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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.

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 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.

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

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

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

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

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.