Trump's White House briefings may be scaled back after disinfectant comments

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Image: Children play on the streets of Barcelona on April 26, 2020. Spain eased some lockdown restrictions, now allowing children to leave their homes for up to an hour per day.
Children play on the streets of Barcelona on Sunday. Spain eased some lockdown restrictions, now allowing children to leave their homes for up to an hour per day.David Ramos / Getty Images

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As his aides and allies increasingly worry that President Donald Trump's lengthy appearances at his his daily briefings on the coronavirus pandemic may may backfire politically, the White House is considering scaling them back.

It follows widespread mockery and an immediate and universal backlash from the medical community after the president suggested Thursday evening that people might be able to inject household cleaning items or disinfectants to deter the respiratory illness.

The evaluation of Trump's briefings comes as the worldwide death toll for the coronavirus surpassed 200,000 on Saturday, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

Over 53,000 of those fatalities have been recorded in the U.S. according to an NBC News tally and more than 20,000 in the U.K. making it the fifth nation to reach that grim milestone.

However, in China where the pandemic began, the government reported no new deaths for a 10th straight day.

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 27 for coronavirus news.

The Zoom shiva: Jewish funerals and mourning in the age of coronavirus

The Satnick family hosts a drive by shiva outside their home in Demarest, N.J.Hal Satnick

Jacquelyn Bell had to say goodbye to her mother, JoAnn, over the phone.

Joann, who was 73, battled multiple sclerosis most of her adult life, and survived three strokes and bouts of pneumonia. Bell always joked her mom had nine lives. But on March 30, JoAnn died of COVID-19 in a Michigan hospital.

As the U.S. coronavirus death toll tops 50,000, families are being forced to navigate grief in isolation. For Jewish families like Bell’s, coronavirus has also upended a highly structured process of mourning and burial. Jewish families and clergy are trying to find ways to uphold tradition while keeping loved ones safe.

Per Jewish religious law, burial is supposed to happen within 48 hours of death. The funeral service that follows is conducted by a rabbi or cantor and concludes with the shoveling of dirt into the grave by the deceased's loved ones.

Read the full story here.

Governors urge Trump to keep briefings 'fact-based' after disinfectant comments

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer announces a stay at home order to combat coronavirus on March 23, 2020.Julia Pickett / Michigan Office of the Governor via AP file

Governors on Sunday reacted to comments President Donald Trump made last week musing whether injecting disinfectants into the body could cure COVID-19.

"I think it's critical that the president of the United States, when people are really scared and in the middle of this worldwide pandemic, that in these press conferences that we really get the facts out there," Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, told CBS' "Face The Nation." "And unfortunately, some of the messaging has not been great."

On "This Week," Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, said, "when the person with most powerful position on the planet is encouraging people to think about disinfectants, whether it was serious or not, people listen."

Read the full story here. 

Small businesses say they need more than 2 months of help to survive coronavirus crisis

Even as a new round of billion-dollar relief hits Main Street this week, some small business owners fear the money still isn't enough — and comes attached with so many strings that it won't help their long-term survival.

The latest version of the Paycheck Protection Program is expected to provide another $310 billion to help limit the economic meltdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

But for these federally backed loans to be forgiven, recipients must within eight weeks spend 75 percent of funds on payroll to employees who were on the books as the pandemic broke out. The remaining money can be spent on rent, utilities, employee healthcare benefits and mortgage payments.

Read the full story here. 

Africa surpasses 30,000 reported cases

There are more than 30,000 reported cases of coronavirus on the continent of Africa, the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Sunday. More than 9,000 have recovered as of Sunday.

Only two African countries have not reported any cases of the disease as of Sunday — the small landlocked kingdom of Lesotho and Comoros, an archipelago in the Indian Ocean.

South Africa has the continent’s most COVID-19 cases with 4,361 reported cases, the Africa CDC report showed, followed by three North African countries, Egypt, Morocco and Algeria.

Arkansas family adopts 2-year-old boy over Zoom

Two-year-old Jaden was adopted by an Arkansas family over Zoom video chat.Kimberly Wieneke

An Arkansas family adopted their 2-year-old son via a video conferencing service after courts moved hearings online due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

The Wieneke family, who resides in Fort Smith, Arkansas, first took in 2-year-old Jaden as a foster child in May 2019. When he was put up for adoption in February, the family jumped at the opportunity to make Jaden a permanent part of their family. 

“In my heart, I already knew I wanted him,” Kimberly Wieneke told NBC affiliate KNWA.

The Wieneke family had big plans for Jaden’s adoption, scheduled for April 16, but the pandemic changed the celebration. The ceremony would now take place online via a Zoom video call. 

New York state sees drop in daily deaths, Cuomo talks reopening strategy

New York added another 367 people to the coronavirus death for a total of 16,966, not including presumptive deaths, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Sunday.

The 367 deaths is a steep drop from the 437 daily deaths reported on Saturday. Cuomo says the amount of new people who have been hospitalized with the virus, another key metric, has also fallen to just above 1,000. 

He says the reopening plan is for construction and manufacturing business with low risk of spread to open first. Then, in a second phase businesses that are more essential with lower risk will reopen and he says he's asking businesses for ideas on this. Between each phase there will be a two week pause to monitor the effects of those openings.

But Cuomo added a caveat, saying there will be no attractions or openings that would draw a large number of visitors from outside the local area.

'Outrageous,' 'irresponsible': Governors slam McConnell over bankruptcy comments

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell leaves Capitol Hill on April 16, 2020.Tom Brenner / Reuters file

Governors on Sunday criticized Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., for saying this week he would prefer states to be able to declare bankruptcy rather than provide hundreds of billions in relief as state and local government revenue dries up.

On Sunday, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, called McConnell's suggestion "outrageous" and "incredibly dangerous." She doesn't "think that the vast majority of governors in this country, Republican and Democratic, would agree with him."

Also on "This Week," Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican and co-chair of the National Governors Association, said he thought McConnell "probably would regret making that comment the other day."

Read the full story here. 

Photo: Getting drinks in Shanghai

Hector Retamal / AFP - Getty Images

A man waits at the bar while patrons dance in Shanghai on April 26, 2020.

As Dr. Fauci, Brad Pitt diagnoses Trump on 'Saturday Night Live'

We apologize, this video has expired.

Brad Pitt hosted the second stay-at-home edition of "Saturday Night Live" in as many weeks, taking the opportunity to play Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and one of the nation's most prominent voices on the pandemic.

The show opened with Pitt's Fauci as he interprets President Donald Trump's pronouncements on the science of COVID-19. Regarding the president's claim that a coronavirus vaccine would be developed relatively soon, he says:

"Relatively soon is an interesting phrase. Relative to the entire history of earth, sure, the vaccine is going to come real fast."

Read the full story here. 

Louisiana pastor on house arrest after refusing to limit church services amid pandemic

Tony Spell, pastor of the Life Tabernacle Church in Louisiana, leaves the East Baton Rouge Parish jail on April 21, 2020.Gerald Herbert / AP

A Louisiana pastor who defied state orders against large gatherings amid the coronavirus pandemic has been placed under house arrest.

Tony Spell, of Life Tabernacle Church in the city of Central, has been fitted with an ankle bracelet and placed under house after he would not promise to maintain social distancing, his attorney confirmed Sunday. Spell has admitted to violating Louisiana's mandate to avoid large gatherings by hosting church services.

Joseph Long, Spell’s attorney, told NBC News in a statement that Spell lived 50 yards from his church, which still planned to host services Sunday. Long characterized the judge’s order as forcing Spell to stop “preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ to his congregation.”

Read the full story here. 

Injecting disinfectant 'is not a treatment,' White House expert says

Dr. Deborah Birx, White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator, tells Chuck Todd that the injection of disinfectants is dangerous and should not be used as a treatment for coronavirus.