CDC recommends masks, U.S. deaths rise by more than 1,000 in one day

Here are the latest coronavirus updates from around the world.
Image: Face mask reflection
A person wearing protective masks due to coronavirus concerns walks in Philadelphia, on April 2, 2020.Matt Rourke / AP

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday recommended that people wear "cloth face coverings," in places where it is hard to maintain social distancing — like grocery stores. Officials say surgical masks or respirators should be reserved for health care workers.

President Donald Trump announced the recommendations but said he is choosing not to wear one.

The U.S. recorded more than 1,000 deaths between Thursday and Friday, according to NBC News' tally. As of Friday night, more than 7,000 U.S. deaths have been linked to the disease. Globally, the death toll is more than 59,100, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The U.S. economy lost 701,000 jobs in March, according to data released Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The unemployment rate soared to 4.4 percent from 3.5 percent.

Support on Capitol Hill among both Republicans and Democrats for an independent 9/11-style commission to investigate the country’s response to the outbreak appeared to be growing.

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Two more federal inmates dead from coronavirus

Two more federal inmates have died of the coronavirus, officials said Friday, raising the toll to seven. 

Wallace Holley, Jr., 56, died Thursday, seven days after he suffered respiratory failure at the Federal Correctional Institution Oakdale in Louisiana. Holley, who was serving a 28-year sentence for several charges including armed robbery, had pre-existing conditions, officials said.

Margarito Garcia-Fragoso, 65, who was held at Federal Satellite Low Institution Elkton in Ohio, also died on Thursday after being hospitalized six days earlier. He was serving a 10 1/2 year sentence on drug and weapons charges. Officials said Garcia-Fragoso also had pre-existing conditions.

Of the seven inmate deaths across the system, five were held at Oakdale and two at Elkton.

N.J. to fly flags at half-staff to honor coronavirus victims

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy ordered that all flags on state buildings across the Garden State be flown at half-staff indefinitely to honor coronavirus victims.

“COVID-19 has taken far too many relatives, friends, and loved ones in New Jersey,” Murphy said in a statement. “This virus has affected every corner of our state, and as we continue to work to break the back of this pandemic, we recognize those who have been lost to this terrible illness and all those affected by it. Many families cannot hold funerals for their loved ones at this time. By doing this, we remind them that their losses are not forgotten.”

As of Friday, the death toll in New Jersey was 646 with 29,895 total cases.

CNN's Brooke Baldwin says she's tested positive for the coronavirus

CNN anchor Brooke Baldwin said in an Instagram post on Friday that despite her following the social distancing guidelines and "doing ALL the things we're being told to do," she has tested positive for the coronavirus. 

"I am OKAY. It came on suddenly yesterday afternoon," she wrote."Chills, aches, fever." 

Baldwin said she has no underlying conditions and feels like she's "one of the lucky ones." 

"I look forward to being on [television] and seeing you real soon. And shoutout to the doctors and nurses who are doing the real work right now," she said, ending her post with a touching message to singer Bill Withers, who died Monday from heart complications

"I am listening to Bill Withers on repeat. I knew him, adored him and will miss him," Baldwin said. 

Fellow CNN anchor Chris Cuomo has also tested positive for the coronavirus. On Thursday, he said he was "doing pretty well, all things considered." 

Rogue paddleboarder arrested at California beach

The suspect remained on the paddle board for approximately 30-40 minutes.Lost Hills Sheriff's Station

A rogue paddleboarder who disobeyed Los Angeles County orders to stay off the beach was arrested on Thursday, officials said.

Deputies at the Malibu/Lost Hills sheriff's station needed the help of a county sheriff's boat, dispatched from down the shore in Marina del Rey, to direct the paddleboarder back to land after spending at least 30 minutes on the water, officials said. Once the boat arrived, the paddleboarder complied and swam to shore.

He was arrested for disobeying a lifeguard and failing to obey a lawful order. After he was booked at a sheriff's station, he was booked and released on a promise to appear.

The county shut down all beaches and hiking trails last week as part of the effort to keep Southern California residents at home to slow the spread of coronavirus.


Massive hospital ship in NYC has only about 20 patients, but mayor says it will be full 'very soon'

A massive U.S. Navy hospital ship that was brought to New York City to help overwhelmed hospitals dealing with the coronavirus pandemic had only 20 patients, first reported by NBC News Thursday night.

But New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Friday he expects the number of patients on the 1,000-bed USNS Comfort to "change very rapidly." 

"I talked to our colleagues in the Navy. I don’t have a question in my mind that number’s going to change very rapidly,” de Blasio said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

“I’m sure that ship will be very full soon," he continued. "They have to be smart about what cases they take and create a protocol that’s going to work because it’s going to get very busy, very quickly next week. So I’m convinced over the next few days they’ll be prepared and they'll be filling up." 

A second hospital ship, the USNS Mercy, was sent to Los Angeles. 

Photo: Video call with relatives from a hospital bed

A COVID-19 patient connects with relatives at Papa Giovanni XXIII Hospital in Bergamo, northern Italy on Friday.Claudio Furlan / LaPresse via AP

Watch sailors cheer Navy captain relieved of command after raising alarm on coronavirus

A cheering and applauding crowd of sailors aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt can be seen in videos saying goodbye to their captain, who was relieved of command after he raised concerns about a coronavirus outbreak on his ship in a letter that was leaked to the news media.

Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly said the ship's commander, Capt. Brett Crozier, who was ousted Thursday, "demonstrated extremely poor judgment" in the middle of a crisis. The Roosevelt is an aircraft carrier with a crew of nearly 5,000,

A video posted to Twitter shows sailors chanting "Cap-tain Cro-zier" as he disembarked. The user who uploaded the Twitter video captioned it, in part: "Wrongfully relieved of command but did right by the sailors."

Read the full story here

New York closes in on 3,000 deaths as Cuomo says he will order redistribution of ventilators

As the number of deaths from coronavirus approaches 3,000 in New York state, Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Friday said he would sign an executive order authorizing the National Guard to take and redistribute ventilators and personal protective equipment.

The announcement comes a day after Cuomo said the state would run out of available ventilators in six days at the current rate of use.

The governor said ventilators would be taken from health care facilities that don't need them now and redistributed to those that do. Health care centers where ventilators are taken for redistribution would either get them back later or be paid for them, he said.  

New York's deaths from the virus stood Friday morning at 2,935, an increase of 562 in one day. That compares to increases of 432 deaths on Thursday and 391 on Wednesday.

The state's total number of coronavirus cases is 102,863, up by 10,482.

New York City has 57,159 of those cases, an increase of 5,350. Once again Long Island had troubling increases in positively tested cases, Cuomo said. Nassau County's cases rose by 1,437 to 12,024, and  Suffolk County's increased by 1,408 to 10,154. 

Cuomo says he spoke to Pelosi, will work with her on next relief bill

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that he spoke to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Friday morning about the next piece of legislation that Congress could consider to aid struggling states in the coronavirus fight.

Pelosi is working on boosting financial assistance to states in the next measure and Cuomo said she “fully understands” the needs of state and local governments. Cuomo said that he will work with the speaker and New York’s congressional legislation on what his state needs from federal relief legislation. 

“She understands my position on how New York was short-changed in the last bill,” Cuomo said during his daily news conference in Albany. 

New York's death toll hit 2,935 as of Friday, an increase of 562 deaths.

Photo: Mt. Sinai medical workers protest equipment shortage

A Mt. Sinai medical worker holds a photo of a colleague who died from the coronavirus in New York City on Friday.Stephanie Keith / Getty Images

Mosques stay open in Pakistan even as virus cases rise

Mosques were allowed to remain open in Pakistan on Friday — the important Muslim sabbath when adherents gather for weekly prayers — even as the pandemic spread and much of the country had shut down.

Some provinces, however, have issued their own lockdown orders to prevent Muslims from gathering for Friday prayers. In southern Sindh province, a complete lockdown is being enforced from noon until 3 p.m. — the time when the faithful gather for prayers. Anyone found on the streets will be arrested, according to the provincial local government minister in a statement. Authorities in Pakistan have struggled lately to persuade conservative religious groups to maintain social distancing.

Still, mosques remain open in the rest Pakistan, even as they have been shut down across much of the Middle East and elsewhere.

Pakistan has reported nearly 2,500 people infected with the virus, the highest in South Asia.