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:

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

People of color on coronavirus frontlines forced to choose between health, paycheck

The Center for Economic Policy and Research says that 41 percent of frontline workers are non-white people of color while in New York the city comptroller says 75 percent of frontline workers are non-white.

NBC News’ Morgan Radford details the choice many frontline workers are forced to make during the pandemic between their safety or their livelihood.

Michigan Gov. Whitmer wants to ban guns from Capitol after armed anti-lockdown protests

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer addresses the state during a speech in Lansing, Mich., on April 29, 2020.Michigan Office of the Governor via AP file

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer wants to bar weapons from being brought into the state Capitol after anti-lockdown protesters showed up with firearms, she told NBC News in a wide-ranging interview.

The Democratic governor's comments came after gun-toting militia protesters joined a larger group demanding Whitmer reopen swaths of the state's economy in a demonstration last week. The protesters spilled inside the Capitol, where a number of the armed demonstrators confronted police officers and insisted on being allowed onto the statehouse floor as lawmakers debated an extension of her emergency powers.

Under current state law, it is legal to bring firearms inside the Capitol in the open-carry state.

Read the full story here. 

Illinois Target worker threatened to call police on unmasked special needs woman, dad says

Bill Pratt.NBC Chicago

The father of a woman with special needs is outraged after an employee at an Illinois Target threatened to call police because his daughter wasn't wearing her mask.

Bill Pratt was with 22-year-old Emma Pratt — who has cerebral palsy, autism, sensory integration disorder and is in a wheelchair — at a Target in Orland Park on Saturday when she asked him if she could take off her mask.

"She goes, 'Can I take this off? Can I pull this down?' I said 'yeah go ahead,'" Pratt said. Sensory integration disorder causes people to have abnormal responses to sensory information, like the feeling of fabric on one's face. "Sometimes things are too much," Pratt said.

Read the full story here. 

How one deserted zoo's animals are coping with loss of contact

The coronavirus pandemic forced the Phoenix Zoo to shut down during what's usually the busiest time of the year, and the animals have noticed.

Inside the secret DHS lab trying to crack the COVID-19 code

The aerosol chamber at the Department of Homeland Security's biodefense research laboratory.Department of Homeland Security

For scientists working at the Department of Homeland Security’s biodefense research laboratory, the directive from senior agency officials was unprecedented: drop everything and focus on one target, the coronavirus.

As the number of positive cases in the United States tops 1.2 million and deaths exceed 70,000, those scientists have been working 15 hours a day, seven days a week trying to crack the COVID-19 code.

Dozens of staff comprise multiple teams investigating different characteristics of the coronavirus, in the hopes of quickly learning more about its survivability and the transmission of the disease, both on common surfaces and in the air. Unlike other viruses, little was known about the emerging coronavirus when the pandemic broke out.

“This is the most urgent thing we have worked on since 9/11,” said Lloyd Hough, a senior official and biology expert with Homeland Security's Science and Technology Directorate.

Read the full story here

Nursing group says at least 90,000 healthcare workers have been infected

Governments aren’t doing enough to keep accurate records regarding how many healthcare workers have contracted COVID-19, the International Council of Nurses (ICN) claimed Wednesday.

The organization, which represents more than 20 million nurses worldwide, said that the current infection numbers are significantly underestimated, which puts healthcare workers at higher risk. In data released Wednesday, the ICN said that at least 90,000 healthcare workers have been infected and more than 260 nurses have died. 

“The lack of official data on infections and deaths among nurses and other healthcare workers is scandalous,” ICN Chief Executive Officer Howard Catton said in a news release. “If governments do not count the number of nurses who have lost their lives, if they continue to turn a blind eye, it sends a message that those nurses’ lives didn’t count.”

Newborn baby born with COVID-19 discharged from UK hospital

One of the few babies born worldwide with COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, was discharged from a hospital in the United Kingdom after recovering from the virus.

Ruby Dawson was born with the virus on April 1 at Blackpool Victoria Hospital in Blackpool, England after her mother Katherine contracted it in March.

Following her birth, Katherine's condition worsened and she was placed on a ventilator and put into an induced coma. The hospital put her chances of survival at 50/50. 

While both mom and baby were fighting the virus, father Stuart remained at home with the couple's two other children, Grace, 5 and Ava, 11 months. 

“I owe my future to the staff at Blackpool Victoria Hospital. I thought I was going to be a widow looking after young children on my own, but they saved her life and Ruby’s life," he said in a hospital press release.

After 37 days in the hosptial, Ruby and Katherine were discharged with a guard of honor made up of staff from the delivery suit, the neonatal unit, A&E and the COVID ITU. 

Healthcare workers cheer for patient who spent 44 days in hospital fighting COVID-19

Danny Wongis, 43, was first admitted to St. Joseph Hospital in Bethpage, New York, on March 22 with a fever, cough and shortness of breath. His breathing quickly worsened and he was placed on a ventilator.

After 38 days on the ventilator, Wongis recovered from the virus and left the hospital for a rehabilitation center on May 6. 

To celebrate his recovery, hospital staff lined the hallways of St. Joseph Hospital clapping as Wongis was wheeled out on a balloon-adorned stretcher.

“Thank you to everybody who is here who took care of me,” Wongis said in the video. “From the bottom of my heart, I really really thank you.”

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.