volunteer engineers from Pinterest asks Americans to hand over crucial data to create a clearer picture of the spread of the coronavirus.

The app, called "How We Feel," asks people to take 30 seconds each day to submit how they're feeling — healthy or not — along with their age and ZIP code. No other information is requested. The app is available for download in the iOS and Google Play stores.

Technologists are working on a variety of ways to collect data via smartphones, though passive measures have alarmed privacy advocates

"Each health check-in may feel like a small act, but together they’ll make a huge difference for researchers like myself who are trying to understand this outbreak and develop intervention measures to control it,” said Xihong Lin, a professor of biostatistics at Harvard University. “The data gives us a bird's eye view of COVID-19 that helps us predict regions on the brink of an outbreak."