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Global death toll passes 100K as confirmed cases top 1.6 million

Here are the latest coronavirus updates from around the world.
A healthcare worker talks with a patient at a COVID-19 testing site near Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia on March 24, 2020.Matt Slocum / AP

The coronavirus death toll across the U.S. continues to climb and passed 18,500 by Friday evening, according to an NBC News tally. The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in New York state had reached 170,512.

Globally, the number of cases passed 1.6 million with more than 102,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University, as countries deliberate over further lockdown measures or worry about second wave outbreaks. Millions of people around the world are preparing for religious celebrations and a holiday weekend.

Current and former U.S. officials, meanwhile, tell NBC News that American spy agencies collected raw intelligence hinting at a public health crisis in Wuhan, China, in November, but the information was not understood as the first warning signs of an impending global pandemic.

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This live coverage has ended. Continue reading Apr. 11 Coronavirus news.

Giving back: Communities, organizations mobilize to feed, house health care workers

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to disrupt life throughout the United States, communities are banding together to assist doctors, nurses and first responders with the essentials: food and housing.

From New York City to Washington state, people have donated thousands of meals to health care workers through various organizations, while others have provided temporary housing to doctors and nurses who are on the front lines of the pandemic.

"It's really empowering just to see how people want to be a part of this," said Michael MacKelvie, one of the organizers of the group Feed the Fearless. His group has raised thousands of dollars to purchase meals from local restaurants to donate to area businesses. 

Other organizations, such as RVs 4 MDs, are working to provide health care workers with temporary housing if they choose to make the difficult decision to self-isolate from their families.

Read the full story here. 

NYC mayor says easing of social distancing possible before summer

The mayor of New York City, which has seen more than a fifth of the nation's coronavirus cases, expressed qualified optimism that mobility could begin to return to the Big Apple before the end of spring.

"Every one of us is hoping and praying this shows that we're turning a corner," Mayor Bill de Blasio told NBC Nightly News. "But I'm not convinced until I see something more sustained. This day we will surpass 100,000 cases of the coronavirus in New York City. That's a staggering, unbelievable number. We've lost over 5,000 people and we still have a huge number of people fighting for their lives in our hospitals."

The Gates Foundation-funded IHME model projected a decrease for New York's daily death rate.

"The first thing is to not expect and get hopes up prematurely," Di Blasio said. "We know April is gonna continue to be tough. That's going to take us into May. There's a possibility at some point in May that we see enough steady progress to start some relaxing of the social distancing, but only some." 

Number of coronavirus deaths at VA hospitals hits 200

The number of deaths of veterans with COVID-19 in the VA hospital system hit 200 on Friday, with 26 new deaths reported since Thursday.

The 200 deaths occurred in 53 different facilities in 31 states, D.C. and Puerto Rico. Fifty occurred at VA facilities in New York City, and 29 were in New Orleans.

As of Friday, the VA reports it has administered over 32,160 COVID-19 tests nationwide and recorded 3,700 positive results.

The first VA patient death from COVID-19 occurred on March 14.

Doctors, nurses in Good Friday procession at Vatican

The Via Crucis or Way of the Cross ceremony Friday in front of St. Peter's Basilica, empty of the faithful following Italy's ban on gatherings during the national lockdown.Alessandra Tarantino / AP

VATICAN CITY — Nurses and doctors wearing their white hospital coats joined a torch-lit Good Friday procession in an hauntingly almost empty St. Peter's Square, as Pope Francis presided over the ceremony which couldn't be held at Rome's Colosseum as tradition holds because of Italy's lockdown in the COVID-19 pandemic.

The participation of Vatican medical personnel provided a stark reminder of how the virus outbreak has infused almost all walks of life.

Francis watched from the steps outside St. Peter’s Basilica as the procession, which included a uniformed police officer, a Padua, Italy, prison chaplain and a former inmate, circled around the square’s central obelisk. The Way of the Cross procession evokes Jesus suffering on his way to be crucified.

Earlier, at a Good Friday service inside the basilica, the papal preacher said pandemic has alerted people to the danger of thinking themselves all-powerful. During that service, in a sign of humble obedience, Francis prostrated himself for a few minutes on the basilica floor.

The big-city rent bubble could be over, but many renters are still hurting

The coronavirus economy could finally put an end to overheated rents in cities like San Francisco, New York and Boston, but millions of out-of-work Americans might still not be able to afford them.

"Rents will fall," said David Shulman, a senior economist with the Anderson Forecast at UCLA. "But income is going to drop."

The months ahead could see many renters move in with family and friends as well as a continued rise in homelessness, said Whitney Airgood-Obrycki, a research associate at Harvard University's Joint Center for Housing Studies.

"With this pandemic, what is likely to happen is people will lose a significant portion of income, so we're likely to see more doubling up for housing," she said. "We're also going to see rent discounting and a lot of rent concessions."

Read the full story here.

Georgia bar owner strips walls of $3,714 to donate to staff

A bar in Tybee Island, Georgia, is donating thousands of dollars from its own walls to employees who are out of work because of the coronavirus. It took Jennifer Knox and a team of volunteers three-and-a-half days to strip the walls of her restaurant, The Sand Bar, of $3,714 in dollar bills.

She then distributed the cash to four bartenders and two musicians who were out of work. Knox said her pub, which has a small staff of six people, is known as “the smallest bar with the biggest heart.” 

“The people on this island rely on tourism and this is our season,” Knox said. “I just want to save the island.”

Since posting about her endeavor on, Knox said she has received more than $2,000 in additional donations, which she plans to continue distributing to her community.

Gage McKnight, a frequent patron and friend of The Sand Bar in Tybee Island, Georgia removes dollar bills from the walls to donate to staff and community members.Jennifer Knox


Trump to announce 'opening our country' task force

President Donald Trump said Friday he's forming an "opening our country council" that will be formally announced next week. 

In a coronavirus task force briefing at the White House, Trump said the group would include "great business leaders, great doctors, we're going have a great group of people" from around the country. "I'd like to have some representative governors on the council," he added.

"We'll be announcing names on Tuesday," Trump said, adding the group would meet in teleconferences and he "believed" it would be bipartisan. "One thing I didn’t ask is are you Republican or Democrat, believe it or not," Trump said. 

National guidelines calling for social distancing and no large gatherings are scheduled to run through April 30. Trump has repeatedly said that he wants the country to get back to work as soon as possible, but said Friday he's open-minded to the possibility of extending the guidelines for a longer period of time. "The facts will determine what we do," Trump said, adding he would listen to advice from health professionals on the task force. 

Trump also said it was possible the country could in effect have to be shut down a second if there's another severe outbreak. Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, suggested "a mosaic of testing" in different parts of the country could be used to keep the virus contained. 

"I'm going to have to make a decision and I only hope to God that it’s the right decision. But I would say without question it’s the biggest decision I’ve ever had to make," Trump said. 

The Week in Pictures: Death toll mounts amid glimmers of hope

While the U.S. death toll topped 16,500 and total cases neared 500,000 on Thursday, Dr. Anthony Fauci said the country may be experiencing the “beginning” of the flattening of the curve. See more compelling images of how coronavirus is impacting people around the globe.

More than 2,200 coronavirus deaths in nursing homes

Chelsea Stahl / NBC News; Getty Images

Nearly 2,300 long-term care facilities in 35 states are battling coronavirus cases, according to data gathered by NBC News from state agencies. That's an explosive increase of 475 percent compared to a federal tally just 10 days ago. 

NBC News also found 2,246 deaths associated with long-term care facilities, based on responses from 24 states. 

The numbers are likely a significant undercount, given the limited access to testing and other constraints — and they show the need for more comprehensive data as nursing homes fight outbreaks, experts say. 

“It’s impossible to fight and contain this virus if we don’t know where it’s located,” said David Grabowski, a professor of health care policy at Harvard Medical School. 

Read the full story here.

California governor says state plans to use smartphone contact tracing

California Gov. Gavin Newsom said his office spoke Friday with Apple about its tracing technology and is making it a part of the state’s planning for easing out of its statewide stay-at-home order.

“We look forward to continuing to build that capacity and partnership, and that is also part of the planning exercise as we see some light and we see a future where we’re not all permanently in this current state stay-at-home order," Newsom said.

The state's cooperation is important because Google and Apple said in their joint announcement Friday that the first phase of their work would rely on partnerships with government health authorities.