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

Here are the latest coronavirus updates from around the world.
Rows of patient beds are shown at a military field hospital on April 5, 2020, at the CenturyLink Field Event Center in Seattle.Ted S. Warren / AP

This live coverage has ended. Continue reading April 9 live Coronavirus news.

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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1147d ago / 2:03 PM UTC

41 MTA workers have died from coronavirus, chairman says

Among the more than 5,000 people who have died from the coronavirus in New York state are 41 MTA workers, according to chairman and CEO Patrick J. Foye.

"We mourn the loss of every one of our 41 colleagues," he said on the radio station WCBS 880.

About 1,500 employees, including Foye himself, have tested positive for the virus. 

"I happen to be one of those, but the real loss is the grieving that we're doing at the MTA and the families of the 41 MTA colleagues who have been killed by the virus," he said.

Since March 1, the MTA has distributed 300,000 N95 respiratory masks and an additional 160,000 surgical masks to employees, Foye told radio host Steve Scott. More than two million gloves have also been provided to workers. 

"We're going to continue to do that, we've got enough supplies to do that on a daily and weekly basis as long as the pandemic continues, and I think that has been an important thing and protecting the health of our colleagues at the MTA," Foye said. 

1147d ago / 1:57 PM UTC

Russia's Putin understands 'fatigue' of self-isolation

President Vladimir Putin urged Russians to keep up with self-isolation on Wednesday, saying that he understood the usual rhythm of daily life had been "disrupted" but that the strain of coping with the coronavirus outbreak would pass.

"I understand that we all have already accumulated fatigue...For most people, being constantly within four walls is, as they say, dreary and nauseating. But there is no choice now," he said on state television, ahead of a teleconference with regional leaders.

Some 68 people have died so far in Russia, according to an NBC News tally. Putin also called for more financial measures to support businesses during the crisis. 

1147d ago / 1:47 PM UTC

U.S. and U.K. warn about coronavirus-based hacking efforts

The U.S. and U.K. governments have issued a joint warning that hackers are trying to exploit the coronavirus pandemic.

“The techniques used by attackers prey on people’s appetite for information and curiosity towards the outbreak, with phishing emails and SMS messages using the virus as a lure to trick people into revealing credentials or downloading malicious software,” Homeland Security warned in an emailed statement.

Hackers from the Chinese, Iranian and Russian governments began using coronavirus-themed emails to break into their targets from the onset of the pandemic, analysts have said. But this is the first major, formal warning from the U.S. and U.K. governments that their residents are regularly targeted with coronavirus-themed phishing attempts, both by foreign governments and criminal hackers.

Common subject lines for phishing emails include “2020 Coronavirus Updates” and “2019-nCov: New confirmed cases in your City.” The US compiled a list of more than 2,500 coronavirus-themed URLs that are potentially dangerous, with names like and

1147d ago / 1:34 PM UTC

CDC weighs loosening guidelines for some exposed to virus

WASHINGTON — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is considering changing its guidelines for self-isolation to make it easier for those who have been exposed to someone with the coronavirus to return to work if they are asymptomatic.

The public health agency, in conjunction with the White House coronavirus task force, is considering an announcement as soon as Wednesday, Vice President Mike Pence said.

Read more. 

1147d ago / 1:09 PM UTC

NBC's Willem Marx gives a global update on the coronavirus pandemic

1147d ago / 1:02 PM UTC

U.K. PM Boris Johnson 'responding to treatment'

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson is "responding to treatment" and he remains in a stable condition in the intensive care unit where he is being treated for coronavirus, a spokesperson said Wednesday. 

Johnson continued to be in "good spirits" after spending his third night in St Thomas's Hospital in London, the spokesperson said, adding that the prime minister was not working on the advice of his doctors and receiving just the "standard oxygen treatment."

Aside from that they said, Johnson was "breathing without any other assistance."  

1147d ago / 12:48 PM UTC

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

Image: A police officer walks toward a closed portion of South Beach, Fla., on March 19, 2020.
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. 

1147d ago / 12:25 PM UTC

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.

1147d ago / 12:07 PM UTC

'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.

1147d ago / 12:02 PM UTC

1147d ago / 11:40 AM UTC

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."

1147d ago / 11:38 AM UTC

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.

1147d ago / 11:28 AM UTC

1147d ago / 11:14 AM UTC

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."

1147d ago / 11:14 AM UTC

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. 

1147d ago / 10:51 AM UTC

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.

1147d ago / 10:31 AM UTC
Image: People wait in a line for a bus to go back to their homes before the night curfew starts in downtown Nairobi, Kenya
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
1148d ago / 10:09 AM UTC

EU's top scientist quits over frustration with bloc's coronavirus response

The president of the European Union's main scientific body has resigned over frustration with the bloc's response to the coronavirus pandemic.

In a statement first made to the London-based Financial Times, European Research Council (ERC) president Mauro Ferrari said that though he "arrived at the ERC a fervent supporter of the EU...the Covid-19 crisis completely changed" his views. He cited concerns of bureaucratic infighting and resistance.

“The commission regrets the resignation of Professor Ferrari at this early stage in his mandate as ERC President,” an ERC spokesman said. Italian-American Ferrari was only appointed to the four-year position in January. 

1148d ago / 9:40 AM UTC

Czech coronavirus cases grow but country steadily eases lockdown

Despite the number of new coronavirus cases in the Czech Republic rising to over 5,000, an overall slowing growth rate has given the government confidence to start easing some lockdown measures that have hit the economy.

The country was among the first in Europe to declare a state of emergency in March, which has now been extended to April 30. Like others in central Europe, the Czech Republic has seen far fewer cases than western neighbours, along with fewer deaths.

The government has agreed this week to relax some measures, such as reopening shops selling hobby goods and building materials and easing open-air sports, including running and cycling.

1148d ago / 9:13 AM UTC

1148d ago / 9:03 AM UTC

Polish priest takes 'drive-through' confessions

As Easter approaches on Friday, a priest in Poland has found a creative way to continue taking confessions during the coronavirus crisis.

Wearing a protective mask, Father Mateusz Kielarski sits on a chair in a church parking lot in Warsaw and listens to the faithful, granting them absolution as they lean out of their car windows. 

Confessions are particularly important for Roman Catholics in the run up to Easter. “From the safety of their car, they can take care of their soul while protecting their bodies from germs in this special time,” he told Reuters.

1148d ago / 8:49 AM UTC

Coronavirus to wipe out equivalent of 195 million jobs, U.N. says

The economic fallout from the coronavirus is expected to wipe out the equivalent of 195 million full-time jobs around the world, according to the labor body of the United Nations.

Warning of "devastating losses," the International Labour Organization said Tuesday that COVID-19 was expected to cause a reduction of 6.7 percent in global working hours.

Sectors most at risk are accommodation and food services, manufacturing and retail. "This far exceeds the effects of the 2008-9 financial crisis," it said in a statement.

1148d ago / 5:54 AM UTC

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.'"

1148d ago / 4:01 AM UTC

The truth about the toilet paper shortage

1148d ago / 3:51 AM UTC

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

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

1148d ago / 5:57 PM UTC

Woman, 86, and three of her sons die in Louisiana, where blacks account for 70 percent of deaths

An 86-year-old Louisiana woman and three of her sons who all tested positive for the coronavirus have died, relatives and the coroner's office say.

The mother, Antoinette Franklin, and her sons were African American, and their deaths come with the announcement that black people account for 70.5 percent of fatalities from the coronavirus in Louisiana, although they make up only about a third of the population.

Louisiana is a hot spot for the pandemic, with 16,284 coronavirus cases and 582 deaths.

Antoinette Franklin, a lifelong New Orleans resident, died March 23. Her sons, Herman Franklin Jr., 71, Anthony Franklin Sr., 58 and Timothy Franklin, 61, died between March 20 and 30, according to their obituaries.

Read the full story here.