U.S. deaths near 15,000 as Wuhan lifts lockdown

Here are the latest coronavirus updates from around the world.

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The U.S. suffered its deadliest day of the coronavirus pandemic yet, with nearly 2,000 deaths between Tuesday and Wednesday. The death toll now stands at 14,721, according to NBC News' tally Wednesday night.

The Chinese city of Wuhan, the original epicenter of the outbreak, ended its 11-week lockdown early Wednesday. The city celebrated with a colourful light show. Residents will be tracked by smartphone apps to prove they are healthy and haven't mixed with anyone infected with coronavirus.

In London, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson spent his second night "stable" in an intensive care unit. The country has been jolted by his illness.

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Tested positive for coronavirus? Health workers may share your address with police

A police officer walks toward a closed portion of South Beach, Fla., on March 19. Eva Marie Uzcategui / AFP - Getty Images file

In a growing number of cities and states, local governments are collecting the addresses of people who test positive for the coronavirus and sharing the lists with police and first responders.

Law enforcement officials say this information sharing — which is underway in Massachusetts, Alabama and Florida, and in select areas of North Carolina — will help keep officers and EMTs safe as they respond to calls at the homes of people who have been infected. 

But some public health experts and privacy advocates have raised concerns about police departments maintaining a list of addresses of confirmed coronavirus cases. They say that it could make people reluctant to seek medical care or get tested for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, because of a fear of profiling by law enforcement.

Read the full story here. 

White House coronavirus coordinator sees 'early signs of hope,' but warns of second wave if Americans start going out

WASHINGTON — Dr. Deborah Birx, White House coronavirus response coordinator, said Wednesday that there are encouraging signs that parts of the U.S. may be flattening their curves but she warned that people shouldn’t start going out and socially interacting.

In an interview with Savannah Guthrie on the “TODAY” show, Birx said that California and Washington state began social distancing very early and said their curves are “persistently flat and that’s very encouraging.”

Birx acknowledged a rising death toll, however, but said that those numbers reflect the people who were infected by COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, two to three weeks ago, before some of the strict guidelines were implemented.

'Stop gathering ... go home.' New Jersey city will use drones to enforce social distancing

A New Jersey city hard hit by the coronavirus will use drones to enforce the governor's stay-at-home order.

Elizabeth, a city of about 128,000 across the Hudson River from New York City, had 1,403 cases of coronavirus and 32 deaths as of Monday, according to Mayor Chris Bollwage.

"Drones will be around the City with an automated message from the Mayor telling you to STOP gathering, disperse and go home," the city's police department said, following the mayor's announcement of the policy. 

The city received five drones with speaker capabilities on loan from a drone company.

"Summonses HAVE AND WILL CONTINUE to be issued to those found in violation" of social distancing orders, police said, and residents caught by the drones could face fines up to $1,000.

France sees highest one-day death toll: 1,417

France on Tuesday reported its highest one-day death toll since the coronavirus outbreak began, with 1,417 people reporting dying from COVID-19, according to an NBC News tally.

It brings the country's overall death toll to 10,328, with more than 7,000 people still in intensive care. 

"We have not yet reached the peak. We are in the ascending phase," said France's health director Jerome Salomon, adding that lifting lockdown measures at this stage "makes no sense."

Italian businesses call for lockdown exit strategy

As Italy entered its fifth week of lockdown, businesses and academics have called on the government to come up with an exit strategy, warning that continued restrictions would inflict further social and economic damage to the country.  

The National Institute of Statistics described the severity of the crisis for households and businesses as “unprecedented," saying it was even worse than the 2008 financial crisis. 

The agency said consumer spending will plunge just shy of 10 percent if the lockdown persists until June, adding that it had stopped 34 percent of Italy's total economic production.

Japanese state of emergency has some success but trains still packed

Japan's state of emergency imposed in parts of the country this week is having mixed results, with previously busy areas becoming deserted while some commuter trains are packed Wednesday morning.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced the measure for Tokyo, Osaka and other areas on Tuesday as the nationwide number of coronavirus cases rose to more than 4,257 with 81 confirmed deaths on Wednesday, according to an NBC News tally.

Japanese broadcasters aired drone shots of some of Tokyo's most popular areas that were now deserted. While the number of commuters has dropped sharply in the capital, areas like Shinagawa Station were packed with travelers at 8 a.m. local time.

"Many have started to cooperate which I am very grateful," Abe said Wednesday. "With this kind of cooperation, I believe we will be able to lift this state of emergency in about a month from now."

Deaths in Spain rise for a second day in a row

A further 757 people have died in Spain in the last 24-hours, health officials in the country said Wednesday - the second day in a row that the number of deaths rose.   

There had been some optimism after the number of daily deaths dropped for four days in a row after the country recorded a record 950 on Apr. 1. But the number has been rising again since Tuesday. 

In total, 14,555 people have now died from coronavirus in Spain and the country has so far confirmed a cumulative of 146,690 coronavirus cases. 

Ethiopia declares state of emergency

Ethiopia, Africa's second most populous country, has declared a state of emergency due to the nation's coronavirus outbreak. 

In an announcement posted on Twitter, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali declared that the government had taken the step due to the gravity of the COVID-19 outbreak.

People wait in a line for a bus to go back to their homes before the night curfew starts in downtown Nairobi, Kenya, on April 6, 2020.Yasuyoshi Chiba / AFP - Getty Images