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.
- MAPS: Confirmed cases in the U.S. and worldwide, confirmed deaths in the U.S. and globally.
- Stay-at-home orders across the country: What each state is doing — or not — amid widespread coronavirus lockdowns.
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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.
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.
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.
Defiant pastor in Louisiana arrested after incident with bus, protester
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."
Photo: Giving thanks to health workers
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.
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.”