Global cases surpass 3 million, U.S. states begin to reopen

Here are the latest coronavirus updates from around the world.
300 ventilators arrive at MOD Donnington in Shropshire, England, on April 4, 2020.
300 ventilators arrive at MOD Donnington in Shropshire, England, on April 4, 2020.Sgt. Ben Beale / Ministry of Defense via PA

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The U.S. coronavirus death toll surpassed 55,000 Monday, with more than 985,000 confirmed cases, according to NBC News' tally.

Globally, there are now more than 3 million confirmed cases, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The grim milestones comes as the White House coronavirus task force coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx warned that many of the social distancing measures that have upended American life will be a fixture through the summer.

President Donald Trump said during an address in the Rose Garden Monday that the number of tests performed across the country spiked after his administration gave a list of laboratory facilities to governors. But the COVID Tracking Project data did not show any "skyrocket" in testing.

On the state level, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced that the state's stay-at-home order will expire on Thursday and many businesses will be allowed to open on Friday. Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine laid out strict guidelines for the resumption of retail business in May, including requirements for both employees and shoppers to wear face coverings.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker is seeking to overturn a ruling by a judge who issued a restraining order against the extension of his stay-at-home order. Similarly, Attorney General William Barr directed the nation's federal prosecutors to look for stay-at-home orders that could be unconstitutional.

Meanwhile in Italy, Europe's hardest hit country, the prime minister laid out plans for a phased end to restrictions, including the opening of restaurants and libraries in mid-May.

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.

Judge sides with tribes, limits distribution of virus relief

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — A judge has ruled in favor of tribal nations in their bid to keep Alaska Native corporations from getting a share of $8 billion in coronavirus relief funding — at least for now.

In a decision issued late Monday, U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta in Washington, D.C., said the U.S. Treasury Department could begin disbursing funding to 574 federally recognized tribes to respond to the coronavirus but not to the corporations.

The ruling comes in a case brought by at least 15 tribes against the Treasury Department. The tribes allege that Congress intended the funding to go only to tribal governments and that the corporations don’t fit within the definition of “Indian Tribe” in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act.

Mehta said the tribes easily showed they would suffer irreparable harm unless he limited the funding temporarily to tribal governments while he awaited more argument on the question of eligibility of Alaska Native corporations.

The Treasury Department and the U.S. Justice Department representing the Treasury did not immediately respond to requests for comment Monday.

Tokyo Olympics unrealistic without vaccine, Japan medical expert says

TOKYO — The head of Japan’s medical association thinks it will be difficult to hold the Olympics without an effective coronavirus vaccine.

“I hope vaccines and drugs will be developed as soon as possible,” Japan Medical Association President Yoshitake Yokokura said Tuesday.

Japan and the International Olympic Committee agreed to postpone the Tokyo 2020 Summer Games until July next year because of the coronavirus pandemic. Japan is under a monthlong state of emergency amid a rapid increase of infections throughout the country, where hospitals are overburdened.

Yokokura did not say whether he opposes the Olympics without a vaccine.

“The key is a situation with the infections at that point. If the infections are under control only in Japan, it will still be difficult to hold the games unless the pandemic is over in the rest of the world,” he said.

Experts have said it could take 12-18 months or longer to develop a vaccine that is safe and effective for clinical use.

Japan has 13,576 reported virus cases, plus 712 others from a cruise ship quarantined near Tokyo earlier this year, with 389 deaths, the health ministry said Tuesday.

As Florida weighs reopening, public invited to chime in

TALLAHASSEE, Fla — Florida officials opened an online portal Saturday for the public to weigh in on reopening the state amid the coronavirus outbreak that has now shuttered schools and businesses for more than a month.

In making the announcement, the governor’s office said “public feedback will be a critical component” in the work of the Re-Open Florida Task Force, a panel charged by Gov. Ron DeSantis to help guide him in deciding whether to lift certain restrictions put in place to limit the spread of the virus.

As of Saturday, the state reported more than 30,800 known infections and said about 1,050 Floridians have died from COVID-19.

The state has 40 percent of regular bed and ICU bed availability, DeSantis said, which he said was leading him to likely restart elective procedures and surgeries soon.

The governor’s safer-at-home order expires Thursday, and a separate order barring elective medical procedures is set to expire May 8. DeSantis said he would provide an update on those directives soon. 

Oprah Winfrey, Julia Roberts, former President George W. Bush to appear in global virus relief livestream

LOS ANGELES — Oprah Winfrey, Julia Roberts and former President George W. Bush will be among 200 star-studded participants in a 24-hour global livestream event.

The Call to Unite event will kick off Friday evening to offer performances and conversations about overcoming the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic. Event organizers hope participants can help inspire people to “emerge from this crisis better than when it began.”

Quincy Jones, Jennifer Garner, Common, Maria Shriver, Questlove, Yo-Yo Ma, Eva Longoria, Naomi Campbell and Alanis Morissette are expected to participate in the event. Each will answer calls in their own way, whether through performing a song, sharing a story or offering a prayer.

The event will be livestreamed at unite.us and on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Twitch, LinkedIn and SiriusXM Stars.

E.R. doctor on 'front lines' of coronavirus fight in N.Y. dies by suicide

A New York City emergency room doctor who was on the “front lines” of the fight against the coronavirus has died by suicide, police said Monday.

Dr. Lorna Breen, 49, who worked at NewYork-Presbyterian Allen Hospital, was in Virginia when she died on Sunday, said Tyler Hawn, a spokesman for the Charlottesville Police Department.

“The victim was taken to U.V.A. Hospital for treatment, but later succumbed to self-inflicted injuries,” Hawn said.

Read the full story here. 

Trump lays out new coronavirus testing 'blueprint' as states weigh reopening

President Donald Trump heads to a coronavirus response news conference in the Rose Garden on April 27, 2020.Carlos Barria / Reuters

President Donald Trump on Monday announced a new federal coronavirus testing "blueprint" to aid governors in ramping up capacity as a handful of states begin lifting stay-at-home restrictions.

Trump, who was not originally scheduled to hold a press briefing, billed the plan as part of the administration's push for a "phased and very safe reopening" of the U.S. over the next few months. He said the plan includes provisions for expanding state testing capacity and establishing widespread monitoring systems as well as contact tracing.

"We are continuing to rapidly expand our capacity and confident that we have enough testing to begin reopening and the reopening process," Trump said from the White House Rose Garden. "We're deploying the full power and strength of the federal government to help states cites to help local governments get this horrible plague over with and over with fast."

Read the full story here. 

Chicago mayor blasts video of 'reckless and utterly unacceptable' house party

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot tore into some of her fellow Chicagoans for whooping it up at a "reckless and utterly unacceptable" house party, in violation of statewide shelter-in-place orders.

Video of a crowded, raucous party in northwest Chicago sent Mayor Lightfoot into a Twitter rage on Sunday, as she chastised revelers for putting others at risk.

"I have seen the video which shows what appears to be a house party taking place inside a Chicago residence," Lightfoot wrote. "What was depicted on the video was reckless and utterly unacceptable."

Read the full story here. 

Fact check: Trump says giving states a list of labs caused testing to 'skyrocket'

Trump again boasted he schooled state governors in testing on Monday, claiming that COVID-19 tests surged after his administration gave a list of laboratory facilities to governors.  

“As you know for several weeks my administration has encouraged the governors to leverage unused testing capacity in states — very few understood that we have tremendous capacity. Then one week ago we provided each governor with a list of names addresses and phone numbers of the labs where they could find extra testing capacity in their states,” Trump said Monday night.

We’ve fact checked this before: governors said they needed swaps and supplies, not contact information for labs. But Trump claimed Monday that the list caused a spike in testing.

“Within 48 hours, the number of tests performed across the country began to absolutely skyrocket,” Trump said.

Not so. According to COVID Tracking Project data, the number of tests conducted has risen steadily. There is no sign of a “skyrocket” after Trump sent governors a list on April 20.