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

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
SUBSCRIBE

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.

Researchers watching virus and warm weather

As much of the country looks forward to the possibility of rubbing shoulders again in summer, scientists are carefully watching for signs that the coronavirus transmission could slow in warm weather.

The consensus seems to be that the virus will be seasonal and endemic, meaning that, like the common cold, it will thrive in winter but will likely never go away. That doesn't mean the United States will be in the clear come June.

Read the full story.

3 McDonald's workers hurt in customer attack over coronavirus limits, police say

Three workers at an Oklahoma City McDonald's were injured Wednesday by gunfire and a scuffle that appeared to have started because the restaurant's dining area was closed for social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic, police said.

Two of three were injured by gunfire and the third was hurt in a scuffle, said Lt. Michelle Henderson of the Oklahoma City Police Department.

The victims, two females and a male -- two of them 17 -- were hospitalized and in non-life-threatening condition, she said. Two customers, a man and a woman, were in custody.

"They were asked to leave, and they refused and produced a gun," Henderson said. The dining area "was closed because of the virus."

Read the full story here

Los Angeles to relax some restrictions, but require masks at LAX

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said he will relax some rules put in place to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, allowing curbside retail and opening up trails, but he also said travelers at Los Angeles International Airport will be required to wear masks.

The move for the airport, which will start Monday, aligns with requirements from some airlines, Garcetti said.

The relaxing of other restrictions starts Friday when retailers like florists, toy stores, music stores and sports stores will be allowed to conduct curbside business. On Saturday, golf courses and trails and trailheads will be reopened. Car dealerships will also be allowed to open with safeguards. They largely follow guidelines announced county officials earlier Wednesday. 

People will be required to maintain social distance and wear masks when on trails or golf courses, Garcetti said. Popular Runyon Canyon, which was ordered closed in March after the initial order following large crowds seen there, will remain closed, as will beaches, Garcetti said.

Newsom makes worker's comp claims easier for coronavirus

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday signed an executive order allowing employees across California’s economy to apply for worker’s compensation if they contract the coronavirus, with a presumption that it was work-related unless employers can prove otherwise.

The presumption applies for the next 60 days and is retroactive to March 19, when Newsom first ordered all but essential workers to stay at home to ease the risk of transmitting the virus. He said the change is needed now as California prepares to relax those orders in coming days and weeks.

Employees will be eligible if they tested positive for the coronavirus within 14 days after being at work, the maximum known incubation period. And they must have exhausted other state and federal benefits.

The state’s Workers Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau previously said such a decision could cost from $2.2 billion to $33.6 billion annually, depending on the details. The mid-range estimate of about $11 billion is about 60% of the entire annual estimated cost of the state’s workers’ compensation system before the pandemic.

Watch how cellphones linked to one infected meatpacking plant travel across the U.S.

Meatpacking facilities have been hit hard by coronavirus. Location data pulled from cellphones at six U.S. meatpacking plants shows how a COVID-19 outbreak at one of the plants could potentially spread nationally. 

The data and technology company Tectonix focused on a Tyson pork-processing plant in Cass County, Indiana, where nearly 900 employees tested positive for the virus.

Tectonix analyzed the travel paths of phones used at the plant and showed in a video posted to Twitter Wednesday that the mobile devices from the Case County plant had been carried by their users throughout the continent. 

Devices active at the plant during March traveled to and from nearly every state in the U.S. and some of the provinces of Canada.

The plant halted operations on April 25 but it announced it would reopen this week. 

Clorox factories go into overdrive

The numbers are staggering. One of America’s most well-known manufacturers of cleaning products, Clorox, produced 40 million more items in the first quarter of 2020 than it did during the same time last year.

For its disinfectants, the company has seen a 500 percent increase in demand since March and, in some cases, it sold as much in one week as it usually does in a month.

“We are in completely uncharted territory,” Clorox CEO Benno Dorer said. “We're in catch-up mode.”

Read the full story.

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