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U.S. deaths top 16,000, Boris Johnson out of intensive care

Here are the latest coronavirus updates from around the world.
Image: A woman puts cloth face masks on a string to dry before distributing it for free around the neighbourhood, amid the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Tangerang, on the outskirts of Jakarta, Indonesia
A woman puts cloth face masks on a string to dry before distributing it for free around the neighbourhood, amid the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Tangerang, on the outskirts of Jakarta, Indonesia, April 9, 2020.Willy Kurniawan / Reuters

This live coverage has ended. Continue reading April 10 coronavirus news here.

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.

Full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak

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Another member of Congress tests positive for COVID-19

Rep. Neal Dunn, R-Fla., tested positive this week for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, his office announced Thursday, making him the sixth member of Congress to receive a positive test.

"Congressman Neal Dunn, M.D. was not feeling well on the evening of Monday, April 6th and did go to the emergency room that night out of an abundance of caution. After meeting CDC criteria, he was tested for COVID-19 and has received notice that the results came back positive," his office said in a press release.

Dunn, 67, is "feeling great" and is quarantined at home, his office said. 

Five other members of Congress that have tested positive during the outbreak, including Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., Ben McAdams, D-Utah, Joe Cunningham, D-S.C., and Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Pa. While she did not receive a test, Rep. Nydia Velazquez, D-N.Y., was a presumed positive last week.

Nursing home patient asked Amazon Alexa for help as she lay dying of coronavirus, sister says

A nursing home patient in Michigan who got sick with the coronavirus asked Alexa on an Amazon Echo device for help before she died, her sister said.

LouAnn Dagen died Saturday, shortly after she was transferred to a hospital in Grand Rapids. She was 66.

She was one of 31 residents and five staff members who tested positive for the virus at the nursing home, Metron of Cedar Springs, which is now called Mission Point, according to the facility.

The medical examiner's office said Dagen's death was caused by diabetes, hypertension and COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, according to her sister, Penny.

Penny was unable to visit LouAnn in person after the nursing home, like others around the country, restricted visitors due to the pandemic. So, Alexa became LouAnn's primary communications tool with her sister.

Read the full story here.

Afternoon roundup of coronavirus coverage

How California has avoided a coronavirus outbreak as bad as New York’s … so far [The Wall Street Journal]

7 answers to questions about the malaria drug Trump keeps pushing [The New York Times]

Hundreds of young Americans have now been killed by the coronavirus, data shows [The Washington Post]

Jeff Bezos makes warehouse, Whole Foods visits amid outbreak

Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos toured a fulfillment center and a Whole Foods on Wednesday to thank staff, an appearance that comes as the company is the subject of scrutiny over how it has treated warehouse workers during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Amazon tweeted out a video of Bezos, dressed in jeans and a white shirt, receiving a temperature check before walking around, stopping briefly to say hello to staff on the assembly line and in the store. Bezos is wearing a mask and no gloves, though the workers shown in the video are wearing both. Bloomberg reported that the site visits were locations in Dallas.  

Some warehouse and corporate employees have called for the company to boost pay and protective measures. Last week, Amazon fired one employee in a fulfillment center in Staten Island, New York, who had publicly called on the company to make changes. Amazon said they had let the manager go because he was not self isolating after coming in contact with an infected worker.

Melania Trump sports face covering in public service announcement

Melania Trump wore a face mask in a new photo tweeted from the first lady's account Thursday as part of a message urging fellow Americans to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's recommended coronavirus guidelines.

Her husband, President Donald Trump, has said he has no plans to use one. "I just don't want to wear one myself, it's a recommendation," he told reporters last Friday.

Read more here.

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. 

Georgia primary delayed again, this time until June 9

Georgia is again delaying its presidential primary, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger announced Thursday.

The presidential primary is now delayed until June 9. It had been scheduled for March 24 originally and was first pushed back until May 19 to coincide with the state's general primary. Now, both of those elections have been pushed to June 9.

Raffensperger's announcesment comes after Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp extended his state's state of emergency through May 13.

"This decision allows our office and county election officials to continue to put in place contingency plans to ensure that voting can be safe and secure when in-person voting begins and prioritizes the health and safety of voters, county election officials, and poll workers," Raffensperger said in a statement. 

Wisconsin governor moves to close 40 state parks, forests

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers has ordered the Department of Natural Resources to close 40 state parks, forests and recreational areas.

In a statement, the governor's office said the decision was "due to unprecedented crowds, litter, vandalism and out of an abundance of caution to protect public health and safety and help flatten the curve."

Photos: From cathedral to field hospital

Image: Volunteers place beds to construct a coronavirus field hospital at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York on April 8, 2020.
Volunteers place beds to construct a coronavirus field hospital at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York on Wednesday. Mary Altaffer / AP
Image: The 600-foot long Gothic cathedral, one of the largest in the world, has partnered with Mount Sinai Morningside Hospital for staffing and will be able to care for nearly 200 patients.
The 600-foot long Gothic cathedral, one of the largest in the world, has partnered with Mount Sinai Morningside Hospital for staffing and will be able to care for nearly 200 patients.Spencer Platt / Getty Images
Image: The makeshift field hospital should begin accepting patients by the week's end.
The makeshift field hospital should begin accepting patients by the week's end.Mike Segar / Reuters

Simulation shows how coughing can spread virus in indoor spaces

Researchers in Finland released a video Thursday that showed how droplets from a cough in an indoor space — such as a typical grocery store — can hang in the air for “several minutes” and travel across aisles, possibly infecting passersby with the virus.

 A digital model built by Aalto University and other Finnish research facilities was released with a warning: "It is important to avoid busy public indoor spaces."

That data and video showed that airborne particles emitted with a cough, sneeze, "or even talking" can spread in a cloud that lingers. Avoiding busy indoor areas reduces the risk of droplet infection while in close proximity to others, which is currently the main cause of coronavirus infection, the research said.

People who are infected could “cough and walk away, but then leave behind extremely small aerosol particles carrying the coronavirus. These particles could then end up in the respiratory tract of others in the vicinity,” Aalto University Assistant Professor Ville Vuorinen said in the research report.

Dow surges after Fed announces $2.3 trillion emergency program

The Dow Jones Industrial Average surged by 300 points at the opening bell on Thursday, after the Federal Reserve announced $2.3 trillion in emergency programs to shore up the economy.

The Fed said the programs would include the Payroll Protection Program and other measures, and would be geared toward businesses with up to 10,000 employees and $2.5 billion in revenues for 2019.

“Our country’s highest priority must be to address this public health crisis, providing care for the ill and limiting the further spread of the virus,” Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said in a statement.

“This Fed is the most aggressive Fed. They do not want to be known as the reason why we went into a depression,” Jim Cramer told CNBC Thursday morning.

2nd coronavirus vaccine trial begins in the U.S., with a pinch and a zap

U.S. researchers have opened another safety test of an experimental COVID-19 vaccine, this one using a skin-deep shot instead of the usual deeper jab.

The pinch should feel like a simple skin test, a researcher told the volunteer lying on an exam table in Kansas City, Missouri, on Wednesday.

Read more. 

U.S.-Russian crew blasts off for International Space Station following tight quarantine

A U.S.-Russian space crew blasted off Thursday to the International Space Station following a tight quarantine amid the virus outbreak.

NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy and Russian Roscosmos’ Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner lifted off as scheduled Thursday afternoon local time from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Russian space officials have taken extra precautions to protect the crew during training and pre-flight preparations as the coronavirus outbreak has swept the world. Speaking to journalists Wednesday in a video link from Baikonur, Cassidy said the crew had been in “a very strict quarantine” for the past month and is in good health.

“We all feel fantastic,” he said.

Why some doctors are moving away from ventilators for virus patients

As health officials around the world push to get more ventilators to treat coronavirus patients, some doctors are moving away from using the breathing machines when they can.

The reason: Some hospitals have reported unusually high death rates for coronavirus patients on ventilators, and some doctors worry that the machines could be harming certain patients.

The evolving treatments highlight the fact that doctors are still learning the best way to manage a virus that emerged only months ago. They are relying on anecdotal, real-time data amid a crush of patients and shortages of basic supplies.

Read the full story here.

Britain's PM Boris Johnson 'continues to improve' in hospital with coronavirus

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who spent his fourth night in a London hospital with coronavirus “continues to improve” and "is in good spirits," a No. 10 spokesperson said on Thursday. 

Johnson, 55, was taken into St Thomas’ Hospital last Sunday night with "persistent" COVID-19 symptoms after previously testing positive for coronavirus. He entered the intensive care unit Monday evening. 

He remains in St Thomas’ Hospital in central London, a jolting reminder that the coronavirus does not discriminate in whom it infects and sickens.

Image: BRITAIN-POLITICS-HEALTH-VIRUS
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves number 10 Downing Street in central London on March 18, 2020, on his way to the House of Commons to attend Prime Minister's Questions (PMQs).Tolga Akmen / AFP - Getty Images file

Fauci outlines return to normal once outbreak weakens

Dr. Anthony Fauci said Thursday that he thinks the U.S. may be experiencing the “beginning” of the flattening of the curve with the coronavirus outbreak, but added that the virus will determine when life returns to normal.

In an interview on NBC’s “TODAY” show, co-host Savannah Guthrie asked Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, whether people will be able to be out and about again by summer.

“I hope that’s the case, Savannah,” Fauci said, but he added that the virus “determines the timetable." President Donald Trump has been itching to reopen the economy, saying Wednesday that it should happen "sooner rather than later."

Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said he’s “cautiously optimistic” that the U.S. may soon start to see a “turnaround and that curve not only flatten, but coming down.” He made clear, however, that when the U.S. attempts to return to normal, the virus won’t suddenly disappear.

Read the full story here.

Mass Ramadan events in Iran may stop over virus

Iran’s supreme leader suggested Thursday that mass gatherings may be barred through the holy Muslim fasting month of Ramadan amid the pandemic. This comes as Amnesty International said it believed at least 35 Iranian prisoners were killed by security forces amid rioting over the virus.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei made the comment in a televised address as Iran prepares to restart its economic activity while suffering one of the world’s worst outbreaks. He is also the highest-ranking official in the Muslim world to acknowledge the holy month of prayer and reflection will be disrupted by the virus and the COVID-19 illness it causes.

Ramadan — when Muslims fast from dawn until sunset — is set to begin in late April and last through most of May. Iranian mosques, however, have been closed and Friday prayers canceled across the country for fear of the virus spreading among those attending. Iran is reporting more than 60,000 cases as of Thursday, the highest in the Middle East by far. 

Global Update: Poverty shockwaves, police raid a cruise ship in Australia and Gaza runs out of test kits

Another 6.6 million Americans filed for unemployment last week

Another 6.6 million American workers filed first-time unemployment claims for the week ending April 4, bringing the cumulative total to an astonishing 16 million over the past three weeks.

For the week ending March 21, 3.3 million people filed new unemployment claims, easily shattering the previous record set in 1982 of 695,000. Last week, that astounding figure doubled, as 6.6 million people filed claims for the week ending March 28 — a figure that was revised upward to 6.9 million in the new release.

“So far, jobless claims look to me like the only limitation on the number of applications has been the states’ ability to process those claims,” said Darrell Cronk, chief investment officer of Wells Fargo Wealth and Investment Management.

The cumulative toll of the last three weeks comes as last week’s Labor Department release showed that the economy shed 701,000 jobs in March — a figure far more negative than anticipated, although economists said it only captured a fraction of the carnage in the labor market that largely took place in the second half of the month.

Indonesia reports biggest daily jump in coronavirus deaths

Indonesia reported its biggest daily jump in coronavirus deaths on Thursday, bringing the total confirmed number to 280 in the world’s fourth most populous country, the highest death toll in Asia outside China, where the virus first emerged.

Indonesian health ministry official Achmad Yurianto said the country had registered 337 new infections, also a new daily high, taking the total to 3,293.

Indonesia has brought in “large-scale social restrictions,” but President Joko Widodo has resisted bringing in the type of tough lockdowns imposed by neighbors. Widodo has moved to allow areas like Jakarta, where there has been a spike in cases, more powers to tackle the crisis.

Trump to unveil second task force focused on economy

President Donald Trump is planning to unveil a second task force focused on the administration’s response to the economy, a senior administration official confirmed to NBC News. 

The task force will include a mix of private sector and top administration officials, including White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Trump economic adviser Larry Kudlow.

Meadows is expected to lead the economy-focused task force, although no final decision has been made, a source with direct knowledge of the task force said. Unlike the current task force, this second group is not expected to meet every  day.

The news was first reported by The Washington Post.

A break from tradition as queen distributes 'Maundy money' by mail

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II sent "Maundy money" to retired Christians by mail on Thursday for the first time in her reign, saying the COVID-19 crisis will not mean their "invaluable contribution within the community goes unnoticed."

During the “ancient Christian ceremony,” the British monarch usually offers "alms" to deserving senior citizens at annual Royal Maundy Service on Maundy Thursday — the Thursday before Easter Sunday commemorating Jesus washing the feet of the Apostles at the Last Supper. This year, the queen distributed the specially-minted money to Christians across the U.K. by mail as she is isolating at Windsor Castle.

Recipients of Maundy money are normally over 70 and are nominated by their local dioceses for their outstanding contributions to their local church and community life. In a letter to this year’s recipients, the queen said she is "deeply disappointed" that they cannot meet in person as normal.

Coronavirus: NY now has more reported cases than any country

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in New York has reached 151,598, according to NBC News' tracking, outpacing any country except the United States.

Meanwhile, China's leader has warned the outbreak could rebound even as the official death toll in the country plummeted and the government loosened the lockdown imposed to contain the pandemic's spread.

The disease killed nearly 2,000 in the U.S. on Wednesday — the second record high in a row. The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 has reached 430,993 in the U.S., and claimed 14,757 lives in total as of 2:34 a.m. ET. 

Read the full story here.

Sailor from USS Theodore Roosevelt in ICU

A sailor assigned to the USS Theodore Roosevelt has been transferred to ICU after being found unresponsive in their room in Guam.

“A U.S. Navy Sailor assigned to USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the U.S. Naval Hospital Guam April 9. The Sailor tested positive for COVID-19 on March 30 and at the time of hospitalization was in a 14-day isolation period on Naval Base Guam," a statement from the Navy said.

So far, there have been 416 sailors on the ship who have tested positive for the virus, with 97% having been tested. 

Capt. Brett Crozier was relieved of command of the ship after sounding the alarm about an outbreak on the ship.

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.

One of the worst-hit countries globally, Spain is second only to Italy in terms of its death toll. Both countries, however, have recently reported a slow in daily infection rates

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.

Read the full story here. 

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."

Read the full story here.

A store worker wearing a facemask as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 coronavirus waits for customers behind a barrier in Wuhan
A store worker wearing a facemask as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 coronavirus waits for customers behind a barrier in Wuhan, in China's central Hubei province on April 1, 2020.Noel Celis / AFP - Getty Images

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.

Image: Sarah and Aaron Sanders celebrate a Passover Seder with their children, Noah, 19, Bella, 18 and Maya, 13, at home and different family members across the country via video conference
Sarah and Aaron Sanders celebrate a Passover Seder with their children, Noah, 19, Bella, 18 and Maya, 13, at home and different family members across the country via video conference on April 8, 2020 in San Anselmo, California.Ezra Shaw / Getty Images

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.

Read the full story here

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.

Grocery employees say they fear for their lives at work

Federal stockpile of protective equipment nearly gone, HHS says

WASHINGTON — The Strategic National Stockpile is nearly out of the N95 respirators, surgical masks, face, shields, gowns and other medical supplies desperately needed to protect front-line medical workers treating coronavirus patients.

The Department of Health and Human Services said Wednesday that the federal stockpile was in the process of deploying all remaining personal protective equipment in its inventory.

The HHS statement confirms federal documents released Wednesday by the House Oversight and Reform Committee showing that about 90 percent of the personal protective equipment in the stockpile has been distributed to state and local governments.

HHS spokeswoman Katie McKeogh said the remaining 10 percent will be kept in reserve to support federal response efforts.

Pompeo, Netanyahu discuss efforts to contain virus

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke with the prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, Wednesday by phone about efforts to contain the global coronavirus outbreak, State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said.

The two also talked about Iran and "the unwavering U.S. commitment to Israel’s security," she said in a statement.

Israel had 9,404 COVID-19 cases and 71 deaths as of Wednesday, according to the World Health Organization. Netanyahu has threatened to deploy roadblocks in ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities reluctant to practice social distancing.

On Friday, police surrounded the ultra-Orthodox city of Bnei Brak, which has seen a relatively high rate of spread.

Philadelphia emerging as potential hot spot

WASHINGTON — Vice President Mike Pence says Philadelphia is emerging as a potential hot spot for the coronavirus and urged its residents to heed social distancing guidelines.

Pence says he spoke to Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, and he says Pittsburgh is also being monitored for a possible rise in cases.