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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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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.

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. 

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.

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.

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.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.

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.

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.

Photo: A moment of silence in Madrid

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

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.