Trump puts onus on governors to reopen, stimulus chaos causes stress

Here are the latest coronavirus updates from around the world.
Image: New York City Fire Department and Emergency Medical Technicians lift a man after moving him from a nursing home into an ambulance
New York City Fire Department and Emergency Medical Technicians lift a man after moving him from a nursing home into an ambulance during an ongoing outbreak of the coronavirus disease in Brooklyn, N.Y., on April 16, 2020.Lucas Jackson / Reuters

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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.

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

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Live coverage has ended. Continue reading April 17 coronavirus news here.

Rats feature prominently in Banksy's lockdown art

Banksy published a series of pictures showing rats causing mayhem during lockdown, with the caption: “My wife hates it when I work from home."

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. . My wife hates it when I work from home.

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The elusive and anonymous England-based street artist published five pictures on his Instagram account on Wednesday showing graffitied rats — which have featured in several of his pieces — stepping on toothpaste, swinging from the mirror and generally wreaking havoc in his bathroom.

NYC medical residents treating coronavirus describe 'living a nightmare'

On the front lines of the coronavirus crisis that has swept through New York City, a medical resident in Brooklyn decided to write about dealing with a historic pandemic at what is an early and critical time in the career of a doctor.

"Throughout these last couple of weeks I've hit a whole range of emotions," the resident, who works at several hospitals in Brooklyn, wrote in text shared with NBC News. "There have been multiple days where I'd come home and just feel … defeated."

"As this is going on, it feels like no matter what you do, what treatment you give, you are slowly watching someone die," the resident wrote in the passage.

Medical residents in New York City described their fears and hopes to NBC News and said they never imagined they would have to bear witness to so much death this early in their careers. 

Read the full story. 

Official 'very skeptical' Oktoberfest will happen this fall

Revelers strain to receive the first 1-liter-mug of beer during the opening weekend of the 2019 Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany.Johannes Simon / Getty Images

The Minister of Bavaria Markus Soder is “very skeptical” that Oktoberfest, the world’s largest beer festival, will happen this fall, he told German public broadcaster BR on Thursday.

He “cannot imagine such a large event at this time,” Soeder said in reference to the coronavirus pandemic.

Oktoberfest is held annually in Bavaria’s capital Munich, with the tradition beginning in 1810.

Organizers said they expected to make a decision on the festival in June at the latest. 

Romaines worth $1 million plowed up after coronavirus lockdown hits demand

'I have to walk my teddy bear': Italians come up with unlikely excuses to defy lockdown

An Italian police officer talks to a driver in Rome on Wednesday, April 8 during the country's lockdown to stop the spread of the coronavirus.Filippo Monteforte / AFP - Getty Images

An empathic woman out of her house to comfort her friend whose chicken had died. A grief-struck man visiting his grandma at the cemetery while the woman is well and alive at home. A woman walking her tortoise in the park.  

In Italy, where the government has enforced some of the most strict lockdown restrictions in the world to curb the spread of the coronavirus, people have come up with some unlikely excuses to get out of the house. 

From the man walking his son’s stuffed animal to the couple candidly admitting that their love couldn’t keep them apart, the stories caught the attention of a Rome-based journalist, Salvatore Dama, who started a daily top-ten list of the most tragicomic reasons Italians found to defy the lockdown. 

His daily Facebook lists, based on local news reports, became so popular that he decided to turn them into an e-book, with proceeds going towards a hospital in Bergamo, one of the hardest-hit cities in Italy.  

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.

Read the full story. 

Germany plans partial reopening of shops and schools

A helper of the German Red Cross, left, takes a smear from a patient in his car during the official opening of a drive-through coronavirus testing center in Dresden on Wednesday. Jens Meyer / AP

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 election officials sort voting papers for ballot counting in the parliamentary elections at a gymnasium in Seoul on Wednesday. Jung Yeon-je / AFP - Getty Images

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.