Fauci warns of 'little spikes' becoming outbreaks

Here are the latest coronavirus updates from around the world.
Leah Chapman, a registered nurse, waits for a protective gown before the healthcare team rotates a COVID-19 patient on the third-floor ICU at Bethesda Hospital in St. Paul, Minn., on May 7, 2020.David Joles / Star Tribune via AP

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Dr. Anthony Fauci on Tuesday cautioned that reopening state economies before COVID-19 prevention measures are in place could lead to "little spikes that might turn into outbreaks."

Fauci's warning, part of his testimony by video conference before a Senate hearing, stands in stark contrast to President Donald Trump's urging on Monday that the U.S. is prevailing against the coronavirus and should "reopen."

The number of deaths linked to COVID-19 has passed 80,000, a figure that Fauci admitted is probably lower than the actual death toll because some who died were not tested for the coronavirus.

Also Tuesday, House Democratic leaders pushed for a second round of payments of up to $1,200 per person in new coronavirus relief legislation that's headed for a vote Friday.

Its prospects in the Republican-run Senate are far from certain. Michael Zona, a spokesman for Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, called the overall legislation "DOA in the Senate," although he didn't comment specifically on the stimulus money.

Here's what to know about the coronavirus, plus a timeline of the most critical moments:

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Universal Orlando to partially reopen this week

Universal Orlando Resorts announced it would be partially reopening in Florida this week, although with coronavirus protection guidelines in place.

The CityWalk attraction will reopen with limited operations on May 14 from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., requiring visitors to wear face masks and be subjected to temperature checks on arrival, the company said Tuesday.

Theme parks, including Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure, will remain closed until at least May 31.

Universal Orlando Resorts is owned by NBCUniversal, the parent company of NBC News. 

New coronavirus relief bill includes funding to help families get cheaper internet access

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi unveiled a $3 trillion coronavirus aid package on Tuesday that includes emergency funding to help with the cost of broadband internet.

Some $4 billion is expected to go to companies providing internet access, with a further $1.5 billion to help libraries keep people connected.  

The so-called HEROES Act, which creates an “Emergency Broadband Connectivity Fund,” is expected to go to vote on Friday. 

The act includes up to $50 per month as a subsidy for broadband access, but according to the language of the bill, the money will be used to reimburse providers. Some families have been losing access to the internet because they haven’t been able to pay their bills. 

Gigi Sohn, an advocate for affordable and reliable communications infrastructure and a former counselor to the Federal Communications Commission, welcomed the move.

“Broadband internet access is vital to learning, working, shopping, obtaining healthcare, connecting with friends and family and importantly to social distancing,” she said in a statement. “Every American must have access to robust broadband internet during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Study says official toll of coronavirus dead in New York City may be missing more than 5,000 deaths

Lily Sage Weinrieb transfers remains from an NYC hospital on April 23, 2020 in New York.Misha Friedman / Getty Images file

New York City's coronavirus death toll passed 20,000 yesterday and a new study by the city's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) indicates the true total could be many thousands higher.

According to the study, released by and with the Centers for Disease Control, there were 32,172 deaths between March 11 and May 2 -- 24,172 more than generally happen in that time period each year.

The study determined that around 18,000 of the extra deaths in that time period this year were either confirmed or likely COVID-19 deaths. Since May 2, the death toll has continued to grow, and has passed 20,000.

For March 11 through May 2, the report counts nearly 5,300 extra deaths that don't fit in either the confirmed or probable coronavirus categories.

The study says, "the 5,293 excess deaths not identified as confirmed or probable COVID-19–associated deaths might have been directly or indirectly attributable to the pandemic."

Read the full story here.

Budget airline says passengers will need to ask permission to use bathroom beginning July 1

On Tuesday, Ryanair announced its plan for keeping passengers safe while flying during the coronavirus pandemic.

The European budget airline said it plans to resume 40% of its scheduled flights beginning July 1, but with enhanced safety measures. The new guidelines include mandatory face coverings and temperature checks upon entering airports, rules already implemented by other airlines

Most notably, Ryanair is restricting access to bathrooms, saying passengers will need to ask permission to use the lavatory. The airline said the rule is being put in place to discourage passengers from lining up in the aisles of the aircraft. 

“Queuing for toilets will also be prohibited on board although toilet access will be made available to individual passengers upon request,” the airline said in a press release

New Jersey governor says no state is currently being hit harder

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said Tuesday that his constituents were currently the hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic compared to residents of any other large state.

"We can make a strong case that no state is currently as impacted as ours," he tweeted. "There are still thousands in our hospitals. More will die. We know this. We cannot forget this."

The governor said New Jersey has more patients, more new cases and more recent deaths per 100,000 residents than Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, California or Texas.


LGBTQ people face higher unemployment amid coronavirus pandemic, survey finds

A person files an application for unemployment benefits on April 16, 2020, in Arlington, Va.Olivier Douliery / AFP via Getty Images file

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer Americans are more likely to become unemployed as a result of the coronavirus epidemic than their non-LGBTQ counterparts, according to a poll by the national LGBTQ advocacy group Human Rights Campaign and PSB Research.

"It is unfortunate, but not surprising, to see how COVID-19 is disproportionately impacting vulnerable populations, including the LGBTQ community,” Elizabeth Bibi, the campaign’s senior communications adviser, told NBC News. “Understanding the impact this virus is having on our community is crucial so that we can be best prepared to weather this crisis and work together on how to recover."

Read the full story here. 

German ravers party safely at drive-in club night

The event in Schüttorf, Lower Saxony, was carefully organized so that safe social distancing could be maintained.

100 cases of NY children experiencing Kawasaki-like symptoms being investigated

The New York State Department of Health is investigating 100 cases of children experiencing symptoms similar to Kawasaki disease and toxic shock syndrome due to the coronavirus, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said at a news briefing on Tuesday. 

Cuomo said the youngest child is less than 1 year old. Three children have died.

"This is a truly disturbing situation," he said,

The governor said that the age range for the cases goes up to 21 years old. He said among the symptoms parents should be on the lookout for include a prolonged fever for more than five days, a change in skin color, trouble breathing or a racing heart and severe abdominal pain.

Romney rips Trump testing official: U.S. record 'nothing to celebrate'

Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah., lit up the Trump administration's top official overseeing coronavirus testing, Admiral Brett Giroir, for painting a rosy picture of U.S. capacity for testing at a Monday White House press conference.

At a Senate Health Education Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on COVID-19, Romney began by saying he understood "politicians are going to frame data in a way that’s most positive politically" but that "I don't expect that from admirals." 

"I find our testing record nothing to celebrate whatsoever," he added.

Romney, the only Republican senator to vote in favor of one of the two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, then turned his attention onto comments Trump made about former President Barack Obama.

Trump "said the other day that President Obama is responsible for our lack of a vaccine," Romney said before asking Dr. Anthony Fauci if "President Obama, or by extension President Trump, did they do something that made the likelihood of creating a vaccine less likely? Are either President Trump or President Obama responsible for the fact that we don’t have a vaccine now or, or in delaying it in some way?"

"No, no senator. Not at, not at all," Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, responded. "Certainly President Obama nor President Trump are responsible for our not having a vaccine."

Rand Paul claims NYC coronavirus precautions haven't prevented deaths

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., told reporters Tuesday that the amount of people who have died from COVID-19 in New York City would have been as high as it currently is, regardless of what precautions had been taken there.

"I think New York would have lost about the same amount of people whether they did anything or not,” Paul told reporters after he heard testimony from Dr. Anthony Fauci to the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. Paul is a member of the committee.

"I think a lot of what happens with the virus is independent of what government does. The reason New York got hit hardest, it’s very simple. They have the highest population density in the country, more people ride the subway than any other city, and they had 1.7 million international travelers come home in February, including 133,000 from Italy," Paul said.

That statement directly contradicted the main message Fauci conveyed during his testimony. Fauci warned of serious consequences if governors reopen state economies prematurely, saying he fears spikes in coronavirus infections could morph into further outbreaks of the disease.

Fauci says 'of course' the U.S. still needs to do better on battling COVID-19

Testifying by videoconference before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on Tuesday, Dr. Anthony Fauci said "of course" the number of coronavirus deaths in the U.S. is unacceptable.

His comments came in response to Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., who also asked Fauci if he would say "the U.S. has to do better."

"Of course, you always have to do better," Fauci said, but urged officials not to compare the U.S. with countries like South Korea.