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Europe crosses 100,000 deaths as some U.S. cities protest to end lockdowns

Here are the latest coronavirus updates from around the globe.
Image: Residents protest lockdown orders in Encinitas, Calif., on April 19, 2020.
Residents protest lockdown orders in Encinitas, Calif., on Sunday.Mike Blake / Reuters

Europe surpassed 100,000 coronavirus deaths across the continent on Sunday, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally. Italy continues to hold the highest European death toll, followed by Spain, France and the United Kingdom.

Meantime, in the United States, governors across the country criticized President Donald Trump's expression of solidarity with those protesting various state-issued stay-at-home orders, saying his comments are "dangerous" and "don't make any sense."

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

Download the NBC News app for latest updates on the coronavirus outbreak.

This live coverage has ended. Continue reading April 20 coronavirus news.

Oil plunges to just $1.38 a barrel

U.S. crude prices plunged to their lowest level in history as traders continue to fret over a slump in demand due to the coronavirus pandemic.

West Texas Intermediate crude for May delivery tanked by 92 percent, to just $1.38 per barrel, its lowest level on record. 

With demand at near-paralysis due to social distancing lockdowns across the world, oil and fuel tanks are close to brimming. There’s little demand for gasoline from refineries, and storage tanks in the U.S. are nearing their limits.

“The U.S. situation is quite dire,” Daniel Hynes, senior commodity strategist at ANZ, told CNBC on Monday.

Shake Shack to return $10 million in small-business loan money

Shake Shack
Shake Shack founder Danny Meyer and CEO Randy Garutti announced just before midnight Sunday that the company had been able to access additional capital needed "to ensure our long term stability" and would return the $10 million it was granted through the CARES Act.John Locher / AP

Shake Shack, one of several large restaurant chains that secured federal loans through the coronavirus stimulus law meant to help small businesses, said Sunday night that it is giving all $10 million back.

The New York-based hipster-favorite burger company is among more than a dozen companies with revenues in the hundreds of millions that are reported to have received money from the Paycheck Protection Program, or PPP, which set aside $349 billion in the stimulus law called the CARES Act to help small businesses keep their workers on the payroll.

Less than two weeks after it started, the program has already run out of money.

In a statement Sunday night on LinkedIn, Danny Meyer, Shake Shack's founder and CEO of its parent company, CEO Union Square Hospitality Group, and Randy Garutti, Shake Shack's CEO, said they had no idea the money would dry up so quickly, and after they were able to secure separate funding last week, "we've decided to immediately return the entire $10 million" so restaurants that "need it most can get it now."

Read the full story.

Nursing home transparency rules announced

The federal agency that oversees nursing homes announced new transparency measures Sunday requiring the disclosure of coronavirus cases to patients' families and public health officials.

Speaking at a White House briefing, Seema Verma, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, called the new policies "important" and said they will support a nationwide effort to track the virus and slow its spread.

"As we reopen the United States, our surveillance effort around the virus will begin in nursing homes," Verma said.

Read the full story.

Las Vegas Strip could reopen next month with extensive safety measures, Wynn Resorts CEO says

Wynn Resorts CEO Matt Maddox said Sunday that the Las Vegas Strip could reopen late next month with extensive safety measures in place, including thermal cameras and social distancing requirements at the company’s hotels.

In a report published on the company’s website, Maddox said parts of the state’s economy could reopen earlier in May with reduced occupancy, mask requirements, temperature checks and a ban on large gatherings.

If virus-related benchmarks like increased testing capacity are met, he said, the Las Vegas Strip could potentially reopen in mid to late May.

“I understand that if we incrementally reopen, we might have to pull back if a spike in cases occurs that jeopardizes our healthcare system capacity,” he said. “However, the only way to cross this river is one stone at a time.”

David Bowie bassist Matthew Seligman dies of virus complications at 64

Matthew Seligman, who played bass for David Bowie, died of coronavirus complications on Friday. He was 64.

His longtime friend and fellow musician Thomas Dolby shared details about Seligman's death in a Facebook post, saying he suffered a severe hemorrhagic stroke on Friday. He had also been in an induced coma for two weeks after testing positive for coronavirus in St. George's University Hospital in London.

Dolby posted a photo of Seligman with lyrics from his song "I Love You Goodbye."

Seligman joined Bowie during his 1985 Live Aid performance and played bass on the soundtrack for his 1986 film "Labyrinth." He was also a member of the '70s rock band the Soft Boys.

 

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Reese Loggins, a 10-year-old boy from High Point, North Carolina, who's battling leukemia at Duke University Hospital, looked outside his window and found a surprise birthday gift hanging in mid-air.

Because of visiting restrictions and social distancing guidelines, his parents wanted to make the day extra special for Reese. It was the second birthday he would spend in the hospital.

“It’s been really tough,” said his mother, Michelle Loggins. “The closer his birthday got, the more he was talking about biking, how much he misses biking around.” 

The morning of Reese's birthday last Wednesday, construction crews used a crane to lift a bicycle gift up to his fifth-floor window, sang "Happy Birthday" and displayed a banner atop a nearby building that read, "Happy 10th Birthday Reese.” Then nurses and other staff entered Reese’s room and sang "Happy birthday." 

Coronavirus cases in Peru top 15,000, second highest in Latin America

LIMA — Peru reported over 15,000 cases of coronavirus Sunday, the second-highest tally in Latin America, as the disease continues to ravage the economy of the world's No. 2 copper producer.

The crisis has paralyzed Peru and left millions without jobs. The central bank has said the economy had been "severely affected" temporarily by simultaneous supply and demand shocks.

Peru recorded its first coronavirus case on March 6 and took 25 days to reach 1,000 cases. It took only 14 more days to reach 10,000 cases on April 14, according to a Reuters tally. Peru has reported a total of 15,628 cases and 400 deaths, the health ministry said.

In Latin America, only Brazil has more cases.

Photo: The scene at Coney Island

Image: A person walks along the sand at the empty Coney Island beach in Brooklyn, N.Y., on April 19, 2020.
A person walks along the sand at the empty Coney Island beach in Brooklyn, N.Y., on Sunday.Andrew Kelly / Reuters

Broadway star Nick Cordero has leg amputated

Tony Award-nominated actor Nick Cordero has had his his right leg amputated after suffering complications from the coronavirus, his wife says.

Amanda Kloots on Instagram wrote late Saturday that Cordero “made it out of surgery alive and is headed to his room to rest and recover.”

Cordero had been treated with blood thinners to help with clotting in his leg, but his doctors had to stop the treatment because it was causing internal bleeding.

Kloots on Sunday posted an Instagram promising that the couple "WILL dance again."

Governors decry Trump support of coronavirus protesters: 'Dangerous'

Image: A man waves an American flag during a rally against California's stay at home orders in San Diego on April 18, 2020.
A man waves an American flag during a rally against California's stay at home orders in San Diego on April 18, 2020.Ariana Drehsler / AFP - Getty Images

Governors across the country on Sunday criticized President Donald Trump's expression of solidarity with those protesting various state-issued stay-at-home orders, saying his comments are "dangerous" and "don't make any sense."

"I don't know any other way to characterize it, when we have an order from governors, both Republicans and Democrats, that basically are designed to protect people's health, literally their lives, to have a president of the United States basically encourage insubordination, to encourage illegal activity," Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, a Democrat, told ABC's "This Week."

He added, "To have an American president to encourage people to violate the law, I can't remember any time during my time in America where we have seen such a thing."

Inslee said Trump's comments were "dangerous" because they "can inspire people to ignore things that actually can save their lives."

Read the full story here. 

Belarusians flock to churches for Easter, defying calls to stay home

Thousands of Belarusians converged on churches across the country on Sunday to celebrate Orthodox Easter, ignoring calls from health authorities and church leaders to stay at home to prevent the infection spread.

As priests in many eastern European countries have planned to conduct services in empty churches over the Easter weekend observed by Orthodox Christians, Belarus is one of very few countries that has not imposed lockdown measures. State media ridicule fears over the coronavirus, while the country's president calls fears around it "mass psychosis."

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said on Sunday that the authorities' strategy was correct. "You know my position: we survive these viruses every year," he said. The health ministry said on Sunday that 47 people died of the virus and has reported 4,779 cases.

In contrast, neighboring Ukraine effectively banned the general public from church services by stipulating that only 10 people were allowed to be present at a service. The government has also repeatedly urged people to stay at home. Ukraine reported 5,449 cases of coronavirus as of April 19, including 141 deaths.

Photos: A birthday in Brooklyn

Image: Doug Hassebroek picks up balloons for his son's birthday in Brooklyn, N.Y., on April 18, 2020.
Doug Hassebroek picks up balloons for his son's birthday in Brooklyn, N.Y., on Saturday. Caitlin Ochs / Reuters
Image: Felix Hassebroek jumps on the couch with his sister, Jane, while celebrating his birthday at their Brooklyn home.
Felix Hassebroek jumps on the couch with his sister, Jane, while celebrating his birthday at their Brooklyn home.Caitlin Ochs / Reuters

Top Democrats, Mnuchin say they're close to deal for small business loan program funding

Top Democrats and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said they were close to an agreement to refund the small business loan program created in the prior coronavirus aid package.

A senior Democratic aide told NBC News on Saturday that Democrats proposed a deal to Mnuchin that, in addition to refunding the program, includes cash for testing and hospitals, as well as $150 billion in funding for state and local governments.

"I think we're making a lot of progress," Mnuchin told CNN on Sunday, adding he's "hopeful that we can reach an agreement, that the Senate can pass this tomorrow, and that the House can take it up on Tuesday, and, Wednesday, we'd be back up and running."

"I think we're very close to a deal today," he added.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., told CNN that he was "very hopeful we could come to an agreement tonight or early tomorrow morning. You have got a lot of details, a lot of dotted I's and crossed T's. But I am very, very hopeful."

Pelosi told ABC on Sunday that an agreement was "close" and that both sides "have common ground."

The negotiations come after one of the main coronavirus relief fund sources for suffering small businesses hit its $350 billion limit on Thursday and is no longer accepting any more lenders or applications. Republicans and the Trump administration have pushed for a clean bill providing additional funds to the program, while Democrats have sought to include additional aid provisions.

Cuomo shuts down coronavirus hoax theories: 'Facts are facts'

During a press conference, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo shuts down conspiracy theories surrounding the coronavirus, and says "facts are facts."

Sweden's Princess Sofia joins medical volunteers on frontlines against pandemic

Sweden's 35-year-old Princess Sofia has begun working at Sophiahemmet Hospital in Stockholm, the country's royal court said, to provide relief during the coronavirus outbreak.

The former model-turned-royal underwent a three-day training course and will help staff fight the pandemic in the Scandinavian country. 

'Absolutely false': Governors cry foul on Trump testing claims

Image: Virginia Governor Ralph Northam holds a press conference on March 23, 2020.
Virginia Governor Ralph Northam holds a press conference on March 23, 2020.Dean Hoffmeyer / Richmond Times-Dispatch via AP file

Governors across the country on Sunday pushed back on the Trump administration's claims that states are conducting a "sufficient" level of coronavirus testing.

Speaking with CNN's "State of the Union," Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, a Democrat, said it was "delusional" to suggest the states have enough tests to soon begin reopening their economies.

"That's just delusional to be making statements like that," Northam said. 

Read the full story here. 

Mayor Bill de Blasio to Trump: 'Are you telling New York City to drop dead?'

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio called on President Donald Trump and Senate Republicans to provide greater help to the city in any new federal stimulus funding

Trump needs to "step up" to help protect his home town, de Blasio said during a press conference Sunday. 

"My question is, Mr. President, are you going to save New York City or are you telling New York City to drop dead?"  

New York City's numbers in the past 24 hours were a mixed bag, according to the mayor.

While coronavirus admissions to hospitals went up from 261 to 317, the number of patients in intensive care units went down. The number of positive test results also went down citywide, from 42 percent to 38 percent. 

Costume designers make scrubs for 'superheroes' battling coronavirus

Image: The spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Mickleton
Dulcie Scott works from home packing and organizing scrubs to be made and then distributed.Eddie Keogh / Reuters

From Downton Abbey to Game of Thrones, Star Wars and Batman, their artistry has enthralled millions. But now a group of British costume designers are fulfilling an altogether different public service: making scrubs for medics on the front line of the coronavirus fight.

Working from makeshift studios in homes across the country, hundreds of people from the arts are plugging the gaps in overburdened supply chains, churning out high-quality clinical attire for the doctors and nurses battling COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.

The initiative — dubbed #HelpingDressMedics by organizer Dulcie Scott — started as a small-scale operation.

“I thought: ‘There’ll be about 10 of us; we’ll make some scrubs and that’ll be it.’ I got my credit card out and bought 850 worth of fabric,” Scott told NBC News.

Read the full story here.

Booze, pot and online gambling surge as lockdowns continue

Image: Alex Brown delivers a bag for customer, Patty Pappas from The Pottery Cannabis Dispensary, as marijuana deliveries increase amid the spread of coronavirus  in Pacific Palisades
A customer receives a delivery from The Pottery Cannabis Dispensary, as marijuana deliveries increase amid the spread of coronavirus in Los Angeles on April 14, 2020.Lucy Nicholson / Reuters

Locked in and locked down, American consumers are turning more to their favorite “vices.”

With the initial surge of panic buying over, wine and marijuana sales are still way up, presenting an opportunity — and a challenge — for the businesses scrambling to meet the demand spikes and shifts in consumer behavior.

“It’s like New Year’s every day,” said Mark Schwartz, the owner of Little Mo Wine and Spirits in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York, who has seen alcohol sales shoot up fourfold.

Meanwhile, business at Blackbird, Nevada's largest cannabis delivery service, has been up by 800 percent. 

Read the full story here.

Mnuchin says coronavirus checks to be sent 'next week'

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Sunday that paper checks to Americans receiving coronavirus stimulus payments will go out "next week."

In a gaggle with reporters, Mnuchin said he also hoped more Americans would enter their bank account information on the IRS' website to receive direct deposit payments as well.

In an interview Sunday with CNN's "State of the Union," he also said it was his idea to print President Donald Trump's name on the coronavirus checks.

"As it relates to the president's name on it, we could have — the president could have been authorized to sign the checks," Mnuchin said. "That would have slowed things down. We didn't want to do that. We did put the president's name on the check. That was my idea. He is the president, and I think it's a — it's a terrific symbol to the American public."

It won't be a signature, but "President Donald J. Trump" will be printed on the fronts of the checks, a Treasury Department official confirmed to NBC News last week.

Europe reaches grim milestone, surpasses 100,000 coronavirus deaths

Image: The coffins of people who died from coronavirus wait to be transported from Bergamo to Florence for cremation on April 7, 2020.
The coffins of people who died from coronavirus wait to be transported from Bergamo to Florence for cremation on April 7, 2020.Marco Di Lauro / Getty Images file

Europe reached a somber marker on Sunday, surpassing 100,000 coronavirus deaths across the continent, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally.

Italy continued to have the highest European death toll in the pandemic with more than 23,000 deaths as of Sunday, followed by Spain, France and the United Kingdom.

Read the full story here. 

Afghan girls work to turn car parts into ventilators

Somaya Farooqi and four other teenage girls, all members of Afghanistan’s prize-winning girls' robotics team, say they’re on a life-saving mission — to build a ventilator from used car parts and help their war-stricken country battle coronavirus.

“If we even save one life with our device, we will be proud,” said Farooqi, 17.

At the workshop, the team is experimenting with designs, including an open-source blueprint from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The parts being used include the motor of a Toyota windshield wiper, batteries and bag valve masks.

Afghanistan faces the pandemic nearly empty-handed. It has only 400 ventilators for a population of more than 36.6 million. So far, it has reported just over 900 cases, including 30 deaths.

Outbreak hits Indian Country hard, exposing infrastructure disparities

Every third day, someone from Dr. Michelle Tom's family navigates their pickup truck for 14 miles over the pothole-pocked dirt roads of the Navajo Nation to a community center. There, for about $95 a week, her family fills their water tank and hauls it back home to the double-wide trailer she shares with seven relatives in northeastern Arizona.

Or at least that's how Tom was getting water before she had to cut off physical contact with her family because of the coronavirus pandemic that has raged across tribal communities. For now, she is living with a co-worker to maintain her distance and prevent spread.

"I haven't hugged anyone in weeks," said Tom, who spends her days treating COVID-19 patients at the Winslow Indian Health Care Center urgent care in Winslow, Arizona, and on the Navajo reservation.

Tom is one of the few doctors in her Navajo community on the front lines of the pandemic, and she has taken every precaution to try to stay healthy, including buying her own protective suit, goggles and face shield. But long before the virus started threatening her people, she was already facing a different sort of crisis: limited access to running water, a severely understaffed and underfunded health care system and underlying health conditions among her patients.

Read the full story here.

Pray at home during Ramadan, Saudi Arabia's highest religious authority says

Saudi Arabia's highest religious body, the Council of Senior Scholars, urged Muslims worldwide to pray at home during Ramadan if their countries require social distancing, to curb the spread of the coronavirus, state news agency SPA reported on Sunday.

"Muslims shall avoid gatherings, because they are the main cause of the spread of infection...and shall remember that preserving the lives of people is a great act that brings them closer to God," it said in a statement.

The holy fasting month of Ramadan begins later this week. During the month, believers usually break their fast with families and friends and perform an evening prayer in large gatherings at mosques.

The Saudi government in mid-March banned worshippers from performing their five daily prayers inside mosques as part of efforts to limit the spread. The country has reported 8,274 cases and 92 deaths so far, the highest among the six Gulf Arab states.

Italian businesses prepare to reopen after weeks of lockdown

Pakistan to keep mosques open during holy month of Ramadan

Even as Pakistan’s daily confirmed cases inches upward, Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government buckled to pressure on Saturday from religious clerics and refused to order the closure of mosques during Islamic fasting month of Ramadan which begins next week.

Pakistan recorded 7,993 confirmed cases on Sunday, an increase of 514. Sixteen people died of the virus in the last 24 hours bringing the death toll to 159.

Pakistan has been blamed for contributing to the outbreak of the virus in other parts of the world including Gaza after it refused to stop a gathering of tens of thousands of Tableeghi Jamaat (Islamic missionaries) until early March.

While the government agreed to leave the mosques open instead requesting the faithful to practice social distancing, the request is not likely to be followed after several prominent religious clerics called for adherents to pack the mosques.

Israeli government approves plan to ease lockdown restrictions

Israel has approved plans to gradually ease lockdown measures, by letting some businesses reopen and relaxing curbs on movement after a slowdown in infection rates, government officials said Sunday. 

Workplace staffing levels can increase to 30 percent from 15 percent, the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Finance said in a statement. While some shops will be allowed to reopen, malls and large markets will largely remain closed.

In televised remarks on Saturday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel had "succeeded” in combating the pandemic and said that the country has one of the lowest death rates around the world.

Until now, authorities in Israel had steadily tightened a partial lockdown imposed on March 14, shuttering offices, closing schools and ordering people to stay mostly at home. Israel reported at least 160 deaths and nearly 13,300 cases of COVID-19 as of Saturday evening.

Spanish PM to ease confinement of children but extend lockdown

Spain will relax strict measures that have kept children at home since Mar. 14 so that they can “go out on the streets,” the country's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said in a televised briefing on Saturday evening. 

Sanchez said there would be an 12-year-old age limit for the children allowed to go out and that the new measure would begin on Apr. 27.

He also said that he would ask parliament for a 15-day extension until May 9 of the lockdown imposed in one of the world's worst outbreaks, but said the restrictions would generally be more flexible.

"We have left behind the most extreme moments," Sanchez said. But he added: "These achievements are still insufficient and above all fragile. We cannot put them at risk with hasty solutions." While Spain's death toll from the virus rose at a slower pace on Saturday, it has surpassed 20,000 fatalities, the Health Ministry said.

Navajo Nation decrees that protective masks should be worn on reservation

Image: Arizona National Guard
Members of a Arizona National Guard unit load up a helicopter to deliver medical supplies to the remote Navajo Nation town of Kayenta due to the coronavirus in Phoenix last month.Ross D. Franklin / AP

The Navajo Nation has ordered all people on the tribe’s vast reservation to wear protective masks when out in public to help fight the spread of the coronavirus. The Navajo Department of Health issued the emergency health order for the reservation, which includes parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.

The Navajo Nation — which has been hit harder by the coronavirus than any other Native American tribe, reported 1,197 cases as of Saturday, according to Navajo Area Indian Health Service.

Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez said all residents should either buy or make masks to comply with the order.

“Some individuals think we’re using scare tactics or extreme measures, but we are losing lives here on the Navajo Nation, and I’m going to do everything I can to help save lives,” Nez said in a statement Friday.

South Korea records first single digit case increase in two months

South Korea reported eight new cases of coronavirus on Sunday, the first time a daily increase has dropped to a single digit in about two months. 

The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the figures took the country’s total cases to 10,661 with 234 deaths.

The government, however, is still cautious about easing strict social distancing that they believe contributed to the drastic curbing of the infection. South Korea extended its distancing measures for another 15 days on Sunday.

“We must not loosen our guard until the last confirmed patient is recovered,” South Korean President Moon Jae-in said on Sunday, according to the Associated Press. Infections in South Korea has been waning in recent weeks due to an extensive testing campaign and intensive contact tracing.

Japanese government faces complaints after giving out dirty masks

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s unpopular handouts of old-fashioned cloth masks as part of his coronavirus measures faced complaints, as thousands of those sent to pregnant women were dirty.

The health ministry said over the weekend that it has received at least 1,900 cases of the problems reported by 80 municipalities that the masks came with stains, dust and other contamination. The dirty masks were among a half million masks that the government started sending to pregnant women in Japan as a priority last week.

Abe announced a plan on April 1 to mail two cloth masks each to all 50 million households in Japan amid dire shortage of masks. The faulty masks were the latest embarrassment for Abe’s government already criticized for its virus measures inadequate, off-target, too little and too late. The ministry said it has urged mask makers to resolve the contamination problem, while asking municipal officials to visually inspect the masks before mailing them.

Japan's health ministry reported more than 500 new cases on Sunday, bringing the total reported cases to 10,361 and 161 reported deaths. The actual number of infections is believed to be higher as Japan is only just starting to expand its testing capabilities.

Florida officials say 302 long-term care facilities have virus patients

The Florida Department of Health on Saturday night released a list of long-term care facilities that have reported coronavirus patients.

It includes 302 facilities with at least one patient in 45 counties across the state. It was published on the department's website at the behest of Gov. Ron DeSantis, who said Saturday afternoon that 1,627 residents and staff in long-term care facilities tested positive. Health officials said 162 of them have died.

The release of the list represented a change of heart for DeSantis and state officials, who had previously resisted revealing which facilities in a state known for its retirees had been impacted by spread of the virus.

The total number of Florida cases, including 692 nonresidents, was 25,269 Saturday, the health department said.

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Bill Cosby wouldn't survive virus behind bars, spokesman says

A spokesman for Bill Cosby said Saturday the imprisoned comedian and actor will die if he contracts cornavirus in the Pennsylvania correctional facility where he's being held.

Andrew V. Wyatt said in a statement that Cosby, 82, recently had partially blocked arteries, is blind from glaucoma, takes medication for high blood pressure and since fall has had two major surgeries to prevent cardiovascular failure.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf has ordered the Department of Corrections to transfer certain inmates to community corrections facilities or home confinement and, so far, Cosby has not been one of them. There's been one death and 35 total coronavirus cases through Friday at the prison where the performer was being held.

Cosby was convicted in 2018 of aggravated indecent assault against Andrea Constand in 2004. He is serving a sentence of three- to 10-years.

Read the full story.