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.

HIV co-discoverer cautions that immunity from COVID-19 antibodies isn't certain

The race is on to develop and distribute antibody tests for the coronavirus, driven by the idea that these tests will inform individuals when they are immune to the virus and can return to their normal lives.

This isn’t the first time there’s been an urgent need for an antibody test. In the 1980s, it was a different crisis: HIV/AIDS. Unlike the coronavirus, a positive antibody test for HIV means that a person is currently infected with the virus, meaning the test could be used to diagnose.

NBC News spoke to Dr. Robert Gallo, one of the scientists who discovered HIV, about antibody testing and what it can tell us about the coronavirus.

Read more. 

Trump meets with survivors, says he will work with governors on re-opening economy

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said he will be working with governors on a plan to reopen the country, seeming to back away from an assertion yesterday that he had the sole authority to determine when business should return to normal. 

“What I do is going to be done in conjunction with governors,” Trump said Tuesday. “We’ll be doing that in a little while.” 

Trump made the remarks at a meeting in the White House with COVID-19 survivors, who were spaced out around the large table in the Cabinet Room. The participants shared stories about their experience with the virus that at times contradicted the White House's positive narrative. 

Michigan State Rep. Karen Whitsett said she believes taking hydroxychloroquine, an unproven treatment that Trump has widely touted, aided her recovery. She also told the president she has lost several extended family members to the virus, including one who died after being turned away from numerous hospitals. 

A day earlier, Trump said there was no shortage of hospital beds because of the administration’s response. 

Another participant talked about the struggle to get a test in early March, saying that it took going to the emergency room and saying that he fever and had been to San Francisco for him to able to get a test. Trump said at that time that anyone who wanted a test could get a test.

Number of intensive care patients in France continues to fall

The number of patients in intensive care in France fell for a sixth day in a row Tuesday, with 91 fewer people in intensive care than the day before.

There are currently 6,730 patients in intensive care in France out of 71,903 people hospitalized.

The country has recorded more than 15,000 coronavirus-related deaths since March 1, making it one of the worst hit globally.

French President Emmanuel Macron said Monday evening that while the number of patients in intensive care units was falling, the epidemic was still not under control, as he extended lockdown measures until May 11.

 

Hospital admissions stabilizing in London

The medical director of the National Health Service in England said Tuesday that hospital admissions were “stabilizing and plateauing” in London and other areas. 

In the British government’s daily briefing, Stephen Powis said the benefits of social distancing measures imposed by the government were beginning to manifest in the stabilization of hospital admissions. However, he warned that the number of deaths would be the last figures to level off. 

Meanwhile, U.K. Treasury chief Rishi Sunak addressed a report by the government’s independent economics forecaster published Tuesday that suggested the U.K. economy could shrink by 35 percent in the second quarter of this year and that unemployment could rise by more than 2 million. 

Sunak said it was “just one potential scenario” but added that there would be more “tough times” ahead, warning that the government wouldn’t be able to protect every business and household.

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.