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U.S. deaths top 12,000 as New York City suffers deadliest day

Here are the latest coronavirus updates from around the world.
Apr 7, 2020; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Milwaukee resident Jennifer Taff holds a sign as she waits in line to vote at Washington
Milwaukee resident Jennifer Taff holds a sign as she waits in line to vote at Washington High School in Milwaukee on April 7, 2020. "I'm disgusted. I requested an absentee ballot almost three weeks ago and never got it. I have a father dying from lung disease and I have to risk my life and his just to exercise my right to vote" she said, as she'd been in line almost two hours.Patricia McKnight / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel via USA TODAY Network

This live coverage has ended. Continue reading April 8 Coronavirus news.

At the start of what officials have warned could be the deadliest week of the coronavirus pandemic, the total number of deaths in the U.S. rose to more than 12,000 on Tuesday, according to NBC News' tally. New York City alone topped 4,000 deaths, recording its single deadliest day with over 800 dying in the 24 hours since Monday night.

Despite the coronavirus crisis, Wisconsin's controversial election is on for Tuesday, and voters will get no extension on the deadline to return absentee ballots, thanks to two top courts that sided with Republicans on Monday.

In the fight to mitigate the fallout from the pandemic, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey announced Tuesday that he planned to donate $1 billion to global coronavirus relief.

Full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak

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CDC removes unusual guidance to doctors about drug favored by Trump


The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has removed from its website highly unusual guidance informing doctors on how to prescribe hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine, drugs recommended by President Donald Trump to treat the coronavirus.

It had previously noted anecdotal evidence that the drugs were effective in combatting COVID-19. 

The original guidance was crafted by the CDC after Trump personally pressed federal regulatory and health officials to make the malaria drugs more widely available to treat the novel coronavirus, though the drugs in question had been untested for COVID-19.

The site now states “There are no drugs or other therapeutics approved by the US Food and Drug Administration to prevent or treat COVID-19.”

The updated, and shortened, guidance adds that “Hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine are under investigation in clinical trials” for use on coronavirus patients.

On Tuesday, the president said he had watched "one of the shows" that featured a woman, ostensibly a coronavirus patient, who took hydroxychloroquine after days of illness and, "four hours later, she awoke and she said, 'I feel better.'"

The truth about the toilet paper shortage

Survey: 1 in 4 unable to cover full housing bill

Nearly one in four Americans responsible for rent or mortgage payments was unable to cover the full April bill for housing, a new analysis says. It cites a new, frozen "quarantine economy."

Listings site Apartment List surveyed 4,129 renters and homeowners; the margin of error was +/-2 percent. It said 13 percent of renters paid a portion of April rent; 12 percent paid none of it. Eleven percent of homeowners with mortgages made partial payments; 12 percent made none.

The analysis compared that to a 3.9 percent rate for underpayment of rent in 2017 and said, "typical delinquency rates among mortgaged homeowners are even lower."

"In April 2020, we saw this delinquency rate skyrocket 550 percent, as over one-quarter of renters failed to pay their entire rent on time," the analysis said.

The news came after President Donald Trump vowed to suspend evictions and foreclosures for 60 days as part of a $2 trillion coronavirus relief package he signed March 27.

'Pharma Bro' says he should be freed from prison to help research coronavirus

The Associated Press

Convicted former drug company CEO Martin Shkreli, known as “Pharma Bro,” wants to get out of prison so he can help research a treatment for the coronavirus, his lawyer said Tuesday.

Defense attorney Ben Brafman said that he will file court papers asking federal authorities to release Shkreli for three months so he can do laboratory work “under strict supervision.”

His client — best known before his arrest for drug price-gouging and his snarky online persona — is housed at a low-security prison in Allenwood, Pennsylvania.

"I have always said that if focused and left in a lab, Martin could help cure cancer," Brafman said in a statement. "Maybe he can help the scientific community better understand this terrible virus."

Read the full story here

Paterson, N.J., mayor tests positive

The mayor of Paterson, New Jersey, Andre Sayegh, says he has tested positive for COVID-19.

The mayor of the city of around 146,000 west of New York City said Tuesday that he is not suffering a fever or cough, and discovered he was positive after he was one of "hundreds" of first responders and city employees tested over the weekend.

"I encourage all Patersonians to take this disease seriously and stay at home when possible. Even with all my careful efforts of social distancing for the last month ... I have fallen prey to this virus," Sayegh said. He said he would continue in his role and would keep the public updated on his health.

More than 44,400 people in New Jersey have tested positive for COVID-19, including 1,232 people who have died, according to the state health department. In Passaic County, where Paterson is located, there have been more than 4,000 positive cases and 62 deaths.

65,000 people leave Wuhan as lockdown is lifted

The Associated Press

BEIJING — Within hours of China lifting an 11-week lockdown on the central city of Wuhan early Wednesday, roughly 65,000 people had left the city by train and plane alone, according to local media reports.

Highways, bridges and tunnels were also opened, allowing thousands of more to exit by car and bus, as long as they were able to show a mandatory smartphone application powered by a mix of data-tracking and government surveillance shows they are healthy and have not been in recent contact with anyone confirmed to have the virus.

Despite the new freedom, many prevention measures remain in force in the city and those leaving Wuhan — the epicenter of the global pandemic — face numerous hurdles when arriving at their destinations elsewhere. That includes being required to undergo 14-day quarantines and submit to nucleic acid tests.

China on Wednesday reported 62 new virus cases, 59 of them brought from outside the country, and two additional deaths.

The country where the virus first emerged now has recorded 3,333 deaths and 81,802 total cases, with 1,190 people remaining in treatment, 189 in serious condition. Another 83 suspected cases and 1,095 people who have tested positive but show no symptoms remain under isolation and monitoring.

Country, folk legend John Prine dies at 73

Singer-songwriter John Prine died from complications related to COVID-19, his family said. He was 73.

Image: obit, John Prine
Singer-songwriter John Prine attends the 61st Annual GRAMMY Awards at Staples Center in Los Angeles on Feb. 10, 2019.Rich Fury / Getty Images file

The country-folk singer was at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville being treated for coronavirus when he passed, his family said.

He received lifetime achievement recognition from the Grammy Awards this year. In 2015, he was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.

Read the full story here

NBC News


L.A. mayor says masks now mandatory

David Douglas

David Douglas and Dennis Romero

Face coverings are required for anyone in Los Angeles who leaves their home, the mayor of Los Angeles said Tuesday. 

"Every Angeleno will share this responsibility with employers: To keep workers and everybody else safe, which is why we are requiring customers to wear face coverings to enter those businesses," Mayor Eric Garcetti said.

"If you're shopping for groceries, picking up a prescription, or visiting any other essential business, and if you're not covering your face, by Friday morning, an essential business can refuse you service," he said.

He said he's spoken to regional leaders and the rule could end up applying to the entire county, the largest in the nation.

Read the full story here

Photo: Vote lines in Wisconsin

Associated Press

Apr 7, 2020; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Milwaukee resident Jennifer Taff holds a sign as she waits in line to vote at Washington
Patricia McKnight / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel via USA TODAY Network

Milwaukee resident Jennifer Taff holds a sign as she waits in line to vote at Washington High School in Milwaukee on April 7, 2020.  "I'm disgusted. I requested an absentee ballot almost three weeks ago and never got it. I have a father dying from lung disease and I have to risk my life and his just to exercise my right to vote" she said, as she'd been in line almost two hours.

Trump hints at cutting U.S. funds to World Health Organization

Dartunorro Clark

President Donald Trump said Tuesday that his administration is going to consider withholding funding from the World Health Organization, the agency that oversees international public health, after it criticized his administration's coronavirus response. 

The president told reporters at the daily coronavirus task force briefing that the WHO is “China-centric” and that we need to “look into that” because the U.S. contributes millions to the agency's budget. The U.S. is the largest contributor to the WHO, spending $57.8 million earlier this year. He also took issue with the agency criticizing his China travel ban in early February when the Asian country was the epicenter of the pandemic. 


“They missed the call. They could have called it months earlier," Trump told reporters, referring to the WHO. "They would have known and they should have known and they probably did know."

He said that he would be looking into it “very carefully" and he would be putting a “powerful hold” on money being sent to WHO. However, when pressed on whether this was the right time to end funding to the WHO, the president said “no, maybe not” and added, “I’m not saying I’m going to do it” but only that he’s looking into it.


American movement outside the home cut in half during pandemic, study shows

Movement outside the home in the United States since the start of widespread social distancing efforts in mid-March decreased by 49 percent, Johns Hopkins University researchers revealed Monday.

The school's 15-month Twitter Social Mobility Index analyzed location data from 3.7 million U.S.-based Twitter users. States without stay-at-home orders in mid-March showed the smallest reductions in mobility, researchers said. Among them: Arkansas, Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Carolina.

The top locations for staying put included Washington, D.C., Alaska, Washington, New Jersey and Maryland.

Fact check: Did Trump act at the same time Navarro wrote pandemic memos?

Asked about pandemic memos circulated by top trade adviser Peter Navarro warning of the effects the coronavirus could have, President Donald Trump argued that he acted at the same time, shuttering the U.S. to China and eventually Europe. 

“That was about the same time that I closed it down,” he said on Tuesday, referring to travel restrictions he put in place to slow the spread of coronavirus. "We closed it down to all of China, we closed it down to all of Europe, those were big moves."

Trump's claims here are half true. Navarro’s warnings were reportedly circulated in late January and Trump’s travel ban on China was ordered January 31st — so he's right on the timing. But the restrictions are not as broad as he suggests here.

He then closed the border to most foreigners travel from China to the U.S. — exempting U.S. citizens and some others — but he did not shut down the borders completely. On March 11th, Trump ordered the border closed to foreigners coming to the U.S. from 26 European states, but not all of Europe.