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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COVID-19 death toll in U.S. climbs to more than 7,000

As of Friday night, more than 7,000 deaths in the United States have been linked to the coronavirus disease COVID-19, according to an NBC News count. Overall, the country has more than 275,500 cases.

In New York City, which is currently considered the epicenter of the outbreak in the country, deaths rose by 305 and reached 1,867 as of 5 p.m., according to numbers from the city's health department. New York state overall has had more than 102,800 cases with more than 2,900 deaths, according to the NBC News count.

More deaths were also reported in many other states, including more than 100 in New Jersey, where 646 people have died according to the state health department. Michigan has had 479 deaths as of Friday, and Louisiana has had 370 deaths reported, according to health departments.

The count of more than 275,500 positive COVID-19 cases across the U.S. by Friday night reflects an increase of more than 30,000 cases from Thursday night, according to NBC News' tally. The count of coronavirus cases includes active cases, those who have recovered, those who have died and those who have been repatriated to the U.S.

Mosques stay open in Pakistan even as death toll rises

ISLAMABAD — Mosques were allowed to remain open in Pakistan on Friday, when Muslims gather for weekly prayers, even as the coronavirus pandemic spread and much of the country had shut down.

Prime Minister Imran Khan is relying on restricting the size of congregations attending mosques and advice to stay at home from religious groups like the country’s Islamic Ideology Council. However, some provinces have issued their own lockdown orders to prevent Muslims from gathering for Friday prayers. 

Still, mosques remain open in Pakistan, even as they have been shut down across much of the Middle East and elsewhere. The Middle East has confirmed over 85,000 cases of the virus and over 3,700 deaths, most of them in Iran. 

Pakistan, with 2,450 confirmed cases and 36 deaths, has been sharply criticized for moving too slow to curb large gatherings, including a gathering of tens of thousands of Muslims from several Islamic countries in March. The gathering of Tableeghi Jamaat missionaries is blamed for several outbreaks of the new virus elsewhere in the world. 

Pandemic will cost global economy up to $4.1 trillion, experts say

The pandemic will cost the global economy as much as $4.1 trillion, or nearly 5 percent of all economic activity, according to new estimates from the Asian Development Bank.

The head of the International Monetary Fund said the recession sparked by the coronavirus pandemic is “way worse” than the 2008 global recession. At a news briefing in Geneva on Friday, IMF managing director Kristalina Georgieva described the situation as “a crisis like no other.”

L.A. county opens COVID-19 drive-up testing site

Los Angeles County on Friday opened a new drive-up testing site in the parking lot of a popular mall. 

Tests are available by appointment only and limited to people with symptoms who are in high risk categories, including those over the age of 65 and people with underlying health problems.

The new site, located at the South Bay Galleria in Redondo Beach, is one of 10 mobile testing locations in the county.

Montana's June 2 primary will be conducted by mail

HELENA, Mont. - Montana's June 2 primary will be conducted by mail in an effort to limit the spread of the coronavirus. The ballots will be mailed out on May 8.

The U.S. Postal Service recommends ballots be mailed back a week before the election. Same-day registration and in-person voting will still be allowed. Counties will set the locations for late registration and ballot submission.

County clerks say a new law that allows counties to begin opening mailed ballots on the Thursday before Election Day to prepare them for counting should lead to quicker results on election nights.

5 million more N95 masks set for release

Another 5 million N95 masks — highly sought by medical professionals in their fight against coronavirus — will be released from the national stockpile to the Department of Health & Human Services, the Pentagon said Friday.

The announcement was made by chief Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman.

Doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers are clamoring for more N95 masks and other forms of  personal protective equipment as they face a constant wave of COVID-19 patients.

Trump lashes out at reporter when pressed for clarification over federal stockpile

Trump on Friday told a reporter she "ought to be ashamed" of herself and chided her for having a "nasty tone" after she asked for clarity about White House adviser Jared Kushner's comments about the federal government's ventilator stockpile. 

"It's such a basic simple question you try and make it sound so bad," Trump told Weijia Jiang, a White House correspondent for CBS News. "You ought to be ashamed of yourself." 


At Thursday's briefing, Kushner was pressed on why states were bidding on ventilators rather than the federal government sending them. "The notion of the federal stockpile was it's supposed to be our stockpile. It's not supposed to be states' stockpiles that they then use," Kushner said. 

Trump doubled down at Friday's briefing. 

"Because we need it for the government, the federal government," Trump said about Kushner's comments. "The federal government needs to it too not just the states."

Walmart to limit customer access

Walmart will limit the number of customers allowed to enter its stores and launch new efforts to keep shoppers moving one way once inside, the company announced on Friday.

Starting on Saturday, only five customers per 1,000 square feet can enter a Walmart, which will be about 20 percent of each locale's listed capacity, according to a statement by Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Dacona Smith.

And in many stores next week, markers will be put down to direct shoppers to one-way foot traffic "so to help more customers avoid coming into close contact with others as they shop," according to Smith.

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