Coronavirus researcher fatally shot, Trump defends not wearing mask

Here are the latest coronavirus updates from around the world.
Image: Mitch factory worker
Mitch oversees the Clorox Bleach production line.NBC News

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President Donald Trump said “there’ll be more death” related to the coronavirus pandemic but claimed it's time to reopen the country as a growing number of states move to slowly relax their stay-at-home mandates.

“I think we're doing very well on the vaccines but, with or without a vaccine, it's going to pass, and we're going to be back to normal,” Trump told ABC News in an interview while visiting a mask-making factory in Arizona.

Trump also defended his choice not to wear a mask at the factory during a Wednesday press conference, where he said he was told he didn't have to use one. The president also claimed he wore a mask for "some period of time" during the visit.

At least 64 children in New York state have been hospitalized with an illness apparently linked to the coronavirus. The symptoms are consistent with other inflammatory illnesses, such as Kawasaki disease and toxic shock syndrome.

As scientists around the world race to develop a potential solution, researchers at Pfizer Inc. and New York University are working on a never-before-tried coronavirus vaccine that the pharmaceutical company says could be available by September.

A medical researcher from the University of Pittsburgh was found shot to death over the weekend after what police believe to be a "lengthy dispute regarding an intimate partner." The university said Dr. Bing Liu "was on the verge of making very significant findings toward understanding the cellular mechanisms that underlie" the coronavirus.

Meanwhile, the death toll in the U.S. rose to more than 72,000, according to NBC News' count, and there are more than 1.2 million confirmed cases of 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.

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Photo: Students return to class in Wuhan

High school seniors sit behind plastic partitions Wednesday in Wuhan, China. Students are returning to classrooms for the first time since their city was shut down in January.AFP - Getty Images

More than 1.5M Hong Kong residents register for free reusable masks

CuMask+ is made of six layers of functional materials, two of which are specially made with small quantities of copper, capable of immobilising bacteria, common viruses and other harmful substances.The Government of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region

More than 1.5 million Hong Kongers have signed up to receive free reusable masks as the semi-autonomous city continues its coronavirus containment efforts. 

The new mask, which can be washed up to 60 times, will be distributed free to all citizens of Hong Kong who have a valid address.

The office of Hong Kong's Chief Executive Carrie Lam said more than 1.5 million people had registered for the mask on Wednesday.  

Hong Kong has been effective in containing the outbreak with only four deaths and 1,040 infections so far.

Ohio lawmaker refuses to wear mask because he says it dishonors God

An Ohio state representative says he won't wear a mask because he believes it dishonors God.

"This is the greatest nation on earth founded on Judeo-Christian Principles. One of those principles is that we are all created in the image and likeness of God. That image is seen the most by our face. I will not wear a mask," Rep. Nino Vitale, a Republican, wrote on Facebook. "That's the image of God right there, and I want to see it in my brothers and sisters."

The conservative Vitale has also been vocal in criticizing Gov. Mike DeWine's stay-at-home orders, attending a protest against the measures in April and penning a letter to the governor urging him to reopen Ohio. 

"No government can stop death, no matter how hard we try. Life comes with some level of risk and it should be our choice to determine how we assess that risk as free citizens," Vitale wrote. 

DeWine ordered a partial reopening for Ohio that went into effect on May 1. By May 12, consumer, retail and service businesses will be allowed to reopen

But Vitale said on Saturday he was still displeased with the eased restrictions, writing: "Is this a stay safe order or does it look more like a house arrest order? Does this look like freedom or oppression?" 

NYC Mayor de Blasio says 139 homeless people came off the streets in one night

Mayor Bill de Blasio, in touting the success of the shutdown of the New York City subway early Wednesday morning for overnight cleaning, said 139 homeless individuals out of 252 agreed to accept support and come off the streets.

"This number is extraordinary," de Blasio said at a news conference. "More than half of the people encountered agreed to come in. We have never, ever seen so much success in a single night before."

De Blasio said the city will "obviously need to see how things play out over a longer period of time."

Social media influencers team up with Red Cross to combat coronavirus misinformation

The International Federation of the Red Cross announced Wednesday it will collaborate with social media influencers around the world to combat the spread of misinformation surrounding the COVID-19 global pandemic. Working alongside creative agency Billion Dollar Boy and launching across four continents, the Red Cross will send an approved and verified message to a network of more than 30 influencers, who will incorporate the message into their own creative content.

“Influencers have a crucial role to play in tackling this infodemic and cutting through the noise,” IFRC’s media manager Nichola Jones said. “They have a level of access to younger people that public authorities or charities don’t have and their relationship with their followers is different. By working together, we can make sure credible content reaches a broader audience and has a positive impact.”

A few of the influencers who have already signed up to the network are Antonio Nunziata, Katie Woods, Neda Ghenai, who have more than half a million global followers combined.

With global data showing a sharp rise in social media use since some countries began locking down, the IFRC hopes to use influencer’s engagement with their followers to get vital information to the public on a global scale. The network will initially reach more than 2 million followers, with more expected join each day, according the Red Cross.

German Bundesliga to resume matches later this month

Germany's top-tier Bundesliga will become the first major football league to resume matches later this month after it was suspended over coronavirus concerns, Chancellor Angela Merkel said Wednesday. 

“We talked about the first and second league, which after the second half of May will be able to restart under the approved and tested regulations," Merkel told reporters in a briefing. 

Merkel did not specify what restrictions will be put in place. 

The league was suspended in March as Germany went into lockdown to slow down the spread of the virus. 

In change of plans, Trump now says coronavirus task force will continue 'indefinitely'

A day after President Donald Trump confirmed that he planned to wind down the White House coronavirus task force, the president announced Wednesday that it will now continue indefinitely.

In a series of tweets, Trump said the task force, led by Vice President Mike Pence, has done a “fantastic job of bringing together vast highly complex resources that have set a high standard for others to follow in the future.”

Trump said that ventilators are now being produced in the thousands, repeated the false claim that the U.S. is doing more testing than all other countries combined and said face masks and shields are “plentiful.”

“The last four Governors teleconference calls have been conclusively strong. Because of this success, the Task Force will continue on indefinitely with its focus on SAFETY & OPENING UP OUR COUNTRY AGAIN. We may add or subtract people,” the president tweeted.

Read the full story.

Uber to lay off 3,700 workers

Uber is laying off 3,700 employees, almost 14 percent of its workforce, the ride-sharing company announced Wednesday.

Uber's chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi will also forgo his $1 million salary for the rest of the year.

The coronavirus lockdown has kept Americans homebound and shuttered businesses and travel, throwing many of the company's drivers out of work.

In a statement released to NBC News, Uber said it was taking these steps in order to bring costs in line and protect the future of the business.

Uber's stock dropped by around 2 percent Wednesday morning. The company reports its quarterly earnings on Thursday.

Around 20 million workers lost their job last month, new ADP data shows

The private sector lost around 20 million workers last month, according to the latest ADP National Employment Report, making April the worst month ever for America's workforce.

The report comes ahead of the closely watched monthly employment report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which will be released Friday morning.

The coronavirus has already wiped out all job gains since the Great Recession, with more than 30 million Americans filing for first-time unemployment benefits since the pandemic took hold.

Continuing claims, or the number of people receiving ongoing benefits, hit 18 million last week, far surpassing the recessionary peak of 6.6 million.

After a record 10-year streak of economic growth and months at a half-century low, the unemployment rate, as measured in March, soared to 4.4 percent.

Economists expect Friday's BLS data to show that the national unemployment rate has now more than tripled, to around 16 percent.

Indonesian government postpones regional elections

The Indonesian government announced Wednesday that it had postponed its 2020 regional elections.

A statement on a government website explained the decision “aims to maintain the quality of the elections and maintain national political stability.”

The country’s 190 million potential voters would have turned out for the elections for several public offices including governors and mayors.

Prince Harry and Meghan mark Archie's first birthday with story for charity campaign

Meghan reads her son Archie for his first birthday on Wednesday as Prince Harry films the scene in support of Save the Children.The Duke of Sussex/@SaveChildrenUK

Queen Elizabeth II's grandson, Prince Harry, and his wife Meghan Markle released a video of Meghan reading to their son Archie to mark his first birthday.

Released on the Instagram page of the charity Save the Children, the video features Meghan reading the book "Duck! Rabbit!" in support of a campaign to raise funds for food and educational materials for children who normally rely on school for meals in the U.S. and U.K. Harry filmed the family scene and cheered at the end.

The Royal Family’s Twitter account posted a family picture wishing Archie, the queen’s eighth great-grandchild, a happy birthday. 

View this post on Instagram

"Duck! Rabbit!" with Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex (and Harry, The Duke of Sussex behind the camera), read to their son Archie for his 1st birthday. Happy Birthday, Archie! . Thank you #DuchessMeghan for helping us to raise urgent funds for our coronavirus appeal by reading "Duck! Rabbit" by @akrfoundation, illustrated by @tlichtenheld (published by @chroniclekidsbooks). . As the world grapples with the coronavirus pandemic, children’s lives are being turned upside down. By donating to Save with Stories, you can support the most vulnerable families in the UK and around the world by helping to provide early learning packs, supermarket vouchers, essential household items and virus protection. . Please donate today by visiting our website. Link in bio. . Or you can text STORIES to 70008 to give a one-off donation of £5. . Together, we can help families get through this. . You can only donate via text from a UK mobile. You’ll be billed £5 plus standard rate text message. We receive 100% of your donation. By texting STORIES you agree to calls about fundraising appeals, campaigns, events and other ways to support. Include NO PHONE to opt out of calls. Queries? 02070126400. Read our Privacy Policy The Save the Children Fund is a charity registered in England and Wales (213890) and Scotland (SC039570) . #SaveWithStoriesUK #SaveWithStories #GrowingThroughThis

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