The coronavirus death toll in the U.S. now stands at 16,527 and total cases neared half a million at 460,967, according to an NBC News tally as of Thursday night.
Meanwhile, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in New York state has reached 159,937 — outpacing any country except the United States as a whole.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Thursday that New York was bringing in additional funeral directors "to deal with the number of people who have passed."
Lockdowns appear set to remain in place in many European countries amid rising death tolls, as governments from Britain to France decide whether to extend restrictions aimed at reducing the spread of the virus.
In the U.K., Prime Minister Boris Johnson was moved out the intensive care unit at a St. Thomas' Hospital as he continues to recover from COVID-19, the disease associated with coronavirus.
"Saturday Night Live" announced Thursday that it would be back on air this weekend, using remotely produced content. The sketch show tweeted a photo of its stars, including Kenan Thompson and Kate McKinnon, together on a video conference.
- Here's what to know about the coronavirus, plus a timeline of the most critical moments.
- MAPS: Confirmed cases in the U.S. and worldwide, confirmed deaths in the U.S. and globally.
- Stay-at-home orders across the country: What each state is doing — or not — amid widespread coronavirus lockdowns.
Download the NBC News app for latest updates on the coronavirus outbreak.
Spain close to reversing virus curve, PM says
Spain is close to the beginning of a decline in its coronavirus epidemic, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said on Thursday.
“This war against the virus will be a total victory...the fire starts to come under control,” Sanchez told a near-empty parliament as more than 300 lawmakers participated remotely, ahead of a vote on the extension of a state of emergency by another two weeks.
Saudi officials announce Yemen cease-fire amid pandemic
The Saudi-led coalition fighting the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen announced Wednesday that its forces would begin a cease-fire starting Thursday, a step that could pave the way for the first direct peace talks between the two sides that have been at war for more than five years.
In a statement carried by Saudi Arabia's official state news agency, a Saudi military spokesman, Col. Turki al-Malki, said that the ceasefire would for last two weeks and comes in response to U.N. calls to halt hostilities amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Coronavirus could spark first recession in 25 years in sub-Saharan Africa, World Bank warns
Economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa is forecast to fall sharply as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, with a risk of sparking the first recession in the region in 25 years, the World Bank warned on Thursday.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is testing the limits of societies and economies across the world, and African countries are likely to be hit particularly hard,” said Hafez Ghanem, World Bank Vice President for Africa.
The analysis showed that COVID-19 would likely cost the region between $37 billion and $79 billion in losses for 2020, due to trade disruption, reduced foreign financing and weak domestic demand. The continent's three largest economies — Nigeria, Angola, and South Africa — are set to be particularly hard hit, the report found.
Taiwan to deliver 6 million masks around the world
Taiwan will donate 6 million medical masks around the world to help countries battle the coronavirus pandemic, Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced on Thursday. It completed a first round of similar humanitarian assistance last week.
The masks will be sent to European Union countries, heavily-affected states in the U.S., and nations in Latin America and the Caribbean, said officials.
Earlier, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted his thanks to Taiwan for the initial donation of 2 million masks, saying, "During tough times, real friends stick together."
New Chinese data on asymptomatic coronavirus cases could help world response
China began to release data on asymptomatic coronavirus patients last week, a move experts say will help other countries respond to the pandemic and provide crucial insight into how the virus is spread.
"We have been basing a lot of our models and our predictions off the Chinese data because it was the first major outbreak," Nadia Abuelezam, an epidemiologist at Boston College's Connell School of Nursing, told NBC News.
With the addition of asymptomatic patients -- those infected but showing no symptoms of the disease -- raising the count, she said, "this changes the potential dynamics of the models."
Half a billion people could be pushed into poverty by coronavirus, Oxfam warns
More than half a billion people could be pushed into poverty unless urgent action is taken to bail out countries affected by the intense economic fallout from the coronavirus outbreak, Oxfam warned in a report on Thursday.
The charity said the impact of shutting down economies to prevent the virus spreading risked setting back the fight against global poverty by a decade — and by 30 years in some countries in sub-Saharan Africa, north Africa and the Middle East.
The humanitarian agency urged world leaders to agree to an “Economic Rescue Package for All" to keep poor countries afloat and support citizens through cash grants.
Inmates demonstrate over cases at Washington state prison
Inmates at a Washington state prison were involved in a destructive disturbance Wednesday night after six men at the facility tested positive for the coronavirus, officials said.
Authorities used pepper spray and "sting balls" to help quell the demonstration at the Monroe Correctional Complex that involved more than 100 inmates in a recreation yard around 6 p.m. Fire extinguishers were discharged within two housing units in the minimum-security unit, the state department of corrections said.
There were no injuries, and the situation is under control, the department said.
Rio samba schools set Carnival costume aside, start sewing scrubs
RIO DE JANEIRO — Rio de Janeiro’s samba schools usually spend the year furiously sewing costumes for the city’s blowout Carnival celebration. Now, nimble fingers are working to protect lives instead, making medical outfits for hospital workers who face a surge of coronavirus patients.
Dr. Wille Baracho on Tuesday carried rolls of fabric into the Unidos de Padre Miguel samba school’s workshop in the Vila Vintem favela. Inside, seamstresses perched on plastic chairs busily transformed beige and pale yellow fabric into medical wear.
The initiative started with Baracho and one of his colleagues at a nearby hospital emergency room where they have seen a shortage of materials. Both happen to sit on Padre Miguel’s board and saw a chance to redirect labor. The city joined in, donating thousands of yards of fabric, and the seamstresses set to work Friday.