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.
FDA warns Alex Jones to stop promoting false coronavirus claims and cures
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration sent a warning letter to internet and radio personality Alex Jones on Thursday, urging him to stop promoting false claims about coronavirus preventatives and cures on his InfoWars website.
The federal agency said products misleadingly advertised as safe and effective treatments, or as guards against the coronavirus, include silver-based gargles and toothpaste. Jones has 48 hours to respond and the FDA is threatening legal action for failure to comply.
Jones, a media mogul and notorious conspiracy theorist, has amassed a fortune through supplements and survivalist products sold on the InfoWars site. Jones is currently being sued in multiple states by parents of children killed in the Newtown, Connecticut, mass shooting for using his website and show to promote the false conspiracy theory that the attack was a hoax.
In March, New York Attorney General Letita James sent Jones a letter demanding he cease and desist selling supplements and creams under false coronavirus claims.
The FDA has not yet approved any vaccines or treatments for COVID-19, the disease associated with coronavirus.
HHS reverses course on funding for local coronavirus testing sites
The Department of Health and Human Services late Thursday reversed its decision to end federal support on Friday for community-based coronavirus testing sites around the country.
Vice President Mike Pence said Thursday that states will now be able to choose whether they want to transition to managing the testing programs themselves or continue with federal assistance.
"In this instance, we wanted to at least give them the option to take control of that. But, we will continue to resource them with personnel, supplies, and any other support they need going forward,” he said at the daily White House coronavirus briefing.
The availability of widespread testing remains scarce in the U.S., and public health officials have called it a failure of the administration's coronavirus response.
A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Human Services told NBC News in a statement Thursday that the federal government “will continue working closely with states, and their respective FEMA regions, to determine whether sites want to continue as they are now, with direct federal supervision and manpower, or transition to full state control.”
Trump says Russia, Saudi Arabia 'close' to deal to salvage oil sector amid pandemic
President Trump said Thursday he spoke by phone with Russia’s President Putin and Saudi Arabia’s King Salman about the oil industry, in an attempt to salvage jobs amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Trump told reporters at the daily White House coronavirus briefing the phone call was a "very productive hour and a half."
The coronavirus outbreak has caused oil prices to plummet because fewer people are driving, planes flying, ships sailing and factories producing goods. Usually, oil-producing countries agree to reduce the supply to increase prices, but Saudi Arabia, who has pushed for even deeper cuts to production, and OPEC — the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries — failed to reach an agreement with Russia, who rejected more cuts, on a way to deal with lower prices.
Trump said with oil prices being pushed down, it threatens U.S. jobs and is working with OPEC and the two countries to get a compromise.
"We had a very good talk; we'll see what happens," Trump said. "I would say we're getting close to a deal."
Nearly 17 million filed for unemployment over last 3 weeks due to coronavirus
The U.S. went from a 50-year unemployment low to some 17 million Americans seeking jobless benefits. That number is likely much higher, as some have been unable to file because of unprecedented demand.
Harvey Weinstein out of medical isolation in prison after testing positive
Convicted rapist Harvey Weinstein was moved out of medical isolation in prison, a spokesperson confirmed on Thursday, just over two weeks after he tested positive for coronavirus.
The former movie mogul has been "deemed alright," according to his publicist Juda Engelamyer. Weinstein tested positive at the maximum security Wende Correctional Facility near Buffalo, New York, Michael Powers, president of the New York State Correctional Officers and Police Benevolent Association told NBC News in March.
Several staffers at the facility who had contact with Weinstein had also been placed in quarantine.
Weinstein is currently serving 23 years in prison after he was found guilty of third-degree rape and first degree criminal sexual act last month.
Federal judge says Texas must allow certain abortions
A federal judge on Thursday issued an order saying the state must allow medication abortions, which involve only pills, and abortions for women who have only a few weeks of pregnancy left before hitting the 22-month mark, at which point abortion is generally illegal in the state.
Planned Parenthood is hoping this new on limit on enforcement of Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order banning elective surgery, will conform with a federal appeals court ruling earlier this week that struck down the judge's first order that allowed abortion to continue.
“The inability to obtain abortion care in Texas as a result of the Executive Order is causing individuals with unwanted pregnancies who have the ability to travel to go to other states to obtain abortions. The record shows that these individuals are traveling by both car and airplane to places as far away as Colorado and Georgia,” said Federal District Court Judge Lee Yeakel.
The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, overturning the judge’s first order, said even though women have a constitutional right to abortion services, states can limit rights during public emergencies like the virus pandemic. But the appeals court left the door open to a revised order that would permit some abortions.
FBI warns of 'money mule' schemes exploiting pandemic
The FBI is out with a new warning that criminals may try to exploit the COVID-19 pandemic through a a tempting scheme.
It starts off as a harmless enough request. You receive an email, maybe through an online job site or a dating website. Provide your bank account information and allow money transfers to flow through your account. You move the money for someone and they pay you a little cash for your trouble or lure you with the potential of a romantic relationship.
#LightItBlue campaign hits the U.S. to show gratitude to essential workers
The 'Light It Blue' campaign hits the U.S. starting at 8 p.m. local time on Thursday — calling on businesses and communities across the country to shine blue lights or share messages of thanks to essential workers on the frontlines in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
Broadway theaters are set to participate in the campaign, as well as New York City landmarks Bryant Park and One World Observatory. Other participants across the U.S. include LAX Airport and the St. Louis skyline.
The #LightItBlue initiative originally started in the UK, with blue symbolizing health care workers, and is largely a volunteer effort.
Mom of 27-year-old grocery store worker mourns the loss of her 'butterfly'
A mother is mourning the loss of her 27-year-old daughter — her "butterfly" — who died of coronavirus after refusing to miss a day working at her Maryland grocery store job because she "wanted to help anyone that she came in contact with."
But Leilani Jordan, who had disabilities, was worried about her safety at work. "She said to me 'Mom ... I have to take my own hand sanitizer because there's none available, there’s no gloves available,'" Zenobia Shepherd told MSNBC's Stephanie Ruhle Thursday.
Jordan started feeling sick in the middle of March, was admitted to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on March 26 and passed away on April 1, according to a memorial page.
Now, Shepherd is worried for other workers deemed necessary during the pandemic, and their families.
"You know what using the proper PPE could have done for my baby?" she asked. "I'm a mother, and I have a hole in my heart for the rest of my life. My baby is gone."
Felismina Andrade, a communications director for Giant, said that Jordan's last day of work was March 16, when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance on PPE was different.
"Our Giant Food family is mourning Leilani’s passing, along with her family, as she was a valued associate who has been part of our Giant Food family since 2016," said a statement from the company. "We are supporting Leilani’s family during this difficult time and have been in direct contact with her mother to address her needs."
Dow rallies as Federal Reserve announces new programs to boost economy
The Dow rallied as the Federal Reserve announced $2.3 trillion in programs to boost the economy as millions of Americans filed for unemployment. NBC's David Gura takes a look at how the news of the day shaped the markets.