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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

This live coverage has ended. Continue reading April 28 coronavirus news.

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

The Associated Press

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

The Associated Press

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

The Associated Press

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

The Associated Press

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 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

Dartunorro Clark

Image: U.S. President Trump arrives for coronavirus response news conference at the White House in Washington
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.

Illinois judge blocks extension of governor's stay-at-home order

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Monday he is seeking to overturn a ruling by a judge who issued a restraining order against the extension of his stay-at-home order.

Clay County Circuit Court Judge Michael McHaney reportedly granted the restraining order after Republican State Rep. Darren Bailey sued the state, claiming Pritzker violated residents' civil rights, according to NBC Chicago. Pritzker called Bailey's decision to go to court "an insult to all Illinoisans."

"History will remember those who put politics aside to come together to keep people safe," Prtizker said Monday. "It will also remember those who are so blindly devoted to ideology and the pursuit of personal celebrity they made an enemy of science and reason." 

Car caravan in Virginia protests lack of coronavirus protections for ICE detainees

Amanda Golden

Community groups held a caravan protest organized today across Virginia, pressuring elected officials and ICE to release incarcerated and detained people to be able to socially distance at home, citing that it is impossible to socially distance in a prison.

About 50 cars were a part of the protest, with participants decorating their vehicles with signs that called on ICE to release detainees and #FreeThemAll, while honking and chanting. The car caravan made circling stops at the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center, an ICE field office and finally Sen. Mark Warner’s state office.

The organizers told NBC News they hoped the protest would draw attention to the fact that there are people in immigration detention and prisons who are still trapped during the pandemic in shared spaces, but additionally to shed light on the lack of testing going on inside of the two main ICE detention centers in Virginia — Caroline and Farmville.

The protest was organized in part by the groups Sanctuary DMV and La ColectiVA, members of whom speak directly with detainees inside of Virginia’s two ICE detention centers.

Barr directs prosecutors to look for state and local stay-home orders that go too far

Image: William Barr
Attorney General William Barr speaks during the daily briefing on the novel coronavirus at the White House on April 1, 2020.Mandel Ngan / AFP - Getty Images file

Attorney General William Barr on Monday directed the nation's federal prosecutors to watch for restrictions imposed by state and local governments during the coronavirus pandemic that may go too far, violating constitutional rights.

"Many policies that would be unthinkable in regular times have become commonplace in recent weeks, and we do not want to unduly interfere with the important efforts of state and local officials to protect the public," Barr wrote. "But the Constitution is not suspended in times of crisis. We must therefore be vigilant to ensure its protections are preserved, at the same time that the public is protected."

Read the full story here.

Slowdowns and lockouts plague second round of small-business loans program

Stephanie Ruhle

Ben Popken and Stephanie Ruhle
Image: A pedestrian walks past closed storefronts in Central Islip, N.Y., on March 25, 2020.
A pedestrian walks past closed storefronts in Central Islip, N.Y., on March 25, 2020.Steve Pfost / Newsday via Getty Images file

The latest round of funding from the Paycheck Protection Program opened up on Monday morning at 10:30 a.m. ET with a new set of rules for distribution of the additional $310 billion in funds — but a familiar-sounding set of problems.

Lockouts, login issues and sluggish systems marred the Small Business Administration's loan approval process, with each bank unable to submit more than a few hundred applications. One bank was locked out of the system after submitting just 60 loans.

The system is so limited in its current state that it will take nearly a month to get through the entire queue, one banking executive told NBC News.

The issues were "extremely disappointing" but "entirely predictable," said one banking expert.

Read the full story here.

Dow up 300 as states begin to reopen economies

Investors are happy to see states starting to reopen or think about reopening. The markets started off this week on a high note with the Dow Jones Industrial up 300 points.

Texas to lift stay-at-home order this week, many businesses can reopen Friday

Image: Closed outlet stores in El Paso, Texas, after social distancing measures were put in place to curb the spread of coronavirus on March 21, 2020.
Closed outlet stores in El Paso, Texas, after social distancing measures were put in place to curb the spread of coronavirus on March 21, 2020.Paul Ratje / AFP via Getty Images file

Gov. Greg Abbott announced on Monday he will allow the stay-at-home order in Texas to expire on Thursday, simultaneously saying that many establishments will be allowed to reopen on Friday.

Retail establishments given the green light to resume business on Friday include restaurants, shopping malls and movie theaters. Libraries and museums can also open their doors. But all establishments must limit those inside to 25 percent capacity

Bars, gyms, barber shops and salons didn't make Friday's list of business openings and must remain closed.

“I believe we can re-engage our economy while using the same strategies we’ve been using,” Abbott said.

McConnell says Congress will 'probably' take up emergency relief for state and local governments

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

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., indicated Monday that Congress will "probably" be taking up a bill to provide emergency relief funding for state and local governments hit hard by the coronavirus.

"There probably will be another state and local funding bill," McConnell told Fox News Radio host Guy Benson. "We need to make sure that we achieve something that will go beyond just sending out money."

McConnell said he wants to include provisions in such a bill that prevent the money from going towards fiscal issues that existed prior to the pandemic while also guaranteeing that businesses are protected from lawsuits they could face after states begin reopening.

McConnell's comments came after he caught heat from governors like New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, after he said last week that he was not in favor of passing such funding and instead would prefer states to have the ability to declare bankruptcy if need be. State and local governments are facing a massive budget shortfall as COVID-19 dries up revenue sources.

Banksy's 'Girl With a Pierced Eardrum' gets coronavirus update


Image: UK In Sixth Week Of Coronavirus Lockdown
Passersby admire Banksy's mural in Bristol, England, on Monday.Dan Mullan / Getty Images

Banksy's "Girl with a Pierced Eardrum" has been updated for the coronavirus era with the addition of a blue surgical face mask.

The mural, a take on Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer's "Girl with a Pearl Earring" but with a security alarm replacing the pearl, was painted on a harborside building in the street artist's home city of Bristol in 2014.

It is not known whether Banksy, whose identity is a closely guarded secret, or somebody else attached the fabric face mask to the painted girl.

CDC adds 6 newly identified symptoms to its list

Maura Hohman

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is expanding the list of recognized symptoms, based on reports from doctors treating COVID-19, the disease associated with coronavirus.

Fever, cough and shortness of breath are still the most common warning signs, but the CDC website included these additional symptoms:

These more detailed descriptions of the illness show how doctors and researchers are still learning about the disease in real time. 

Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus, according to the CDC. 

Read the full story here. 

Alabama abortion fund expands mission to support financially struggling families

When the coronavirus hit Alabama, Amanda Reyes noticed that many of the state's low-income residents were struggling to buy essential items, from toilet paper to soap and detergent. 

Reyes, executive director of the Yellowhammer Fund, an Alabama-based nonprofit that offers funding and support for women who have abortions, said the fund's staff members heard from women who were economically affected by the pandemic and couldn't afford necessities. 

“It’s wild that these people haven’t been able to get any of the basic things that they need to respond to this crisis," Reyes said. 

Reyes said she wanted to find a way to support these women, so she teamed up with another local organization, The Knights and Orchids Society, an LGBTQ support group that was also getting requests from people who were struggling financially, to buy and give away supplies. They've dropped off supplies, including bleach and hand sanitizer, with more than 400 families in Selma so far. 

The fund is also working with Left Hand Soap Co. in Tuscaloosa to make enough soap and hand sanitizer to keep up with demand.

The coronavirus pandemic also prompted the Yellowhammer Fund to begin offering free emergency contraception, commonly known as the morning-after pill, by mail to people in Alabama, Mississippi and the Florida Panhandle. The fund has shipped more than 300 packs of emergency contraception since the beginning of April to women who reached out online.

Ohio will require face coverings for both employees and customers for May 12 retail reopening

Gov. Mike DeWine on Monday laid out the mandatory requirements for reopening retail establishments in Ohio, scheduled to begin May 12.

Most notably, both employees and shoppers must wear masks or other face coverings in consumer and retail establishments. Both employees and shoppers must also maintain 6 feet of distance between people.

Other measures for employees include daily symptom assessments, regular hand washing and cleaning of high-touch items like carts and baskets.

Customers will have to abide by specific hours for at risk people, such as times of the day where only the elderly are allowed entry, and entry into an establishment will have to be staggered to maintain social distancing.

Magic Johnson: Sports will first return without fans in the stands

NBA legend Magic Johnson said Monday that when professional sports return, they will be played without fans in the stands. 

The priority will be to "keep the players safe," said Johnson, who is a part-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Oklahoma City Dodgers and the Los Angeles Sparks.

Johnson said he believes many people who have missed sports since the coronavirus pandemic brought seasons to a halt would not mind that they can't attend games in person. 

"I think all of us will take that because if we’re home and we get to see sports, that’s all we want in the beginning. We just need something to make us feel good and to give us some hope, and we can laugh or cheer for our team, and yell at the TV screen," Johnson said. "We need that right now." 

Read the full story here. 

Senate, House to reconvene on May 4

Rebecca Shabadis in Washington, D.C.

House and Senate leaders said Monday that both chambers would reconvene next week.

The Senate will return to the Capitol next Monday, May 4, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., announced in a statement Monday afternoon.

“We will modify routines in ways that are smart and safe, but we will honor our constitutional duty to the American people and conduct critical business in person,” he said. 

“The Senate must focus on concrete steps to strengthen our response to this complex crisis. We cannot get distracted by pre-existing partisan wish-lists or calls to paper over decades of reckless decisions that had nothing to do with COVID-19,” McConnell added.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., told lawmakers on a Democratic caucus conference call later Monday afternoon that the House would also be in session next week as of May 4, according to his office.

L.A. Lakers received $4.6 million from federal loan program — but returned it

Ahiza García-Hodges

Stephanie Ruhle

Ahiza García-Hodges and Stephanie Ruhle
Image: The Staples Center court during a game between the Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors in 2012.
The Staples Center court during a game between the Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors in 2012.Stephen Dunn / Getty Images file

The Los Angeles Lakers qualified for and received approximately $4.6 million from the government's Paycheck Protection Program, which was established to provide relief to small businesses suffering during the coronavirus pandemic. The Lakers eventually returned the money.

The team, one of the most profitable franchises in the NBA, was able to secure a Small Business Administration loans during the first round of distributions. The $349 billion dedicated to the program was quickly depleted as companies of all sizes rushed to get loans.

“The Lakers qualified for a loan under the Payroll Protection Program but the team promptly decided to repay the funds," NBA spokesman Mike Bass said in a text message.

Read the full story here.

Photo: Thanking Britain's NHS

A cyclist passes signs supporting the National Health Service in a display coordinated by artist and local resident Peter Liversidge in east London, on April 27, 2020.
A cyclist passes a display coordinated by artist and local resident Peter Liversidge to support the National Health Service in east London on Monday.Matt Dunham / AP

Almost 1 in 4 New York City residents who took test for COVID-19 antibodies tested positive

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that 14.9 percent of New York state residents who have participated in the state's antibody testing program to date have tested positive for coronavirus.

For New York City residents, the percentage was 24.7, or nearly one in four of those tested. In suburban Westchester County, where many of the first cases appeared, the percentage was 15.1.

The test is not a true random sample. The tests are administered by state health personnel, who ask people they encounter in public if they would like to be tested. So far, 7,500 people have agreed to be tested.

New York state has now reported at least 300 COVID-19 deaths per day every day since March 31. The total of 17,303 does not include presumptive COVID-19 deaths, meaning deaths that were likely -- but not officially -- caused by COVID-19, which top 5,000 in New York City alone.

Afghanistan set to release 12,000 more prisoners amid coronavirus outbreak

Ahmed Mengli

Saphora Smith and Ahmed Mengli

Afghanistan plans to release more than 12,000 prisoners as it battles to contain the coronavirus outbreak, bringing the total number of inmates the government has pledged to release amid the pandemic to over 22,000, an Afghan official said Monday.

Ahmed Rashid Totakhail, head of prison administration told reporters Monday, said that President Ashraf Ghani had signed a decree to release a further 12,399 out of the approximately 36,000 people currently serving time in Afghanistan.

It follows an earlier presidential decree to release 10,000 prisoners amid the outbreak signed on March 26. Totakhail said Monday that so far out of those 10,000 people identified for release, more than 6,000 had been set free. Separately, the Afghan government and the Taliban are currently pursuing a prisoner swap as part of the withdrawal deal signed by the United States and the Taliban in February. 

It was not immediately clear how many, if any, of the more than 22,000 identified for release on Monday or March 26 were members of the Taliban. 

Global cases surpass 3 million, according to Johns Hopkins tally

The total number of global coronavirus cases topped 3 million on Monday, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally.

The number stood at 3,002,303 as of 1 p.m. ET.

Recovered from COVID-19? Here's how to donate plasma

Lisa Tolin

Plasma is precious for people sick with COVID-19.

The liquid portion of blood taken from survivors of the disease may be rich in antibodies that doctors hope can speed up recovery for the sickest patients.

The effort to gather plasma is a top priority for the Red Cross, but they're struggling to keep up with demand.

Read the full story on TODAY.

New York State effectively cancels Democratic presidential primary

Citing coronavirus concerns, the New York State Board of Elections on Monday decided that Sen. Bernie Sanders' name will be removed from the June 23 presidential primary ballot - effectively canceling the primary and making Joe Biden the winner.

"I think it's time for us to recognize that the presidential contest is over," Commissioner Doug Kellner said, citing concerns from voters.

The move, which Sanders had been urging the board against, leaves Biden as "the only candidate" and "effectively the winner of the New York primary," Kellner said.

Fellow Democratic commissioner Andrew Spano, explaining his decision, said that "we should minimize the number of people on ballot," citing the coronavirus outbreak linked to Wisconsin's presidential primary. He said the move would help minimize the number of people in close quarters at polling locations throughout the state. 

Speaking at a separate coronavirus briefing, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he would not "second guess" the board's decision.

Another 337 dead from COVID-19 in New York state

Caskets of Muslims who have passed away from the coronavirus are prepared for burial at a busy Brooklyn funeral home on the first day of Ramadan on April 24, 2020 in N.Y.Spencer Platt / Getty Images

New York state added at least another 337 victims to its COVID-19 death toll, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Monday. 

The grim total has now reached 17,303 deaths, not including those who are presumptive COVID-19 victims. 

It was, however, the second consecutive day that New York's daily tally came in at under 400 fatalities. 

Trump: Federal govt. shouldn't rescue states and cities struggling under pandemic

President Donald Trump suggested Monday that the federal government should not be responsible for bailing out states and cities that are struggling financially due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Why should the people and taxpayers of America be bailing out poorly run states (like Illinois, as example) and cities, in all cases Democrat-run and managed, when most of the other states are not looking for bailout help?” Trump tweeted Monday morning.

“I am open to discussing anything, but just asking?” he added.

Read more here.

Russia claims it has surpassed China in confirmed cases

Matthew Bodner

Russia on Monday said it surpassed China in number of confirmed coronavirus cases since the outbreak began, reporting a total of 87,147 infections across the country. 

Russia has been seeking significant day-on-day growth the past two weeks, with 6,198 new cases reported on April 27 by the Coronavirus Crisis Response Center. 

Russia’s fatality rate remains low, however, with just 50 fatalities reported Monday — bringing the total to 794. Authorities claim 7,346 recoveries. 

These numbers stand against a backdrop of Europe’s largest claimed testing operation. Russia’s consumer safety agency on Monday claimed to have surpassed 3 million tests. 

Chinese state media accuses Pompeo of spreading 'political virus'

Eric Baculinao

Chinese state media accused Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday of spreading a "political virus" and making himself "humanity's public enemy" over his criticism of Beijing's handling of the coronavirus.

Pompeo has accused China of withholding information in early stages of the outbreak, and last week claimed it was using the pandemic as a distraction to push its territorial ambitions in the disputed South China Sea.

Chinese state broadcaster CCTV on Monday told its estimated audience of 130 million that "Pompeo should know that the enemy of the United States is a virus, not China."

"If Pompeo stands alone and continues to put political self-interest above public interests, then he will be abandoned by the American people and will remain infamous in the history of American diplomacy," it said.

"Lies and defamation cannot make up for lost time, cannot save lives on the verge of death, nor can they make the United States 'great again.'"

In Detroit, grief runs deep as city grapples with COVID-19

The Associated Press

Jamon Jordan with a photo of his mother, Jacquelynne Jordan, in Detroit on April 24, 2020.Paul Sancya / AP

Jamon Jordan could not mourn his mother in the traditional way. At Jacquelynne Jordan’s memorial in early April, there were just seven people. No hugs. No traditional dinner where family members could gather to honor the 66-year-old matriarch’s memory.

That stripped-down scenario has played out hundreds of times in Detroit — 912 to be exact, the number of city residents who have died of COVID-19.

So amid the pandemic, Detroit — the nation’s largest black city, the birthplace of distinctive soulful music and black cultural significance — grieves collectively.

Read the full article here.

More people are venturing outside as 'quarantine fatigue' sets in, data shows

As people grow tired of staying inside, more people are venturing out and growing lax on social distancing efforts meant to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

The University of Maryland has developed a tool using anonymous cell phone data to track social distancing compliance, and last week, for the first time, researchers saw a decline in the social distancing effort across the country by 3 percent, said professor Lei Zhang, who is leading the project.

Zhang said people are experiencing "quarantine fatigue" because they've spent weeks cooped up inside, some individual states are loosening social distancing rules, and the weather is improving.

Southern states like Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee are the worst offenders, with 8 and 9 percent decreases in social distancing efforts. 

As weather warms up, up to 100 miles of NYC streets to be closed so people can enjoy the outdoors

As the weather warms up in New York City, up to 100 miles of city streets will be blocked off to cars so that people can safely go out while still spreading out, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Monday. 

De Blasio said he and the city council have worked together on a plan to open, at first, a minimum of 40 miles of streets, and then likely more "where there will be the most activity." Street closures will be focused around parks, in high-trafficked areas and in neighborhoods that have been hardest hit by coronavirus cases. 

When asked by an NBC New York reporter about closing streets so that restaurants can reopen and spill seating beyond sidewalks, de Blasio said the idea sounded "elegant" and he was "intrigued," but he added he would have to look into whether that would be an effective solution. 

New York City mayor announces easier, safer testing

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday that testing for the coronavirus in the city had become easier by eliminating the need for a health care worker to administer the test. 

Previously, a health care worker would have to dress in full protective equipment to test someone, since swabbing of a patient's nose often caused that person to sneeze or cough. The new tests include a less intrusive nasal swab and saliva sample — both of which the patient can do themselves. 

The new tests are safer and easier, and will allow the city to test more people faster, de Blasio and health professionals said.

De Blasio also announced Monday that the city will hire some 1,000 health care workers to act as contact tracers.

Domestic abuse calls spike in Latin America during coronavirus lockdown


Lockdowns around Latin America are helping slow the spread of COVID-19, but are having a darker and less-intended consequence: a spike in calls to helplines suggests a rise in domestic abuse, in a region where almost 20 million women and girls suffer sexual and physical violence each year.

In cities from Buenos Aires to Mexico City, Santiago, São Paulo and La Paz, families and individuals have been confined in their homes in an unprecedented way, often only allowed out for emergencies or to shop for essentials.

Prosecutors, victim support teams, women’s movements and the United Nations all say this has caused a rise in domestic violence towards women. They cite increasing numbers of calls to abuse hotlines.

Read more here.

Trump tells advisers U.S. should pull troops as Afghanistan COVID-19 outbreak looms

Carol E. LeeCarol E. Lee is the Washington managing editor.

President Donald Trump has pushed his military and national security advisers in recent days to pull all U.S. troops out of Afghanistan amid concerns about a major coronavirus outbreak in the war-torn country, according to two current and one former senior U.S. officials.

Trump complains almost daily that U.S. troops are still in Afghanistan and are now vulnerable to a deadly pandemic, the officials said. His renewed push to withdraw all of them has been spurred by the convergence of his concern that coronavirus poses a force protection issue for thousands of U.S. troops in Afghanistan and his impatience with the halting progress of his peace deal with the Taliban, the officials said.

Read the full story here.

Pelosi says Democrats will push for vote-by-mail in next coronavirus relief package

Rebecca Shabadis in Washington, D.C.

WASHINGTON — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Monday that Democrats will push for a vote-by-mail provision in Congress' next coronavirus relief package.

In an interview on MSNBC’s LIVE with Stephanie Ruhle, Pelosi said that it's important to protect the “life of our democracy” as the coronavirus crisis continues.

Democrats have been for weeks pushing vote-by-mail ahead of the May and June primary contests— over a dozen of which had been postponed due to coronavirus— and as they look ahead to the November election.

President Donald Trump, however, opposes the idea and has urged Republicans to fight the effort.

Read more here.

Swiss rush to get haircuts, visit dentists as coronavirus curbs ease


Image: A barber cuts a customers hair in Lausanne after the Swiss government eased social distancing restrictions on April 27, 2020.
A barber cuts a customers hair in Lausanne after the Swiss government eased social distancing restrictions on Monday. Fabrice Coffrini / AFP - Getty Images

Haircuts, massages and shopping for garden supplies topped the agenda for Swiss on Monday as the country slowly started easing restrictions on public life imposed in March to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Queues formed in front of garden centers as people battling cabin fever emerged from six weeks of staying at home at the government's urging.

More than 1,300 people in Switzerland have died from the coronavirus so far, with the number of confirmed cases now over 29,000. 

Tyson Foods board chairman warns 'food supply chain is breaking'

The board chairman of Tyson Foods says "millions of pounds of meat" will disappear from the national supply chain as the coronavirus outbreak forces food processing plants to shutter.

"The food supply chain is breaking," John Tyson wrote in a full-page advertisement published Sunday in The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

"There will be limited supply of our products available in grocery stores until we are able to reopen our facilities that are currently closed," Tyson added

Tyson Foods suspended operations Wednesday at an Iowa plant that is crucial to the nation's pork supply but had been gutted by the pandemic.

Automakers adjust to 'new normal' as they prepare to reopen plants

Paul A. Eisenstein

With Europe's largest auto plant reopening Monday, a growing list of U.S. automakers are also hoping to restart their assembly lines — some as early as this week — as manufacturers battle to prevent a record sales slump from steepening.

The 54 auto assembly lines in the U.S. — along with hundreds of parts plants — ground to a halt in mid-March as the extent of the coronavirus pandemic became increasingly apparent.

With new car sales drying up, that didn’t matter much for the past month. But with sales starting to rebound, manufacturers want to be positioned to meet resurgent consumer demand.

However, some workers say they have "a hard time believing" the plants will be "safe enough” to prevent more infections.

Read the full story here.

The Boston Globe ran 21 pages of obits on Sunday

British Grand Prix could take place behind closed doors, French race cancelled

The British Grand Prix and French Grand Prix are the latest global sporting events to be affected by coronavirus.

France has called off its event altogether, while Britain's race might take place without fans this year as the U.K. government continues to ban large gatherings to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Silverstone, the track that has hosted the race since 1952, said it was discussing with the government a plan to show the event on TV for free instead. Silverstone said it would give health care workers tickets for the 2021 event.

Nursing home industry pushes for immunity from lawsuits during coronavirus emergency

As the COVID-19 death toll at nursing homes climbs to nearly 12,000, the nursing home industry is pushing states to provide immunity from lawsuits to the owners and employees of the nation's 15,600 nursing homes.

So far at least six states have provided explicit immunity from coronavirus lawsuits for nursing homes, and six more have granted some form of immunity to health care providers, which legal experts say could likely be interpreted to include nursing homes.

Patient advocates worry that nursing homes accused of extreme neglect could avoid liability.

"I can't even believe this is a topic of discussion," said Anny Figueroa, whose 55-year-old mother was a resident at Andover Subacute & Rehab Center in New Jersey, where law enforcement discovered 17 bodies in a makeshift morgue this month.

Read the full story here.

Italian expat in Sweden shows off country's lack of restrictions

An Italian PhD candidate living in Sweden has documented the "parallel universe" of daily life in Sweden, a country where the government has not enforced strict social distancing measures amid Covid-19.

Alessandra Paiusco, 28, who is studying at the University of Orebro, posted several videos on social media showing life in Sweden and the difference with countries living under lockdown. Paiusco told NBC News via text message that she lied to her family back in Italy to reassure them that locals are wearing masks in public,"otherwise they would go crazy."

Sweden's Foreign Minister Anne Linde denied in a news conference on April 17 that "life goes on as normal in Sweden," but Paiusco believes that the Swedish government has not taken firm enough action on the virus. “I really don't understand, if they implement certain measures, it means that they basically know that the situation is dangerous,” Paiusco told NBC News.

Peter Jeary

Salons, florists and garden centers allowed to reopen in Switzerland

Claire Beers

Hospitals in Switzerland reopened for outpatient and non-urgent procedures on Monday as the country began easing measures put in place to contain the coronavirus outbreak. 

Beauty salons, DIY stores, garden centers and florists were also permitted to reopen, the government announced as it laid out its staged plans to lift the lockdown. On May 11th, elementary schools and other shops will be allowed to reopen “if the situation allows,” the government said in a statement. Then in June, high schools, zoos and libraries will be allowed to open their doors.

Switzerland has nearly 30,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 1,600 deaths since the pandemic began.

Harlem undertakers say they are turning families away

Two funeral home workers in Harlem, N.Y. said they are turning away families whose loved ones have died because there are more bodies than they can handle.

"We want to be able to help everyone," manager Alisha Narvaez told "Kasie DC" Sunday evening, adding that they often have to tell families to call back because they have no room. Both women, who work at International Funeral and Cremation Services, said the emotional toll of helping the families weighs heavily on them.

"Just today I had a family call because they're pretty much at the cut-off time for the hospital to hold their loved one. And out of desperation, she cried to us and she begged," said funeral director Nicole Warring, adding the woman was fearful her father would end up buried in an unmarked grave. "It's tough when we just don't have the capacity."

Iran to open mosques in areas with few coronavirus cases

Amin Khodadadi

Saphora Smith and Amin Khodadadi

Iran plans to loosen restrictions in some parts of the country by classifying regions as either white, yellow or red based on the spread of the coronavirus, President Hassan Rouhani has said.

Mosques will be able to reopen and congregational prayers held in “white” parts of the country, he said Sunday, according to the presidency’s website. Rouhani added that it was possible that a region could change color depending on the spread of the virus.

Iran has been one of the Middle East's worst hit countries with more than 91,000 cases of coronavirus recorded as of Monday, as well as around 5,800 deaths.

Peter Jeary

Nearly 2 million people download Australia tracking app

Claire Beers

More than 1.8 million people downloaded a new tracking app released by the Australian Government that claims to “speed up contacting people exposed to coronavirus,” according to the country’s Health Department.

COVIDSafe is available to all Australian residents, though participation is not mandatory. It tracks the movement and interaction of residents with the aim of quickly locating and informing anyone that may have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. If a user tests positive, the other users of the app that have been in close proximity to that initial user will be informed so they can get tested and isolate themselves. Health officials will not name the person who was infected.

Officials have said 40 percent of the population will need to download the app for it to work effectively. Australia has been one of the most successful countries in fighting the coronavirus pandemic, recording just 83 deaths and 6,700 cases.

Italy's prime minister lays out plan to slowly reopen in May

Lidia Sirna

Construction workers and factories will restart in Italy on May 4, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said as he laid out plans for a phased end to the country’s strict nationwide lockdown

Public parks will reopen then as will restaurant takeout and delivery services. "We will live with the virus and we will have to adopt every precaution possible," Conte said Sunday evening. Shops, museums, exhibitions and public libraries will reopen on May 18, and hairdressers, bars and restaurants will be open from June 1. Schools however, will remain closed until September.

The announcement comes a week after the country reported its first decline in the number of people sick with coronavirus since the virus hit. The country has recorded 26,384 coronavirus deaths and 195,351 confirmed cases.

Neighbors celebrate musician's 90th birthday under coronavirus lockdown

Peter Jeary

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson returns to work after coronavirus recovery

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson returned to work on Monday after recovering from COVID-19. In an address to the nation outside 10 Downing Street, Johnson said it was too early to lift the strict restrictions currently in place.

Calling this the “moment of maximum risk,” Johnson — who spent time in intensive care during his illness — acknowledged frustration with the lockdown measures and said that his government would be guided by scientists on when to begin loosening them. Britain is one of the worst-hit countries in the world, and has recorded more than 20,000 deaths.

“I ask you to contain your impatience because I believe we are coming now to the end of the first phase of this conflict,” he said.

New Zealand set to lift some restrictions

Claire Beers

New Zealand will lift some of its strictest coronavirus restrictions on Monday night after four weeks of lockdown. Prime Minister Ardern warned that "we must make sure that we do not let the virus run away on us again and cause a new wave of cases and deaths". 

Residents will be permitted to reconnect with close family, bring caregivers into the home and some people will be allowed to return to work. Those displaced when the lockdown came into place will be permitted to travel. Public gatherings remain banned.

The current restrictions will be put in place for two weeks before the government considers further loosening.  The country of 5 million has seen 1,469 confirmed coronavirus cases and 18 deaths.

South Korea mulls reopening schools

The Associated Press

SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea reported only 10 new cases of the coronavirus, its 26th straight day below 100 as officials mulled reopening schools amid the slowing caseload.

The figures released by the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday brought the national totals to 10,738 cases and 243 deaths.

At least 1,044 infections have been linked to international arrivals, but such cases have also declined in recent weeks amid tightened border controls.

NFL draft averages record 8.4M viewers across 3 days

The Associated Press

Seth Markman was just as nervous as NFL coaches and general managers about the unknown factors involved with a virtual draft. But the ESPN executive producer said he was overwhelmed with how everything came together over the three days.

It also ended up being must-see TV as the first significant live sporting event since the coronavirus pandemic ground everything to a halt. The draft averaged a record 8.4 million viewers over all three days, according to the NFL and Nielsen. The previous high was 6.2 million last year.

“I thought a coach or general manager might put a towel on the camera or point it another direction, but there were zero issues,” Markman said. “There were a couple times that we lost a feed or two, but it quickly came back.”