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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Photo: Long lines at Wisconsin polls

Voters wait in a line, which stretched a few blocks south of the polling location, at Riverside High School in Milwaukee on Tuesday. Wisconsin is asking hundreds of thousands of voters to ignore a stay-at-home order in the midst of a pandemic to participate in Tuesday's presidential primary election, becoming a test case for dozens of states struggling to balance public health concerns with a core pillar of democracy.Mike De Sisti / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel via Reuters

Key Trump coronavirus task force must work remotely after positive COVID-19 test

A critical White House unit that is getting, shipping and distributing goods to fight the spread of the coronavirus has been ordered to vacate its war room and begin working remotely after a "partner" of the group tested positive for COVID-19, according to an email that Federal Emergency Management Agency officials sent to staff members late Monday night.

Read the full story here.

Treasury preparing to request more money for small businesses

The Treasury Department is preparing a formal request to Congress for more funds for the “Paycheck Protection Program” forgivable small business loans, a Treasury Department official confirmed to NBC News.

The request is expected to come today or tomorrow – less than a week after applications opened for the $350 billion in loans that Congress has already approved.

The official declined to specify a number for the forthcoming request but said the Treasury is working with the U.S. Senate on the proposal. However, President Donald Trump, said Tuesday that he would be asking for an additional $250 billion.

In a statement, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he would with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to approve more funding for the program.

Senate Dems unveil proposal to boost pay to essential workers on the front lines

Senate Democrats unveiled a draft proposal Tuesday that would boost pay to workers on the frontline during the coronavirus outbreak. 

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said during a conference call with reporters and other Senate Democrats that the plan would provide a premium pay increase to essential workers of up to $25,000 from the start of the crisis through the end of the year. 

“That's equivalent to a raise of about $13 an hour,” Schumer said, adding that it would not only cover medical professionals but also grocery store workers, pharmacists and more. 

The proposal would also include an incentive of $15,000 to expand the medical workforce by recruiting people new to the industry or people who previously worked in the industry. 

“This would be paid for by the federal government, it would apply to state workers, local workers, private sector workers,” said Schumer, who said that Democrats want this wrapped into the next coronavirus relief package that Congress considers. 

New York saw 'largest single-day increase' of deaths on Monday, Cuomo says

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday the state saw its "largest single-day increase" in deaths yesterday at 731, but that the three-day hospitalization rate is lowering.

Cuomo said at a press conference that deaths are increasing in New York, the state hardest hit by the coronavirus outbreak, because "people came in on the peak" and have been on ventilators for while at this point.

New York now has seen 138,836 cases of coronavirus and 5,489 deaths, up from yesterday's total of 4,758. The governor said ICU admissions are also "way down," with only 89 new admissions yesterday.

Cuomo said the state currently has "more than enough beds available" at 90,000 beds, including 2,500 at the Javitz Center and 500 on the USNS Comfort, which will now be converting to seeing coronavirus patients. He also said "every hospital has what they need" when discussing personal protective equipment and ventilators. 

The state is experiencing staffing problems though, as medical workers get sick and are overworked. 

The decrease in the number of new cases and the lowering three-day hospitalization rate, however, is a sign that "social distancing is working," Cuomo said, but for the state to even think about reopening the economy down the road, it would need significantly more testing.

He also said the federal stimulus plan does far less for the state then what is needed, saying Congress' bill "gets worse when you read it."

'I'm nervous': Kate Snow on caring for her husband who has coronavirus

Last Thursday afternoon, I was working on a Nightly News story about nursing homes when my husband, Chris Bro, mentioned he wasn’t feeling so well. He said he was going to take a nap, which is unusual at 4 p.m. on a Thursday. A few hours later, Chris came downstairs looking pretty awful. I was busy getting dinner ready and he said he wanted to eat so he joined us at the table. “Your eyes,” I said. “They look so strange.” His eyes were rimmed bright red.

My next sentence was: "Something’s not right. You need to go to the basement."

Because I’d been traveling for work in March and I’d gone into New York City from our home in the suburbs, we were concerned that I might catch the coronavirus. Our family had made a plan that if any of us got sick with possible coronavirus, we would move to our guest room and attached bathroom in the basement.

Thursday night, Chris grabbed a stack of books and headed downstairs. He hasn’t left that room since.

Read the full story at TODAY.

Photo: Crowded Tokyo street

People wearing face masks walk to work Tuesday in Tokyo. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe declared on Tuesday a month-long state of emergency following a sharp rise in confirmed coronavirus cases. The state of emergency will allow the heads of six designated prefectures and Tokyo to do more to reinforce calls for social distancing.Carl Court / Getty Images

Israel sets Passover travel ban, according to local media

Israel has imposed a Passover travel ban that will strictly limit the ability of people to move around during one of Judaism’s holiest holidays, local media reported Tuesday.

All travel between cities is forbidden starting at 7 p.m. Wednesday and ending Friday at 6 a.m. In addition, a curfew will be in place beginning Wednesday at 3 p.m. and ending the next morning that bars Israelis from going more than 100 meters (about 328 feet) from their homes.

The Israeli government’s move come as the Jewish state has reported 60 deaths and more than 9,000 confirmed cases.

NYC to release data that will show racial disparity in cases, mayor says

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday that the city will soon release data on the racial breakdown of coronavirus cases that will show disparities among who is affected by the pandemic.

"This disease is affecting people disproportionately in lower-income communities" with "more health problems" and in "communities of color," de Blasio said. He said the numbers on age and gender are readily available, but it's been harder to get hospitals to track race in the midst of an emergency. 

Jumaane D. Williams, public advocate for New York City, on Thursday sent a letter to de Blasio calling for a release of data on the racial impact of the crisis. 

De Blasio also said Tuesday that the number of people hospitalized and in need of ventilators has "improved a bit in recent days." 

"It is giving us some more time, giving us the opportunity to get more ventilators in and know we can get farther into the week," the mayor said. "We know we bought a few more days." 

Airlines cannot afford to refund canceled flights

Global airlines cannot afford to refund canceled flights because of the coronavirus crisis, according to the head of the industry’s representative body IATA.

The airlines are instead issuing vouchers, as they conserve cash to survive. 

“The key element for us is to avoid running out of cash, so refunding the canceled ticket for us is almost unbearable financially speaking,” IATA Director General Alexandre De Juniac told an online news conference on Tuesday. 

Airlines have been criticized by consumer groups for breaking rules over providing refunds within set time limits. 

IATA also said that one-third of global airline employees have either been furloughed or lost their jobs.

African Americans may be dying from COVID-19 at a higher rate. Better data is essential, experts say.

In Chicago, a recent report found that 70 percent of people who died from COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, are black — even though the city's population is just 30 percent black. In Milwaukee County, which is 27 percent black, the figure is 81 percent.

And public health officials tracking the coronavirus have seen similar disproportionate impacts on African Americans in PhiladelphiaDetroit and other cities.

But just how widespread the disparities might be across the country is difficult to know, because most states and the federal government haven't released demographic data on the race or ethnicity of people who've tested positive for the virus. That's created an information gap that could aggravate existing health disparities, prevent cities and states from equitably distributing medical resources and potentially violate the law, advocates say.

Read the full story here.