Jobless rate soars as more states ease restrictions

Here are the latest coronavirus updates from around the world.
Image: People queue for handouts of excess potatoes in Auburn
Amy Darnell rests after loading a truck for deliveries to food banks and other locations, as people queue for handouts of excess potatoes in Auburn, Wash., on May 7, 2020.David Ryder / Reuters

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In just over a month, the coronavirus has wiped out all job gains since the Great Recession and brought the country's decade-long record economic growth streak to an abrupt halt.

According to the monthly employment report released Friday by the Department of Labor, the U.S. economy lost an unprecedented 20.5 million jobs in April and the unemployment rate soared to 14.7 percent, after months at a half-century low.

The White House is considering measures aimed at providing relief, including another delay in the deadline to file federal taxes, that can be adopted without legislation from Congress, two people familiar with the discussions told NBC News.

More states are loosening restrictions, including California, where some retail, manufacturing, and logistics businesses will be allowed to reopen. Michigan will allow manufacturing firms to reopen their doors as of Monday.

The U.S. death toll stood at more than 76,700 early Friday, with more than 1.2 million cases of coronavirus, 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 9 coronavirus news.

Fact check: Trump claims national stockpile 'was bare.' It wasn't.

"The cupboard was bare when we took it over," Trump said on Friday, referring again to the Strategic National Stockpile. "We had nothing."

We've fact checked this claim before — it's false.

More than 130 million stimulus checks have been sent out, Treasury says

The Department of the Treasury and the IRS have distributed over 130 million Economic Impact Payments in the past five weeks, according to a release.

The stimulus payments grant up to $1,200 for individuals, $2,400 for married couples, and a $500 credit for each child under the age of 16. The distributed checks add up to over $218 billion paid out since the program began in mid-April. 

“This Administration has delivered Economic Impact Payments to Americans in record time,” said Secretary Steven Mnuchin. “More payments are on their way as we continue to deliver this much-needed relief to the American people.”

The Treasury also reports that more than 150 million payments will be distributed in total. 

Distribution began the week of April 13, going first to Americans who had set up direct deposit. NBC News reporting from last month found that there have been concerns that paper checks may be delayed for several months. 

Americans who have still not received a payment can check their status at the IRS website

Coronavirus vaccine: This week's updates from Moderna, Pfizer and more

A scientist works in the lab at Moderna in Cambridge, Mass. on Feb. 28, 2020.David L. Ryan / Boston Globe via Getty Images

Work on a potential coronavirus vaccine is proceeding at breakneck pace around the world, with more than 100 projects in motion, yet even the best predictions put an effective vaccine at least nine months away.

And experts are cautioning that even promising early results don’t guarantee that vaccines will be widely available anytime soon, because clinical trials are done in phases and require observing participants over time to assess how they respond to the doses.

Here's a roundup of the most notable vaccine news of the week.

Photo: Social distancing at Lebanese mosque

Worshippers perform Friday prayers during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan at the Mohammed Al-Amin Mosque in Beirut.Anwar Amro / AFP - Getty Images

New York state has 73 cases of children with rare COVID-19 complication

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that the state has 73 cases of children developing symptoms similar to Kawasaki disease, a rare but potentially dangerous complication thought to be linked to the coronavirus. 

That is up from 64 cases that the state reported this week from an initial survey. NBC News found at least 85 such cases in children around the U.S.

"This is every parent's nightmare, that your child may actually be affected by this virus, but it's something that we have to consider seriously now," Cuomo said at a news conference on Friday.

The governor also delivered a bit of good news with his report that the total number of COVID-19 hospitalizations in the state is down to 8,196. 

On Thursday, the state saw 216 deaths from the disease, which is a reduction from the 231 deaths on May 6. 

"The good news is we are finally ahead of this virus," Cuomo said. "We have shown that we can control the beast, if you look at the numbers going down." 

N.J. nursing home where 17 bodies were stuffed into tiny morgue hit with $220K fine

The New Jersey nursing home where 17 bodies were found stuffed into a tiny morgue last month was hit with a hefty fine after federal inspectors found that residents there were put at risk of "serious injury, harm impairment or death."

The Andover Subacute and Rehabilitation II facility in Sussex County must pay $220,235 — more than $14,000 for each day that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) found the "facility was not in substantial compliance with federal requirements" between April 6 and April 20. The home also faces other fines, and the monetary penalties will accrue "until substantial compliance is achieved or termination occurs," according to a statement released Thursday by Rep. Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J.

The nursing home currently has 133 residents and 54 staff members who have tested positive for coronavirus, according to the congressman. In total, 94 residents and one staff member have died.

The report detailed specific instances of disturbing neglect and violations at the home, the statement said.

In one instance, a resident had fallen on the floor by the bed, and got a head abrasion. The resident was pronounced dead the next day. A physician's report read: “Found dead this am ... not performed Physical-COVID-19 test was done? ... High fever for the last few days — that was not brought to my attention. Flu like illness, likely COVID-19.”

French doctors find man who may be Europe's 'patient zero'

Health investigators around the world are racing back in time.

While it was thought COVID-19 only began to spread beyond China and across Europe in January and February, French doctors this week said they have established the coronavirus was already present in Paris by late December — a month before the country’s first official recorded case and two and a half months before a nationwide lockdown.

The patient, Amirouche Hammar, 43, from the suburbs of Paris, has been dubbed France’s potential “patient zero” by researchers and was possibly even the first case in Europe.

The French team is among researchers across the world now poring over old medical reports hunting for clues from the very start of the COVID-19 outbreak, hoping to paint a wider, more accurate picture of how the virus spread so quickly.

Read more here.

FDA clears way for first mail-in COVID-19 spit test

The Food and Drug Administration has authorized the first test that uses saliva, rather than an uncomfortable nasal swab, to diagnose COVID-19.

On Friday, the FDA gave Rutgers Clinical Genomics Laboratory in New Jersey an emergency use authorization for its test with an option for at-home sample collection, which would allow patients to spit into a provided tube and send it back to the lab in a sealed envelope for testing. 

"Authorizing additional diagnostic tests with the option of at-home sample collection will continue to increase patient access to testing for COVID-19," Dr. Stephen Hahn, FDA commissioner, said in a press release. 

"This provides an additional option for the easy, safe and convenient collection of samples required for testing without traveling to a doctor's office, hospital or testing site," he said.

Amtrak's Acela line resuming service on June 1

The Acela line, Amtrak's upscale service between Boston and Washington, D.C., will be back on track in three weeks, the rail service announced on Friday.

Beginning June 1, there will be three weekday Acela round trips, and the frequency of Northeast Regional round trips will be increased from eight to 10, Amtrak said.

Acela service has been shuttered for two months due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Amtrak also announced that all riders, starting immediately, are required to wear facial coverings on board trains and in stations.

70 percent of U.S. Olympic sports applied for government funds

At least 70 percent of U.S. Olympic sports organizations have applied for government funds during the coronavirus pandemic, a stark financial reality that underscores the frailties within the world's most dominant Olympic sports system.

The Associated Press surveyed 44 of the country's national governing bodies (NGBs) -- the organizations charged with operating programs from the grassroots through the Olympic levels in sports that run the gamut from badminton to basketball.

 All but four of the 36 NGBs that responded said they had applied for assistance from the Paycheck Protection Program. Not all the organizations revealed how much they received, but those who did have been approved for a cumulative total of about $12 million.

Cuba has 12 new COVID-19 cases, its lowest total in weeks

Cuba announced 12 new cases of COVID-19 Friday, the country's lowest total in weeks.

Of the new cases, 75 percent were asymptomatic. One person, a 77-year-old, also died, officials said.

Cuba has seen 1,741 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, with 74 deaths. The country, known for its focus on prevention, has been at the forefront of the global fight against COVID-19 and sent doctors to countries such as South Africa and Italy.