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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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Number of apartment renters who could pay this month's rent dipped 12 percent, tracker shows
The share of apartment households that paid April rent dipped 12 percent from March, a leading apartment industry trade group found in its first review of the pandemic's effect on rent payments.
According to a tracker created by the National Multifamily Housing Council, 69 percent of apartment households paid rent through April 5. That's a 12 percent decrease from the 81 percent of such households that paid by March 5, and a 13 percent decrease from the 82 percent that paid this time last year.
Doug Bibby, president of NMHC, said in a statement that despite the challenges COVID-19 poses for many renters, "it is important to note that a large number of residents met their obligations despite unparalleled circumstances, and we will see that figure increase over the coming weeks."
The NMHC tracker reflects data from 13.4 million units across the U.S. The data comes as federal, state and local governments have scrambled to enact policies to keep renters who've been hit by the outbreak's economic hardships from being evicted while treading carefully around measures that could adversely affect landlords and the real estate market at large.
Photo: Travelers fill station as restrictions lifted in Wuhan
Turkmenistan, claiming no confirmed cases, holds large-scale public workouts
In Turkmenistan, a repressive former Soviet state that claims to have zero cases of coronavirus, residents gathered on April 7 to celebrate World Health Day.
In the nation’s capital, Ashgabat, state television showed hundreds of people wearing identical tracksuits conducting coordinated exercise in close quarters. Even medical personnel took part in the celebrations, which at one point were led by President Gerbanguly Berdimuhamedow, according to Turkmen state media.
Berdimuhamedow early in the coronavirus crisis claimed that his own writings on local flora contained a cure for the virus in the form of a local herb. There have been reports suggesting that talk of the virus has been banned in Turkmenistan, a nation that borders Iran — which has suffered from one of the world’s worst coronavirus outbreaks.
Coronavirus disproportionately killing people of color in NYC, mayor says
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio on Wednesday released data on the racial breakdown of coronavirus fatalities in the city, saying the numbers showed "blatant inequalities" and that the city "won’t accept it."
The Hispanic community has been hit the hardest with 34 percent of the deaths, while Hispanics make up 29 percent of the city's population; 28 percent of the deaths have been black people, while 22 percent of the city is black; 27 percent of the deaths have been white people, while 32 percent of the city is white; Asian deaths are at 7 percent of the total, while 14 percent of New York city's population is Asian.
"The truth is, in so many ways, the pain and death tracks with other profound health care disparities that we have seen for years and decades in this city," de Blasio said. "Folks who struggled before are really being hit particularly hard by the coronavirus."
He added that the disparities are "so often associated with poverty" and the numbers are "painful to talk about, but we have to be honest about it."
De Blasio said the city is combatting the disturbing trend by making sure public hospitals have what they need, deploying a multi-million dollar, multi-lingual public awareness campaign focuses on communities of color, grassroots outreach, and a system in which residents can quickly get in touch with a physician from their homes.
To equip the public hospitals, and private ones too, de Blasio said the city needs 1,450 military medical personnel and a staggering 9.2 million surgical gowns from the federal government. About 300 military personnel have arrived and been dispatched to hospitals.
Trump's personal fortune plunges by $1B due to coronavirus shutdowns
President Donald Trump's personal fortune has fallen by around $1 billion after social distancing lockdowns forced the closure of several of his properties, including golf courses, hotels, and other real estate holdings.
Trump's net worth slumped from an estimated $3.1 billion to $2.1 billion in the month of March, according to data compiled by Forbes as part of its annual billionaires list.
Around 1,500 Trump Organization employees have been laid off or furloughed, The Washington Post reported last week.
Trump continues to push for a reopening of at least sections of the economy as soon as possible, telling Fox News on Tuesday, “We’re also looking at the concept where you open up everything."
Los Angeles to require face masks at grocery stores
Some Tokyo streets still busy despite COVID-19 state of emergencyApril 8, 202000:45
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.
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.
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 covid19statistics.com and iamacoronavirussurvivorof2020.info.
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.
NBC's Willem Marx gives a global update on the coronavirus pandemic
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."
Tested positive for coronavirus? Health workers may share your address with police
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.
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.
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.
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.
Coronavirus lockdown lifted after 76 days in Wuhan, ChinaApril 8, 202001:20
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.
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.
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
The truth about the toilet paper shortageApril 8, 202006:03
'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."
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.