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.

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Florida to begin lifting stay-at-home order on Monday

People walk down the beach on April 19, 2020 in Jacksonville Beach, Fla.Sam Greenwood / Getty Images

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis unveiled a plan Wednesday to lift the state's stay-at-home orders amid the coronavirus crisis that he called "safe, smart, and step-by-step."

The plan will go into effect on Monday in every county except Dade, Palm Beach and Broward counties, where most of the Covid-19 cases in the state have been reported, DeSantis said.

But before DeSantis released any details, he took a swipe at the "doom and gloom" media and critics who faulted him for the state's slow response to the unfolding crisis.

Read the full story here. 

'Dangerous & disrespectful': Doctors tear into Pence's mask-less hospital visit

Vice President Mike Pence tours Mayo Clinic facilities supporting COVID-19 research and treatment in Rochester, Minn., on April 28, 2020.Nicholas Pfosi / Reuters

Vice President Mike Pence's refusal to wear a face mask during his visit to the prestigious Mayo Clinic this week was potentially dangerous and sent the wrong message about the federal guidelines he regularly touts, doctors and health care officials said.

Wearing a mask reduces disease transmission and protects both the wearer and the people around them, explained Dr. Vin Gupta, a pulmonologist and global health policy expert who is an NBC News and MSNBC contributor. It’s an effective tool for mitigating the spread of the highly contagious coronavirus, which has claimed over 200,000 lives globally.

And while Pence was widely mocked for suggesting a mask would stop him from looking workers in the eye, doctors and health care workers said declining to wear one was a serious breach of safety regulations.

Read the full story here.

More than 6,000 long-term care facilities with COVID-19 cases, 15,385 deaths

There are now at least 6,046 nursing homes and other long-term care facilities with coronavirus outbreaks, and there have been 15,385 deaths from coronavirus in those facilities, according to NBC News tallies from the states willing to provide data.

Forty-three states provided numbers of facilities with outbreaks and 38 states provided death totals.

Although the federal Department of Health and Human Services announced on April 19 they it would start to track and publish data on outbreaks and deaths in nursing homes, it has not published any information to date.

 NBC News has confirmed state officials from both West Virginia and Maryland will test all residents and all staff (even if they are asymptomatic) in nursing homes because of the severity of the outbreak Long-term care residents account for roughly a quarter of all reported COVID-19 deaths in the U.S.

U.S. coronavirus death toll surpasses 60,000

The number of U.S. coronavirus deaths reached 60,012 on Wednesday, according to data collected by NBC News. 

The new death toll comes as the country reports more than 1 million confirmed cases of the virus nationwide. Cases in the U.S. grew exponentially since March and quickly led the globe in official cases as the pandemic spread. 

Though most Americans have been at home under social distancing guidelines, some states have already begun to loosen lockdown measures

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.