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.
- MAPS: Confirmed cases in the U.S. and worldwide, confirmed deaths in the U.S. and globally.
- Reopening America: See what states across the U.S. are starting to reopen.
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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.
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?"
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."
Sadly, it's time to stop believing — in a Journey summer tour
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."
Tyson expects to keep slowing meat production as coronavirus sickens workers and tanks income
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.
'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."
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.