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

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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.

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Germany's coronavirus fatality rate rises

The coronavirus fatality rate in Germany has increased from 0.5 percent to 1.6 percent, according to Germany's disease control center, the Robert Koch Institute, on Tuesday. Germany has been hailed for having a relatively low number of deaths compared to other European countries.

The uptick is likely due to an increase in outbreaks in retirement and nursing homes, as well as at risk groups in hospitals, said Lothar Wieler, president of the Robert Koch Institute. The average age of those who have died in Germany is 80, he said. 

"The deaths occurring now strike people who got sick one to two weeks ago. That means there are also many COVID-19 cases in inpatient treatment and so we have to expect a further increase in the number of deaths,” said Wieler at a daily press briefing.

China reports first day with no coronavirus deaths

China reported its first day with no coronavirus deaths since the outbreak began on Monday, officials from the National Health Commission said. 

On April 6, there were no new confirmed cases, no new suspected cases, and no new deaths in China, officials said at a news conference.

While domestic cases are under control, China is still grappling with managing imported cases, mostly Chinese nationals returning from abroad. Prevention and control measures to prevent further outbreaks were still "arduous," said Mi Feng, spokesperson for the National Health Commission.

Outages and delays mar new small business loan program

The electronic system the Small Business Administration is using to set up new coronavirus loans was down much of Monday, according to senior banking executives, making it impossible for many new loans to be guaranteed.

Billions of dollars in loans sought by small businesses trying to pay employees and keep their doors open were on pause as the SBA, supported by the Treasury, grapples with the demand on its system.

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MLB reportedly discussing plan for all teams to play in Arizona

Putting all 30 teams in the Phoenix area and playing in empty ballparks was among the ideas discussed Monday by Major League Baseball and the players’ association.

The sides held a telephone call to talk about paths forward for a season delayed by the new coronavirus pandemic, people familiar with the discussion told The Associated Press. They spoke on condition of anonymity because no details were announced.

Ideas are still in the early stage, and the Arizona option would have many obstacles to overcome, the people said.

“It allows for immediacy of a schedule, where you might be able to begin it and televise it, provide Major League Baseball to America,” said Scott Boras, baseball’s most prominent agent. “I think players are willing to do what’s necessary because I think they understand the importance of baseball for their own livelihoods and for the interest of our country and providing a necessary product that gives all the people that are isolated enjoyment.”

New Zealand’s health minister demoted after going to beach during lockdown

WELLINGTON, New Zealand — New Zealand’s health minister has described himself as an “idiot” and has been stripped of some responsibilities after breaching the country’s strict lockdown measures.

David Cook drove about 12 miles to the beach to take a walk with his family. He said that at a time when the government was asking New Zealanders to make historic sacrifices by staying at home, he had let them down.

“I’ve been an idiot, and I understand why people will be angry with me,” he said in a statement.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said under normal circumstances, she would sack Clark. But she said the country couldn’t afford massive disruption in its health sector while it was fighting the virus. Instead, she said, she was stripping Clark of his role as Associate Finance Minister and demoting him to the bottom of the Cabinet rankings.

New Zealand is nearly halfway through a planned four-week lockdown aimed at minimizing the spread of the virus.

USNS Comfort crew member tests positive

A crew member on the Navy hospital ship the USNS Comfort, dispatched to New York City to help in the coronavirus outbreak in the region, has tested positive for the illness COVID-19.

The Navy said in a statement that the crew member tested positive Monday and is isolated from other crew or any patients.

"There is no impact to Comfort’s mission, and this will not affect the ability for Comfort to receive patients," the Navy said. 

The USNS Comfort, with a capacity of around 1,000 beds, was initially supposed to take non-virus patients in order to help local hospitals care for cases associated with the epidemic, but on Monday the governor and President Donald Trump said it would take COVID-19 patients. Trump said it would also take patients from New Jersey.