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.
Nearly 2,000 new coronavirus cases in Pennsylvania
More than 2,000 additional Pennsylvania residents have tested positive for COVID-19, moving the statewide total of coronavirus cases past 18,000, the state Department of Health announced Thursday.
Pennsylvania has experienced 338 deaths and 18,228 cases statewide. More than 87,000 patients have tested negative.
First lawsuit against small business loan program filed by strip club
The first lawsuit over the U.S. government's embattled coronavirus small business loan program was filed in federal court Wednesday by a company that operates a strip club in Michigan. It's the first of what could end up being a series of protracted legal battles over which businesses qualify for the hastily-conceived $349 billion relief effort.
The lawsuit asserts the Small Business Administration (SBA) and the Treasury violated the Constitution by barring coronavirus relief loans for businesses that have "live performances of a prurient sexual nature."
Which businesses qualify has evolved since the plan’s first version. The plan currently states that businesses merely have to certify that “current economic uncertainty makes this loan request necessary” and don’t have to prove a sharp sales decline or the imminent threat of closure. Businesses with fewer than 500 employees qualify, opening the doors to a wide range of firms, potentially including investment firms and LLCs.
New York bringing in more funeral directors as death toll hits new high
New York state had 799 deaths from coronavirus in one day, its highest daily toll yet in the pandemic, which bringing the total to 7,067, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said at his press briefing Thursday.
The governor said the state will bring in additional funeral directors "to deal with the number of people who have passed."
At the same time as deaths have risen, the number of net new hospitalizations is down to 200, the lowest daily increase since the crisis in the state began, Cuomo said.
"We are flattening the curve by what we're doing," the governor said, referring to the state's closing of nonessential businesses and social distancing orders.
"You can't relax," he said. "If we stop acting the way we’re acting you will see those numbers go up."
Grandma whose misfired text to teen led to Thanksgiving invite loses husband to coronavirus
A grandmother who went viral when she invited a stranger to Thanksgiving dinner after accidentally texting him in 2016 has lost her husband to coronavirus.
Jamal Hinton, the young man who received the misdirected text and then the invitation from Wanda Dench announced late Wednesday that Wanda's husband Lonnie had died.
"As some of you may have already found out tonight, Lonnie did not make it ... he passed away Sunday morning, but Wanda told me all the love and support he was receiving put a huge smile on his face so I thank every single one of you guys for that!" Hinton wrote on Twitter, sharing pictures and videos of him and his girlfriend, Mikaela, with the Denches over the years.
Hinton and the couple had spent Thanksgivings together since 2016, when he accepted the first invitation. But Jamal, Mikaela, Wanda and Lonnie didn't only spend time together in November; Jamal shared on social media that the couples would go on double dates all year round.
Senate Democrats block GOP bid for $250 billion in small-business funds amid impasse over coronavirus aid
Senate Democrats blocked a Republican proposal to add $250 billion to small-business coronavirus relief funds on Thursday after demanding the inclusion of additional resources for hospitals and state and local governments.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., had sought unanimous consent to pass the emergency funding for the Paycheck Protection Program, but Democrats objected, claiming McConnell was politicizing the push for more small-business money.
“I am afraid that this unanimous consent is basically a political stunt," Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., said following McConnell's request. “This unanimous consent was not negotiated, there was no effort made … so it won’t get done. It's not going to be enacted.”
President Donald Trump and McConnell are pushing for the additional money for small businesses, as the new loan program passed in the $2 trillion stimulus is already in danger of running out of money.
Read the full story here.
Syrian refugee in London says he's 'honored' to clean COVID-19 hospital wards
A Syrian refugee in London who has taken a job cleaning COVID-19 wards in his local hospital says he's "honored" to have found a way to help keep his new community safe.
"I’ve already gone through crisis — Syria, the journey here— so [lockdown] was triggering," Hassan Akkad, 32, who usually works as a filmmaker, told NBC News. "I told my fiancée I had to do something."
Akkad says he's relieved that he has the right personal protective equipment (PPE) for the job, and that fellow minimum wage cleaners at his hospital are being given the same protection as doctors and nurses on the ward.
Pennsylvania extends school closings for entire academic year
Public schools in Pennsylvania will remain closed through the rest of the academic year, Gov. Tom Wolf announced Thursday, although school districts are encouraged to continue distance learning.
The Pennsylvania Department of Education has created resources to help schools that are not currently offering online platforms or need additional tech support. Designated schools, Wolf added, will continue to offer meals to-go for students.
"This was not an easy decision, but closing schools until the end of the academic year is in the best interest of our students, school employees and families," Wolf said in a statement.
Half of adults online in U.K. saw coronavirus misinformation, media regulator says
Misinformation about the coronavirus continues to reach millions of people on the internet despite efforts by major tech platforms to limit its spread.
The U.K.'s Office of Communications, which regulates the country's media, said that a weekly survey found almost of adults who use the internet saw false or misleading information about the coronavirus.
The most common piece of misinformation was that drinking water can "flush out the infection," which the survey found was seen by 35 percent of online adults. Of people who said they'd seen false information, two-thirds said they saw some every day.
Fauci: Antibody tests are in development, could arrive in 'days to weeks'
Coronavirus antibody tests are in development and could be available within "days to weeks," Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on NBC's "TODAY" Thursday.
An antibody test can determine whether a person has ever been infected with the virus. It can't say whether a person is currently infected.
Antibody tests, if widely used, can provide valuable information on how many people in the population were actually infected with the coronavirus, including asymptomatic people.
They could also indicate who has developed immunity. "It is likely, though we need to prove it, that once you've been infected, and you have antibody profile, that you are very likely protected," Fauci said. That "means you may have a cohort of people who are actually protected, who have more of a chance of getting back into the normality of society, and they will be very important," he said, adding that it's particularly important for health care workers, who are the most vulnerable.