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:

Download the NBC News app for latest updates on the coronavirus outbreak.

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

Latino small business owners work to keep businesses running during coronavirus

When the coronavirus hit, small business owners were forced to navigate new territory and make difficult decisions—fully moving operations online, reducing staff or quickly creating new revenue streams. Latino entrepreneurs are among the majority of small business owners directly impacted by the economic fallout from COVID-19.

According to a survey conducted online in late March by the Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative, 86 percent of Latino small business owners reported significant negative impact on their businesses by the pandemic. Nearly two-thirds said they will not be able to continue operating beyond six months if current conditions continue.

Many small businesses owners are still waiting for government relief in the form of Payroll Protection Program loans, after funding from the initial $349 billion authorization ran out and a second small business loan program was rolled out this week, but immediately ran into technical issues. In all, the federal government has authorized over $650 billion in loans for small businesses.

Read the full story here.

Trump says he doesn't want Fauci testifying in front of House 'Trump haters'

President Donald Trump said Tuesday that he doesn’t want to let Dr. Anthony Fauci, one of his top advisers on the coronavirus crisis, testify in the House because he said its members are "a bunch of Trump haters."

"The House is a setup, the House is a bunch of Trump haters. They put every Trump hater on the committee, the same old stuff. They frankly want our situation to be unsuccessful which means death, which means death. And our situation's going to be very successful," Trump told reporters outside the White House as he departed for Arizona.

The White House is blocking Fauci from testifying before the House on May 6 about the administration's coronavirus response. White House spokesman Judd Deere last week called the timing of the hearing "inappropriate" and said it would be "counterproductive" to have Fauci testify amid his work with the coronavirus task force.

Read more here.

Photo: Museums reopen in Germany

Visitors wearing protective face masks look at sculptures at the Zwinger Palace complex in Dresden Tuesday as it reopened to the public. Museums across Germany are reopening as authorities ease lockdown measures.Matthias Rietschel / Getty Images

WHO urges countries to investigate early COVID-19 cases

The World Health Organization said on Tuesday that a report that COVID-19 had emerged in December in France, sooner than previously thought, was "not surprising", and urged countries to investigate any other early suspicious cases.

The disease later identified as COVID-19 was first reported by Chinese authorities to the WHO on Dec. 31 and was not previously believed to have spread to Europe until January.

"This gives a whole new picture on everything," WHO spokesman Christian Lindmeier told a U.N. briefing in Geneva, referring to the French report.

Read the full story here.

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.