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Senate passes $484 billion relief bill as U.S. cases top 800,000

Here are the latest coronavirus updates from around the globe.
Volunteers distribute food at an event by Food Share in Doral, Fla.
Volunteers distribute food at an event by Food Share in Doral, Fla., on April 17, 2020.Carmen Sesin / NBC News

The U.S. Senate passed on Tuesday, and President Donald Trump is expected to sign, a nearly $500 billion coronavirus relief bill.

Meanwhile, Trump on Monday said he is suspending immigration in response to the coronavirus pandemic and the "need to protect jobs." White House officials offered few details after the president's Twitter announcement Monday night.

In the South, some governors have begun loosening restrictions put in place to contain the spread of the virus. Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp granted businesses across the state permission to reopen later this week and South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster said that beaches and retail stores can reopen Tuesday.

In Europe, German officials made the difficult decision to cancel the country's world famous Oktoberfest celebration.

As of Tuesday evening, the coronavirus death toll in the U.S. stands at more than 44,000 and there have been more than 802,000 recorded cases of the disease, according to NBC News' count.

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 22 coronavirus news.

Potential coronavirus vaccine in Britain to be trialed on people from Thursday

A potential coronavirus vaccine being developed at the University of Oxford in Britain will be trialed on people starting Thursday, Britain’s Health Secretary Matt Hancock said. 

Hancock said Tuesday two “leading” vaccine developments were taking place in Britain — one at the University of Oxford and another at Imperial College London — as he announced more than $50 million in fresh funding for the trials.

“We have put more money than any other country into the global search for a vaccine,” he said. “Both of these promising projects are making rapid progress and I’ve told the scientists leading them that we will do everything in our power to support.”

Hancock added that at the same time the U.K. will invest in manufacturing capabilities so that if either of these vaccines safely works then they can make it available for the British people “as soon as humanly possible.”

But he warned that “nothing” about the process was certain.

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Nurses hold White House protest over need for protective equipment in coronavirus fight

Their numbers were small, but their message was powerful.

Nearly two dozen nurses from National Nurses United stood in protest outside the White House Tuesday, demanding more Personal Protective Equipment and a codification of protective standards as healthcare workers across the country find themselves underprepared on the frontlines of the coronavirus crisis.

“We’re here because our colleagues are dying,” Erica Jones, a nurse at Washington Hospital Center in D.C., told NBC News. Jones stood silently Tuesday as the names of 50 nurses who died from COVID-19 were read aloud in the shadow of the White House.

Read the full story here.

OPINION: The coronavirus will devastate the South because politicians let poverty to do so first

Though President Donald Trump insists on calling it an “invisible enemy,” COVID-19 is ever before us and the data increasingly make clear that the South will soon become ground zero for coronavirus deaths.

COVID-19, then, is a contrast dye, highlighting the South as the native home of poverty in America.

Read the full opinion piece here.

Gov. Cuomo is questioned sharply on coronavirus response — by his daughters

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday he faced sharp questions — from his own adult daughters — on why he had not looked overseas to buy coronavirus test kits.

Cuomo said his family was watching TV news on Monday night when a story aired on Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, who with help from his wife, just scored 500 test kits from her native South Korea,

"My daughter turns to me and looks at me and says, 'Wow that was really smart,' " said Cuomo, father of three adult daughters. "One of my other daughters, who's a little more pointed in life ... said, 'Why didn't you think of that, Dad? Why didn't you think of buying test kits from South Korea?'"

The New York governor was hammering home his belief that the federal government should take the lead in securing equipment to contain the pandemic, though he heaped praise on his Maryland counterpart: "God bless Larry Hogan; he really thought outside the box." 

German officials cancel Oktoberfest

Germany's famous Oktoberfest, the world's largest beer festival, has been cancelled, Bavarian officials announced Tuesday.

"It hurts, it's such a pity," Minister President Markus Söder of Bavaria, in southern Germany, said in a news conference. "We have agreed that the risk is simply too high."

The festival, planned to begin in late September and last through early October, usually draws around six million visitors from around the world. But Soder said "as long as there is no vaccine, as long as there is no medicine, special care must be taken," adding that the festival could have been a potential "virus hub."

Nearly 800 COVID-19 deaths in Georgia as governor plans to reopen businesses

Georgia reported nearly 20,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and 800 deaths Tuesday — days ahead of Gov. Brian Kemp's planned reopening of many of the state's businesses.

The latest numbers, announced at noon Tuesday, reflect an increase of 482 cases and 24 deaths since the previous update at 7 p.m. Monday. The counties with the most coronavirus cases are Fulton (2,208 cases and 82 deaths), Dekalb (1,534 cases and 29 deaths), and Dougherty (1,446 cases and 103 deaths).

An additional 3,779 remained hospitalized with COVID-19 on Tuesday.

Despite the state's coronavirus death toll continuing to rise, Kemp on Monday announced plans to reopen businesses such as gyms, barber shops, and bowling alleys. Kemp's decision was criticized by many state and local leaders.

“There's nothing about this that makes sense," Stacey Abrams said in an interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” "The mayors of Atlanta, Albany and Savannah have all questioned the wisdom of doing this. And the fact is the governor didn't consult with mayors before making this decision.”

Does Trump have the authority to suspend immigration?

President Donald Trump cited both public health concerns and the economy as reasons for suspending immigration into the U.S. in his tweet Monday night announcing the move.

"In light of the attack from the Invisible Enemy, as well as the need to protect the jobs of our GREAT American Citizens, I will be signing an Executive Order to temporarily suspend immigration into the United States!" he wrote.

Can the president do that? The answer appears to be yes. Any such sweeping action is bound to produce court challenges, but it's not at all clear that they would succeed.

The president would probably cite the same legal authority that he used to justify his March 11 executive order restricting entry by travelers from countries coping with the pandemic; it's a provision of federal law — the Immigration and Nationality Act — that gives a president very broad power.

Read the full story here.

Defiant pastor in Louisiana arrested after incident with bus, protester

Image: Outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Baton Rouge
Pastor Tony Spell drives a bus with local residents as they leave at the Life Tabernacle megachurch after attending Easter mass challenging state orders against assembling in large groups to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Baton Rouge Louisiana on April 12, 2020.Carlos Barria / Reuters

A Louisiana pastor who has defied state orders against large gatherings was arrested Tuesday for allegedly backing his church bus dangerously close to a protester.

Pastor Tony Spell of Life Tabernacle Church in the city of Central, near Baton Rouge, was charged with aggravated assault in connection to the incident Sunday that was caught on tape, police said.

Central police chief Roger Corcoran said local authorities are trying to enforce the law and insisted that Spell isn't being denied his freedom to practice religion.

"They're trying to make a mockery of this, like he's some kind of victim," Corcoran told NBC News on Monday night. "No one, not one person, is trying to stop him from preaching the word."

Read the full story here.

Photo: Giving thanks to health workers

Image: Fort Myers Police Department
The Fort Myers Police Department makes a heart shape out of police cars to thank health workers at Lee Memorial Hospital, in Fort Myers, Fla., on, April 16, 2020Fort Myers Police Dept. / Reuters

New York state death toll closing in on 15,000

At least another 481 New York state residents died from complications related to COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, officials said Tuesday.

The state's coronavirus death toll has now reached 14,828 since the outbreak, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.

There were 1,308 new patients hospitalized with COVID-10 on Monday,  down from rates of 2,000 a day late last week. Cuomo called it good news while noting, "Our definition of good has changed here.”

Michelle Obama launches weekly reading series for children

The former first lady announced on Twitter on Friday that she was partnering with PBS Kids and Penguin Random House to host a weekly read-along series, “Mondays with Michelle Obama.”

Obama, who launched the series Monday, will read from some of her favorite children’s books through May 11.

The first, “The Gruffalo,” received tens of thousands of likes on social media.

Read more about the series here.

Schumer says White House, Dems have deal on money for small businesses, hospitals, testing

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said Tuesday that lawmakers had reached a deal with the White House on a nearly $500 billion interim coronavirus bill that includes additional funds for the small business loan program as well as more money for hospitals and testing.

“There is still a few more I's to dot and T’s to cross, but we have a deal, and I believe we’ll pass it today,” Schumer said on CNN.

The minority leader said he and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., had been on the phone “well past midnight” with White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and they “came to an agreement on just about every issue.”

Read the full story here.

NYC plans ticker tape parade to honor health care workers when gathering restrictions ease

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday that when people can safely gather again, the city will throw the "biggest and best" ticker tape parade to thank health care workers, first responders and everyone who has helped in the fight against the coronavirus. 

"This parade will mark the beginning of our renaissance and will, most importantly, be a chance to say thank you to so many good and noble people," de Blasio said. 

"I think this will be the greatest of all the parades because this one will speak to the rebirth of New York City" and to the "heroism that is intrinsic to New Yorkers," the mayor said.

The parade will run down the "Canyon of Heroes," on Broadway from the Battery to City Hall, he said. "And that will be a beautiful and joyous day in our city." 

On Monday, de Blasio announced that the city's Celebrate Israel, Puerto Rican Day and LGBTQ pride parades would be canceled due to the pandemic.

Stacey Abrams slams Georgia governor over decision to reopen businesses this week

Georgia Democrat Stacey Abrams on Tuesday denounced GOP Gov. Brian Kemp's decision to allow a number of businesses to reopen this week, one of the first governors to do so amid the coronavirus outbreak.

“There's nothing about this that makes sense," Abrams said in an interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” "The mayors of Atlanta, Albany and Savannah have all questioned the wisdom of doing this. And the fact is the governor didn't consult with mayors before making this decision.”

Kemp has come under fire after announcing Monday that a number of businesses in Georgia could reopen as soon as Friday, including barbershops, gyms and other places where there is bound to be close contact among people. Kemp said Georgia theaters, restaurants and social clubs can reopen Monday, while bars, nightclubs and concert venues will remain closed.

Abrams, who lost the gubernatorial election to Kemp in 2018, said that Georgia is the eighth largest state in the U.S. and has the 14th highest infection rate, but among the slowest testing rates.

Read the full story here.

Photos: Dancing in the street in Wales

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Police officers joined in a dance session Tuesday with residents of a suburban street in Prestatyn, north Wales.AP
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AP Photo

Some people are 'quaranteaming' to ride out the outbreak — but is it safe?

Staying alone in your home with no end in sight can feel emotionally debilitating. That's why some people are practicing '"quaranteaming."

Essentially, it means choosing to quarantine with someone you don't live with.

But the practice could pose a risk to yourself and the public. There are "gradations of safety," Dr. Eric Cioe-Pena, an emergency medicine physician at Northwell Health in New York City, told TODAY.

Read the full story on TODAY.

FDA approves first at-home collection kit for COVID-19

The Food and Drug Administration said Tuesday that it has issued its first emergency approval of an at-home collection kit for the coronavirus.

The kit allows people to collect their own sample and then send it to the company to be tested. The kit is produced by North Carolina-based LabCorp.

The collection kit will be first made available to healthcare workers and first responders who have symptoms of COVID-19, LabCorp said in a press release, but they added that they hope to make the tests available to consumers in "the coming weeks."

The FDA approved the use of the nasal swab tests after granting a LabCorp request under emergency measures

Slim pickings for monkey temple residents as COVID-19 hits tourism

Johns Hopkins University offers free online course on COVID-19 pandemic

John Hopkins University is offering a free online course designed to help people "explore the COVID-19 pandemic."

The Baltimore-based University famous for its medical school is offering the course through a series of short modules that "build on each other" and explore the virus that causes COVID-19 as well as its broader implications for society. 

Modules are led by the university's leading experts in virology and infectious diseases. Registration is not required, with the modules being offered through content created after social distancing measures were introduced. 

7 Wisconsin virus cases linked to in-person voting, health official says

Officials have identified seven people who appear to have contracted the coronavirus through activities related to the April 7 election in Wisconsin, Milwaukee’s health commissioner said.

Commissioner Jeanette Kowalik said six of the cases involve Milwaukee voters and one is a Milwaukee poll worker, the Journal Sentinel reported.

Officials hope to have additional information on the cases by the end of the week, including whether any of them were concentrated in any of the city's five polling places or if any resulted in death, Kowalik said Monday.

Wisconsin Department of Health Services Secretary Andrea Palm said Monday there were no signs yet of a surge in cases from the election as some feared. Palm noted, however, that if cases do exist, symptoms may not have appeared yet.

Read the full story here.

Spain's San Fermin bull run is canceled

Spain's San Fermin bull run has been canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic, Pamplona's town hall announced Tuesday. 

The town's deputy mayor Ana Elizalde said in a news conference that although the cancellation was "expected" it still "leaves us all sad."

The bull-running festival has only been canceled four other times; in 1937 and 1938 for the Spanish civil war, in 1978 following clashes between police and Basque nationalists, and in 1997 after the assassination of a Spanish politician by the ETA separatist group. 

Families divided by U.S.-Canada border closure meet across an irrigation ditch

Some families divided by the U.S.-Canada border's closing due to the pandemic have been meeting across an irrigation ditch in Washington state. 

In the border town of Lynden, Washington, Jodi Pears introduced her newborn baby, Willow, to her parents, who live in Canada.

"It's just sad. They were there for the births of our other two daughters," Pears told NBC affiliate KING in Seattle, as she stood about 10 feet from her parents across the ditch. "It's just really hard."

Pears is one of many in the area using the spot in Lynden for such meetings.

People are holding picnics and planting lawn chairs on either side of the border for a chance to see and talk to family on the other side in person.

Austria to open larger stores and restaurants in May

Large shops and service-based businesses like hairdressers will be allowed to reopen in Austria on May 1, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said in an address on Tuesday as he outlined the steps the government will take to ease the country's lockdown.

Schools, restaurants and religious services will also be permitted to reopen in the following weeks, "if the case numbers allow," he said. Austria became one of the first countries in Europe to lay out a plan to ease the lockdown. It began lifting restrictions last week when small shops were allowed to open.

However, Kurz cautioned that citizens should not expect "unrestricted travel throughout Europe in the near future." He added that if he is able to take a vacation this year, he will be staying in Austria.

106-year-old Slovenian woman recovers from coronavirus

A 106-year-old woman in in Slovenia has fully recovered from coronavirus, her grandson told NBC news. Angela Ogulin survived both WWI and WWII and was a "strong" woman, toiling on a farm for much of her life, Bostjan Ogulin said. 

''We got really scared when people from the elderly home informed us that she is infected,'' he said. ''We hope that her case will inspire other people to be positive and that this virus is beatable."

Ogulin's family are planning a large celebration when they are reunited after restrictions are lifted.

UK deaths could be 40 percent higher than daily figures, data suggests

The true extent of the death toll in Britain from COVID-19 was more than 40 percent higher than the daily figures from the government indicated by April 10, according to data on Tuesday that includes deaths in the community.

The Office for National Statistics said it recorded 13,121 deaths by April 10 in England and Wales, which account for the vast majority of Britain's population, compared with 9,288 in the government's daily toll for those who died in hospital. The latest hospital deaths data published on Monday show 16,509 people had died across the United Kingdom.

If the United Kingdom's figures are underestimating the death toll by a similar figure, then the true death toll for the country as a whole could be above 23,000 based on the latest data, making it the second worst hit in Europe after Italy.

Read the full story.

Singapore further tightens restrictions as infections spike

Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong tightened coronavirus restrictions following a spike of over 1,100 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday. The majority of the new cases were detected in migrant worker dormitories through aggressive testing, with most patients presenting mild symptoms and none requiring intensive care, Lee said in a  statement that was broadcast on Tuesday. 

Known as "circuit breaker measures," the tightened restrictions include the further closure of non-essential workplaces and schools. Increased safe distancing measures have been introduced, limiting traffic in stores and public areas. The restrictions were also extended until June 1, from the initial date of May 4th.

“The circuit breaker is working, but now we need to do more,” Lee said.

Italy reports decline in the number of people sick with coronavirus for the first time

For the first time since the coronavirus hit Italy, the country saw a decline in the number of people who are actively with the disease on Monday. 

There were 108,237 people reported sick — down by 20 people from the previous day, health authorities announced. And nearly 80 percent of those people were sick at home. 

It's a small but significant victory as the country looks to roll back some of its lockdown measures which are in place until May 3. Italy has the third-highest caseload in the world, following the United States and Spain, with over 181,000 confirmed coronavirus cases.

Russia's largest internet company offers free and fast at-home tests

Russia’s largest internet company, Yandex, has launched a free at-home coronavirus testing service to anyone who wants to be tested.

The company, which is similar to Google in Russia, has set up a special site that will see medical professionals dispatched to homes at the click of a button.

Paramedics in full protective gear will come over, take mouth and nose swabs, and within three days the results will be available, the company said. 

Italy's PM says some coronavirus restrictions could be lifted on May 4

Italy expects to release later this week its plan to slowly come out of lockdown with some loosened measures coming into effect on May 4, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said on Tuesday.

"Many citizens are tired and would like a significant relaxation of the measures or even their total abolition," Conte wrote in a Facebook post, adding that restarting the economy can't happen in one day given the risk of the virus rebounding. 

Italy has been one of the worst-hit countries in the world with at least 24,114 deaths and over 181,000 cases reported as of Tuesday, according to Johns Hopkins University. 

Munich's Oktoberfest cancelled due to coronavirus concerns

German officials canceled Oktoberfest on Tuesday amid concerns of spreading the coronavirus.

"The risk is simply too high," said the head of Bavaria, Markus Soeder, about the Munich festival in a statement.

The 187th annual event was due to be held from September 19 to October 4. It attracts as many as 6 million visitors donning traditional lederhosen and drinking beer. Organizers said that they expect next year's festival will see "a particularly beautiful and intensive celebration" to make up for it.

Tom Brady busted while working out at closed Tampa park

Tom Brady has been working out — but outside in a Florida park that's off-limits because of the coronavirus epidemic.

The person who spotted the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' new quarterback in the Tampa park wasn't there for an autograph, she was a city worker telling him it was closed, Tampa's mayor said.

Mayor Jane Castor said in a live Facebook video chat Monday that with city parks closed, park staff have been visiting the sites to ensure that people weren't engaging in contact sports or other activities that violate social distancing measures that health experts say are key to slowing the virus' spread.

Read the full story here

West Virginia plan to test all nursing home residents, staff, begins

West Virginia's effort to test all residents and staff of the state's nursing homes for the coronavirus illness COVID-19 began Monday, the governor said.

The effort has been called the first of its kind in the nation. Gov. Jim Justice issued an executive order mandating the testing Friday.  Nursing home residents can be particularly vulnerable to COVID-19. Justice said he believes that testing could be completed within a week.

"We’re going to have real, live data that we hope will help us to isolate and treat people, even those who may not have symptoms yet," he said in a statement.

NBC News reported last week that coronavirus deaths in long-term care facilities across the country had risen to 5,670, according to state health data. The rise was reported to have been driven by huge increases in hard-hit states like New York, where more than 2 percent of nursing home residents have died of the virus.

New Zealand could pull off bold goal of eliminating virus

WELLINGTON, New Zealand — While most countries are working on ways to contain the coronavirus, New Zealand has set itself a much more ambitious goal: eliminating it altogether. And experts believe the country could pull it off. 

Geography has helped. If any place could be described as socially distant it would be New Zealand, surrounded by stormy seas, with Antarctica to the south. With 5 million people spread across an area the size of Britain, even the cities aren’t overly crowded.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has taken bold steps, putting the country under a strict lockdown in late March, when only about 100 people had tested positive for the new virus. 

New Zealand has so far avoided a widespread outbreak, and new cases have dwindled from a peak of about 90 per day in early April to just five on Tuesday, leaving the goal tantalizingly close. Only 13 people have died so far.

“We have the opportunity to do something no other country has achieved: elimination of the virus,” Ardern told reporters last week. “But it will continue to need a team of 5 million behind it.”

Ardern on Monday announced the country would stay in lockdown for another week before slightly easing some work restrictions to help restart the economy. Most of the social restrictions will remain in place.

Photo: Healthcare worker cheers on others in NYC

Image: Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in New York
A healthcare worker at the Brooklyn Hospital Center reacts as residents and members of the New York City Fire Department (FDNY) cheer at 7:00pm amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Brooklyn, New York on April 20, 2020.Lucas Jackson / Reuters