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Stay-at-home protests held across the country

Here are the latest coronavirus updates from around the world.
Image: Protest To Reopen California Businesses, Beaches, And Parks Held In Huntington Beach
Protestors gather in a demonstration in Huntington Beach, California on May 1, 2020.Apu Gomes / Getty Images

Protests against stay-at-home orders were held across the country Friday amid mounting frustration over the economic impact from the coronavirus pandemic.

Rallies were scheduled in at least 10 states. Outside the Capitol building in Albany, New York, protesters chanted "USA! USA!" as they flew American and "Don't Tread on Me" flags. Counterprotesters scheduled their own rallies in support of keeping non-essential businesses closed.

Some states started to slowly reopen Friday, including Texas, where retail stores, restaurants, movie theaters and malls were allowed to open for business. In Louisiana, restaurants (except those in hard-hit New Orleans) are allowed to add outdoor tables.

The calls to reopen business come as meat processing plants struggle with widespread outbreaks that have slowed or halted production. At a Tyson Foods pork-processing plant in Indiana, nearly 900 employees, 40 percent of the workforce, tested positive for the coronavirus.

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

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107-year-old Missouri man celebrates beating COVID-19

CHESTERFIELD, Mo. — A resident of a suburban St. Louis nursing home is believed to be one of the oldest people in the world to survive the coronavirus.

Rudi Heider had two reasons to celebrate on Thursday — he turned 107 and he beat COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. Relatives couldn’t come into his room at Friendship Village in Chesterfield, Missouri, but gathered outside his window while Heider enjoyed a slice of his favorite dessert, lemon meringue pie.

Heider said he looks forward to being able to be with family and friends again.

Heider’s granddaughter, Janet Heider of Seattle, called her grandfather “amazing.”

“I had to tell him that he’s lived through the Spanish Flu, two World Wars, a stroke at 100 years old, and a fractured vertebra at 104 years old that he would not to lose to COVID-19, and he ended up beating it,” she said.

Colorado temporarily suspends evictions

Colorado has joined more than 30 other states in temporarily suspending evictions, preventing renters from being removed from their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gov. Jared Polis issued an executive order on Thursday night that banned evictions and foreclosures through May unless a case poses a public safety risk.

Read the full story here

Mississippi governor holds off on relaxing rules after new cases, deaths

Mississippi's governor said Friday that he was prepared to announce more re-openings of businesses but changed his mind because the state reported its highest single-day increases in coronavirus cases and deaths.

"This thing is not over. We are not out of the woods yet," Gov. Tate Reeves warned at a news conference, adding that the state must stay flexible.

The state health department on Friday reported 397 new cases of COVID-19 and an additional 20 deaths, bringing the total number of deaths since March 11 to 281. 

Of the 20 newly reported deaths, 11 happened between March 29 and April 16 and are being classified as coronavirus deaths based on death certificates, according to the health department.

Reeves last Friday signed an order to begin partially reopening Mississippi's economy. He said he wants to re-open the economy further in a safe way, but the increase was enough to make him hold off for now and to consider any possible next steps at least through the weekend. He stressed that the threat from the virus is serious.

1,000 NYPD officers will be on social-distancing patrol for warm weekend

The New York Police Department says it will deploy 1,000 officers across the city as spring temperatures warm this weekend to "ensure that members of the public engage in social distancing." 

The department says it is sending out these officers to educate "so we can all help stop the spread of the coronavirus and keep all New Yorkers safe and healthy."

Police say they the public should expect to see social distancing officers on patrol by foot, on bikes and in patrol cars to make sure social distancing procedures are followed.

Business owners cautiously welcome easing of restrictions

As a majority of U.S. states began to relax social distancing and stay-at-home rules, business owners cautiously welcomed the opportunity to reopen.

"We’re following the guidelines, and we hope the government is guiding us in the right direction," said Charlie Yin, who's preparing to open three of his four restaurants in Nebraska on Monday. "I definitely think this is saving jobs."

Among states relaxing restrictions Friday were Iowa, Utah, Wyoming and Maine. In Texas, malls, stores, restaurants and movie theaters were allowed to open Friday at 25 percent of their previously permitted capacity. Medical and dental offices could also take patients with non-essential needs.

Effie Stees, owner of the Why Not Envy Me Boutique, which sells jewelry and chocolate in Spring, Texas, said, "It's a new normal. But people are grateful they have a place to go."

Read the full story here.

Growing mental health toll for millions of unemployed Americans

Washington governor extends stays-at-home order through May

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee on Friday said he will issue an extension of his "stay home, stay healthy" order through May 31, but he also outlined how the state may allow some businesses to reopen.

"We have not won this fight against this virus," Inslee said. "Monday's order will continue a ban on public gatherings. Many businesses will have to remain closed."

Reopening businesses and other events will be reopened in four phases. Protocols allowing those operations could be ready by mid-May, Inslee said. The governor did not give an exact timeline but said there will be at least three weeks between phases. Some counties less hard-hit could be allowed to move faster.

Inslee's extension comes as some other states have started re-opening their economies and easing restrictions designed to slow the spread of the coronavirus illness COVID-19. 

Washington state had one of the first coronavirus outbreaks in the United States, and more than 800 people have died there, according to state department of health numbers. As of Friday night, there have been more than 1.1 million cases in the U.S. with more than 64,000 deaths, according to an NBC News count of reports.

Orange County beaches to stay closed

Orange County beaches will remain closed after a California Superior Court judge rejected a request Friday to block Gov. Gavin Newsom's directive that beaches there must remain off-limits during the coronavirus pandemic.

Judge Nathan R. Scott set a hearing for May 11 to consider Huntington Beach's request for an injunction. Dana Point, a neighboring coastal city, joined in the suit, and nearby Newport Beach has also signaled support.

"A plan to reopen beaches has been developed and will be submitted to the State over the weekend," Dana Point officials said in a statement. "The city is hopeful the plan will satisfy the State, making further court action unnecessary."

Read the full story here.