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

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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:

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

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

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

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

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

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