Over 76,000 dead as 33 million file for unemployment in U.S.

Here are the latest coronavirus updates from around the world.
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Demonstrators holding signs demanding their church to reopen, protest during a rally to re-open California and against Stay-At-Home directives on May 1, 2020 in San Diego, Calif.Sandy Huffaker / AFP - Getty Images

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The U.S. economy continues to look bleak after more than 3 million workers filed for unemployment benefits for the first time last week, according to federal labor data released Thursday.

Although that figure is down slightly from the week before, over 33 million Americans have now filed for initial jobless claims as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, which has routed some industries to Depression-era levels.

Yet even as the economy begins to slowly fire up again state by state, economists expect unemployment levels to continue rising — and to extend across a broader swath of industries.

Meanwhile, the debate over state reopenings goes on — and coronavirus cases show no sign of slowing down. As of Thursday evening, the death toll in the U.S. is over 76,000 and there are more than 1.2 million confirmed cases, according to NBC News' count.

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 8 coronavirus news.

Photos: Lonely graduation in Illinois

Scott Olson / Getty Images

Graduates at Bradley-Bourbonnais Community High School received their diplomas in a nearly-empty auditorium Wednesday. Friends, family and relatives were not allowed to attend because of the state's social distancing mandates.

Scott Olson / Getty Images

Texas governor changes coronavirus orders to eliminate jail punishment for violators

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott today eliminated jail confinement as a punishment for people who violate his coronavirus executive orders. 

In a statement, Abbott said the change is retroactive to April 2 and supersedes local orders. 

He said the revision should lead to the release of Shelley Luther, who was arrested and sentenced to seven days in jail for opening her salon in violation of coronavirus shutdown orders.

“Throwing Texans in jail who have had their businesses shut down through no fault of their own is nonsensical, and I will not allow it to happen,” Abbott said in the statement. “As some county judges advocate for releasing hardened criminals from jail to prevent the spread of COVID-19, it is absurd to have these business owners take their place.” 

Luxury retailer Neiman Marcus files for bankruptcy

The luxury department store chain Neiman Marcus filed for bankruptcy on Thursday, the second major retailer after J.Crew to seek reorganization this week as the industry buckles under widespread store closures.

“Like most businesses today, we are facing unprecedented disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has placed inexorable pressure on our business,” said Geoffroy van Raemdonck, chairman and CEO of Neiman Marcus Group, in a statement.

Leading up to the pandemic, the company reported a loss of $31.2 million in July, compared with a net loss of $19.9 million the previous year.

Market conditions have been brutal for the retail industry over the last several weeks. Like other retailers, Neiman Marcus stores have been closed since mid-March as state governors issued stay-at-home orders to stem infections. The company furloughed almost all of its 14,000 employees on March 30. 

Read the full story here.

NYC mayor announces task force to combat domestic, gender-based violence during pandemic

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Thursday that he's putting together a task force to combat domestic and gender-based violence during the coronavirus pandemic.

The group will include 20 leaders to assist those who may need shelter, legal services and counseling. 

"We need people to stay home for everyone's safety, but we also have to find a way to disrupt this problem because it's unacceptable," the mayor said at his new conference. "It's unacceptable that anyone would be in danger in their own home. We do not allow that in New York City." 

NYC ramps up antibody testing, plans to test 70K people in next two weeks

New York City is ramping up its antibody testing and plans to test roughly 70,000 people over the next two weeks, Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a news conference Thursday. 

The city is "launching an antibody survey to understand COVID-19 spread and provide New Yorkers with more clarity," the mayor's press secretary, Freddi Goldstein, said in a tweet.

There initially will be a testing site in each of the city's five boroughs, with each site providing tests free to 1,000 people a day. The initiative starts next week and is by appointment only. 

Results will take 24 to 48 hours.

Antibody tests are intended to show whether a person's immune system has developed antibodies, which would indicate they were exposed to the coronavirus at some point. There have been questions about the accuracy of some antibody tests. 

Coronavirus patients in NYC admitted to hospitals, ICU drop

New York City is making progress in its fight against the spread of the coronavirus with declines in the number of patients admitted to hospitals and intensive care units.

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Thursday that 79 people were admitted to hospitals for COVID-19, down from 109 people on May 4. The number of patients admitted to intensive care declined to 567 from 599. 

"It's not perfect progress, but it's damn close," the mayor said. 

Moscow mayor extends lockdown to May 31

Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin extended the Russian capital’s strict lockdown until May 31, according to an order announced Thursday. 

Industrial and construction enterprises can return to work on May 12, but the remainder of the city's social and economic life will remain frozen.

Moscow residents will still need passes to leave their homes for most activities — save for grocery shopping, walking pets and taking out the trash.

And as of May 12, residents will also face a new requirement to wear masks when going to buy groceries or ride public transport.

Sobyanin said a recent spike in new cases was the result of expanded testing, and that hospitalizations remain stable.

Photo: Darth Vader and Stormtroopers patrol village in Manila

Young people in wooden boats dressed as Stormtroopers and Darth Vader patrol a flooded village in suburban Manila to remind residents to stay home.Ted Aljibe / AFP - Getty Images

Pompeo rebuffs German plea on WHO funding halt

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has rebuffed a plea from Germany to reconsider halting funding for the World Health Organization over its handling of the outbreak, according to a German newspaper.

The German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported Thursday that Pompeo responded to a letter from German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, insisting that the U.S. was “deeply committed to working with the international community to fight the coronavirus pandemic” despite the funding freeze.

Pompeo said that the U.S. has been the largest single contributor to WHO over the years despite what he described as “a string of mismanaged pandemic responses” by the Geneva-based agency, which he accused of “public kowtowing to the Chinese Communist Party regime.”

Germany’s Foreign Ministry confirmed an exchange of letters between Maas and Pompeo but declined to elaborate. The U.S. Embassy in Berlin said it would not comment on diplomatic communications.

Spain plans national day of mourning for coronavirus victims 'once the streets can be walked freely'

Spain will hold a day of mourning for those who died from coronavirus once people are allowed to move freely again, Minister of Health Salvador Illa said on Thursday.

Illa was speaking during a daily news conference, where he also said that while much was not known about the virus, the government was sure its transmission was linked to the mobility of people. He said “once the streets can be walked freely again," the government will declare a national day of mourning with a tribute to follow.

Most of the country is currently in “Phase 0” of their lockdown lifting, where some small stores are allowed to reopen, and people are allowed to leave their homes to exercise within set times.