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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.

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

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

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

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.