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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

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.

9.2 million workers likely lost health insurance, unemployment claims indicate

A Hillsborough County Library Service employee hands out unemployment paperwork in Tampa, Fla., on April 14, 2020.Chris O'Meara / AP

The number of unemployed Americans continues to climb with another 5 million people filing jobless claims last week, bringing the total number of people applying for unemployment to 22 million in the last month.

But an unsettling undercurrent of that number is the amount of people who are also losing access to health insurance because they lost their job. Approximately 9.2 million workers have likely lost their employer-provided health care coverage in the past four weeks, an analysis from the Economic Policy Institute concluded.   

Two weeks ago, the nonprofit think tank concluded that nearly 3.5 million among the 8.7 million claims  likely lost their employer coverage.  An additional 11.4 million people have since applied for unemployment, with the biggest losses of insurance coming from the health care/social assistance, manufacturing and retail sectors.

NBC News previously reported that states are bracing for an increase in the number of people who have applied for Medicaid, the public health care coverage option, since the coronavirus pandemic caused states to shutter businesses and caused workers to lose access to their insurance.

Trump to announce 'guidelines' for reopening U.S. amid coronavirus pandemic

President Donald Trump leaves the Rose Garden after a coronavirus press briefing on April 15, 2020.Mandel Ngan / AFP - Getty Images

President Donald Trump will announce his framework for reopening the U.S. on Thursday as governors across the country have begun discussing plans to ease some of the restrictions imposed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

A coordinated pull-back on the social distancing measures that have shuttered businesses across the country would, in effect, reopen parts of the economy.

As of Thursday, more than 32,000 people have died in the U.S. from the coronavirus. In addition, more than 22 million people have filed for unemployment insurance over the last four weeks, as the job market in every sector of the economy continued to be devastated by the pandemic.

Read the full story here. 

More than 80 inmates test positive for coronavirus at Indiana prison

More than 80 inmates have tested positive for cornavirus at an Indiana prison, according to NBC South Bend affiliate WNDU. 

Indiana State Health Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box discussed the growing outbreak at the Westville Correctional Facility in northwest Indiana, saying people in the prison who have tested positive are being isolated.

A man incarcerated in the Indiana prison died of the virus this week, renewing a push by civil liberties groups to release those incarcerated who are at-risk, a move the governor opposes.

Photo: Mother recovering from coronavirus meets son for the first time

Yanira Soriano holds Walter for the first time outside Southside Hospital in Bay Shore, N.Y., on Wednesday. Soriano, who had COVID-19 pneumonia in her third trimester was put on a ventilator before she had an emergency C-section earlier this month.Northwell Health

As baseball plots its return, medical experts weigh in on what's needed

New York Yankees play the Washington Nationals in a Grapefruit League spring training game on March 12, 2020 in West Palm Beach, Fla.Michael Reaves / Getty Images file

One of the nation’s foremost experts on infectious diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci, gave baseball fans hope this week when he said that a season could start amid the coronavirus pandemic if games are played in empty stadiums and players are sequestered in hotels.

“Put (players) in big hotels, wherever you want to play, keep them very well surveilled,” Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said during part of an interview with Peter Hamby on the Snapchat show, "Good Luck America." “Have them tested every single week and make sure they don’t wind up infecting each other or their family, just let them play the season out.”

Read the full story here. 

Ohio to begin reopening on May 1, governor announces

Gov. Mike DeWine announced on Thursday his intention to "start opening Ohio back up," saying the first phase of the planned reopening would begin on May 1. 

DeWine said at a press conference things are "going to be different," according to NBC affiliate WSAZ, with masks and social distancing becoming standard in the workplace.

Dr. Amy Acton with the Ohio Department of Health said, "The path ahead will consist of several phases and there is a lot of things that you can do to help us continue to flatten the curve, such as great hygiene and wearing a face mask while out in public."

As of Thursday afternoon, Ohio reported 8,414 cases 389 deaths due to coronavirus.

Facebook nixes planned events with 50 or more people through June 2021

Facebook is canceling all of its scheduled physical events with 50 or more people through June 2021, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a post Thursday.

"Some of these we will hold as virtual events instead and we'll share more details on that soon," Zuckerberg said in a post on Facebook. "Similarly, we're extending our policy of no business travel through at least June of this year as well."

Zuckerberg also said the "vast majority" of the company's employees would continue to work from home "through at least the end of May."

"A small percent of our critical employees who can't work remotely, like content reviewers working on counter-terrorism or suicide and self-harm prevention, and engineers working on complex hardware, may be able to return sooner, but overall, we don't expect to have everyone back in our offices for some time," he said.

Seven midwestern governors announce pact to plan for reopening their economies

Seven midwestern governors announced Thursday they are forming a regional pact to plan for the reopening of their respective economies.

Those governors include Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, Mike DeWine of Ohio, Tony Evers of Wisconsin, Tim Walz of Minnesota, J.B. Pritzker of Illinois and Andy Beshear of Kentucky. DeWine and Holcomb are Republicans, while the other five are Democrats.

"Our number one priority when analyzing when best to reopen our economy is the health and safety of our citizens," the governors said in a joint statement. "We will make decisions based on facts, science, and recommendations from experts in health care, business, labor, and education."

The governors listed four factors they will consider when determining when to reopen — sustained control in the rate of new infections and hospitalizations, enhanced testing and tracing ability, sufficient capacity in the health care system to handle a resurgence and guidance for best practices for social distancing in the workplace.

The announcement comes after seven governors of northeastern states announced a similar pact earlier this week, as did three states along the Pacific coast. President Donald Trump said earlier this week he is deferring to the governors on reopening plans, though his administration has created working groups to offer guidance and assistance.

New Orleans Jazz Fest fall reschedule date cancelled, next concert to be in 2021

The New Orleans Jazz Fest 2020 announced that its fall reschedule date has been cancelled and the next concert won't occur until 2021.

"With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to evolve unpredictably—and out of an abundance of caution for the health and safety of our community, including musicians, fans, participants, and staff—Jazz Fest 2020 will not occur this fall, as previously announced," the organization said.

The event was originally supposed to begin this April, but it was postponed as COVID-19 rapidly spread throughout Louisiana.

"It takes something truly momentous to interrupt a 50-year New Orleans tradition as special as the Festival, but we feel strongly that the most prudent course right now is to allow more time for the situation to stabilize," the group said. 

White House exploring ways of ramping up coronavirus testing

The White House is exploring ways of dramatically increasing coronavirus testing in the U.S., as President Donald Trump’s aides scramble to put measures in place that might make it feasible for him to meet his goal of reopening the economy in parts of the country by May 1, according to four people familiar with the efforts.

Multiple ideas are under consideration for increasing diagnostic testing and testing for coronavirus antibodies as well as how to target those tests to geographic areas and specific industries to open as much of the economy as possible, these people said.

Read the full story here.

New Jersey schools closed till May 15