U.S. deaths top 60,000, Florida to lift stay-at-home order Monday

Here are the latest coronavirus updates from around the world.
Image: Healthcare workers react as they watch a flyover in Philadelphia
Healthcare workers react as they watch a flyover by the U.S. Navy Blue Angels and U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds in Philadelphia on April 28., 2020.MARK MAKELA / Reuters

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The number of deaths in the U.S. totaled more than 60,000 as of Wednesday evening, according to NBC News' tally, while the global death toll climbed over 226,000, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The growing U.S. death toll hasn't prevented some states from relaxing their lockdowns, including Florida, which announced it would begin lifting stay-at-home orders on Monday.

Meanwhile, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Wednesday that an experimental drug for the coronavirus has a proven benefit.

"The data shows that remdesivir has a clear-cut, significant, positive effect in diminishing the time to recovery," Fauci said at the White House on Wednesday.

Here's what to know about the coronavirus, plus a timeline of the most critical moments:

This live coverage has now ended. Continue reading April 30 coronavirus news.

Download the NBC News app for latest updates on the coronavirus outbreak.

Philadelphia mayor asks residents not to flush PPE

Philadelphia officials say they’ve got a real problem with clogged pipes — and it’s all coming to a head because people can’t stop flushing PPE down the toilet.

After weeks of life under stay at home orders, Mayor Jim Kenney urged residents on Tuesday to properly dispose of used masks, gloves, and disinfectant wipes.

“This is taking a toll on our water treatment infrastructure and residents own private property,” he said.

All that extra waste is causing 12 times more clogging than normal, according to the water department. At least 19 facilities have been impacted by the PPE waste, leaving workers to sort through about 100 pounds of it per month — the same amount that’s usually processed in an entire year.

New Jersey to test online voting in upcoming municipal elections

New Jersey will test out online voting for a limited number of people in a special election next month.

Responding to concerns that voting in person can violate social distancing measures designed to halt the spread of the coronavirus, the state is already planning to conduct its May 12 municipal elections, for which there are about 700,000 eligible voters, almost entirely by mail.

But counties will be able to offer voters with disabilities who say they can't fill out and mail a paper ballot the option of using Democracy Live, a platform that allows users to receive and mark their ballot through an online portal, a spokesperson for New Jersey Secretary of State Tahesha Way said Wednesday.

Several other states, including Washington and West Virginia, have already committed to offering Democracy Live statewide for their primaries this year. The program also allows users who want to mark their ballot online and print it out. Though disability advocacy groups have praised the program, cybersecurity experts routinely condemn online voting. "This seems like an extremely narrow use case with very significant collateral risks," Matt Blaze, a Georgetown election cybersecurity researcher, said.

CORRECTION (April 29, 2020, 9:10 p.m. ET): An earlier version of this post misstated New Jersey's secretary of state. It is Tahesha Way, not Tammy Murphy.

Brooklyn man accused of stealing stimulus checks out of mailboxes

A stimulus check issued by the IRS, Thursday, April 23, 2020, in San Antonio.Eric Gay / AP

A 31-year-old Brooklyn man is accused of stealing at least nine stimulus checks out of the mailboxes of homes and apartment buildings in the Sunset Park section of Brooklyn. 

Federal prosecutors said they are charging Feng Cheng with federal crimes because of the postal-related nature of the scheme, as well as the fact that the Treasury checks were meant for workers in need amid the coronavirus crisis.

One check allegedly stolen from a mailbox in the lobby of 868 45th Street was for $2,400.  An alert resident flagged police to Cheng’s alleged activity and responding police soon followed him.

Read the full story here. 

Bay Area to begin relaxing shelter-in-place requirements

OAKLAND, Calif. — On Wednesday, health authorities across six Bay Area counties loosened the shelter-in-place orders, allowing for the resumption of some business and recreational activities under the existing social distancing requirements.

The new order, which takes effect on May 4, extends the bulk of the shelter-in-place order to May 31. The fields that can reopen include construction and some sports, including golf and tennis. In addition, real estate transactions — including limited viewings — can resume. 

All businesses must update or create a new social distancing protocol. Additionally, the order provides the ability for childcare facilities and summer camps that serve essential workers to open under specific circumstances, notably that they can only host “12 or fewer” children that are “in the same group each day.” 

In a joint statement, officials from Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Mateo, San Francisco, and Santa Clara counties and the City of Berkeley, said that if this new order differs with any state-issued ordered, the “stricter order applies.”

Roger Goodell will cut salary to $0 as NFL announces furloughs and pay cuts

Commissioner Roger Goodell speaks just before the NFL football draft on April 23, 2020.NFL via AP

In a memo to NFL league employees, Commissioner Roger Goodell announced upcoming furloughs and pay cuts in response to the "economic effects imposed by the COVID-19 virus."

In addition to the measures outlined in the memo, Goodell voluntarily asked to cut his salary to $0 in March, a change that went into effect earlier this month. Goodell's salary is approximately $4-5 million. His total annual compensation is roughly $40 million.

"The economic consequences for our country have been substantial, and we have taken a series of steps in response to their impact on the NFL," Goodell wrote.

Indefinite pay cuts will take effect in paychecks issued on May 22. The cuts will be 5% for employees up to the manager level, 7% for directors, 10% for vice presidents, 12% for senior VPs and 15% for executive VPs. No one who makes under $100,000 will have their pay cut and no one's pay will be reduced below $100,000.

The league is continuing to prepare for a full 2020-2021 season. 

TSA says 500 of its employees have tested positive for COVID-19

TSA agents screen passengers at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on April 15, 2020.Elaine Thompson / AP

Five hundred people who work for the Transportation Security Administration have tested positive for COVID-19, including four people who died from the disease, the agency said Wednesday.

Of the 500 who tested positive, 208 TSA employees recovered from the illness, the agency said in a statement.

Almost 40 percent of positive cases were found in employees working in the three major airports serving the greater New York City region.

Read the full story here.

White House to let 30-day coronavirus guidance expire on Thursday

President Donald Trump speaks in the East Room of the White House on April 28, 2020.Mandel Ngan / AFP - Getty Images

President Donald Trump said Wednesday that there will be a "fading out" of the federal guidelines aimed at slowing the spread of coronavirus that are set to expire on Thursday.

"They'll be fading out because now the governors are doing it," Trump said during a meeting in the Oval Office with Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards.

Administration officials said the recommendation is that states and local governments "transition" to the White House’s guidelines for reopening the economy that go into effect on Friday.

Those guidelines, however, require states to meet a threshold for each of three phases of reopening, and it’s unclear how many states, if any, meet the standard for "Phase One."

Seattle company accused of peddling fake COVID-19 vaccine

North Coast Biologics is the latest company that Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson says is trying to use the coronavirus pandemic to its advantage, offering a fake vaccine for $400. No vaccine for the virus currently exists. 

Federal Reserve press conference or house party?

A video news conference led by Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, top row, second from left, on April 29, 2020.Federal Reserve

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell led a historic press conference Wednesday afternoon — using a videoconferencing tool to take questions from an array of financial correspondents, most of whom joined him from their home.

Even though reporters who wanted to participate in the proceedings did a trial run on Tuesday, there were hiccups. One correspondent had trouble positioning her camera, which made the frame appear sideways. Another journalist appeared too low in the shot. Some closeups were too close. Every now and then, there were audio issues. 

Unsurprisingly, Twitter was thrilled. Normally, news conferences with the Fed chair are pretty staid. This one, according to some viewers, was more like a “house party.” 

For his part, Powell seemed unfazed. Identified on screen as “Chief Powell,” the central bank chairman presided over the event as normal, sporting the usual purple tie he appears to favor.

Court denies Oklahoma's latest efforts to ban abortions during pandemic

Abortion clinics in Oklahoma can stay open and continue providing care after an appeals court denied the state's latest efforts to ban abortions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals this week denied the state's request seeking to stay a preliminary injunction. The injunction, granted last week, called for abortion access to fully resume in the state as a lawsuit brought by the Center for Reproductive Rights, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and Dechert LLP continues.

In March, Gov. Kevin Stitt ordered medical providers to postpone elective procedures and surgeries, including abortions.

Nancy Northup, president & CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, said in a statement that Governor Stitt has exploited this pandemic to try to ban abortion. "In the wake of this latest ruling, it’s past time for Oklahoma to respect the essential needs of women seeking abortion care," Northup said. "This attempt to ban abortion is an abuse of emergency powers."

'Clear-cut' evidence coronavirus drug remdesivir works, Fauci says

An experimental drug for the coronavirus has a proven benefit, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

“The data shows that remdesivir has a clear-cut, significant, positive effect in diminishing the time to recovery,” Fauci said at the White House on Wednesday. The data he referred to is from a large study of more than 1,000 patients from multiple sites around the world. Patients either received the drug, called remdesivir, or a placebo.

Read more here.