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Georgia to reopen businesses Friday as U.S. deaths top 40,000

Here are the latest coronavirus updates from around the globe.
Image: Atlanta Motor Speedway Hosts Food Distribution Event For Those In Need
Volunteers load food into vehicles during a mobile market day at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia on April 17, 2020.Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images

The coronavirus death toll in the U.S. passed 40,000 late Sunday, according to NBC News' tally, and there are nearly 760,000 confirmed cases as of Monday evening.

While some governors pushed back on the Trump administration's claims that states are conducting a "sufficient" level of coronavirus testing, other governors were eager to reopen businesses in their states regardless of testing levels.

Gov. Brian Kemp announced plans to resume many businesses in Georgia this Friday, April 24, and Gov. Bill Lee said a "vast majority" of businesses in Tennessee would reopen by the end of next week.

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

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

This live coverage has ended. Continue reading April 21 coronavirus news.

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1137d ago / 5:05 PM UTC

Video shows endangered penguins roaming streets of South African city

A video that has garnered over 1 million views on social media shows endangered penguins roaming the empty streets of Cape Town, South Africa, during the country's COVID-19 lockdown. They're not the only ones.

1137d ago / 4:57 PM UTC

Single-day death toll in New York drops to 478

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday that an additional 478 people have died due to COVID-19, not including presumed cases, bringing the total number of deaths to 14,347. 

It's the the first time since April 2 that the single-day death toll dropped below 500 people, according to The New York Times.

During his daily news conference, Cuomo also called for a 50 percent pay bonus for first responders as part of a “hazard pay” for their work amid the coronavirus crisis. He also announced a plan to distribute hand sanitizer as well as over 500,000 cloth masks to public housing communities so that each resident has at least one mask.

Cuomo also discussed President Donald Trump's insistence that states are responsible for the widespread testing needed ease lockdown restrictions, saying that he agreed governors should take the lead but stressed the need for the federal government to coordinate around critical lab supplies. 

1137d ago / 4:09 PM UTC

Putin says Russia's peak has yet to come

Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a meeting with epidemiologists Monday that his country has not yet reached the peak of coronavirus infections and deaths.

"Therefore we must do everything to flatten this peak," Putin said. Russia has around 47,000 confirmed cases and more than 400 reported deaths.

Meanwhile, Russia's defense ministry has quarantined 15,000 troops after they took part in rehearsals for the country's now-postponed Victory Day celebrations, which had been scheduled to take place May 9.

Video footage showed the thousands of soldiers in tight formation without masks or other protective equipment. All hardware used in the rehearsals will be sanitized before being returned to its bases, the ministry said.

1137d ago / 4:07 PM UTC

Facebook removes some events calling for protests of stay-at-home orders

Facebook has removed events in a handful of states planning protests against stay-at-home measures meant to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

The events, which were planned in California, Nebraska and New Jersey, violated protective measures imposed by governors, Facebook said.

"Unless government prohibits the event during this time, we allow it to be organized on Facebook,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement. “For this same reason, events that defy government's guidance on social distancing aren’t allowed on Facebook."

The removals were first reported by The Washington Post. Many other protest events remain active on Facebook, with some slated for Monday.

Read the full story here.

1137d ago / 3:59 PM UTC

16-year-old released from hospital after recovering from COVID-19

Karla Duarte, 16, was released from Cohen Children’s Medical Center after a nearly month-long battle with COVID-19, the disease caused by coronavirus. She was hospitalized on March 29 after experiencing symptoms for about a week and was intubated on April 2 after her condition worsened, according to Northwell Health. 

On April 4, Duarte was put on a VV ECMO machine, which is an invasive therapy where blood is removed from the body, passed through an artificial lung to remove carbon dioxide and add oxygen and then returned to the body. According to Northwell Health, this is the first time this treatment has been used on a minor on a ventilator for COVID-19 at Cohen Children’s Medical Center. 

Miraculously, the treatment was successful. Duarte was removed from ECMO on April 10 and extubated on April 15. She continued to quickly recover and was released from the hospital on April 19.

Karla Duarte, 16, was released from Cohen Children's Medical Center in Queens, N.Y. after recovering from COVID-19.
Karla Duarte, 16, was released from Cohen Children's Medical Center in Queens, N.Y. after recovering from COVID-19.Northwell Health

“Her successful treatment and use of ECMO would not have been possible without the extraordinary multidisciplinary effort by the entire Cohen Children’s team, including PICU nurses and physicians, ECMO nurse specialists, perfusionists, and surgeons,” said Dr. James Schneider in a statement released by Northwell Health.

1137d ago / 3:27 PM UTC
1137d ago / 3:01 PM UTC
1137d ago / 2:53 PM UTC

Travel restrictions to Mexico and Canada extended

The Department of Homeland Security announced Monday that it would continue its travel restrictions with Canada and Mexico for another 30 days. 

“In close collaboration, the US, Mexico, and Canada have each agreed to extend restrictions on non-essential travel across their shared borders for 30 additional days," Acting Secretary Chad Wolf said in a statement. "As President Trump stated last week, border control, travel restrictions and other limitations remain critical to slowing the spread and allowing the phased opening of the country.”

The U.S. and Canada announced on March 18 that they were limiting travel for nonessential traffic, with the U.S. making a similar announcement about travel to Mexico two days later.

1137d ago / 2:25 PM UTC

NYC LGBTQ Pride March canceled for first time in half-century

The NYC Pride March has been canceled for the first time in a half-century, along with all in-person events leading up to the annual June event, which draws millions of participants and revelers every year.

Heritage of Pride, the organization that runs the march, made the announcement on Monday, shortly after New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio announced the cancellation of all large event permits for the month of June during a coronavirus briefing.

“This probably will not surprise you,” De Blasio said, before announcing the cancellation of June's Celebrate Israel, Puerto Rican Day and LGBTQ pride parades. The mayor promised these events would go on in some format "when it's the right time."

Read the full story here.

1137d ago / 2:20 PM UTC

Photo: A moment of silence in Madrid

Image: Health care workers observe a moment of silence on Monday to remember Joaquin Diaz, the chief of surgery at Madrid's La Paz hospital, who died of COVID-19.
Health care workers observe a moment of silence on Monday to remember Joaquin Diaz, the chief of surgery at Madrid's La Paz hospital, who died of COVID-19.Manu Fernandez / AP
1138d ago / 2:10 PM UTC

Mayor Bill de Blasio says New York City is in desperate need of surgical gowns

Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday that New York City is in desperate need of surgical gowns.

De Blasio said the city did not have enough gowns to get through the week. 

"I am making an appeal to the federal government," de Blasio said at a news conference. "We need more surgical gowns in New York City and we need them now."

The mayor credited White House trade adviser Peter Navarro who is now coordinating the country's medical supply chain with providing the city 265,000 Tyvek suits and enough waterproof fabric to make 400,000 gowns.

1138d ago / 1:54 PM UTC

Congressional leaders, Trump administration near deal on interim coronavirus aid bill

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Congressional leaders and the Trump administration are nearing an agreement on an interim coronavirus aid bill to further help small businesses and hospitals across the country.

The deal is expected to include $310 billion more for the federal government’s new Paycheck Protection Program, which was created in the last major relief package to help small businesses survive amid the coronavirus outbreak and ran out of funding last week. The interim measure is also expected to provide $75 billion more for hospitals and possibly $25 billion for testing.

Despite calls from governors, including New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, for funding to directly assist state and local governments, the legislation would exclude that money as well as funding for food stamps — Democratic priorities that Republicans argue can be negotiated in the next relief bill expected in the coming weeks.

Read the full story here.

1138d ago / 1:14 PM UTC

Broadway star Nick Cordero's wife on his coronavirus leg amputation: 'It was life or leg'

The wife of Broadway star Nick Cordero has opened up about the surgery to have his right leg amputated two days ago as he remains in a medically induced coma battling coronavirus.

"It came down to a point where honestly it was life or leg, and we had to choose life,'' Amanda Kloots said on the "TODAY" show Monday. "I choose life."

Cordero, 41, had his leg amputated on Saturday at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles after he struggled with blood clots while on a ventilator and an ECMO machine, which helps oxygenate the blood.

"They put the ECMO machine in him to save his life," Kloots said. "It was literally to save his life, and it did, thank God. And sometimes the repercussion of putting that machine on can cause some blood issues, and it did with his leg."

Read the full story here.

1138d ago / 12:33 PM UTC

Ex-FDA chief says U.S. likely won't have broad-based coronavirus testing until September

Former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said Monday that the U.S. likely won’t have broad-based testing for the coronavirus in place until September.

“We're not going to be there. We're not going to be there in May, we're not going to be there in June, hopefully we'll be there by September,” Gottlieb said in an interview on NBC’s “Today” show.

Gottlieb said some states that haven’t been hit hard by the coronavirus are ready to begin reopening slowly in the beginning of May.

As other states reopen, he said that the U.S. won’t have the optimal amount of testing and contact tracing in place to “to do the work of tracking down everyone who is sick, or who might have been in contact with people who [are] sick.”

Read the full story here.

1138d ago / 12:27 PM UTC

China denies coronavirus originated from Wuhan lab

Chinese officials on Monday spoke out against President Donald Trump's remarks about suspicions that the coronavirus outbreak originated from a laboratory in the city of Wuhan

Media reports last week, which have not been verified by NBC News, suggested the outbreak could have been caused by a naturally occurring virus transmitted to a lab staffer by mistake. In response, Trump had mused "a lot of strange things are happening" regarding the origins of the disease.

But China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said at a press conference that such remarks are irresponsible, spread conspiracy theories and politicize the crisis. He added that the Wuhan Institute of Virology has strict management systems and there is no evidence nor logic to suggest it caused the outbreak. 

1138d ago / 11:53 AM UTC

Coronavirus batters the Navajo Nation, and it's about to get worse

On March 17, when the Navajo Nation saw its first COVID-19 case, the reservation's limited health facilities sprang into action.

"We basically changed our hospital from an acute care hospital and an ambulatory care clinic to one that could take care of respiratory care patients," said Dr. Diana Hu, a pediatrician at one of the reservation hospitals. "And that transition happened over a period of about seven days."

It didn't take long for one case to turn into two, and then 20. As of Monday, the Navajo Nation, which sprawls across three states, had 1,197 positive coronavirus cases. It has a per capita infection rate 10 times higher than that of neighboring Arizona and the third-highest infection rate in the country behind those of New York and New Jersey. Forty-four people have died, more than in 14 other states.

Read the full story here.

1138d ago / 11:44 AM UTC

In rare message, Queen Elizabeth II's husband thanks coronavirus workers

1138d ago / 11:32 AM UTC

Iran begins to loosen lockdown restrictions

Image: Cars pack streets in the Iranian capital, Tehran, on Saturday after authorities eased lockdown restrictions
Cars pack streets in the Iranian capital, Tehran, on Saturday after authorities eased lockdown restrictions.Atta Kenare / AFP - Getty Images

Iran has begun to lift some of its lockdown restrictions with some shops and inter-city roads opening.

Travel between provinces had been restricted for close to a month but was permitted again from Monday. Traffic in the capital, Tehran, was also visible as residents were told to use their own cars instead of public transport.

Malls and bazaars were permitted to open from Monday, but needed to close by 6 p.m. Businesses where it is believed that coronavirus could spread more easily, such as gyms, barbershops, amusement parks, coffee shops and restaurants will remain closed, with a decision on when they could open expected later this week.

1138d ago / 11:23 AM UTC

UAE pledges 10 million meals for those affected by virus

The United Arab Emirates pledged to provide 10 million food parcels and meals to communities badly affected by the coronavirus crisis, Vice President Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum said on Twitter.

The Gulf state has nearly 7,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and 41 deaths to date, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University. It is the second worst affected country in the region with only its much-larger neighbor, Saudi Arabia, reporting more cases.

The UAE also threatened to review labour ties with countries refusing to repatriate migrant workers. Often from countries like India, Pakistan and Nepal, migrant workers in the UAE form the backbone of the construction industry and often live in cramped, overcrowded accommodation.

1138d ago / 11:00 AM UTC

House members may need to return to D.C. for vote on coronavirus aid this week

Members of the House might need to return to Washington this week to vote on an interim coronavirus package to aid small businesses and hospitals. 

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., sent out guidance to lawmakers Sunday saying that the House could meet as early as 10 a.m. on Wednesday to consider the legislation. Negotiators said over the weekend that they were nearing an agreement on the bill. 

"Members will be given sufficient notice about the exact timing of any votes and when they will need to return to Washington, DC," the guidance said. 

Lawmakers have been home in their districts during the coronavirus outbreak, but will need to travel for the vote because there are no remote voting capabilities in place.

1138d ago / 10:56 AM UTC

1138d ago / 10:46 AM UTC

Signs mount that Russian lockdown will be extended past April 30

Russia’s lockdown looks likely to continue past the current end date of April 30, after President Valdimir Putin signed an order on Saturday extending all visas and work permits for foreign citizens until June 15 if they expire while restrictions are in place.

Another sign that the lockdown would likely stay in place past April came from the Moscow mayor’s office one week ago, when city hall unveiled an electronic pass system regulating movement throughout the city. It is unlikely such a complex system would be unveiled to be used for just two weeks. Moscow’s mayor has said that Russia was nowhere near its peak, while other officials last week predicted peak was at least two to three weeks away.

The country on Monday reported 4,268 new confirmed cases of coronavirus and 44 deaths, bringing the total to 47,121 cases and 405 fatalities, according to the Coronavirus Crisis Response Center.

1138d ago / 10:12 AM UTC

Smaller shops in Germany begin to reopen as lockdown eases

Image: A florist in Dinslaken, Germany sets up her shop as the country eased some restrictions it put in place during the coronavirus.
A florist in Dinslaken, Germany sets up her shop as the country eased some restrictions it put in place during the coronavirus.Lars Baron / Getty Images

Smaller shops in Germany began to reopen on Monday as the country eased some of the restrictions it put in place to tackle the spread of coronavirus. Stores allowed to reopen include bookstores, bicycle shops and car dealerships, but the businesses need to observe social distancing and hygiene requirements.

"We are not expecting a huge rush of clients," the head of the German Retailers Association, Stefan Genth, told broadcaster ZDF, NBC News' partner in Germany. "We want a partial return to normality, but we know that we still need these tough regulations."

Meanwhile, the eastern German state of Saxony announced that face masks would mandatory for shopping and travel on public transport starting Monday.

1138d ago / 9:29 AM UTC

Disinfection tunnel in India used to prevent spread of virus

Image: A man drives through a disinfection tunnel outside the local government offices in Faridabad, India on Monday as a preventive measure against coronavirus.
A man drives through a disinfection tunnel outside the local government offices in Faridabad, India on Monday as a preventive measure against coronavirus.Money Sharma / AFP - Getty Images
1138d ago / 8:50 AM UTC

Spain to let young children go outside for first time in weeks

Children aged 12 and under in Spain will next Monday be allowed to leave their homes after five weeks of confinement. But Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez made clear when making the announcement on Saturday that the country's lockdown would otherwise continue until at least May 9.

“These permits for children will be limited in order to avoid new contagions,” he said. “We will progressively lift the confinement during May.”

Spain has enacted one of the strictest lockdowns in Europe and has suffered more than 20,000 coronavirus-related deaths — only Italy and the U.S. have higher death tolls.

1138d ago / 8:27 AM UTC

1138d ago / 8:23 AM UTC

UNICEF seeks more aid for at-risk kids in the Middle East

The U.N. children’s agency appealed Monday for an additional $92.4 million to help fight the coronavirus pandemic in the Middle East and North Africa, a conflict-battered region with the highest number of children in need anywhere.

Yemen is a top concern, said Ted Chaiban, the regional chief of UNICEF. After five years of civil war, half the health centers in Yemen no longer operate. Two million children are malnourished, including 400,000 who suffer from severe acute malnutrition.

“It was already critical to address the needs of children in Yemen. With COVID-19, now you’ve got this extra lawyer of vulnerability,” Chaiban said, adding that the increased funding is needed for a range of programs across the region to soften the blow of the pandemic.

1138d ago / 8:10 AM UTC

1138d ago / 4:33 AM UTC

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.

1138d ago / 3:11 AM UTC

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.

1138d ago / 1:27 AM UTC
1138d ago / 10:00 PM UTC


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."