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

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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.

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Video shows hospital staff cheering for doctor who recovered from COVID-19

A heartwarming video shows employees at a New Jersey hospital cheering on a colleague after he recovered from COVID-19.

The video, recorded Wednesday inside St. Joseph Regional Medical Center in Paterson, shows hospital staffers clapping and holding signs for Dr. James Pruden, the hospital's director of emergency preparedness, with the theme song from the movie “Rocky,” "Gonna Fly Now," playing in the background.

In a statement to NBC News released by the hospital, Dr. Pruden thanked his colleagues and healthcare workers for their support. 

“Your care made the difference for me and enabled me to beat this virus,” Dr. Pruden said. “I implore every healthcare worker across New Jersey to keep the faith and stay strong. You are giving everything – for people just like me. You are truly our heroes.”

Connecticut schools to remain closed through May 20, gov announces

U.K. PM Boris Johnson moved out of ICU, but remains hospitalized

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been moved out of the intensive care unit, where he was being treated for COVID-19, a spokesperson said Thursday.Johnson, 55, was admitted to London’s St Thomas' Hospital on Sunday and was moved into the ICU on Monday.

'Saturday Night Live' to air new content this week

The NBC comedy show will air remotely produced content at its usual Saturday time slot on the broadcast network, a surprise return from its coronavirus-induced hiatus, according to a spokesperson for NBC.

NBC is owned by NBCUniversal, the parent company of NBC News.

The show will include a version of "Weekend Update" and other skits from cast members, though it was not immediately clear if the performances would be live. It will air at 11:30 p.m. ET.

Read the full story here.

Federal emergency grants available for college students

College students whose lives and education have been disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic are set to benefit from a more than $6 billion emergency grant, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said Thursday.

The funding is part of the $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act that President Donald Trump signed in March. The money will be doled out by higher education institutions to help students with necessities, including course materials, technology, food, housing, health care and childcare.

Each school will have grants made available to them based, in part, on a formula that takes into consideration how many of its full-time students are eligible for Pell Grants. The schools then determine which students will receive funding.

More information can be found here.

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.