Trump stops WHO funding, accusing it of covering up outbreak

Here are the latest coronavirus updates from around the world.
Image: A staff member cleans the floor after the last patients were discharged from Leishenshan Hospital, originally built to treat people infected with COVID-19, in Wuhan on Tuesday.
A staff member cleans the floor after the last patients were discharged from Leishenshan Hospital, originally built to treat people infected with COVID-19, in Wuhan on Tuesday.AFP - Getty Images

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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.

Here's what to know about the coronavirus, plus a timeline of the most critical moments.

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

This live coverage has ended. Continue reading April 15 coronavirus news here.

Fauci: 'We're not there yet' on key steps to reopen economy

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease expert, said Tuesday the U.S. does not yet have the critical testing and tracing procedures needed to begin reopening the nation’s economy, adding a dose of caution to increasingly optimistic projections from the White House.

“We have to have something in place that is efficient and that we can rely on, and we’re not there yet,” Fauci said in an interview with The Associated Press.

Read more. 

Planned Parenthood expands telehealth services amid coronavirus pandemic

Planned Parenthood is expanding in its telehealth services nationwide during the coronavirus pandemic.

Appointments by phone or video will allow individuals access to a number of services, like birth control, trans/non-binary hormone therapy, STI treatment and abortion medication. The services will be available in all 50 states by the end of April.

Alexis McGill Johnson, acting president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said this tool will help protect patients and staff from the spread of the virus while providing essential health care. 

The pandemic has had "staggering economic consequences and alarming racial disparities in health outcomes" and "changed people’s lives dramatically,” McGill said. “But what has not changed is the need for sexual and reproductive health care."

Photos: Street life returns to a colorful Wuhan

A man looks over a barricade on a street in Wuhan on Tuesday. Although the lockdown was lifted last Wednesday, barricades remain in the city. Noel Celis / AFP - Getty Images
A boy with a face mask and goggles looks out the window of a passing car.Aly Song / Reuters
People gather near a shopping area as the city of Wuhan springs back to life.Aly Song / Reuters

Senate won't return until May 4

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday announced that the Senate will not reconvene until May 4, weeks later than the previously announced return date of April 20. The Senate and House will now both return on the same day.

"As the country continues working together to flatten the curve, following the advice of health experts, the full Senate is not expected to travel back to Washington D.C. sooner than Monday, May 4th," he said in a statement. "All members will receive at least 24 hours' notice if this changes. This bipartisan decision reflects consultation with Leader Schumer and my colleagues in Senate leadership."

He said that a top priority will be passing additional funding for the Paycheck Protection Program.

"Clean funding for worker pay in a crisis should not be controversial," he said.

Death toll in New York state climbs to 10,834

The number of coronavirus deaths in New York state climbed to 10,834, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said at a press conference on Tuesday. 

More than 770 people have died from the virus in the past 24 hours. 

While the governor said the state's numbers are lower than what was projected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, he is worried about the increase in the percentage of nursing home deaths.

"Nursing homes have been an increasing issue," Cuomo said. 

Out of all the New Yorkers hospitalized because of COVID-19, 64 percent are in the city, 22 percent are in Long Island and 8 percent are in Westchester and Rockland Counties. The remaining 6 percent are hospitalized in other parts of the state. 

The governor urged residents to continue doing their part as the state battles the virus. 

"What we have learned through this process is that our actions determine our destiny," he said. "We changed the curve. ... Every protection hand a higher rate of infection, had a higher rate of death. ... That didn't happen."

 

 

Photo: Masked toys help raise funds for medical staff

Toy figurines with face masks pile up on a production line at the Efko-karton company in Nove Veseli, Czech Republic, on Tuesday. The toymaker, which began equipping some of its figurines with masks in March, is donating part of its sales from the toys to purchase protective equipment for doctors and nurses in the central Vysocina region where the company is based.David W Cerny / Reuters

Inmate at Mississippi prison who died tested positive for virus

The Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman — which is under federal investigation over alleged civil rights abuses — has reported its first death of an inmate who had the coronavirus.

The results of his test did not come in until after his death, state corrections officials said Monday. Other details were not immediately available, but the officials added that he had been exhibiting symptoms and was medically isolated before he died. The exact cause of death was unavailable.

Tommy Taylor, the interim commissioner of the Mississippi Department of Corrections, said in a statement that the state's prisons have been under quarantine since the coronavirus outbreak began. "With this first positive case, we have further isolated all the affected areas and increased screenings for all the inmates who came in contact with the individual," Taylor added.

It's unclear if other prisoners are now being tested. Prisoner rights advocates have asked for more transparency from the state and say the poor conditions at Parchman make it susceptible to the virus' spread.

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.