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Senators return to Washington, Supreme Court justices are streamed live

Here are the latest coronavirus updates from around the world.
Image: People wearing face masks arrive at the Cadorna railway station, as Italy begins a staged end to a nationwide lockdown due to the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Milan,
People wearing face masks arrive at the Cadorna railway station in Milan, Italy as the country begins a staged end to a nationwide coronavirus lockdown on Monday.Flavio Lo Scalzo / Reuters

With new measures in place to prevent the spread of coronavirus, Senators returned to Washington on Monday. Soda machines were taped off, tables were spread out and basketball-size circles painted on the ground reminded visitors how far apart six feet is. Lawmakers were scheduled to take their first vote Monday night.

At the U.S. Supreme Court, justices conducted their first-ever oral argument by conference call. The audio was streamed live — also a first — on news sites and is available on CSPAN.

A report by the Department of Homeland Security's intelligence service details China's efforts to cover up the depth of its coronavirus outbreak while stockpiling medical supplies. The details come one day after one day after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said China must be held accountable for spreading the deadly virus.

More than 68,000 people have been sickened with the disease across the United States, according to an NBC News tally. New York state tops the list, with more than 25,117 deaths. More than 1 million Americans have contracted the virus.

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.

This live coverage has now ended. Continue reading May 5 coronavirus news.

Miami Beach park closed after nearly 7,500 warned about masks

A popular park in Miami Beach was closed Monday after authorities issued thousands of warnings over the weekend to people who weren’t following coronavirus prevention rules, authorities said.

The city of Miami Beach tweeted that South Pointe Park was closed until further notice. Between Friday and Sunday, park rangers gave 7,329 verbal warnings to people in the city, most of them at the park, according to the city.

“Friendly reminder that you MUST wear a face cover when enjoying any one of our” parks, the city tweeted.

Florida’s statewide stay-at-home order expired Thursday, and many businesses, beaches and parks have reopened with social distancing and other rules in place.

Read the full story here

Third inmate at Kansas prison dies from COVID-19

A third inmate has died at a Kansas prison where a riot broke out in a cell block at least partly over coronavirus cases in early April.

The Kansas Department of Corrections said in a statement that an inmate at Lansing Correctional Facility who tested positive for the illness on Friday died Monday, NBC affiliate KSHB of Kansas City reported.

That is the third inmate at the prison in Lansing to have died from COVID-19, according to the state corrections department. A spokesperson for the department did not immediately return an email seeking comment early Tuesday.

As of Monday, there have been 380 "residents" there who have tested positive, and 289 are asymptomatic, according to the state corrections department. There have also been 88 staff who have tested positive. Fifty-two inmates have recovered and 22 staff have returned to work, according to its website.

The corrections department says the increase in inmate cases was due to the testing of all residents in an open-dormitory living unit. Kansas Department of Corrections Secretary Jeff Zmuda announced Thursday that all people housed at the prison, which was 1,732 men at that time, would be tested for the coronavirus.

Mississippi relaxes some orders days after governor delayed idea

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves on Monday said he is allowing in-room and outdoor dining at restaurants and relaxing rules about outside gatherings put in place to limit the spread of the coronavirus illness COVID-19.

The announcement comes days after Reeves said he was delaying further steps after the state saw its highest single-day reporting of cases and deaths, although at the time he noted some of the newly reported deaths happened previously but were newly classified as related to the disease.

Outdoor and in-room dining will be allowed at restaurants, with restrictions like social distancing and 50 percent capacity. Outdoor gatherings of up to 20 people will be allowed.

"It is not a dive into the deep end," the governor said.

The state health department on Monday reported 327 new cases and seven deaths. On Friday when the state saw its highest single-day reported increase there were 397 new cases and 20 deaths, which included 11 people who had previously died.

Fewer players will be allowed once Nevada casino gambling resumes

There will be fewer players at blackjack and craps tables at casinos once Nevada lifts its temporary ban on gambling, regulators have said in documents.

Casinos must keep crowds at 50 percent of the occupancy limit, according to documents released Friday by the state's gaming control board.

Chairs must be removed so people at gaming machines like slot machines don't sit next to each other, and blackjack tables should be limited to three players, craps to six and roulette and poker to four. Casinos must submit plans on spacing as well as sanitation and other measures. Those must include how things like dice, cards and chips will be disinfected.

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak in March ordered the suspension of all gaming operations in order to slow the spread of the coronavirus and the illness it causes, COVID-19, and it is unclear when the ban will be lifted.

The governor last week said that casino gambling will not be in the first phase of reopening, which is expected to last at least two to three weeks. He has extended his stay-at-home directive until May 15, but eased some restrictions.

South Korea readying for second wave by setting up 1,000 clinics

South Korea's government will set up 1,000 clinics to treat potential coronavirus patients in the coming months in preparation for a possible second wave of COVID-19 this fall and winter, the vice health minister said.

"Clinics dedicated to treating COVID-19 patients will open so that we can detect and treat the patients early on," Kim Gang-lip, the vice health minister in charge of the government response to the COVID-19 crisis, said in a briefing. "Five hundred clinics using the public healthcare centers will open first, then private clinics will join them.”

There have been more than 10,800 confirmed cases in the country with 252 deaths, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. More than 9,200 of people with confirmed cases have been discharged from isolation.

South Korea on Monday announced plans to reopen schools starting next week, the Yonhap news agency reported. The education minister warned that the school reopening should not be considered as "the end of the coronavirus," and that teachers, parents and students should closely follow guidelines.

Report: By June 1, daily death the toll could reach 3,000

Businesses manage expectations, safety while reopening

Businesses in several states reopened their doors Monday, hopeful to bring back customers while managing expectations and safety during the coronavirus pandemic.

Monday marked another key date for states that are beginning to partly lift some social distancing restrictions in a test of how to safely reignite the economy during the pandemic, which has caused almost 1.2 million known cases in the U.S., with nearly 70,000 deaths.

Read the full story here

Violent encounter in New York City prompts concerns about unequal policing of social distancing

A violent encounter between a New York City police officer and a bystander that police said began as an attempt to enforce social distancing rules has prompted concerns about unequal policing.

New York City's public advocate Jumaane Williams posted pictures on Twitter on Sunday — one of swarms of white people sitting in parks and three images from what appeared to depict encounters between police and people of color.

One of the images was a still from a video captured Saturday that has been widely shared online and showed a plainclothes police officer, who was not wearing a mask, pointing a Taser at bystanders on Avenue D in the East Village in Manhattan. NBC News has not been able to verify what happened before or after the events shown on the video. The video also depicted the officer, who has been identified by The New York Times and other media outlets as Francisco Garcia, punching and slapping one man to the ground.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio wrote on Twitter Sunday night that he was "really disturbed" by the video and that the behavior he saw in it "is simply not acceptable."

Read the full story here.

U.S Attorney warns landlords against pressuring tenants for sexual favors

The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Southern California warned landlords that any attempt to solicit sexual favors from tenants strapped for cash "will result in an indictment." 

Some residents who are unable to make rent have reported that landlords have asked for sexual favors in exchange for delaying rent payments, U.S. Attorney Robert Brewer said in a release Monday. Brewer said it "is not only despicable -- it is illegal" to abuse vulnerable tenants this way. 

Brewer's office said it will be using all available resources to investigate sexual harassment in housing. 

NBC News reported last month that housing advocates worried such a tactic might be employed against some of the millions of Americans who have lost their ability to pay rent during the pandemic. 

"We've already seen that the pandemic is exacerbating a lot of systemic issues and sexual harassment targeted at tenants by landlords is likely to be one of these issues," Renee Williams, a senior staff attorney at the National Housing Law Project, told NBC News in April.

'Virtual prom' lets high school seniors dance the night away

They saved money on limo and tux rentals, and maintaining distance on the dance floor took on a different meaning.

But a "virtual prom" hosted Saturday on Instagram Live gave more than 500 high school seniors a chance to celebrate the class of 2020 and participate in a rite of passage, albeit remotely.

The virtual WE ARE WELL PROM featured music and dancing, along with a digital red carpet complete with celebrity appearances from stars such as Netflix's Logan Allen and actor Max Jenkins; the event was DJed by DJ Jazzy Jeff.

Read the full story here.

Justice Department backs pastor challenging Va. Gov. Northam's social distancing order

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Justice Department is siding with a rural Virginia church that sued the state's governor after the pastor was charged with violating a social distancing order.

The government filed court papers Sunday in support of Lighthouse Fellowship Church in Chincoteague on Virginia's eastern shore, which said the state improperly discriminated by insisting that the church permit no more than 10 people to attend services, while allowing businesses to accommodate larger groups.

"The Commonwealth cannot treat religious gatherings less favorably than other similar secular gatherings," the Justice Department said in its submission.

Read the full story here.

White House seeks to limit congressional testimony for at least a month

No members of the White House coronavirus task force or their top deputies "may accept hearing invitations" from Congress during the month of May, the White House Office of Legislative Affairs told congressional staff directors in new guidance Monday.  

The guidance, a copy of which was provided to NBC News, also seeks to limit the number of coronavirus-related hearings administration officials are called to attend.   

“For the month of May, no Task Force members, or key deputies of Task Force members, may accept hearing invitations,” the guidance says, but adds that some exceptions may be made by White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.

The guidance comes after the White House blocked Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert and current member of the task force, from testifying before the Democratic-controlled House on Wednesday. He is being allowed to testify in a hearing before the Republican-controlled Senate on May 12. That testimony before the committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions is still scheduled to happen. Committee chairman Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn, said the panel will also hear from other task force members, including the heads of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration. 

"We’ll be doing our oversight responsibilities and we’ll be looking ahead to see what we have to do to keep Americans safe as we go back to work and go back to school,” Alexander said. 

 The guidance also says that “no more than one COVID-related hearing should be agreed to with the department’s primary House and Senate authorizing committee and appropriations subcommittee in the month of May” involving the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Homeland Security and the State Department —a total of "no more than four COVID-related hearings department-wide.”

Fever, fatigue, fear: For some recovering COVID-19 patients, weeks of illness, uncertainty

Kate Porter has had a fever nearly every day for 50 days. She can't shake the extreme exhaustion that hit when she became infected with the coronavirus nearly two months ago.

The longevity of her symptoms are unlike anything she's ever experienced. "I know it sounds crazy," Porter said, "but is this permanent?"

Read more. 

Police seek "loud and disruptive' man who wiped nose on store clerk's shirt

Michigan police were searching for a man who allegedly showed his disdain for a clerk’s request that he don a mask by wiping his nose on her shirt.

The unidentified man was confronted by the clerk shortly after he walked into a Dollar Tree store in the town of Holly around 1:30 p.m. Saturday, local police said.

Instead of complying, the man could be seen on video footage making a rude gesture before burying his face in the clerk’s shoulder.

“Here, I will use this as a mask,” he replied, according to the police.

The man, police said, “continued to be loud and disruptive” inside the store before fleeing.

Los Angeles clinic puts underprivileged community at greater risk of contracting coronavirus, health care workers say

LOS ANGELES — The largest health care provider in South Los Angeles, which serves low-income African Americans and Latinos, is putting some of the city's most vulnerable residents at risk of contracting the coronavirus by having patients come in for routine appointments, according to some medical professionals who work there.

As the coronavirus batters minority communities, some medical professionals said they are concerned that the facility, St. John's Well Child and Family Center, is disregarding a key federal guideline intended to protect people from the contagion, which recommends that medical facilities reschedule nonessential appointments.

Seven medical professionals, including doctors and nurses, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of losing their jobs, said that they have taken their concerns to the chief administrator of St. John's several times but that the practice has not stopped. Shortly after the professionals spoke with NBC News, two said they were fired.

St. John's CEO Jim Mangia said he could not comment on personnel matters, but said the only reason a provider would be terminated would be for "a malpractice issue or severe behavioral issues."

Read the full story here.

Sadly, it's time to stop believing — in a Journey summer tour

Journey Perform Live In Tokyo
Neal Schon and Arnel Pineda of Journey perform in Tokyo on Feb. 7, 2017.Jun Sato / WireImage

Journey will not be going on and on with its summer tour, the venerable rockers announced Monday, joining the ever-growing list of acts that have cancelled shows in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

The "Don't Stop Believin' "group, led by founding member and guitarist Neal Schon, sounded an ominous note for even 2021, in its statement saying: "Having seen what the world has endured during the last 45 days, and not knowing what the rest of this year or 2021 will bring, we knew the right thing to do was to make sure our fans' health was not put in jeopardy and to provide immediate access to refund options given the unexpected events caused by this terrible virus."

Taylor Swift, Jon Bon Jovi and Kelly Clarkson are among the many musical acts forced to call off tours or residency performances because of the pandemic.

Tyson expects to keep slowing meat production as coronavirus sickens workers and tanks income

Major meat provider Tyson foods reported a steep decline in income on Monday, raising more fears about America's food-supply chain during the world's fight against coronavirus.

Net income fell 15 percent for the second quarter ending March 28, compared to same period of the previous fiscal year, Arkansas-based Tyson reported.

The coronavirus pandemic has forced the company to close several plants and slow production as hundreds of workers test positive for the virus.

"We have and expect to continue to face slowdowns and temporary idling of production facilities from team member shortages or choices we make to ensure operational safety," Tyson said in a statement.

Read the full story here.

'We owe you,' Joe Biden tells meat processing, essential workers during a Latino town hall

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, trying to amp up his Latino support, sent a message to essential workers, particularly those in meat processing plants, saying "we owe you" and stressing they deserve additional pay, protective equipment and coronavirus testing priority.

Biden shared screen time with the children of meat processing plant workers who are infected with coronavirus and have brought their infections home from work. The virtual town hall was organized by the League of United Latin American Citizens, known as LULAC, one of the nation's oldest Latino civil rights organizations.

"These stories are heartwrenching," the former vice president said, after the young Latinos told their stories. "There's nothing worse than worrying about a family member whether they're going to make it or not—it's not a whole lot worse than ending up in the morning and knowing your son or daughter is in a war zone," said Biden, whose son Beau, who died of brain center, had served in Iraq. "They basically are in war zones."

Read the full story here.

We apologize, this video has expired.

Frontier asks passengers to disclose their health, pay extra for an empty middle seat

Frontier Airlines is telling passengers that if they want the middle seat blocked they can pay for it.

Customers will be able to select a “more room” option, beginning at $39, to ensure that the middle seat is reserved without a passenger, the airline announced Monday. Some airlines such as Delta and EasyJet have already started to block off the middle seat, where possible, to allow for social distancing.

Starting May 8, face coverings are also mandatory at the gate and boarding areas as well as on the plane, the airline said. 

“While we believe the best measure to keep everyone healthy is to require face coverings, for those who want an empty seat next to them for extra peace of mind or simply additional comfort, we are now offering “More Room,” Frontier chief executive Barry Biffle said in a statement.

In addition, Frontier is mandating that passengers fill in a health acknowledgement form certifying neither they nor family members have suffered from COVID-19 symptoms in the prior 14 days to the flight. The airline will not allow anyone who has a fever to travel.

Mnuchin suggests Americans explore U.S. instead of traveling internationally as economy reopens

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin suggested Monday that people should consider using their time amid the coronavirus crisis to explore the U.S. instead of traveling internationally. 

“Our priority is opening up the domestic economy,” he said in an interview on Fox Business Network. “Obviously for business people who do need to travel, there will be travel on a limited basis, but this is a great time for people to explore America.”

Mnuchin added that a lot of people “haven’t seen many parts of America” and he wishes he can “get back on the road soon.” 

Asked if international travel could be opened up this year, Mnuchin said, "It’s too hard to tell at this point” adding, “I hope that it is."

In an effort to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus, the Trump administration has imposed strict travel restrictions on certain regions including China and Europe but they only apply to people who are not U.S. citizens. 

Coronavirus apps won’t be able to record users’ location, Apple and Google say

Image:
A woman holds a cellphone while walking in Queens, N.Y., on on April 22, 2020.Johannes Eisele / AFP - Getty Images

Apple and Google are tightening the rules for smartphone apps that could notify people about exposure to the coronavirus after concern that the apps would violate privacy.

Public health agencies, academics and governors' offices are racing to deploy the apps in the U.S. as one step toward relaxing stay-at-home orders.

The apps would use Bluetooth technology to privately record when phones are near each other, and to send anonymous notifications to people who have spent time with infected individuals. A handful of states have already rolled out test versions.

But the two tech companies said Monday they want to be sure the apps use only anonymous Bluetooth proximity data, not location data from cellular networks that could be more invasive.

Read more here.

Did the coronavirus really escape from a Chinese lab?

There has been a barrage of contradictory claims in recent days about how American officials believe coronavirus emerged from the Chinese city of Wuhan, what evidence they have, and when President Donald Trump was first briefed about it.

Here is what we actually know.

White House dismisses report projecting sharp increase in daily COVID deaths

The White House on Monday dismissed a document reportedly prepared by the Trump administration that projects that deaths from the coronavirus could reach 3,000 a day on June 1. 

“This is not a White House document nor has it been presented to the Coronavirus Task Force or gone through interagency vetting. This data is not reflective of any of the modeling done by the task force or data that the task force has analyzed,” said White House spokesman Judd Deere.

The document was obtained by The New York Times, which said that the administration’s forecast could reach 200,000 new COVID-19 cases a day by the end of the month compared to about 25,000 cases a day now. The projections were based on government modeling compiled by the Federal Emergency Management Agency in conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Deere said in his statement that Trump’s "phased guidelines to open up America again are a scientific driven approach that the top health and infectious disease experts in the federal government agreed with" and that the health of Americans remains the president’s top priority.

Photo: Churches open in Munich

Image: Churches Hold Religious Services Again As Lockdown Measures Ease
Alexander Hassenstein / Getty Images

Worshippers attend an evening Mass at Munich's Frauenkirche on Monday, the first day churches and other houses of worship were allowed to hold services again in Bavaria. Nationwide state and local governments are easing lockdown measures in a careful attempt to bring normalcy back to public life in Germany.

Kroger to offer free COVID-19 testing to workers

Grocery giant Kroger will begin offering COVID-19 testing to workers, according to a release issued this morning. 

The company will also provide testing to associates based on symptoms and medical need. It already hosts public drive-thru testing sites in 12 states. 

“At Kroger, the safety and health of our associates and customers remains our top priority during this unprecedented time,” said Tim Massa, Kroger’s senior vice president and chief people officer, in a statement released to NBC News. “Our associates have worked tirelessly to provide communities continued access to fresh, affordable food. We are dedicated to providing support and gratitude to our associates across the country.” 

Kroger will be distributing tests to workers across its family of brands, including Ralphs, Food 4 Less, and Dillon’s, among others. 

Members of UFCW Local 770 in the Los Angeles area have been protesting at Ralphs and Food 4 Less locations for over a week. Members have been calling for testing, more cleaning, and response protocol following a COVID-19 positive test in stores. 

“That UFCW members successfully compelled Kroger to provide testing is a significant victory for the public’s health,”said John Grant, president of UFCW Local 770, in a release. “Grocery corporations like Kroger have been doubling and tripling their profits while other businesses are shuttering, yet they have been slow to implement safety measures and share profits with essential workers on the frontline.” 

Fact check: Trump falsely claims U.S. is testing more than every other country 'combined'

President Donald Trump boasted again about coronavirus testing, tweeting Monday that the U.S. has "performed 6.5 million tests, which is more than every country in the world, combined!”

This is not true.

America has performed the most tests — as a large country with an ongoing pandemic — of any country, but the U.S. has not tested more people than the rest of the world combined.

According to one global data compilation, the U.S. has tested more people than Trump says — 6.8 million tests. But according to the same tracker, Russia has performed 4.1 million tests, Italy has done 2.1 million tests and Canada has conduced another 862,000. That’s more than 7 million tests in just three countries. More than 200 other countries are also fighting this pandemic, as well.

Top FEMA official announces he's departing the office in July

William Roy, the director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Response Operations Division, is departing his position at the end of July, a senior administration official told NBC News.

Roy, a retired Army major general, has served as director of the division since July 2017. As part of that role, Roy oversees multiple departments, including the FEMA Operations Center and the National Response Coordination Center.

Roy has been deeply involved in the coronavirus response effort and is a member of the interagency leadership group that works with the White House and its task forces.

FEMA did not immediately respond to a request for comment from NBC News.

Pro baseball from Korea headed to American TV

Image: A cameraman films a pre-season baseball game between the Doosan Bears and LG Twins in Seoul on April 21, 2020. South Korea's baseball season will begin on May 5 without fans.
A cameraman films a pre-season baseball game between the Doosan Bears and LG Twins in Seoul on April 21, 2020. South Korea's baseball season will begin on May 5 without fans.Lee Jin-man / AP file

ESPN announced Monday it struck a deal with South Korean baseball officials, and plans to televise six games per week to sports-starved American viewers.

The pact, made with the Korean Baseball Organization's (KBO) international rights holder Eclat Media Group, calls one game to air each day, Tuesday through Sunday, on an ESPN channel and its digital platform. 

The first game, to be played in an empty stadium, will feature the Samsung Lions and NC Dinos. First pitch is set for 2 p.m. in Korea and 1 a.m. ET on Tuesday.

Virtually all sports around the world have been put on hold, due to the coronavirus pandemic. South Korea and Taiwan have been widely praised for their aggressive fight against the pandemic — and now both have professional baseball up and running. 

 

New data suggests Americans bought roughly 4.2 million firearms in April, according to gun control group

Confronted by the coronavirus outbreak, Americans bought an estimated 4.2 million firearms in March and April, a gun control group said Monday.

The Everytown for Gun Safety group came to that conclusion after crunching the newest numbers from the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) and discovering that 25 percent more background checks were done in April 2020 than in April 2019.

And more guns means more danger for Americans sheltering at home during the coronavirus crisis, according to Shannon Watts of the Moms Demand Action gun control group.

“The risks are particularly high for the millions of kid in homes with unsecured guns, women sheltering in places with abusers, and anybody struggling psychologically during this crisis,” Watts said.

New Jersey schools to remain closed through the rest of the academic year, gov announces

FDA tightens rules on antibody tests after false claims, accuracy problems

WASHINGTON — U.S. regulators Monday pulled back a decision that allowed scores of coronavirus blood tests to hit the market without first providing proof that they worked.

The Food and Drug Administration said it took the action because some sellers have made false claims about the tests and their accuracy.

Read more here.

7 million face coverings will be handed out for free in NYC

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Monday that the city will hand out 7.5 million face masks for free.

The mayor said the initiative started over the weekend to a "great response" as people spilled out of their apartments and into public spaces while temperatures soared into the 70s.

He said "people were really grateful the get them," and the city would now start distributing masks at parks, food distribution centers, public housing developments, affordable housing facilities and anywhere police and the parks department are enforcing social distancing. Five million three-ply non-medical masks and 2.5 million cloth face coverings will be handed out. 

"When you put on that face covering, you are reducing the spread of this disease, and taking one small step toward normalcy," de Blasio said. 

Amazon VP quits over firing of coronavirus whistleblowers

A vice president and engineer at Amazon said he quit on May 1 "in dismay" at the company's firing of "whistleblowers who were making noise about warehouse employees frightened of Covid-19."

Tim Bray, who announced his resignation on his personal blog, worked at Amazon for five-and-half years said the move to fire employees sounding the alarm on working conditions was "chickens---."

"At the end of the day, the big problem isn’t the specifics of Covid-19 response," Bray wrote. "It’s that Amazon treats the humans in the warehouses as fungible units of pick-and-pack potential."

Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

'If they can do it, so can we'

While trains are empty, rail companies entertain on Twitter

As millions of commuters continue to stay home, Britain's rail companies are using their Twitter accounts to entertain the public with bedtime stories and cute animal photos. 

Instead of the usual updates on train delays and timetable changes, London North Eastern Railway's customer service reps are posting videos of themselves reading Thomas the Train out loud to sleepy train enthusiasts, and video updates on a mother goose who has chosen to lay her eggs in the flower bed of an almost-empty railway station in York, Yorkshire.  

Not wanting to miss out on the fun, ScotRail has been providing behind-the-scenes videos like a virtual trip through a train wash, as well as content guaranteed to please all ages: cute animal photos. "Please enjoy this picture of a very fluffy alpaca," wrote one customer service rep yesterday. "That's it. That's the Tweet."

Experts define inflammatory disorder likely linked to COVID-19 in kids

A group of experts from around the globe announced Monday a case definition for a new inflammatory disorder in children that's likely linked to COVID-19.

The group, with experts specializing in pediatric infectious disease, cardiology and intensive care management, met in a webinar on Saturday to discuss cases of what they're now calling "pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome." The syndrome appears to cause an inflammation of blood vessels, as well as a toxic shock-like response and fever. 

"This rare syndrome shares common features with other pediatric inflammatory conditions including: Kawasaki disease, staphylococcal and streptococcal toxic shock syndromes, bacterial sepsis and macrophage activation syndromes," the panel of experts wrote in its case definition.

It's unclear how many children may have this condition. A handful of cases have been reported in the New York area, as well as in the U.K. 

One German state plans to reopen restaurants to limited capacity

Lower Saxony, a state in northwest Germany, announced Monday that it will allow restaurants and cafes to reopen in a week, on May 11, but only at 50 percent capacity and for people who make reservations.

Vacation rentals and campgrounds will open, too, with reduced availability, but bars and clubs will remain closed.

The state's plan was released despite an agreement between local leaders and German Chancellor Angela Merkel that they would discuss reopening restaurants and bars later. A government spokesperson would not comment on the state’s plan.

How will colleges recover from coronavirus? Campuses that survived disasters offer clues

Before the coronavirus shut down college campuses, some had already suffered natural disasters that decreased enrollment, slowed students’ progress and deprived faculty and staff of income. 

Officials at these colleges said they can offer lessons in how institutions can respond not just to wildfires and hurricanes, but also to a pandemic. Strategies include offering additional financial and emotional support to struggling students. 

When it comes to crises that can bring a campus to a halt, said Marvin Pratt, director of environmental health and safety at California State University, Chico, which was closed for two weeks by the 2018 Camp fire, “All of us have learned that no one is immune.”

Read the full story here. 

Jersey City makes beautiful discovery during City Hall renovation

Bureaucrats in Jersey City made an exciting discovery while taking advantage of coronavirus downtime to make improvements to the city. 

Mayor Steven Fulop tweeted on Sunday that builders renovating City Hall had uncovered and restored a stunning early 20th century tiled floor that had spent nearly six decades hidden under grey speckled linoleum. 

"We thought we’d find garbage," Fulop said, "but instead we found the original from 100 yrs ago."

'60 Minutes' correspondent Lesley Stahl details recovery from coronavirus

"60 Minutes" correspondent Lesley Stahl said on the broadcast Sunday night that she battled a case of coronavirus that left her "really scared" and hospitalized.

The veteran journalist who has been with "60 Minutes" for nearly three decades opened by sharing a tenet of journalism: "Don't become part of the story."

"But instead of covering the pandemic, I was one of the more-than-one million Americans who did become part of it," she revealed.

Stahl concluded by thanking that "valiant army in scrubs and masks."

"They were fulfilling a mission, answering the call. Thanks to them, like so many other patients, I am well now," she said. 

Read the full story here.

Five European countries have yet to reach COVID-19 peak, E.U. says

The head of the European Union agency for disease control said on Monday that five European countries have yet to reach the peak of their coronavirus outbreaks.

Andrea Ammon, director of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, told EU lawmakers that in Britain, Poland, Romania and Sweden the agency had seen "no substantial changes in the last 14 days," and Bulgaria was still recording an increase in cases. The statement contradicted the U.K. government's line, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson saying on Thursday that Britain was past the peak and "on the downward slope."

For all other European countries there was a drop in cases, she said. "As of Saturday, it appears that the initial wave of transmission (in Europe) has passed its peak," Ammon told lawmakers in a videoconference.

J. Crew files for bankruptcy as retailer succumbs to COVID-19 fallout

J. Crew Group Inc filed for bankruptcy protection on Monday with a plan to hand over control to lenders, adding to a list of brick-and-mortar retailers pushed to the brink by widespread store closures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The New York-based chain, known for preppy clothing at times worn by former first lady Michelle Obama, filed for bankruptcy in a Virginia federal court with an agreement to eliminate its roughly $1.65 billion of debt in exchange for ceding ownership to creditors. It is the first big retailer to file during the pandemic.

Anchorage Capital Group, Blackstone Group Inc's GSO Capital Partners and Davidson Kempner Capital Management hold significant portions of J. Crew's senior debt and are in line to take control of the company.

Read the full story here.

Brown bear seen in Spanish mountains for first time in 150 years

The brown bear was spotted using camera traps in Montes do Invernadeiro Natural Park in Galicia, Spain
The brown bear was spotted using camera traps in Montes do Invernadeiro Natural Park in Galicia, SpainZeitun Films / Zeitun Films

A brown bear was filmed in the mountains of northwestern Spain for what's believed to be the first time in 150 years, according to the production company Zeitun Films. 

The film-makers spotted the bear using automatic camera traps in the Montes do Invernadeiro Natural Park in Galicia region. It is thought to be a male between 3 and 5 years old. 

There have been many reports of wildlife sightings during coronavirus-related lockdowns. Park agents said they believe the bear likely spent the winter in the area. It follows years of conservation work there, the film-makers said.

Paris doctor says patient had virus at the end of December

A new French study has found that COVID-19 was already spreading in France in late December 2019, a month before the official first cases were declared in the country.

Dr. Yves Cohen, the head of an intensive care department at a hospital in Paris, told French television BFMTV on Sunday that the virus was present at their hospital in the north of Paris on Dec. 27. Dr. Cohen and his team re-examined medical records of intensive care patients admitted for influenza-like illness who tested negative for flu and other coronaviruses between Dec. 2, 2019 and Jan. 16, 2020. 

Out of the 58 patients included in their analysis, one 42-year-old man admitted on Dec. 27 tested positive for COVID-19. The man, a native of Algeria, lived in France for many years and worked as a fishmonger. His last trip was in Algeria during August 2019, the study found. The study notes that it has several limitations due to the retrospective nature of the analyses and the non-exhaustive medical records of their patients, but the study was carried out by two teams with two different techniques to “avoid any false positive results.” 

The group of doctors concluded that the “new case changes our understanding of the epidemic and modeling studies should adjust to this new data.”

37 London transit workers die from coronavirus

Thirty seven London transit workers have died of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, the city's transit authority confirmed Monday. 

Thirty of the workers who have died were bus drivers, and four worked for the Tube or rail, Transport for London said. In recent weeks, TFL banned passengers from boarding buses via the front door to better protect drivers from proximity to passengers.

South Carolina woman charged on two counts after licking incident at grocery store

A woman suspected of picking up goods in a grocery store after licking her hands and touching her face has been arrested in Sumter, South Carolina.

Police located and arrested 38-year-old Shenir Gibson Holliday in a parking lot on Saturday after officers reviewed surveillance camera footage showing her licking her hands and touching her face before handling products in a supermarket. They were also able to link her to a previous incident at another store in the town.

Holliday is in custody and waiting to be tested for COVID-19. She is charged with aggravated breach of peace and food tampering, Sumter Police said in a statement on Facebook. 

Millions return to work as Italy eases eight-week coronavirus lockdown

Image: People flow out of Rome's San Giovanni metro station on Monday.
People returning to work come out of Rome's San Giovanni metro station on Monday.Cecilia Fabiano / AP

Italy is turning “a new page” as it gradually eases out of Europe’s longest coronavirus lockdown, the country’s prime minister said, as some 4 million Italian workers went back to work Monday.

“The risks of having more infections are numerous, but we will be able to avoid them with responsibility,” Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte told Italians in a video address on his Facebook page. “As never before, the future of the country is in your hands.” 

Relatives will also be allowed to meet up while parks, some industries and construction sites open for the first time in eight weeks.

Roche wins U.S. nod for COVID-19 antibody test, aims to boost output

Roche has won emergency approval from the Food and Drug Administration for an antibody test to determine whether people have ever been infected with the coronavirus, the Swiss drugmaker said.

Thomas Schinecker, Roche's head of diagnostics, said the company aims to more than double production of tests from about 50 million a month to significantly more than 100 million a month by the end of the year. 

Governments, businesses and individuals are seeking such blood tests to learn who may have had the disease, who may have some immunity and to potentially craft strategies to help end national lockdowns.

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Japan extends coronavirus state of emergency to May 31

Japan extended its state of emergency until May 31, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced on Monday.

“Currently there are still significant number of new infections and the decrease in the number of cases is still not at adequate levels,” the prime minister said at a coronavirus task force meeting. “The view of experts is that we need to continue the current measures that are in place.”

Prime Minister Abe said the infection rates and impact on the healthcare system will be reassessed on May 14. He said if it seems possible he would lift the state of emergency in some areas before the end date. Japan has recorded 510 deaths from the virus and more than 15,000 infections.

NRA cutting staff and salaries

Wayne LaPierre, NRA executive vice president and CEO, in February.
Wayne LaPierre, NRA executive vice president and CEO, in February. AP

The National Rifle Association has laid off dozens of employees, canceled its national convention and scuttled fundraising, membership and shooting events that normally would be key to rallying its base in an election year.

The coronavirus pandemic has upended the gun-rights organization during what should be heady times for the group, in the middle of presidential election and with gun owners riled up over what they see as an effort by authorities to trample on their Second Amendment rights.

The NRA, which boasts about 5 million members, in recent weeks laid off or furloughed dozens of employees, imposed a four-day workweek for some employees and cut salaries across the board, including for CEO Wayne LaPierre. The financial issues, combined with the cancellation of fundraisers and the national convention, which would have surely drawn a visit from President Donald Trump, have complicated its ability to influence the 2020 election.

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Brazil's Bolsonaro headlines anti-democratic rally amid alarm over handling of virus

The Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro is lit up as if wearing a protective mask amid the coronavirus pandemic on Sunday. The message "Mask saves" is written in Portuguese.
The Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro is lit up as if wearing a protective mask amid the coronavirus pandemic on Sunday. The message "Mask saves" is written in Portuguese.Leo Correa / AP

RIO DE JANEIRO — Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro attacked Congress and the courts in a speech to hundreds of supporters on Sunday as the number of coronavirus cases blew past 100,000 in his country, underlining the former army captain's increasing isolation as he downplays the impacts of the pandemic.

Right-wing Bolsonaro has drawn widespread criticism from across the political spectrum for dismissing the threat of the virus in Brazil, which has registered 101,147 confirmed cases and 7,025 deaths, according to the most recent data from the Health Ministry.

On Sunday, dozens of public figures signed an open letter to the Brazilian government calling on officials to protect the nation's indigenous people, who often live in remote locations with limited access to healthcare.