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.

This live coverage has now ended. Continue to May 7 coronavirus news.

51 workers at Tyson plant in Maine test positive for COVID-19

At least 51 workers at a Tyson Foods processing plant in Portland, Maine, have tested positive for COVID-19, health officials said Wednesday.

That number reflects an increase of 14 cases since Tuesday. The facility is currently closed.

Outbreaks at meat processing plants have slowed down national production, creating supply chain issues.

Maine has experienced more than 1,250 confirmed and likely COVID-19 cases.

For sickest patients, blood thinners may be linked to reduced COVID-19 deaths, study finds

Blood thinners may help keep COVID-19 patients on ventilators alive longer, a study published Wednesday suggests.

In recent weeks, physicians have noticed that the sickest coronavirus patients are more prone to forming blood clots — an unexpected symptom for a respiratory virus.

Read more.

Pedro Martinez launches initiative for COVID-19 relief in Dominican Republic

Hall of Fame pitcher Pedro Martinez and a group of more than 40 Dominican baseball players launched “Step Up To The Plate,” an initiative aimed at supporting relief efforts in the Dominican Republic during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The campaign, organized by the Pedro Martinez Foundation, and supported by some of the biggest names in the sport, is providing food kits, masks and other personal protective equipment to healthcare workers and residents of the Caribbean nation.

"The Dominican Republic has always been my home, and right now it truly needs our help," Martinez said in an interview with ESPN. "These are people without the most basic needs, and we are blessed to be in a position to help, and it is our duty to do so."

According to data from the World Food Program, more than 40% of the population lives below the poverty line. Sources told ESPN that the MLB and MLB Players Association will make a joint donation to relief efforts in the Dominican Republic, with the announcement reportedly being made next week.

Number of kids in New York with rare COVID-19 complication rises to 64

A total of 64 children in New York State are suspected of having developed a rare complication believed to be linked to COVID-19.

The illness, referred to as pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome, can lead to inflammation of the heart muscle, and "has features which overlap with Kawasaki disease and toxic shock syndrome," according to a press release from the New York State Department of Health.

On Monday, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene issued an alert about the condition, which, at that time, had affected at least 15 children in the city alone. 

Symptoms can include fever, rash and abdominal illness. Some children have required intensive care. No deaths have been reported.

 

Photo: Blue Angels over Dallas

Tom Pennington / Getty Images

Hospital staff cheer as the Navy's Blue Angels pass over Medical City Dallas as a show of support for health care workers and first responders on Wednesday.

Coronavirus 'parties' in a Washington county linked to rise in cases, officials say

Health officials in a county in southern Washington state say a rise in coronavirus cases is linked to "COVID-19 parties."

"Walla Walla County health officials are receiving reports of COVID-19 parties occurring in our community, where noninfected people mingle with an infected person in an effort to catch the virus," the county said in a press release Tuesday.

The statement stressed that scientists don't know yet if people infected with the coronavirus become immune and that contracting the virus risks serious illness.

"Health officials stress that there is much we don’t know about COVID-19," the release said. "Epidemiologists don’t know if immunity is a sure thing, if reinfection is possible, or if [the] virus could continue living inside you. They do know that even the young can be hospitalized, survivors may suffer long-term damage, and even a ‘mild’ case isn’t mild."

Read the full story here.

Afternoon roundup of coronavirus coverage

The discovery of germs changed American life, especially parenting. Will covid-19 do the same? [The Washington Post]

The H1N1 crisis predicted COVID-19’s toll on black Americans [Wired]

The coronavirus crisis could change the way we eat meat [HuffPost]

Bill to forgive health care workers' student loans unveiled by Democratic lawmaker

Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., introduced a bill Tuesday that would forgive student loan debt for health care workers on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The legislation would create “a federal and private loan forgiveness program for loans acquired to receive medical and professional training held by health care workers who have made significant contributions to ... respond to this urgent crisis,” Maloney's office said in a news release. Nurses, doctors, medical researchers, lab workers and other healthcare professionals fighting the pandemic would be eligible for the program.

“Frontline health workers are delivering care to the sickest patients and putting their own safety at great risk in order to keep doing their jobs,” Maloney said in a statement. “And in return, I believe that we have an obligation to ensure that they are relieved of the debt they incurred to train for this critical work.”

Medical school graduates incur an average of $200,000 in student loan debt, according to Association of American Medical Colleges.

A 'shocking' two-thirds of recently hospitalized New York patients had been staying home

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday that a survey showed that a "shocking" two-thirds of patients recently hospitalized for coronavirus became infected despite staying at home.

Hospitals were asked to document where their most recent COVID-19 patients had been staying before admission, Cuomo said, and 66 percent came from their own homes, 18 percent from nursing homes, 4 percent from assisted-living facilities, 2 percent were homeless, 2 percent had been at other group-home settings, fewer than 1 percent were prison or jail inmates, and 8 percent were classified as "other."

"This is a surprise," the governor said. "Sixty-six percent of the people were at home, which is shocking to us." 

"They're not working; they're not traveling," Cuomo said.  "We were thinking that maybe we were going to find a higher percent of essential employees who were getting sick because they were going to work — that these may be nurses, doctors, transit workers. That's not the case. They were predominantly at home."

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