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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Wuhan, where COVID-19 epidemic began, raises death toll by 1,290
The government in the Chinese city of Wuhan added 1,290 people to its COVID-19 death toll, bringing the number of deaths there now to 3,869.
Those deaths initially weren't counted because of overwhelmed medical facilities early in the epidemic and some patients died at home without being treated at hospitals, state media Xinhua reported
There was also belated and mistaken reporting by medical staff amid the height of the epidemic, according to the news agency. Some medical institutions were not linked to an epidemic information network and failed to report data in time, Xinhua said.
Wuhan is the Chinese city where the coronavirus was first detected and where the outbreak that is now a global pandemic began. The new numbers were released by the city's government.
China's National Health Commission had most recently reported 3,342 deaths linked to COVID-19 on the mainland, but that was before the revision in deaths in Wuhan.
Philippine president threatens martial law-style lockdown enforcement
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine president has threatened a martial law-style enforcement of a monthlong lockdown in the main northern region of millions of people as violations soared.
President Rodrigo Duterte said in a late-night televised speech Thursday he would order the military and police to strictly enforce social distancing and curfews if compliance did not improve. Police said they have accosted about 120,000 quarantine violators since last month, including people who engaged in cockfighting and drinking sprees.
“The police and military will enforce social distancing and curfews. They will. It’s like martial law. You choose. I don’t like it,” Duterte said, but added that he may be forced to “if the country gets compromised and you won’t show discipline.”
Duterte, who took office in mid-2016, has been in the crosshairs of human rights groups long before the pandemic started for his bloody anti-drugs crackdown that has left thousands of mostly poor drug suspects dead.
California doctor charged after claiming 'cure' for COVID-19
A San Diego doctor was charged Thursday with mail fraud and accused of trying to sell what he called a cure for the coronavirus illness COVID-19, federal prosecutors said.
There is no cure for the illness. Dr. Jennings Ryan Staley, 44, operates Skinny Beach Med Spa and that spa had been advertising via email "COVID-19 treatment packs" that included the drugs hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin, the U.S. Attorney's Officer for the District of Southern California said.
Staley also allegedly told a purported customer, who was actually an undercover FBI agent, that the drugs were a "miracle cure" that would not only cure COVID-19 "100 percent" but if someone without the illness took them "you’re immune for at least six weeks."
Officials called it a fraudulent claim. Staley allegedly denied in an FBI interview that the spa was claiming the drugs would cure the illness and that "we would never say anything like that."
Online court records did not appear to show the case and whether Staley has an attorney who could speak on his behalf Thursday night. The phone number at the spa says it is closed due to statewide orders on non-essential businesses, and an email sent to a media request account seeking comment was not immediately returned.
CEOs on Trump's council say they weren't aware of plan to reopen economy
Less than 24 hours after having consulted with some of the leading corporate executives in America, President Donald Trump surprised many of them with his action plan to reopen the economy, which he suggested Thursday could begin in some states as soon as "tomorrow."
The new federal guidelines, which hand over authority to state governors to determine when their states will open up for business, came just a day after the rushed coordination of more than 200 executives and thought leaders across a number of industries to counsel the president on how to open the economy.
Many of those CEOs told NBC News that they were not aware Thursday that Trump would issue guidelines later in the day.
Michael Cohen to be released from prison early
Michael Cohen, the former personal lawyer for President Donald Trump, will be released prematurely from his three-year prison sentence because of concerns of the coronavirus continuing to spread among inmates, his lawyer said Thursday night.
Attorney Roger Bennett Adler said that Cohen, 53, will be released May 1 and allowed to serve the rest of his sentence in home confinement. He'll first a two-week quarantine in prison, Adler said.
Cohen was initially set to be released in November 2021.
The Bureau of Prisons has so far released 1,000 inmates nationwide to prevent the development of COVID-19 behind bars.
Boeing to resume plane production in Washington state
Aircraft manufacturer Boeing said Thursday it will resume plane production starting next week at its Washington state facilities in a "phased approach," after operations had been suspended due to the coronavirus epidemic.
Boeing said the resumption at its Puget Sound area facilities will result in around 27,000 people getting back to work. The facilities have extra safeguards in place to protect employees from the coronavirus illness COVID-19, the company said.
Among the safeguards will be staggered shift times to reduce the flow of workers, floor markings to help enforce physical distancing, a requirement that all workers have face coverings, and wellness checks before shifts. Employees who can work from home will continue to do, the company said.
Boeing’s shutdown went into effect March 25 after workers tested positive for the virus and a longtime inspector for the company died, The Associated Press reported. Gov. Jay Inslee at the time praised the company for the shutdown and for continuing to pay workers.
California governor expects $7 billion in virus spending
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California Gov. Gavin Newsom expects to spend up to $7 billion this year battling the coronavirus and the economic disruption it has unleashed, as state budget experts warn lawmakers to prepare for revenue loss akin to the Great Recession.
Newsom has already authorized spending more than $2 billion on things like hotel rooms for the homeless, loans to small businesses and cash payments to adults living in the country illegally who are not eligible for federal stimulus benefits.
The virus’ spread in California has not been as devastating as public health officials had feared, with the growth in hospitalizations slowing as the state has been under a mandatory stay-at-home order for nearly a month that has closed schools and nonessential businesses. But Newsom warned earlier this week that the steady presence of the virus would likely continue to disrupt public life well into the summer and beyond.
Unemployment data reflecting the coronavirus restrictions won’t be available until next month. But Legislative Analyst Gabriel Petek said the number of people who have filed for unemployment benefits — more than 2.7 million as of Wednesday — indicate between 12 percent and 15 percent of Californians have lost their jobs.