White House to wind down task force

Here are the latest coronavirus updates from around the world.
Image: How Royal Papworth Hospital Adapted To Battle A Pandemic
Clinical staff wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) as they care for a patient at the Intensive Care unit at Royal Papworth Hospital in Cambridge, England on May 5, 2020.Neil Hall / Pool via Getty Images

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President Donald Trump’s coronavirus task force is in the early stages of winding down, according to two people familiar with the matter.

Drs. Deborah Birx and Anthony Fauci are still expected to be at the White House on a daily basis, but other members of the task force may be less physically present.

Speculation about the task force's ongoing presence emerged as Trump was traveling outside the D.C. area for the first time in more than a month to visit a Honeywell mask manufacturing facility in Phoenix, Arizona.

The U.S. coronavirus death toll passed 70,000 Tuesday, with at least 70,972 deaths linked to the illness across the country, according to an NBC News count of reports. Globally, there have been more than 257,000 deaths according to Johns Hopkins University.

Meanwhile, businesses in several states including Florida and California, have reopened their doors, hopeful to bring back customers while managing expectations and safety. But fears continue to mount about America's food supply chain. At a Tyson meat factory in Iowa, 58 percent of workers tested positive for COVID-19.

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

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This live coverage has now ended. Continue reading May 6 coronavirus news.

New York state hospitalizations decrease while deaths rise slightly

New York state has a total of 9,600 hospitalizations from COVID-19, a slight decrease from the previous day, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said at a news conference on Tuesday. 

He also announced an additional 230 deaths, higher than the 226 new deaths reported Monday but down from the 280 on Saturday. “It’s painful, painful news for New Yorkers," Cuomo said of the fatalities, urging residents to continue to wear masks. 

"It's the smart thing to do. It's also the right thing to do," he said. 

Two iconic NJ beaches to partially reopen

Two of New Jersey's iconic beaches -- Avalon and Stone Harbor -- will reopen Friday for people to run, walk, fish and surf as long as they follow social distancing rules, the boroughs said in a joint memo.

No “stationary” activities like sitting and lying down or large groups will be allowed on the stretch known as 7 Mile Beach. All other public areas, including the boardwalk, playground, and recreation centers, will remain closed. Beaches will be patrolled to enforce social distancing measures.

The neighboring Avalon and Stone Harbor are both located in Cape May County in southern New Jersey.

Fact check: Trump falsely claims death toll model doesn't account for mitigation efforts

Asked about a White House-touted coronavirus model from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) that had been revised to dramatically hike the likely death toll, President Donald Trump claimed the model doesn’t account for mitigation efforts.

“That assumes no mitigation and we're going to have mitigation,” Trump told reporters. 

That’s false. The researchers said they upped the death toll because states are reopening and relaxing social distancing restrictions, and cell phone data had indicated that many people were moving around more. The initial model planned for longer stay-at-home orders, lasting through the end of May.

15 children in N.Y.C. identified with rare COVID-linked condition. More cases are likely out there.

At least 15 children in New York City have been hospitalized with a mysterious illness believed to be linked to COVID-19.

The children, who range in age from 2 to 15 years old, have shown symptoms consistent with other inflammatory illnesses, such as Kawasaki disease and toxic shock-like syndrome, which affect the heart and blood vessels.

Read more here.

Doctor sews clear masks to help hearing-impaired patients

As face masks become a part of everyday life amid the COVID-19 pandemic, a North Carolina doctor is sewing and distributing clear masks to help her hearing-impaired patients.

Dr. Sheri Mello, an audiologist at the Raleigh Hearing and Tinnitus Center, told NBC affiliate WRAL that traditional face masks made treatments with her hearing-impaired clients very difficult as the mask muffles her voice and blocks lip reading. 

“The traffic noise was getting to be a bit much,” Mello told WRAL. “We went out to service our clients who had hearing aids that weren't working, but when we came up to them with the covered masks, they had difficulty hearing us.”

Wanting to help her patients and also keep everyone safe, Mello began researching sewing patterns for clear masks. With the help of clients and other volunteers, she has been able to produce and distribute clear face masks to anyone in need, free of charge. 

"If you don't have hearing loss, it's very difficult to relate to, so you don't realize the struggles sometimes that somebody might have in understanding what you're saying,” a hearing-impaired client Doug Dieter told WRAL. “I think it's a great way to help a lot of people out.”

Obama to deliver commencement address for 2020 high school graduates

Former President Barack Obama will deliver a commencement message for high school seniors during a televised event, “Graduate Together: America Honors the High School Class of 2020.”

Obama is expected to address how the coronavirus pandemic has forced students across the country to adjust to online classroom learning and miss out on critical rites of passage like graduation. 

The commencement special is hosted by XQ Institute, The LeBron James Family Foundation, and The Entertainment Industry Foundation and will feature special guests, including LeBron James, Malala Yousafzai, and the Jonas Brothers.

It will simultaneously air on NBC, ABC, CBS and FOX at 8 p.m. ET on May 16, along with more than 20 other broadcast and digital streaming partners.

The future of dining out?

Lillian Suwanrumpha / AFP - Getty Images
Patrons eat in between plastic partitions set up to contain the spread of COVID-19 at the Penguin Eat Shabu hotpot restaurant in Bangkok on Tuesday.Lillian Suwanrumpha / AFP - Getty Images

Michigan Gov. Whitmer: Protestors 'carried nooses and Confederate flags and swastikas'

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said Tuesday that the protestors who demonstrated at the state Capitol building last week “carried nooses and Confederate flags and swastikas.”

“Unfortunately, right now in Michigan, we see a small number of people ... it looks large on television, but when you think about this is a state of 10 million people, this is a small contingent that came out and made political statements. They carried nooses and Confederate flags and swastikas,” she said in an interview on NBC’s "TODAY" show when asked why some of the protestors weren’t arrested.

Everyone is focused on the fact that some of the protestors were carrying firearms, she said, adding, "The fact of the matter is, that kind of rhetoric, that kind of ugly political rallying is only making it harder for us to re-engage, which is the sad irony, is that demonstrations like that create the need to continue this aggressive stance that we've had to take to save lives."

Read the full story here.

Another 1,700 coronavirus deaths reported in NY nursing homes

New York state is reporting more than 1,700 previously undisclosed deaths at nursing homes and adult care facilities as the state faces scrutiny over how it has protected vulnerable residents during the coronavirus pandemic.

At least 4,813 people have died from COVID-19 in the state’s nursing homes since March 1, according to a tally released by Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration late Monday that, for the first time, includes people believed to have been killed by the coronavirus before their diagnoses could be confirmed by a lab test.

Exactly how many nursing home residents have died remains uncertain despite the state’s latest disclosure, as the list doesn’t include nursing home residents who were transferred to hospitals before dying.

The revised list shows that 22 nursing homes, largely in New York City and Long Island, have reported at least 40 deaths. Parker Jewish Institute in Queens and Isabella Geriatric Center — one of New York City’s largest nursing homes with 705 beds — have reported the highest number of deaths: 71 and 64, respectively.

Video shows man who was told to wear mask wiping nose on Dollar Tree employee's shirt

Police in Michigan have arrested a man they said used a Dollar Tree employee's shirt to wipe his nose after being advised that he had to wear a mask in the store.

The man entered a Dollar Tree store in Holly, about 55 miles northwest of Detroit, at approximately 1:30 p.m. Saturday, police said.

The employee told the man that customers must wear a mask to enter the store to protect against the spread of the coronavirus, a rule posted on signs on the entry doors, according to police.

The man walked over to the employee and wiped his nose and face on her shirt, saying: "Here, I will use this as a mask," police said.

Read the full story here.