States react to Trump's plan to reopen U.S. while some hear a call to arms

Here are the latest coronavirus updates from around the world.
Medical workers are seen as they take swab samples from people to be tested for the COVID-19 novel coronavirus in Wuhan, China's central Hubei province on April 16, 2020.Hector Retamal / AFP - Getty Images

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A number of governors said that while they would take President Donald Trump's new guidelines to reopen state economies under consideration, they were wary of moving too fast in the face of unresolved issues like testing shortages.

But some Americans are calling for a quick return to business as normal and marched on state capitols Friday to make their voices heard. Meanwhile, extremists have interpreted Trump's recent tweets to "LIBERATE" certain states as a call to arms.

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 18 coronavirus news here.

Iowa schools will remain closed for rest of academic year

All Iowa schools will remain closed through the end of the academic year, the state's governor announced Friday.

The initial plan was to reopen April 30, with the knowledge that state officials would reassess two weeks out from that date.

"I would like nothing more than to stand before you and say Iowa schools will be open in May," Gov. Kim Reynolds said in a news conference Friday. "I regret to say that Iowa schools will not reopen for this school year."

4 Georgia poultry workers dead from coronavirus, company says

SAVANNAH, Ga. — Four employees of a major poultry producer's operations in rural southwest Georgia have died after becoming infected with the coronavirus, a company spokesman said Friday.

Tyson Foods spokesman Gary Mickelson said three of the employees worked at the company's chicken processing plant in Camilla, while the fourth person worked in a supporting job outside the plant. He declined to say how many workers there have tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the new virus.

Read the full story here.

'Clap for our Carers' in UK prompts backlash over lack of social distancing

People and police who gathered on Westminster Bridge in central London on Thursday as a part of the national "Clap for our Carers" campaign sparked online criticism for a lack of social distancing during their applause. 

Damir Rafi posted a video of the scene to Twitter, writing, “I'm a doctor working at the hospital that's right there. And yes, I was also somewhat perplexed by the lack of social distancing...” The video shows police cars parked on the roadway and people standing shoulder to shoulder on the sidewalk, clapping -- many standing far closer than the two meters (six feet) of separation suggested by the government.

Some Twitter users called the video 'infuriating' whiles others pointed out the irony of clapping for health care workers while also ignoring social distancing recommendations. The U.K. on Thursday extended its lockdown for three more weeks until at least May 7, as concerns grow in Britain that the crisis is far from abating.

How coronavirus could change wedding culture

As the coronavirus pandemic unfolds, the modern wedding industry faces an unprecedented challenge, with brides-to-be, who've already spent thousands on nonrefundable deposits, caught in the crossfire. Yet while many decisions — such as whether the venue will be able to reopen or whether they can secure a marriage license — may ultimately be left out of their hands, many couples are purposefully choosing to downsize their wedding celebrations.

Read the full story here.

Photos: Wild boars patrol Israeli city

Wild boars cross a road in a residential area in Haifa on Thursday. Ronen Zvulun / Reuters

Wild boars, some as bulky as Rottweilers and traveling in family packs, have been trotting through Haifa in increasing numbers. Their once-nocturnal visitations now take place throughout the day, as they root through refuse, spook domestic pets and even block roads.

The visitation, since nationwide lockdowns came into effect this month, has revived debate among residents of the hilly port city as to policy regarding the pests.

"We are scared to go out, even to throw out the garbage. I don't which way the boars will come," Meirav Litani, a music instructor, said as a boar loomed in the distance.

Boars roam next to a residential building in Haifa on Thursday. Ronen Zvulun / Reuters

Von Miller says he was 'shocked' to learn he tested positive

Von Miller, the second NFL player to disclose that he is infected with the coronavirus, said he was shocked when he tested positive.

The superstar Denver Broncos linebacker appeared Friday on the "TODAY" show from his home in Colorado wearing a gray hoodie and eyeglasses.

"It all started with just a simple cough and it got worse," Miller, 31, said.

Read the full story here.

NYC mayor says hotel rooms will be available to help residents isolate, events canceled through May

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio reiterated Friday that he has delegated 11,000 hotel rooms for residents who have the coronavirus but don't have the option to isolate themselves at their homes. 

"Some households can do that more easily than others," he said at a news conference. "There are a lot of people in the city who don't have a choice because they're in a very, very tight circumstance in their home or their apartment." 

The mayor said the hotel rooms will be free of charge for those who need them. According to NBC New York, de Blasio will work with community health centers to identify residents who need the rooms. 

New Yorkers can start moving into them on April 22. 

De Blasio also said Friday that he was canceling all nonessential events for May that were previously given permits. Those include parades, rallies, concerts and other large gatherings.

Medical sites, farmer's markets and meal delivery will not be affected. The mayor said he is having discussions regarding events for June.

Puerto Rico mayors work to fight coronavirus with few tests available

Mayors of towns across Puerto Rico are facing uncertainty as they grapple with the fallout of a botched effort from the island's government to purchase at least one million coronavirus testing kits, worth $38 million, at a time when the U.S. territory has the lowest per-capita testing rate compared to any state.

Read the full story here.

Azar announces new effort to streamline COVID-19 research

The National Institutes of Health is launching a public-private partnership aimed at developing a national strategy to coordinate COVID-19 drug and vaccine research. 

Research for coronavirus therapies and vaccines across the country has been scattered and disconnected, in a number of unrelated clinical trials. The new initiative, called "Accelerating COVID-19 Therapeutic Interventions and Vaccines," or ACTIV, aims to coordinate and streamline these efforts. 

“The ACTIV partnership will bring new levels of coordination and speed to public and private work on therapies and vaccines for COVID-19," HHS Sec. Alex Azar said in a statement Friday. "By bringing together 16 pharmaceutical companies and five government agencies here and abroad, the ACTIV partnership will accelerate the amazing work being done every day by scientists and innovators inside and outside of government." 

The government agencies include HHS’s Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration, and abroad, the European Medicines Agency.