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:

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Washington state saw coronavirus infection rate creep back up in April

Washington state allowed more businesses to resume Friday, but data from modelers showed the infection rate began to creep back up in April, the governor said.

Gov. Jay Islee said at a news conference Friday that data shows the infection rate in the state was around three — meaning one person infected three others — in March before dropping to one or below one depending on the region.

But as of April 19, that number had gone up from a low to at or just above one. "We just cannot allow that line to go significantly above one or we will simply again see an exponential growth," Inslee said.

He said the success the state has seen is because of the sacrifices Washingtonians have made in obeying social distancing and other rules to prevent the spread of the coronavirus that causes the disease COVID-19.

Inslee said the data and possible continuation of the trend shows that "we have to continue a step-by-step, measured approach." Inslee has relaxed some rules from his stay-at-home order and on Friday curbside retail and landscaping was allowed to open or resume

As of Friday, there have been more than 16,300 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state and 905 deaths, according to the state health department. Inslee also said Friday that "there's a real good reason to believe" that public schools could reopen this fall, but he that "it's dependent in part on what we do here in May." 

FDA director in self-quarantine

U.S. Food and Drug Administration Director Stephen Hahn has started two weeks of self-quarantine after coming into contact with a person who has coronavirus, aides told NBC News Friday.

He immediately tested negative for the virus but was isolating himself for two weeks as a precaution, they said.

Hahn announced his self-quarantine in a memo to staff members Friday, the sources said. Politico first reported the director's isolation.

Earlier Friday Vice President Mike Pence's press secretary, Katie Miller, confirmed she has tested positive for COVID-19. She's the second administration staffer to contract the virus this week.

Inside Microsoft's high-tech plan to speed up vaccine efforts

Suspects in death of Family Dollar guard are captured

Two suspects in the fatal shooting of a Flint, Michigan, security guard after an argument about a face mask requirement for shoppers have been captured, the local prosecutor announced Friday.

Ramonyea Bishop, 23, and his stepfather, Larry Teague, 44, have been charged with accused of first-degree murder, and police have been searching for them since last week.

Bishop is the son of a woman who got into an argument with the victim, Calvin James Munerlyn, 43, on May 1, Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton said.

Officials say Sharmel Teague returned to Family Dollar store 20 minutes later with her husband and son, who is accused of firing at the guard. Under state stay-at-home orders designed to slow the spread of coronavirus, Michigan residents are required to wear masks .

Read the full story here

Virus claims Roy Horn of Siegfried & Roy

Roy Horn, half of the famed magic and entertainment duo Siegfried & Roy, has died of complications related to coronavirus, partner Siegfried Fischbacher said Friday. He was 75.

Last month, Horn tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19, a spokesperson for the duo said. He was being treated at a Las Vegas hospital.

"Today, the world has lost one of the greats of magic, but I have lost my best friend," Fischbacher said. "From the moment we met, I knew Roy and I, together, would change the world. There could be no Siegfried without Roy, and no Roy without Siegfried."

Read the full story here.

Baseball fans allowed back into stadiums in Taiwan

A baseball game between Uni-President Lions and Fubon Guardians with 1,000 fans allowed in to Xinzhuang Baseball Stadium in New Taipei City, Taiwan, on Friday.Chiang Ying-ying / AP

Baseball stadiums opened to a handful of fans in Taiwan on Friday night as the self-governing island celebrated another milestone in its widely acclaimed fight against coronavirus.

Turnstiles in Taichung, where the Chinatrust Brothers play, and New Taipei City, home of the Fubon Guardians, were used for the first time in 2020 after Taiwan's Centers for Disease Control said this week that 1,000 fans could attend Chinese Professional Baseball League games.

Fans wore masks and were spread sparsely throughout stands as they watched the host Brothers and Guardians fend off late rallies by the visitors.  

With North America's Major League Baseball and Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball both shuttered by the pandemic, the CPBL and Korea Baseball Organization are their sport's only two prominent pro leagues in action. The KBO opened in empty stadiums earlier this week. 

Fans cheer at Xinzhuang Baseball Stadium in New Taipei City, Taiwan, on May 8, 2020.Chiang Ying-ying / AP


Miss America pageant called off

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — Add the Miss America pageant to the list of events canceled this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Miss America Organization announced Friday that a competition will not be held this year. The pageant will resume next year, which will be its 100th anniversary.

The most recent Miss America, Camille Schrier of Virginia, was crowned in December at Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut.

A location for the 2020 pageant had not yet been announced. Its longtime home had been Atlantic City, aside from a brief detour to Las Vegas.

Hawaii says it has no new cases for first time in two months

HONOLULU — Hawaii is reporting no new cases of the coronavirus for the first time in nearly two months.

The state Department of Health said the number of positive cases remained at 629. The last time there was no new case was on March 13. At that point, Hawaii had a total of just two cases.

Hawaii has been under a statewide stay-at-home order since the last week of March to slow the spread of the virus. Gov. David Ige has begun relaxing some restrictions.

Hawaii also requires those arriving in the state and traveling between the islands to observe 14 days of quarantine.

Say goodbye to ketchup bottles: FDA issues guidelines for reopening eateries

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Friday issued guidelines for food establishments permitted by their state and local governments to reopen.

Among the recommendations: Workers should continue wearing face coverings, businesses should implement "no touch" payments, which can include Apple Pay and Google Pay on cellphones, and owners should restrict restaurant and bar capacities to ensure 6-foot distances.

And, as part of a checklist for operators, the FDA suggests "high touch" surfaces and items such as seat covers, table cloths, throw rugs and reusable condiment containers like ketchup bottles and salt and pepper shakers be "removed from use."

The guidelines "are designed to help businesses that prepare food to serve or sell to the public directly, such as restaurants, bakeries, bars and carry-outs, protect employee and public health as they reopen for business," the FDA said in a statement.

Colombian company creates bed that can double as coffin

Rodolfo Gomez and his employees demonstrate a cardboard box they say can serve as both a hospital bed and a coffin. Fernando Vergara / AP

BOGOTA, Colombia — A Colombian advertising company is pitching a novel if morbid solution to shortages of hospital beds and coffins during the coronavirus pandemic: combine them.

ABC Displays has created a cardboard bed with metal railings that designers say can double as a casket if a patient dies.

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