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.

New drug trial looks at remdesivir combined with anti-inflammatory

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease has begun a trial looking at the effects of remdesivir combined with a second drug, called baricitinib, on treating COVID-19. 

The study builds upon a previous NIAID trial, which found that remdesivir reduced patients' hospital stays from 15 days to 11 days, on average.

“We now have solid data showing that remdesivir diminishes to a modest degree the time to recovery for people hospitalized with COVID-19,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of NIAID, said in a statement released Friday.  The new trial "will examine if adding an anti-inflammatory agent to the remdesivir regimen can provide additional benefit for patients, including improving mortality outcomes.”

Baricitinib (brand name: Olumiant) is an anti-inflammatory drug made by Ely Lilly that's approved to treat rheumatoid arthritis. The trial will enroll more than 1,000 hospitalized COVID-19 patients, who will receive either remdesivir alone or remdesivir plus baricinitib. 

Senators urge federal contractor accused of flouting CDC rules to meet with worried workers

Six U.S. senators on Friday urged a federal contractor accused of failing to follow social distancing guidelines at a Mississippi call center to meet with workers worried about their safety.

Their letter came after a whistleblower claimed in an NBC News report that Maximus, which hired her to provide callers with coronavirus information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, was not following CDC guidelines and exposed dozens of workers to the virus.

Read more here.

NYPD says 81% of social distancing citations went to blacks, Latinos

The New York Police Department said it has issued 374 summonses tied to social distancing enforcement from March 16 through May 5, with 89 percent issued to men and 81 percent to people identified as black or Latino.

The department had about 1 million contacts with the public regarding social distancing in that period, including visits to pharmacies, supermarkets, bars, restaurants, parks and other institutions and establishments, it said.

A total of 193 summonses, or 51.6 percent, were issued to blacks; 111, or 29.7, percent to Latinos, with the majority of enforcement occurring in the in the Brooklyn patrol borough, the department said.

Of all summonses, 66 percent went to people between the ages of 20 and 39, with 46 percent going to people ages 20 to 29.

Afternoon roundup of coronavirus coverage

The morgue worker, the body bags and the daffodils [The New York Times]

Prioritize play when schools reopen, say mental health experts [The Guardian]

Op-ed: The freefall economy will scar these Americans worst [The Daily Beast]

Live animal markets should not be closed despite virus, WHO says

The World Health Organization said Friday that although a market in the Chinese city of Wuhan selling live animals likely played a significant role in the emergence of the new coronavirus, it does not recommend that such markets be shut down globally.

In a press briefing, WHO food safety and animal diseases expert Peter Ben Embarek said live animal markets are critical to providing food and livelihoods for millions of people globally and that authorities should focus on improving them rather than outlawing them — even though they can sometimes spark epidemics in humans.

He said reducing the risk of disease transmission from animals to humans in these often overcrowded markets could be addressed in many cases by improving hygiene and food safety standards, including separating live animals from humans.

He added that it was still unclear whether the market in Wuhan linked to the first several dozens of coronavirus cases in China was the actual source of the virus or merely played a role in spreading the disease further.

'Can I carry the empty ones?': Pence caught joking about delivery of boxes on hot mic

Vice President Mike Pence's delivery of personal protective equipment to a nursing home in Virginia came complete with a joke offer to carry empty boxes, video of the delivery shows.

An out-of-context video snippet of the moment went viral on Friday thanks to comedian Jimmy Kimmel.

Complete video of the moment shows that after delivering several packages of equipment to the Woodbine Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center in Alexandria on Thursday, Pence offered to take more boxes from the back of the delivery van. The van's driver then tells him, "Those boxes are empty, sir."

"Can I carry the empty ones? Just for the cameras?" Pence asks the driver, who laughs and says, "They're a lot easier." A smiling Pence then closes the van doors and goes to talk to reporters. Pence's quip blew up on social media after Kimmel played a snippet of it on his ABC late-night show "Jimmy Kimmel Live!"

Read the full story here.

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."