The number of confirmed coronavirus cases around the world topped 2 million Wednesday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, with more than 143,000 confirmed deaths as of Thursday night.
President Donald Trump unveiled a three-phased plan for reopening the U.S. that puts the onus on state governors for implementing the guidelines, despite earlier assertions that he had "total authority" to direct governors how and when to reopen.
Earlier in the day, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo gave no indication that he would "unpause" the state and extended the stay-at-home order until May 15.
Delays in stimulus payments and difficulty navigating the IRS website have left many cash-strapped Americans anxious as they struggle to pay for their homes or put food on the table.
In Europe, Germany became the latest nation to commit to cautiously reopening some businesses despite keeping a wider lockdown in place.
- 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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The number of reported coronavirus deaths in long-term care facilities has more than doubled to 5,670 since last week, according to state health data gathered by NBC News, driven by huge increases in hard-hit states like New York, where more than two percent of nursing home residents have died of the virus.
The death count is based on data from 29 state health departments and includes nursing homes, assisted living and other long-term care facilities. An NBC News investigation published last week found 2,246 deaths associated with long-term care facilities in 24 states.
There are now 3,466 long-term care facilities in 39 states with known coronavirus infections, according to state data – nearly 1,000 more facilities than state officials reported to NBC News last week.
Germany plans partial reopening of shops and schools
Germany will begin to reopen some shops and schools as of next week as it moves to ease lockdown restrictions imposed to stem the spread of the coronavirus epidemic, Chancellor Angela Merkel announced Wednesday.
Merkel said some businesses of up to 800 square meters (8,600 square feet) in size will be allowed to reopen as early as next Monday. Schools are set to reopen after May 3.
“We have achieved something that wasn’t sure at the beginning, that our doctors, our nurses, everybody who’s working in hospitals, have not been overwhelmed,” she said. “Our healthcare system has held up.”
However, Merkel warned that this is a “fragile interim result,” and citizens would have to continue living with the virus until there is a medication, and ideally a vaccine.
South Korea's coronavirus battle propels Moon's party to election win
South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s ruling party won an absolute majority in parliamentary elections, results on Thursday showed, a landslide victory propelled by successes in the country’s efforts to contain the coronavirus epidemic.
The election was watched around the world as one of the first nationwide votes since the pandemic began.
Authorities took stringent safety measures, disinfecting all 14,000 polling stations and requiring voters to wear masks, have their temperatures checked, use hand sanitizer and plastic gloves and maintain a safe distance from others.
Driven by record high participation in early voting over the weekend, turnout was 66.2%, higher than any parliamentary elections held since 1992, according to the National Election Commission. About 2,800 coronavirus patients were allowed to vote by mail or in person, using special booths, while more than 13,000 in self-quarantine cast their ballots after polls closed.
Trump to virtually convene G7 leaders to discuss pandemic
President Donald Trump will hold a video teleconference with G7 leaders on Thursday to coordinate national responses to the coronavirus pandemic, the White House said on Wednesday.
Trump — who is head of the G7 this year — had planned to hold this year’s summit at the presidential retreat of Camp David, Maryland, in June, but moved it to a virtual setting due to the virus.
Later in the day, Trump will be holding a call with the U.S. Senate and House members and governors, where he is expected to discuss COVID-19 response and economic revival, according to the brief.
The Group of Seven nations includes the United States, France, Britain, Italy, Canada, Japan and Germany — all have been hit hard by the virus.
L.A. Rams' Brian Allen 'on the road to recovery' after testing positive
Los Angeles Rams center Brian Allen tested positive for the coronavirus illness COVID-19 three weeks ago, the team confirmed Wednesday night.
He appears to be the first NFL player confirmed to have tested positive for the illness.
Allen, 24, who was selected in the 2018 NFL draft, earlier in the day told Fox Sports' Jay Glazer that he woke up and couldn't smell anything, lost his sense of taste and had flu-like symptoms.
"He is 'feeling good, he's healthy and he's on the road to recovery,'" the Rams tweeted Wednesday night. That statement is from Rams head coach Sean McVay's comments to Glazer, according to a post on the team's website. McVay said that after the positive test the team shut down its facility immediately.
New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton announced in March that he tested positive for the coronavirus, and at the time he was said to be the first major figure within the league to test positive for the virus.
Students could take SAT at home if schools remain closed
A home version of the SAT college entrance exam is being prepared in case schools remain closed into the fall, College Board officials said Wednesday as they announced the cancellation of June testing.
Instead of a paper-and-pencil test given under proctors’ supervision, the home version would be digital and rely on “remote proctoring.” That could include using the computer’s camera and microphone to monitor movement or talking, College Board President Jeremy Singer said on a conference call with reporters.
The rival ACT also will launch an at-home option in late fall or early winter, the exam’s administrators said Wednesday.
“We would much prefer that schools reopen but we are ready to innovate and deliver in the unlikely case we need to,” College Board Chief Executive David Coleman said.
CNN anchor Chris Cuomo's wife also has coronavirus
CNN anchor Chris Cuomo's wife Cristina also has the coronavirus, he said on his program Wednesday.
Chris Cuomo, 49, announced March 31 that he had tested positive. He has been doing his shows from his basement where he is quarantined.
"It's very rare for a family to be one-and-done," Cuomo said in a discussion with his brother, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. "Cristina now has COVID. She is now positive. And it just breaks my heart."
"It is the one thing I was hoping wouldn't happen, and now it has," the anchor said. Their children are healthy, he tweeted, adding that he can't wait for his fever to end so he can help his wife as she has done for him.
Chris Cuomo earlier this month said that having the illness is "no cakewalk" even for those who don't require hospitalization, that he lost 13 pounds in three days, and he said people should not be nonchalant.