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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

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.

956d ago / 2:47 AM UTC

Fauci: 'We are seeing some light at the end of the tunnel'

956d ago / 2:15 AM UTC

Marine barbershops still abuzz with demand for high-and-tight cuts

WASHINGTON — Barbershops at some Marine Corps bases are abuzz with demand for high-and-tight haircuts.

Despite social distancing and other Defense Department policies on coronavirus prevention, Marines are still lining up for the trademark cuts, at times standing only a foot or two apart, with few masks in sight.

On Tuesday, Defense Secretary Mark Esper acknowledged it’s tough to enforce new virus standards with a force of 2.2 million spread out all over the world.

Esper said he provided broad guidance about following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines and other health protections, but added he doesn’t wade into every detail, including whether or not Marines should get haircuts.

According to the Marine Corps, barbershops at many bases are closed, and the standards on hair length have been relaxed. But at other bases, such as the massive Camp Pendleton in California, the cuts continue.

956d ago / 2:04 AM UTC
956d ago / 1:29 AM UTC

Nebraska retail center plans to reopen next week to be '1st shopping center back'

A Nebraska shopping mall with more than 80 stores and restaurants plans to reopen next week.  Nebraska Crossing Outlets in Gretna will have a “soft opening” April 24 and an official “grand opening” by May, the property owner said in a news release.  

“Our global retailers have asked us to take on this role and be the first shopping center back open in the U.S.,” owner Rod Yates said in an email statement to NBC News on Tuesday. “We will walk before we run here, and obviously if you have any underlying health issues, we will encourage shoppers and/or employees to not participate.”

On Tuesday, the nation's top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said that that the country lacked the critical testing and tracing procedures needed to begin reopening the nation’s economy.

As part of the initiative to reopen in the midst of a pandemic, the Nebraska complex will add 200 shields for workers, thermometers for every store to take employees’ temperatures and wipe and hand sanitizer stations, according to the statement. 

There is no shelter-at-home order for Nebraska. Last week, Gov. Pete Ricketts issued an order to close theaters, barbershops, beauty salons, tattoo shops and massage businesses until April 30.

Nebraska Crossing Outlets was never officially completely closed to the public. Some restaurants and stores have been providing curbside pickup. It is unclear how many businesses will participate in the planned reopening.

956d ago / 1:15 AM UTC

Thousands of MLB players, families to participate in coronavirus study

Major League Baseball confirmed Tuesday that 27 teams will participate in a study looking for COVID-19 antibodies among club employees and their relatives.

The Athletic first reported that 10,000 volunteers will participate in the study, which will be conducted with the Sports Medicine Research and Testing Laboratory, Stanford University and the University of Southern California.

The study will aim to measure the prevalence of COVID-19 among people across the United States by testing for a blood protein that the body creates in response to the infection, the Athletic reported.

The Athletic, citing Stanford researcher Jay Bhattacharya, reported that players, families, team staff, concessionaires, ushers and other part-time employees of all ages, backgrounds and genders will participate.

956d ago / 12:59 AM UTC

In show of unity, all New York, New Jersey House members request more coronavirus aid

In a show of unity, the House delegations from both New York and New Jersey, which includes Republicans and Democrats, sent the leadership of each chamber of Congress a letter Tuesday to request urgent funds for their hard-hit states. 

They sent House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., a letter asking for special funding as the two states now have 45 percent of the COVID-19 cases.

The states, however, have only received 9 percent of the $150 billion in funding for states in the coronavirus stimulus relief package because of federal funding allocation guidelines. The delegations are asking for a $40 billion fund to be appropriated based on the percentage of need.

The letter comes as President Donald Trump has clashed with governors over the response to the pandemic and getting access to critical medical supplies and testing. 

956d ago / 11:52 PM UTC

Senate Republicans investigating WHO and China's coronavirus response

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Congressional Republicans are planning their own probe into the coronavirus outbreak – examining how the World Health Organization and Chinese government responded to the pandemic from the onset.

The Senate Homeland Security Committee, led by Chairman Ron Johnson R-Wis., will conduct a “wide-ranging” oversight investigation into the origins of the virus and the WHO’s response to the virus, according to a committee source familiar with the matter.

President Donald Trump announced Tuesday he was halting funding to the organization for having fumbled the response to the pandemic by failing to challenge the Chinese government's early accounts of how the virus was spreading. "The outbreak could have been contained at its source with very little death," Trump said.

Senator Rick Scott, R-Fl., who called for an investigation into the WHO two weeks ago, was tasked by Johnson with taking the lead on that aspect of the probe, a source close to Scott told NBC News.

Click here for the full story. 

956d ago / 11:44 PM UTC

Trump to use his 'total' authority to authorize governors to reopen states

A day after he was roundly criticized for falsely claiming he had "total" authority to reopen the country, President Donald Trump said he'd "be authorizing each individual governor of each individual state to implement a re-opening and a very powerful re-opening plan of their state at a time and in a manner as most appropriate."

"I will be speaking to all 50 governors very shortly," Trump said at a coronavirus news briefing in the Rose Garden.

On Monday evening, Trump insisted to reporters that he has the authority to order states to reopen if he wants, and that the "the president of the United States calls the shots." On Tuesday, Trump said "I'm not going to put any pressure" on any state to reopen before governors feel they're ready. 

He also said some states may be ready to step away from CDC social distancing guidelines, which are supposed to last through the end of the month, before May, and he'd "authorize" them to do so. 

"The day will be very close, because certain states as you know are in a much different condition, much different place than other states. It's going to be very, very close, maybe even before the date of May 1stSo, that will be for some states. Actually, there are over 20 that are an extremely good shape, and we think we will be able to get them open fairly quickly, and then others will follow," Trump said. 

956d ago / 11:40 PM UTC

The number of coronavirus tests plummeted in recent days

The number of coronavirus tests done by private labs has dropped precipitously over the past few days, according to the American Clinical Laboratory Association, even as state and local officials have called for an expansion of testing.

Private labs like Quest Diagnostics and LabCorp perform 85% of the coronavirus tests nationwide.

The total number of tests done per day by private labs hit a peak of 108,000 tests on April 5, but last week’s daily average was 87,000. And the numbers have dropped steadily over the past three days: from 91,000 on Saturday to 75,000 on Sunday to 43,000 on Monday.

The reason for the steep decline wasn’t immediately clear. 

Quest Diagnostics reported a backlog of 150,000 tests last week, but as of Tuesday the backlog has been cleared.  “In recent days, our capacity for COVID-19 diagnostic services has exceeded demand for these services,” said spokesperson Kimberly Gorode.

956d ago / 11:24 PM UTC

3 California churches sue Gov. Gavin Newsom over orders banning gatherings

Image: Gavin Newsom
California Governor Gavin Newsom speaks in front of the hospital ship USNS Mercy after it arrived into the Port of Los Angeles on March 27, 2020.Carolyn Cole / Pool via AFP - Getty Images

Three southern California churches have filed a lawsuit against the state's governor and local officials over orders that ban religious gatherings because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a stay-at-home order on March 19 to help slow the spread of the coronavirus. The order says that residents should stay home, except for essential needs or jobs. It required indoor shopping malls and nonessential retail to close.

Read the full story here. 

956d ago / 10:43 PM UTC

Trump says he'll halt funds to World Health Organization for 'covering up' coronavirus

President Donald Trump on Tuesday announced he is halting funding for the World Health Organization after the organization criticized his early response to the coronavirus epidemic.

Trump accused the WHO of "severely mismanaging and covering up" the coronavirus crisis, specifically the initial outbreak in Wuhan, China. Trump previously threatened to cut off funding after the organization criticized his travel restrictions on China.

Read the full story here. 

956d ago / 10:35 PM UTC

Thousands of health care workers infected with coronavirus, CDC report finds

Image: Nurses stand in a hospital doorway watching a nurses?EUR(TM) protest for personal protective equipment at UCLA Medical Center, as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, in Los Angeles
Nurses stand at UCLA Medical Center as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues in Los Angeles, on April 13, 2020.Lucy Nicholson / Reuters

Between 10 percent and 20 percent of U.S. coronavirus cases are health care workers, though they tended to be hospitalized at lower rates than other patients, officials reported Tuesday.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported the first national data on how the pandemic is hitting doctors, nurses and other health care professionals.

Read the full story here. 

956d ago / 10:11 PM UTC

'Probable' coronavirus deaths in New York City would push toll over 10,000

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The number of "probable" coronavirus deaths in New York City would push its death toll over 10,000, according to NYC Department of Public Health Data obtained by NBC News.

The data showed that the city's 6,589 confirmed coronavirus deaths would jump by 3,778 with "probable" fatalities included, raising the total death toll to 10,367.

The department defines a "probable" victim as someone who had not tested positive, but whose death certificate lists that they were killed by COVID-19, the disease associated with coronavirus.

"We are focused on ensuring that every New Yorker who died because of COVID-19 gets counted," said Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot. "While these data reflect the tragic impact that the virus has had on our city, they will also help us to determine the scale and scope of the epidemic and guide us in our decisions."

She added that as new information becomes available, some deaths previously classified as probable may be reclassified as "laboratory-confirmed.”

956d ago / 9:57 PM UTC

Airlines will get a slice of the $25 billion payroll support program

Image: American Airlines planes parked on a runway after flight reductions in response to the spread of coronavirus at Tulsa International Airport in Oklahoma on March 23, 2020.
American Airlines planes parked on a runway after flight reductions in response to the spread of coronavirus at Tulsa International Airport in Oklahoma on March 23, 2020.Nick Oxford / Reuters

Major U.S. airlines, roiled by the coronavirus pandemic, will be participating in the federal government’s $25 billion Payroll Support Program, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced on Tuesday.

Airlines and the more than 10 million workers that power the industry have taken a hard hit as global travel has come to a standstill with many states and countries enacting stay-at-home orders.

Alaska Airlines, Allegiant Air, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Frontier Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue Airways, United Airlines, SkyWest Airlines, and Southwest Airlines will all take part in the federal program, which is part of the $2 trillion coronavirus rescue package.  

“This is an important CARES Act program that will support American workers and help preserve the strategic importance of the airline industry while allowing for appropriate compensation to the taxpayers," Secretary Mnuchin said in a statement.

956d ago / 9:35 PM UTC

Los Angeles has deadliest day yet during pandemic

Image: FILES-US-HEALTH-VIRUS-MERCY
Sailors transport the first patient aboard the hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) into the casualty receiving area, in Los Angeles on March 29, 2020.Abigayle Lutz / AFP - Getty Images file

At least 40 more Los Angeles County residents have died from causes related to coronavirus, health officials said Tuesday, in what is the area's biggest one-day spike yet.

The death toll from the pandemic had reached 360 as of noon, according to the L.A. County Department of Public Health.

Of the 40 new confirmed fatalities, 25 were older than 65 and nine were between the ages of 41 and 65, according to the agency's daily tally.

956d ago / 9:15 PM UTC

Student sues Liberty University, demands refund due to coronavirus response

Image: US-HEALTH-VIRUS
Students at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, congregate while walking around on March 31, 2020.Amanda Andrade-Rhoades / AFP - Getty Images file

A student at Liberty University — which is under fire for opening its campus during the coronavirus pandemic — filed a class-action lawsuit against against the school, demanding a refund.

The anonymous plaintiff said if the university, established by Moral Majority founder Jerry Fallwell Sr., is to remain open at full cost, then it should also make available its full array of student services, according the federal complaint filed in Lynchburg, Virginia.

"Liberty University is, in a very real sense, profiting from the COVID-19 pandemic," the lawsuit states.

Read the full story here. 

956d ago / 9:00 PM UTC

'Redrawing our floor plans': Newsom lays out framework to reopen California

California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Tuesday revealed a framework to eventually get the state back to work amid the coronavirus pandemic, including temporarily "redrawing our floor plans" in schools and businesses to allow for greater physical distancing.

Newsom did not give a timeframe for easing the state's current lockdown order, however. He laid out several benchmarks the state needs to hit before restrictions could start to be lifted, including enough room in the hospitals to handle another surge of patients, and having enough personal protective equipment available to protect first responders.

Read the full story here.

956d ago / 8:56 PM UTC

44 veterans have died at Massachusetts nursing home, 100 test positive

Image: Holyoke Soldiers' Home
Holyoke Soldiers' Home in Massachusetts.Google Map

There are now 44 residents at the hard hit Holyoke Soldiers’ Home in Massachusetts who have died of coronavirus, and at least 100 others have tested positive, state health officials said. 

The state-run nursing home for veterans in Holyoke, about 90 miles west of Boston, is the subject of multiple investigations, including one by the U.S. attorney’s office in Massachusetts which is trying to determine whether residents were denied adequate medical care.

Members of the National Guard are helping provide care for those at the facility, according to Brooke Karanovich, a spokeswoman from the state's Executive Office of Health and Human Services.

956d ago / 8:32 PM UTC

Horses make window calls during uplifting visit to Indiana nursing home

The "Horses of Hope" are visiting dozens of nursing homes across the country to give residents a fun and unique distraction during social distancing. WNDU's Jack Springgate reports.

956d ago / 7:48 PM UTC

Wealthy, private Florida community testing all residents, staff for antibodies

Image: Storm clouds approach Fisher Island off the coast of Miami Beach in 2017.
Storm clouds approach Fisher Island off the coast of Miami Beach in 2017.Joe Raedle / Getty Images file

All residents and employees of Fisher Island, an affluent, private Florida community are being supplied tests to determine if they have been exposed to the novel coronavirus and developed antibodies to the infection.

"Fisher Island is funding the cost of the testing," which was procured from the University of Miami Health System, a statement from the community, off Miami Beach, said. 

Fisher Island is a "private luxury community ... consistently ranked as one of the wealthiest zip codes in the U.S.," according to the club's website. "The island is home to over 700 prominent families from more than 40 different countries." Condominiums range in price from $2 million to more than $40 million, the site says.

Read the full story here. 

956d ago / 7:43 PM UTC

Justice Department defends Mississippi church against effort to stop service over pandemic concerns

Members Of The Coronavirus Task Force Hold Press Briefing
Attorney General William Barr listens during a coronavirus task force news conference at the White House on April 1, 2020.Oliver Contreras / SIPA/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A small Mississippi Church got some major support Tuesday from the federal government in its lawsuit against the city that tried to shut down a drive-in church service over coronavirus concerns.

The Justice Department intervened in a dispute between Temple Baptist Church and the city of Greenville after police broke up an April 8 service. According to the lawsuit, church members gathered in a parking lot, never got out of their cars, kept their windows rolled up, and listened to Pastor Arthur Scott who spoke over a low-powered FM radio transmitter.

Read the full story here. 

956d ago / 7:11 PM UTC
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956d ago / 7:09 PM UTC

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

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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. 

956d ago / 6:49 PM UTC

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.

956d ago / 6:00 PM UTC

Number of intensive care patients in France continues to fall

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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.

 

956d ago / 5:35 PM UTC

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.

956d ago / 5:24 PM UTC
956d ago / 4:52 PM UTC

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. 

956d ago / 4:42 PM UTC

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."

956d ago / 4:39 PM UTC

Photos: Street life returns to a colorful Wuhan

Image: A man looks over a barricade on a street in Wuhan on April 14, 2020.
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
Image: A boy with a face mask and goggles looks out the window of a passing car in Wuhan on April 14, 2020.
A boy with a face mask and goggles looks out the window of a passing car.Aly Song / Reuters
Image: People gather near a shopping area as the city of Wuhan springs back to life on Tuesday.
People gather near a shopping area as the city of Wuhan springs back to life.Aly Song / Reuters
956d ago / 4:33 PM UTC

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.

956d ago / 4:19 PM UTC
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956d ago / 3:58 PM UTC

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."

 

 

956d ago / 3:44 PM UTC

Photo: Masked toys help raise funds for medical staff

Image: Efko-karton
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
956d ago / 3:21 PM UTC

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.

956d ago / 3:19 PM UTC

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.

956d ago / 2:52 PM UTC

'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.

956d ago / 2:07 PM UTC

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.

956d ago / 1:57 PM UTC

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.

956d ago / 1:41 PM UTC

'It's taking us out': Oprah stresses seriousness of coronavirus on black community

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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.

Read the full story here.

956d ago / 1:19 PM UTC

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.

Read the full story here.

956d ago / 12:57 PM UTC

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. 

956d ago / 12:41 PM UTC

Italians cautious as virus lockdown is eased

Image: The outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Rome
An employee of a children's clothes store in Rome, Italy, arranges products after its reopening on Tuesday.Yara Nardi / Reuters

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.”

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956d ago / 12:34 PM UTC

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.

956d ago / 12:28 PM UTC
956d ago / 12:26 PM UTC
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956d ago / 12:01 PM UTC

Millions of pints of beer could be poured down the drain in the U.K.

An estimated 51 million pints of beer, cider and lager are at risk of getting thrown away in the U.K. as a result of the coronavirus lockdown, according to a British consumer organization.

Tens of millions of pints had already been delivered and were waiting in cellars to be poured when the crisis hit, but their short shelf life — only six to eight weeks for ale and three to four months for lager — means that much of that stock will go to waste, the Campaign for Real Ale said. Around 39,000 pubs have closed their doors during the crisis.

“A number of pubs, clubs, breweries and cideries are trying to stay afloat by offering delivery or takeaway services during this time. Although this isn’t a viable option for all, we’re doing our best to support those that have decided to continue serving the community during this troubled time,” said CAMRA’s Chief Executive Tom Stainer.

956d ago / 11:45 AM UTC

Austria begins lifting coronavirus restrictions as shops open

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Austria began lifting its coronavirus restrictions on Tuesday, with shops now allowed to open for the first time since its lockdown began in mid-March. However, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz urged people to continue wearing masks and working from home to keep infections at bay.

Officials will start looking this week at how sports and cultural events can reopen in the coming months, he said. The country has recorded 368 deaths from the virus.

“Our approach in the coming months will be clear: as much freedom as possible, as much restriction as necessary. Should the numbers develop in the wrong direction, we will pull the emergency brake that we have provided for the case,” said Kurz on Twitter.

956d ago / 11:33 AM UTC

JPMorgan posts 69 percent drop in first quarter profit as customers extend their credit lines

JPMorgan Chase, the world's biggest bank by revenue, posted a 69 percent drop in first quarter profit, in earnings released Tuesday.

The bank, which reported profit of $2.87 billion, is the first major U.S. bank to report earnings amid the coronavirus pandemic. Wells Fargo, Citigroup, and Bank of America are among those also set to report their quarterly earnings this week.

The viral outbreak has hammered banks, as social distancing measures have kept millions of working Americans at home and led to more than 16 million filing for unemployment benefits. That has meant affected companies and individuals have all reached out to extend their credit lines.

JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon said in a statement that the bank had "performed well in what was a very tough and unique operating environment," but said it was expecting "a fairly severe recession."

The bank added $6.8 billion to its credit reserves, more than double what analysts predicted, a sign that it is expecting customers to default on a massive number of loans, from credit cards to mortgages.

956d ago / 11:06 AM UTC

European data shows huge number of coronavirus deaths in nursing homes

Deaths from coronavirus in England and Wales in nursing homes and hospices may be higher than previous figures have suggested, data from the Office for National Statistics showed on Tuesday. 

England and Wales reported 16,387 deaths in the week ending April 3, according to official data, 15 percent higher than previously recorded. Although 90 percent of coronavirus deaths occurred in hospitals, about 10 percent of people died in nursing homes and hospices, the report found.

Data collected from other European countries including Spain, France and Belgium, by the London School of Economics, also appeared to show that around half of coronavirus deaths were happening in nursing homes, sparking concern that such deaths are being left out of official death tolls.