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U.S. now leads world in deaths, passes 20,000 mark

Here are the latest coronavirus updates from around the world.
Image: FRANCE-VIRUS-HEALTH
A man wearing a protective facemask looks at the reflection of the Eiffeil Tower on the Seine river, in Paris, on Saturday.Ludovic Marin / AFP - Getty Images

The U.S. has now passed the 20,000 mark in the number of coronavirus deaths and leads the world in this grim tally, surpassing Italy for the first time.

The virus has killed 20,029 people in the United States, just above the number in Italy, according to NBC News' figures.

Worldwide, the death toll is more than 107,000, and the number of confirmed cases has surpassed 1.7 million, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top infectious disease expert in the U.S., has warned that it is too early to relax coronavirus restrictions.

"Now is not time to back off," Fauci said Friday,

Meanwhile, current and former U.S. officials have told 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.

Download the NBC News app for latest updates on the coronavirus outbreak.

This live coverage has ended. Continue reading Apr. 12 Coronavirus news.

Trump winery eligible for bailout in virus relief law

848d ago / 1:24 AM UTC

President Donald Trump’s Virginia vineyard could be eligible for a federal bailout under the $2.2 trillion coronavirus stimulus he signed into law last month, despite provisions in the bill that Democrats said were intended to prevent him and his family from personally benefiting.

Deep in the fine print of the law passed by Congress to try to arrest an economic free fall is language that would the make the vineyard eligible for aid extended to growers and producers of “specialty crops,” among them grapes used to make wine.

There is no indication that any of Trump’s companies, which are currently being operated by his sons, will apply for the aid, and a company representative said Friday there were no plans to do so. The White House declined to comment, but last month, Trump refused to rule the possibility out.

848d ago / 1:20 AM UTC

Disney furloughs 43,000 more workers

848d ago / 12:38 AM UTC

Walt Disney Co. plans to furlough 43,000 workers at its Disney World resort in Orlando, Florida, as coronavirus forces theme parks around the country to close indefinitely.

Employees will keep their current benefits for up to one year and will be eligible to apply for unemployment immediately, according to an agreement reached with the Service Trades Council, the coalition of unions representing the Disney World workers.

About 200 essential employees will continue to work during the closure, and they will be offered positions based on seniority. All employees will be able to return to their jobs once businesses can reopen.

Earlier this month, Disney announced plans to furlough non-union workers starting April 19.

New York City death toll increases by at least 313

848d ago / 11:51 PM UTC

At least 300 more New Yorkers have died from complications brought on COVID-19, the city's health department reported Saturday.

The death toll reached at least 5,742 by 5 p.m., up from 5,429 a day earlier, according to the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

The 313-fatality increase capped a heartbreaking week in New York City, where the death toll spiked by more than 500 on four separate nightly reports.

Florida doctor temporarily loses custody of child due to pandemic

848d ago / 11:48 PM UTC

A Florida emergency room physician temporarily lost custody of her daughter over concerns she poses a health risk to the 4-year-old child. 

Dr. Theresa Greene tested negative for coronavirus, but her ex-husband worried her job could endanger their daughter. The little girl splits her time equally between both parents, NBC Miami reported.

Greene is entitled to "equivalent make up timesharing" for every day of custody lost as a result of the temporary custody suspension, according to court documents. She is also entitled to daily phone calls or video chats with her daughter.

In his court order, Miami-Dade County Circuit Judge Bernard Shapiro said his ruling was intended to "protect the best interests" of the child and is solely based on concerns over the coronavirus pandemic.

Greene told NBC Miami the ruling was devastating and also shocking because the judge did not consult with medical experts.

"I feel like the family court system now is stressing me almost more than the virus," Greene said.

Image: Daily life in West Hills, California, under lockdown

849d ago / 10:45 PM UTC
Image: Daily life in West Hills under the coronavirus pandemic
Todd Bigelow / Contact Press Images

A hair dresser trying to make her rent works at home after the salon she rents space from had to close its doors as a non-essential business.

See more photos from photojournalist Todd Bigelow's portrait of a neighborhood lockdown. 

Planned Parentood asks SCOTUS to lift Texas abortion ban

849d ago / 10:40 PM UTC

Planned Parenthood on Saturday asked the U.S. Supreme Court to step into the Texas legal battle over whether abortions should be accessible during the coronavirus pandemic.

A legal fight over abortion services has been waged since March 22 when Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, issued an executive order banning all medical procedures that are not immediately necessary. The goal, he said, was to conserve personal protective equipment and hospital resources. Attorney General Ken Paxton said the order applied to all abortion procedures, even those that involve taking only pills.

A federal judge in Texas has twice ruled that the order restricts the constitutional right to abortion access, and the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals has twice ruled that he got it wrong. In going to the Supreme Court, Planned Parenthood said Abbott's order means virtually all women in the state with unplanned pregnancies have no access to abortion, even in pill form. 

"Some will engage in risky, out-of-state travel," the group said, "this increasing contagion risks in the midst of a pandemic." The court will likely ask Texas for a response before acting on the request.

COVID-19 cases spike aboard USS Theodore Roosevelt

849d ago / 10:20 PM UTC

At least 550 crew members aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt have tested positive for COVID-19 more than a week after its captain, Brett Crozier, was relieved of duty for sounding the alarm about an outbreak on the ship. 

The Navy said 92 percent of crew members have been tested for COVID-19. More than 3,600 tested negative. The ship had 416 cases two days ago. 

A crew member who had contracted coronavirus was found unresponsive Thursday in the room where they were quarantined. That person is now hospitalized in an intensive care unit. 

U.S. deaths pass 20,000 mark, with over a half million cases

849d ago / 9:16 PM UTC

The number of deaths from COVID-19 in the United States passed the 20,000 mark on Saturday, with over a half million confirmed cases of the coronavirus.

As of late afternoon ET, the disease had killed 20,029 people in the country, according to NBC News' tally.

More than half of the deaths were concentrated in three states: New York, with 8,627; New Jersey had 2,183;  and Michigan, with 1,392..

Earlier on Saturday, the death toll in the U.S. became the highest in the world, surpassing that of Italy.

Families mourn as Latinos suffer disproportionate number of deaths in NYC

849d ago / 9:07 PM UTC

Ricardo Román woke up on Wednesday morning asking "God to give me the strength necessary to be able to see my father for the last time." That afternoon he attended his father's funeral.

Ramón Román, 52, died Sunday of complications from COVID-19 at a hospital in Brooklyn. For 10 years, he worked as an auxiliary police officer for the New York City Police Department.

The coronavirus outbreak is hitting Hispanics in the city harder than any other racial or ethnic group. Latinos account for 34 percent of all coronavirus deaths in New York City, while making up 29 percent of the city's population, according to officials. The preliminary death rate for Hispanics in the city is about 22 people per 100,000 compared to 10 per 100,000 for white residents.

Read the full story here.

Hospital workers find tires slashed after overnight shifts

849d ago / 8:04 PM UTC
Image: Slash tires
In this image from video provided by News12 Hudson Valley, one of 22 vehicles with a flat tire is seen in the parking lot outside New York-Presbyterian Hudson Valley Hospital in Cortlandt, N.Y., on, April 11, 2020.News12 Hudson Valley / via AP

While many people around the country are applauding health care workers during the pandemic, some employees of a hospital in Westchester County, New York didn't feel the love Friday morning.

Staff at New York-Presbyterian Hudson Valley Hospital in Cortlandt completed an overnight shift Friday morning to find their car tires had been slashed, authorities said.

A 29-year-old man has since been arrested for cutting the tires of 22 vehicles in the hospital's parking lot.

Read the full story here.

Every U.S. state is now under disaster declaration

849d ago / 6:55 PM UTC

The entire country is now under a major disaster declaration for the coronavirus pandemic.

Wyoming on Saturday became the final state to receive such a declaration, which comes 22 days after the first one was approved, for New York, on March 20.

In addition to the 50 states, disaster declarations are also in place for Washington, D.C., as well as Puerto Rico, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Only one U.S. territory isn't under a major disaster declaration — American Samoa.

Bus and train riders in New Jersey will have to wear face coverings

849d ago / 6:44 PM UTC

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said he is signing an executive order that requires all riders on NJ Transit buses and trains and on private bus lines to wear a mask or face covering. 

The order also says transit operators must provide their workers with masks and gloves.

"For many of our essential workers, public transit is how they get to work and we need to protect them during that trip," the governor said at a press conference on Saturday. 

In addition, Murphy said he was reducing the capacity on all buses, trains and rails by 50 percent. 

The governor previously said that all residents must wear a face covering when inside a grocery store or supermarket. On Saturday, he extended that to include restaurants and bars when residents go inside to pick up takeout orders. 

The new orders go into effect Monday at 8 p.m.

Promising research on vaccine and treatments for coronavirus

849d ago / 6:11 PM UTC

New York governor says will bring together 'best minds' to assess how to safely reopen state

849d ago / 5:32 PM UTC

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Saturday that 8,627 people have died of coronavirus in New York, with the latest daily toll at 783.

The “number of deaths is stabilizing at a horrific rate,” Cuomo said during a press briefing. New York saw it's highest one-day death toll of 799 on Wednesday.

At the same time, the number of new hospitalizations and intubations have been decreasing overall this week, suggesting that "we have hit the apex," the governor said.

He added that he will bring together the "best minds" to assess how to reopen the state without bringing on a second wave of infections.

Cuomo: 'I’m not running for president'

849d ago / 5:31 PM UTC

 

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo says he will not run for president in 2020.

“I’m not running for president. I'm not running fro vice president. I'm not running anywhere," Cuomo said at a coronavirus news conference on Saturday. "I'm not going to Washington, I'm staying right here.

Cuomo said that is was "flattering" that some Democrats wanted to see him replace former Vice President Joe Biden as the nominee, but also called it "irrelevant" in a time of crisis. 

"There is no politics here. I have no political agenda, period," Cuomo said. 

U.S. now leads world in coronavirus deaths, surpasses Italy

849d ago / 4:34 PM UTC
Image: Coronavirus Pandemic Causes Climate Of Anxiety And Changing Routines In America
Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center employees transport a deceased patient to a refrigerated truck on April 8, 2020 in Brooklyn, N.Y.David Dee Delgado / Getty Images

The United States now leads the world in the number of deaths from the coronavirus, having surpassed Italy on Saturday in this grim tally.

COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, has killed 18,860 people in the United States, compared to 18,849 in Italy, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Among states, New York continues to have the greatest number of coronavirus deaths, 8,627 as of Saturday. It is followed by New Jersey and Michigan.

Worldwide, the pandemic has killed nearly 105,000 people as of Saturday.

Photo: Sign of the times in London

849d ago / 4:23 PM UTC
Image: The spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in London
A cyclist passes a billboard for artist Mark Titchner, in the Shoreditch district of London, on Saturday.Henry Nicholls / Reuters

Trump authorizes 'robust assistance package' to help Italy

849d ago / 4:08 PM UTC

President Donald Trump authorized a "robust assistance package" to help Italy, a country hit particularly hard by the coronavirus, fight the outbreak, according to a statement from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Saturday. 

"This will include support for international organizations and NGOs, including faith-based organizations, many of which are already providing essential relief to Italian communities," Pompeo said. 

Pompeo also said that the roughly 30,000 U.S. military personnel and families living in Italy would "assist with a variety of functions, including providing telemedicine services, facilitating the transport and assembly of field hospitals and equipment, treating non-COVID-19 patients, and supporting transport of supplies, fuel, and food."

UK has not reached coronavirus peak, so lockdown will continue, official says

849d ago / 3:28 PM UTC
Image:
A woman is told to go home by a police officer on Primrose Hill in London last week. The park was only open for people walking dogs or exercising.Matt Dunham / AP

Britain has not yet reached its peak of coronavirus infections, which would allow for an easing of tight restrictions of movement, health minister Matt Hancock said on Saturday.

His announcement comes as the death toll in British hospitals has reached nearly 9,000, with 980 of those fatalities reported on Friday, a figure which surpassed even the deadliest day so far in Italy.

“Our judgment is we’re not there yet. We haven’t seen a flattening enough to be able to say that we’ve reached the peak,” Hancock told BBC radio on Saturday. Nobody knows when that might be, he said. 

The U.K. government came under fire for an alleged lack of preparedness on Saturday. The British Medical Association said current supplies in were insufficient, and doctors faced a “heart-breaking” decision over whether to treat patients without proper personal protection equipment (PPE) and therefore put themselves at risk, according to Reuters. Nineteen health care professionals have died in the country as of Saturday

Among those who have been infected is Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is recovering in a hospital after spending three nights in intensive care. He is making “very good progress” in his recovery, his office said on Saturday.

New York City is moving 6,000 homeless people out of shelters into hotels

849d ago / 3:15 PM UTC

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Saturday that by 6,000 of the city's homeless residents, mostly single adults, will be moved out of shelters into hotels by April 20.

"We think that is the right balance to strike to get people to stay safe" from coronavirus infection, the mayor said during a press briefing.

Over 300 homeless people in the city have tested positive for the virus, and at least 20 have died from the disease, according to city data released Friday.

Cuomo, Hogan call on Congress to give money to states

849d ago / 3:05 PM UTC

A bipartisan group of governors are calling on the federal government to provide more funding to states who have seen dramatic falls in state revenue amid the coronavirus outbreak and have shouldered much of the costs related to fighting the pandemic. 

"[T]he recently passed federal CARES Act contained zero funding to offset these drastic state revenue shortfalls. To stabilize state budgets and to make sure states have the resources to battle the virus and provide the services the American people rely on, Congress must provide immediate fiscal assistance directly to all states," Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, chairman of the National Governors Association, and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, vice chair, said in a statement Saturday. 

Hogan, Cuomo and other governors called on Congress to appropriate $500 billion specifically for states and territories to help meet their budget shortfalls.

Senate Democrats proposed giving $150 billion for state and local governments as part of an interim emergency coronavirus package last week, but Republicans objected to it in favor of a narrower bill focused just on small business relief. 

NYC mayor says schools will stay closed rest of year, Cuomo says not so fast

849d ago / 2:14 PM UTC

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Saturday that the city's schools will remain closed for the rest of the school year, but less than three hours later, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the mayor lacks the authority to make such a decision.

Cuomo said it was only the mayor's "opinion" to keep schools closed until fall, and that the governor holds authority on this issue.

"He didn't close them, and he can't reopen," Cuomo said of the mayor and the vast school district that serves over 1.1 million students in 1,800 schools.

De Blasio in announcing the continued closure earlier Saturday, said, "It's not an easy decision but it's the right decision," adding, "It clearly will help us save lives."

Read the full story here.

A daughter fights to say goodbye to her mother

and

849d ago / 2:11 PM UTC

Deborah Mastromano’s mother was dying, isolated inside a Long Island nursing home that had been beset by the coronavirus. But she couldn’t get anyone to pick up the phone.

Mastromano called the nursing desk. She called a supervisor. She called a nursing assistant. One staff member answered late last Saturday but quickly ended the call. “I can’t talk right now,” the woman said, before hanging up.

Mastromano, 67, knew the workers were stretched thin. It had been nearly a month since the home for seniors in Brentwood, New York, had banned visitors, hoping to prevent the spread of the coronavirus among its frail residents. But the virus found its way in anyway, and now nurses were scrambling to care for the sick.

Read the full story here.

British bakers reintroduce World War II bread in coronavirus fight

849d ago / 1:51 PM UTC

As British politicians invoke memories of World War II’s “Blitz Spirit” during the coronavirus lockdown, and many are quietly channeling the stoic resolve their elders showed in the face of enormous hardship, some in the nation’s baking community are taking a more direct cue from history.

Britain's National Loaf — a nutrient-dense whole wheat bread first produced in 1942 — has been re-emerging in recent weeks.

Today, as was the case back then, a scarcity of ingredients and a concern for public health are challenging the culinary status quo. 

Read the full story here. 

The National Loaf.
The National Loaf.Bread Source

India to extend nationwide coronavirus lockdown

849d ago / 1:31 PM UTC

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will extend a nationwide lockdown to tackle the spread of coronavirus, the chief minister of Delhi state said on Saturday, without disclosing how long the extension would be for.

Earlier in the day, Modi held a video conference call with several state ministers to decide on the future course of the current 21-day lockdown, which had been set to end on Tuesday.

Several Indian states have urged Modi to extend the lockdown, even amid rising concerns that the restrictions had put millions of poor people out of work and forced an exodus of migrant workers from cities to villages.

 

Iran begins lifting restrictions after brief virus lockdown

849d ago / 1:03 PM UTC

Iran began reopening government offices and businesses Saturday after a brief nationwide lockdown to help contain the worst virus outbreak in the Middle East, which has killed more than 4,300 people in the country.

Government offices outside the capital, Tehran, reopened Saturday with two-thirds of employees coming in and the remainder working from home, state media reported. Women who have young children were given priority in deciding who works remotely.

Businesses in Tehran will be allowed to reopen next Saturday, provided they register with authorities and follow guidelines on social distancing.

For many weeks, Iran had declined to impose the kind of wide-scale lockdowns adopted by other Middle Eastern countries, even as the number of confirmed cases and fatalities steadily climbed. Authorities have defended their response, saying they have to consider the economic impact of any quarantine measures since the country is under severe U.S. sanctions

Spain's overnight death toll at its lowest in 19 days

849d ago / 12:05 PM UTC

The number of coronavirus deaths in Spain fell for a third consecutive day on Saturday, with 510 fatalities reported in the past 24 hours — the smallest overnight increase since Mar. 23.

The slowdown is an encouraging sign for the country, which has suffered the third-highest number of casualties from the virus after Italy and the United States.

Spain's total death toll from COVID-19 disease rose to 16,353, the Health Ministry said in a statement, and the number of confirmed cases climbed to more than 160,000.

Spanish lawmakers voted Thursday evening to extend the state of emergency measures until Apr. 26, and Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez warned that he may need to ask for a third extension to prolong measures until May.

Comedians find new ways to entertain quarantined audiences

849d ago / 11:34 AM UTC

Mary Beth Barone is used to performing stand-up comedy for hundreds of people at sold-out shows in New York City. But these days, she’s performing live from her parent’s bathtub.

“It’s a new world we’re living in … the need to perform is kind of insatiable when you’re a stand up, so at least this is quelling that even if it’s, like, only for an hour and a half,” Barone said.

Barone, 28, is one of scores of comedians who are adapting their performances from the stage to livestreams while the nation continues to quarantine amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Entertainment has gone digital as the United States practices social distancing to stop the spread of the virus. Concerts are held on Instagram Live, movies have been released and made available for download ahead of schedule, and a litany of television shows are ready to stream. Comedy, however, has had a tougher time transitioning.

Read the rest here.

Is Philadelphia the next virus hot spot? Maybe not.

849d ago / 10:53 AM UTC
Image:
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

While it's too soon to say whether Philadelphia has avoided a surge in coronavirus cases that would overwhelm its health system, the nation's sixth-largest city has, so far, avoided becoming what some feared would be the outbreak's next hot spot.

During a news briefing this week, Vice President Mike Pence called Philadelphia "an area of particular concern," adding that he'd assured Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf that the federal government would "continue to flow resources and support to that community."

Experts predict Philadelphia and its surrounding suburbs will reach the peak of coronavirus cases next week, and the city appears to be prepared for the onslaught.

Read the rest here.

849d ago / 10:39 AM UTC

WHO warns of 'deadly resurgence' if lockdown measures are lifted too soon

849d ago / 10:03 AM UTC

The World Health Organization has warned that a premature lifting of lockdown restrictions by countries fighting the coronavirus could spark a “deadly resurgence."

While the organization was working with countries on ways to gradually ease lockdowns, doing so too quickly could be highly dangerous, Director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said. 

“I know that some countries are already planning the transition out of stay-at-home restrictions. WHO wants to see restrictions lifted as much as anyone,” he told a virtual press conference in Geneva on Friday.

“At the same time, lifting restrictions too quickly could lead to a deadly resurgence. The way down can be as dangerous as the way up if not managed properly," he added.

After months in space, astronauts returning to changed world

849d ago / 9:25 AM UTC

Two NASA astronauts said Friday they expect it will be tough returning to such a drastically changed world next week, after their nine-month mission on the International Space Station.

Astronaut Andrew Morgan said the crew has tried to keep atop the pandemic news. But it’s hard to comprehend what’s really going on and what to expect, he said. 

As an emergency physician in the Army, Morgan added that he felt a little guilty coming back midway through the medical crisis.

His colleague Jessica Meir who took part in the first all-female spacewalk last fall, said it was “quite surreal for us to see this whole situation unfolding on the planet below," adding: “We can tell you that the Earth still looks just as stunning as always from up here, so it’s difficult to believe all the changes that have taken place since both of us have been up here.”

Olympic gold medalist to complete Ironman at home to raise money for healthcare workers

and

849d ago / 8:51 AM UTC

Olympic gold medalist and three-time winner of the Ironman Triathlon World Championship, Jan Frodeno will be supporting healthcare workers combatting the outbreak by completing an Ironman triathlon at his home in Spain on Saturday. 

The German athlete is live-streaming his 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bicycle ride and a  26.22-mile marathon run on Facebook. It is widely considered one of the most difficult one-day sporting events in the world.

"I want to use this event to support those who are currently doing the competition in the hospitals day in and day out," he said on social media.

849d ago / 8:14 AM UTC

South Korea to strap electronic wristbands on those who defy quarantine

849d ago / 8:06 AM UTC

South Korea’s government has said it will strap electronic wristbands on people who defy self-quarantine orders after two weeks of preparation and manufacturing as it tightens monitoring to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Officials said stricter controls are required because some of the 57,000 people who are under orders to stay home have slipped out by leaving behind smartphones with tracking apps. Plans for broader use of wristbands were scaled back after objections by human rights and legal activists.

Senior Health Ministry official Yoon Tae-ho on Saturday acknowledged the privacy and civil liberty concerns surrounding the bands, which will be enforced through police and local administrative officials after two weeks of preparation and manufacturing. 

However, he said authorities need more effective monitoring tools because the number of people placed under self-quarantine has ballooned after the country began enforcing 14-day quarantines on all passengers arriving from abroad on Apr. 1 amid worsening outbreaks in Europe and the United States. Other Korean officials said the government lacked legal authority to compel people to wear the wristbands and that they would be asked to sign consent forms.

849d ago / 4:05 AM UTC

Kentucky gov. says anyone who attends Easter services will be quarantined

849d ago / 3:29 AM UTC

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear implored residents to avoid gathering this weekend for the Easter holiday, warning that anyone who violates the state's stay-at-home order will be subject to a 14-day mandatory self-quarantine.

Beshear said the state will record license plate information of people seen attending mass gatherings and turn that information over to local public health officials. Quarantine notices will then be delivered in person.

The announcement was made on Good Friday, one of the holidays leading into Easter Sunday.

Read the full story here.

Court lifts part of order blocking Texas abortion ban

849d ago / 2:20 AM UTC

AUSTIN, Texas — A federal appeals court on Friday partially rescinded a lower-court order that had largely blocked the enforcement of an abortion ban in Texas during the coronavirus pandemic.

By a 2-1 vote, the three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld enforcement of an executive order by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott that includes abortion among non-essential medical procedures banned during the state of emergency.

However, the appeals court allowed the procedure to go ahead if delays would place the pregnancy beyond the 22-week state cutoff for abortions.

Read the full story here