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.
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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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Photo: Lining up for groceries in Johannesburg

Shoppers wait outside a store in Johannesburg on Friday. South Africa is in a 21-day nationwide lockdown. Jerome Delay / AP

Making your own face mask? Some fabrics work better than others

Sewing machines across the U.S. are whirring to life now that the federal government is expected to recommend that people living in coronavirus hot spots cover their face to prevent spread of the coronavirus.

But if you are making your own covering, new research finds that some fabrics are better than others at filtering out viral particles.

Read more.

Polish official who relayed horrors of Holocaust dies of coronavirus

The secretary who took down the first eyewitness accounts of the Holocaust to be smuggled out of Nazi-occupied Poland has died at age 107 from the coronavirus at a New York City hospital, the Polish Press Agency reported.

Walentyna Janta-Polczynska was the personal secretary of Gen. Wladyslaw Sikorski, leader of the wartime Polish government in exile in London, when she was tasked with taking dictation from Polish resistance fighter Jan Karski.

Karski later personally delivered word of the mass slaughter of the Jews by the Germans to President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

After the war, Janta-Polczynska settled in New York City where her home in Elmhurst, Queens, became a literary salon for exiled Polish writers. 


USAID asks relief groups around the world for medical supplies, protective gear for U.S. use

The U.S. government's main international relief agency has issued an "urgent request" to aid groups around the world that work with refugees and impoverished people asking them to find personal protective gear and medical supplies that could be made available to the federal government, according to an internal email obtained by NBC News.

The U.S. Agency for International Development's appeal offers yet another sign of how the Trump administration is scrambling to secure badly needed medical equipment amid shortages of gear at American hospitals due to the coronavirus epidemic.

It's unclear how much medical equipment the aid groups have to spare, and how the request could affect relief work with refugees and other vulnerable populations around the world. Humanitarian aid groups have already issued warnings that the coronavirus outbreak could have a devastating effect on refugees who often lack access to clean water and are living in crowded conditions.

Read the full story here.

The Week in Pictures: Coronavirus tightens vise around the globe

The number of coronavirus cases worldwide has surpassed 1 million. See more powerful images of the impact of the virus here.

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.