As the number of confirmed coronavirus cases around the world nears 2 million, with more than 125,000 confirmed deaths, President Donald Trump said he'd halt U.S. funding for the World Health Organization after the organization criticized his early response to the pandemic.
In the U.S., the recorded death toll topped 23,500, according to NBC News' tally.
Los Angeles County announced on Tuesday that it'd suffered the worst day yet of the pandemic, losing 40 more lives to the disease, bringing the death toll to 360 in that metropolis.
The toll of COVID-19 has hit no city harder than New York, and official counts in the five boroughs might even be understated. While the city's health department listed the confirmed death toll at 6,589 by 1 p.m., the "probable" number of fatalities is at least 3,778 more — which would bring the staggering total to more than 10,000, according to data obtained by NBC News.
- 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.
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This live coverage has ended. Continue reading April 15 coronavirus news here.
Florida surgeon general removed from briefing after urging a year of social distancing
Florida Surgeon General Dr. Scott Rivkees was removed from a coronavirus briefing moments after he urged social distancing to remain in place until a coronavirus vaccine is developed — which could be at least a year away.
“Until we get a vaccine, which is a while off, this is going to be our new normal and we need to adapt and protect ourselves,” Rivkees said Monday at a news conference held by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
Rivkees' comments contrast with sentiments voiced by both DeSantis and President Donald Trump, who have expressed fear that the economic toll of sheltering in place for a lengthy period of time could devastate more lives than the coronavirus itself.
Shortly after his remarks, Rivkees was ushered out of the room by the governor’s spokeswoman, Helen Aguirre Ferré.
In a statement to NBC News, Ferré asserted that Rivkees "was not pulled out of the press conference, which ran longer than expected."
"He had a pre-scheduled meeting with Governor DeSantis’ Deputy Chief of Staff Adrian Lukis he needed to attend," she said, adding that after the meeting, he went to the State Emergency Operations Center with Florida's Division of Emergency Management Director Jared Moskowitz.
Public health officials have urged restraint in lifting social distancing measures, warning that pulling them back too quickly could result in a disastrous spike in new coronavirus infections.
'In this case, I'm going to declare myself a conservative,' Mayor de Blasio says of reopening New York City
Asked Tuesday about plans to reopen New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio said, "In this case, I'm going to declare myself a conservative."
"This is all about safety and all about health," de Blasio said. "My profound concern is that if we do this the wrong way, if we do it prematurely, we will see a resurgence of this disease."
De Blasio said "we would be fools" to ignore the warnings, including from places that acted a little prematurely and are paying for it.
De Blasio says New York City will begin producing 50,000 of its own test kits weekly
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday that in May, the city will begin producing 50,000 of its own tests kits each week.
That will be in addition to the 50,000 test kits supplied to the city on a weekly basis by Aria Diagnostics in Indiana, he said.
"For the first time, we're going to have a truly, reliable, major supply of testing," de Blasio said.
He called on the federal government to provide more tests kits and personal protective equipment.
"This does not let the federal government off the hook," he said.
NYC mayor de Blasio says state will be able to produce its own face shields
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday that several local manufacturers will be able to produce hundreds of thousands of face shields per week.
"We will no longer be at the whims of the federal government," de Blasio said at a morning news conference.
De Blasio said that the manufacturers will be able to make at least 240,000 face shields per week.
He also said the city had taken measures to increase the supply of medical gowns.
'It's taking us out': Oprah stresses seriousness of coronavirus on black community
Oprah Winfrey is sounding the alarm about the seriousness of coronavirus and its disproportionate effect on the African American community.
The television mogul explores the impact of the illness on the black community in the latest installment of her "Oprah Talks COVID-19" series, which is available for free on Apple TV+ starting Tuesday. She spoke with Hoda Kotb about the latest installment on TODAY Tuesday.
Cuomo warns of constitutional crisis 'like you haven't seen in decades' if Trump tries to reopen New York
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo warned Tuesday that President Donald Trump should not try to reopen the state against his wishes, saying it would create "a constitutional crisis like you haven't seen in decades" and could result in a dramatic increase in coronavirus cases.
"The only ways this situation gets worse is if the president creates a constitutional crisis," Cuomo said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe."
"If he says to me, 'I declare it open,' and that is a public health risk or it's reckless with the welfare of the people of my state, I will oppose it," he said. "And then we will have a constitutional crisis like you haven't seen in decades, where states tell the federal government, 'We're not going to follow your order.' It would be terrible for this country. It would be terrible for this president."
During a lengthy White House coronavirus task force press briefing Monday, the president said that ultimately he has the power to make decisions that apply to each state.
South Korea to ship 750,000 coronavirus test kits to the U.S.
South Korea will send a total of 750,000 coronavirus testing kits to the U.S., a public health official has confirmed.
Some 150,000 kits were shipped last week and another order of 600,000 will be sent Wednesday, according to Yoon Tae Ho, an official at South Korea's Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasure Headquarters. In a briefing Tuesday he confirmed the first shipment was sent on April 10.
"I expect another 600,000 test kits to be exported tomorrow," Yoon said.
South Korea has so far tested more than half a million people, confirming 10,564 cases and 222 deaths.
Italians cautious as virus lockdown is eased
ROME — As Italy begins to ease some lockdown measures on Tuesday in an effort to kickstart its languishing economy, some shop owners and workers tell NBC News they’re anxious that the restrictions were being lifted too soon.
Sergio Ricci, who works at a bookstore in central Rome, said news of the government decision came suddenly and had not given him and others enough time to prepare.
"The first reaction I had when I understood we were going to reopen the store was uncertainty,” said Ricci, 46. "Economically it is a relief, but honestly I am worried because the main risk is that the managing costs of reopening will exceed the earnings.”
IMF expects global growth to drop to -3 percent
In an update to its World Economic Outlook released Tuesday, the International Monetary Fund forecasts a sharp and sustained downturn because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“It is very likely that this year the global economy will experience its worst recession since the Great Depression,” the report concludes.
“This crisis is like no other,” wrote Gita Gopinath, the IMF’s chief economist, citing “severe uncertainty about the duration and intensity of the shock” to the global economy.
The institution sees global growth at -3 percent in 2020, “an outcome far worse than during the 2009 financial crisis.” But, in its baseline scenario, under which mitigation efforts are successful, vaccine development proceeds speedily, and the economy begins to reopen, “a partial recovery is projected for 2021.”
The IMF pushes for a robust policy response “to ensure that people are able to pick up once the acute phases of the pandemic pass,” involving multinational cooperation. The report acknowledges developing countries will be hard hit by the economic fallout from the virus, and the IMF says it is “actively supporting” them.