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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

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:

Download the NBC News app for latest updates on the coronavirus outbreak.

This live coverage has now ended. Continue reading May 13 coronavirus news.

HHS whistleblower: We could be looking at 'darkest winter in modern history'

In prepared testimony ahead of a Thursday congressional hearing, a top Health and Human Services official who said he was pushed out of a key coronavirus response job for pushing back on "efforts to fund potentially dangerous drugs promoted by those with political connections" suggested 2020 could be "the darkest winter in modern history." 

Dr. Rick Bright, who until last month was the deputy assistant secretary for preparedness and response and director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, or BARDA, outlined his "grave" concerns in written testimony released ahead of a Thursday hearing before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce's Subcommittee on Health.

"I continue to believe that we must act urgently to effectively combat this deadly disease," he wrote. "Our window of opportunity is closing. If we fail to develop a national coordinated response, based in science, I fear the pandemic will get far worse and be prolonged, causing unprecedented illness and fatalities... Without clear planning and implementation of the steps that I and other experts have outlined, 2020 will be darkest winter in modern history."

Bright said in reflecting on recent months it's "painfully clear" that the U.S. "missed early warning signals and we forgot important pages from our pandemic playbook."

Bright filed a whistleblower complaint last week charging "an abuse of authority or gross mismanagement" at the agency. In that complaint, Bright said chaos at the agency was the result of "pressure from HHS leadership to ignore scientific merit and expert recommendations and instead to award lucrative contracts based on political connections and cronyism."

Alameda County says Tesla plan submitted amid spat over closure

Alameda County's health department said Tuesday that they received a plan from Tesla about coronavirus safety measures after its CEO Elon Musk said he was reopening a plant in defiance of local orders.

"If Tesla’s Prevention and Control Plan includes these updates, and the public health indicators remain stable or improve, we have agreed that Tesla can begin to augment their Minimum Business Operations this week in preparation for possible reopening as soon as next week," the health department said in a statement.

The message appears to signal a possible deal after Musk earlier this week said he would reopen his primary car assembly plant in Fremont in defiance of public health orders. The county said it would work with Fremont police to verify that physical distancing and other measures are being adhered to.

Musk has criticized stay-at-home orders imposed to slow the spread of the coronavirus illness COVID-19. In a May 1 tweet he wrote "Now give people back their FREEDOM."

Trump admin unveils plan to ramp up syringe production for future vaccine

Seeking to ramp up the nation’s capacity to administer a possible COVID-19 vaccine, the Trump administration has signed a $138 million deal with the makers of an innovative syringe designed to be used in developing countries.

The goal of the public-private initiative, called Project Jumpstart, is to facilitate the production of 100 million prefilled syringes by the end of 2020 and more than 500 million in 2021 in the event a vaccine becomes available, officials announced Tuesday.

The Health and Human Services Department and the Defense Department are partnering with ApiJect Systems America, which manufactures inexpensive prefilled syringes made of plastic.

Read the full story here

California council member cited after scuffle with protesters at his home

A California city councilman was cited with misdemeanor battery after a physical altercation with protesters who confronted him at his home Tuesday over coronavirus restrictions.

Fresno City Council President Miguel Arias told NBC affiliate KSEE that he felt threatened that the activists had shown up while his kids were home. He said that after asking them to leave, he swiped at their equipment and shoved one man during the confrontation on a stairway.

In a video obtained by KSEE, Arias can be seen swatting at two men, including a local conservative activist, Ben Bergquam.

“What do you say to the businesses you’re destroying?” an activist can be heard saying at one point.

Read the full story here

USA Gymnastics postpones events until 2021 over coronavirus

USA Gymnastics is postponing all "premier events" until 2021 because of the coronavirus epidemic.

The GK U.S. Classic, which had been scheduled for May 23, will now be May 22, 2021, and the U.S. Gymnastics Championships which were to start on June 4 will be rescheduled for June 3, 2021, the organization said Tuesday.

"In light of recent guidance from health experts, and after receiving feedback from our athletes and coaches, we believe it is in the best interest of our community to wait until 2021 to hold premier events,” said Li Li Leung, USA Gymnastics' president and chief executive officer, said in a statement.

The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games which had been scheduled for this summer have previously been postponed until next summer.

Arizona gives green light for pro sports to return, minus fans

Pro sports are welcome to return to Arizona as soon as this weekend.

"Major league sports can resume limited reopening, without fans, this Saturday," Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey tweeted Tuesday while announcing the easing of some restrictions aimed to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.

The invitation applied to Major League Baseball, the NFL, NBA, National Hockey League and Major League Soccer, Ducey said at a news conference Tuesday.

The move follows reports that Major League Baseball was considering a truncated season beginning in early July that would include games only in Arizona and Florida.

Read the full story here

Texas AG Ken Paxton calls local orders 'unlawful,' 'Orwellian'

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton warned cities and counties across the state that local laws requiring face coverings and other measures meant to stem the coronavirus pandemic were “unlawful.”

In a letter to officials in Austin and Travis County, Paxton called a contact tracing provision “Orwellian.”

In the letters, which were also sent to Dallas County, Bexar County and San Antonio, Paxton cited an executive order from Gov. Greg Abbott that went into effect earlier this month and allowed businesses like barber shops, nail salons, restaurants and movie theaters to reopen with reduced occupancy and, in some cases, social distancing rules.

On May 18, gyms, offices and manufacturers will also be allowed to reopen.

Read the full story here

As cases of rare COVID-linked illness in kids rise, Fauci warns much remains unknown

The number of children with a rare and potentially deadly inflammatory condition likely linked to COVID-19 has risen to more than 100 in at least 14 states.

The tally comes as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it's actively preparing guidance for health officials to track what's now being called pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome, or PMIS, nationwide.

The vast majority of the cases are in New York, where Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Tuesday the state has treated about 100 patients who range in age from younger than one to 18 years old.

Read the full story here. 

Broadway star Nick Cordero wakes from coma after leg amputation due to coronavirus

Image: Nick Cordero and Amanda Kloots attend the "Going in Style" New York premiere.
Nick Cordero and Amanda Kloots attend the "Going in Style" New York premiere on March 30, 2017 in New York.D Dipasupil / FilmMagic file

Broadway actor Nick Cordero woke from a medically induced coma Tuesday weeks after doctors amputated his leg as part of his coronavirus treatment.

Cordero’s wife, Amanda Kloots, announced his updated condition on Instagram just a day after sharing that the Tony-nominated actor was making progress by following doctor’s commands. Kloots, a fitness instructor, shared the news in a video with the couple’s infant son, Elvis.

“Dada is awake, he is awake guys. I asked the doctor today, ‘Can we say he’s awake?’” Kloots said. “He is awake. It’s just that Nick is so weak right now that even opening his eyes, closing his eyes, takes out, like, all of his energy.”

Read the full story here. 

California State University system announces plans for a virtual fall semester

Image: Timothy P. White answers reporters' questions
CSU Chancellor Timothy P. White answers reporters' questions at the CSU Office of the Chancellor in Long Beach on Jan. 29, 2014.Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images file

The California State University System, which runs 23 campuses, plans to offer most of its courses for the fall virtually amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Most classes for the 2020 fall semester will be held online with few exceptions for in-person activity, Chancellor Timothy White said during a Zoom conference with the board of trustees on Tuesday. Research labs, for example, would continue on campus but with small class sizes and with students wearing personal protective equipment, White said.

White confirmed the plans for a “hybrid approach” in a statement posted to the school’s website Tuesday.

Read the full story here. 

LA County stay-at-home order likely to continue until August

Los Angeles County’s public health director said Tuesday that stay-at-home orders in the nation’s most populous county would be extended for another three months beyond the existing May 15 deadline “with all certainty.

Speaking before a meeting of the county’s board of supervisors, Dr. Barbara Ferrer said the only way the extension would not take place would be unless there was some “dramatic change to the virus” and related “tools” to treat it.

Just one day earlier, the county said it would re-open beaches on Wednesday, May 13, albeit with some limitations, including required face coverings unless actively surfing or swimming.

People are not allowed to lie or sit on the sand, nor to bring canopies or coolers, according to the county’s Department of Beaches and Harbors.

Pence tweets out task force meeting photo where everyone's in a mask

NBC News

AOC and Rep. Lee offer burial assistance legislation for COVID-19 victims

Two Democratic congresswomen are offering legislation that would give people financial assistance to bury loved ones who died of the coronavirus.

The bill by Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and Barbara Lee, D-Calif., called the COVID–19 Funeral Assistance Fund, would offer $10,000 to help people pay for funerals of relatives who died of the virus if they can “demonstrate a common familial relationship to the deceased individual” and don’t have insurance to cover it.

The money is limited to $500 million. The legislation, first reported by NBC News, comes as House Democratic leaders rolled out a new $3 trillion relief bill that includes narrower provisions what Ocasio-Cortez and Lee have pushed for, directing some financial assistance to cover funeral expenses in disaster areas."It's a necessary measure."

"We're talking about life and death. And we're talking about the basic human dignity of being able to bury our loves ones," said Ocasio-Cortez, whose district in the Bronx is one of the hardest-hit by the virus.

The median national cost of an adult funeral in 2019 was $9,135, according to the National Funeral Directors Association. Lee argued that “minimally, we should allow families who are grieving access to benefits to just lighten their load.”

Kushner predicts it will be 'very hard for America to ever lock down again' after reopening

White House senior adviser Jared Kushner predicted in an interview with Time that it will be much more difficult to impose a future shutdown once the U.S. opens large swathes of the economy.

"Once America opens up, it will be very hard for America to ever lock down again," he said Tuesday.

Kushner's prediction comes as states en masse have started the reopening processes while health officials warn about the potential for future outbreaks or spikes later in the year — to say nothing less of the initial wave having yet to pass. Dr. Anthony Fauci said in congressional testimony Tuesday he is concerned about the potential for states to move too hastily in their reopening.

The concept Kushner described echoes the cautionary tale of the Spanish Flu pandemic in the U.S. more than 100 years ago.

Patriots owner Robert Kraft auctioning off Super Bowl ring for relief efforts

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft this week announced that he is auctioning off his Super Bowl LI ring to help feed those in need during the coronavirus pandemic.

The proceeds from the auction, part of the “All In Challenge” launched by Fanatics CEO Michael Rubin, will benefit Feeding America, Meals on Wheels, World Central Kitchen and No Kid Hungry. As of Tuesday evening, the “All in Challenge” has raised over $40 million for these organizations.

The Patriots defeated the Atlanta Falcons for the 2017 championship by overcoming a 28-3 deficit, the largest comeback in Super Bowl history. 

The 5.1 carat-weight ring features 283 diamonds and is inscribed with “Greatest Comeback Ever.” As of Tuesday afternoon, the highest bid is $900,000.

Fact check: Trump claims U.S. has among lowest coronavirus death rates

NBC News

While the nation's leading health experts say the coronavirus fight is far from over, President Donald Trump has a more optimistic assessment. NBC News' Jane Timm fact checks the president's claim that the U.S. has one of the lowest coronavirus death rates in the world.

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

Claire Atkinson

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

Image: Funeral Home Director In Residency Begins Career As Coronavirus Pandemic Overwhelms Industry
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

Julie Moreau

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.

VA gets 500,000 N95 masks from South Korea

Rich Gardella

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) said Tuesday that it accepted a donation of 500,000 N95 masks from South Korea “to assist the department in combating the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.”

The shipment landed at Joint Base Andrews Naval Air Facility in Maryland on a South Korean military transport flight. The VA said the masks “will be distributed for use nationally across VA.”

VA had previously received personal protective equipment (PPE) from FEMA, including more than 4.3 million various types of respirator masks, 2 million facial/surgical masks, 1.5 million gloves, and 14,000 face shields.

Facebook says it labeled 50 millions pieces of coronavirus misinformation in April

Facebook put misinformation warning labels on about 50 million pieces of content related to COVID-19 during the month of April, the company announced Tuesday.

The social networking site attaches these warnings to posts sharing articles that have been reviewed by the company’s independent fact-checking partners. The company said that the warnings greatly reduce the number of people who view the original content.

The company released this snapshot of data at the same time as a more comprehensive report of how it enforced its content policies banning different types of content — including nudity, bullying, terrorist propaganda and child sexual exploitation material — during the last quarter of 2019 and the first quarter of 2020.

Read more here.

Broadway shows canceled through the summer

Gwen Aviles

Broadway theaters will remain closed through Labor Day, according to the Broadway League, an organization that represents theater owners and operators.

“While all Broadway shows would love to resume performances as soon as possible, we need to ensure the health and well-being of everyone who comes to the theatre – behind the curtain and in front of it – before shows can return," Charlotte St. Martin, president of the Broadway League, said in a statement Tuesday. 

Theatergoers who purchased tickets for performances through Sept. 6 should expect to receive an email advising them about how to obtain a refund or exchange, according to the organization.

Broadway performances were suspended in March as the coronavirus began spreading across the U.S. More than 30 shows were running at the time, and eight productions were rehearsing for spring debuts.

Fauci warns 'little spikes' of coronavirus might turn into outbreaks if states reopen too soon

Rebecca Shabadis in Washington, D.C.

Dr. Anthony Fauci on Tuesday 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.

Testifying by videoconference before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, ticked through the criteria that the White House said states should meet before reopening.

"My concern [is] that if some areas, city, states, or what have you, jump over those various checkpoints and prematurely open up without having the capability of being able to respond effectively and efficiently, my concern is that we will start to see little spikes that might turn into outbreaks," Fauci said in response to a question from Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash.

Fauci and two of the other witnesses — Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Stephen Hahn, the head of the Food and Drug Administration — are testifying by videoconference Tuesday because they self-quarantining after possible exposure to COVID-19. The fourth witness, Adm. Brett Giroir, assistant secretary for health and the administration's coronavirus testing coordinator, also testified remotely but is not in self-quarantine.

Read the full story here.

U.S. service member tests positive for COVID-19 after charter flight from Seattle to South Korea

A U.S. service member tested positive for COVID-19 upon arrival at Osan Air Base in South Korea on Monday after a charter flight from Seattle with other service members and dependents, according to U.S. Forces Korea.

A spokesperson for U.S. Forces Korea said all the passengers and crew were tested on arrival in South Korea. The individual who tested positive was placed in isolation and the rest of the passengers and crew are all in quarantine.

All passengers and crew are required to wear masks during the flight, the spokesperson said. These chartered flights go on a loop between Seattle, Japan, and Korea. Direct flights across the Pacific Ocean from the U.S last more than 10 hours.

Click here to read the whole story.

52 cases of mysterious pediatric multi-system inflammatory syndrome recorded in NYC, one child dead

More than 50 cases of multi-system inflammatory syndrome — a mysterious illness affecting children and likely linked to COVID-19 — have been recorded in New York, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday. 

One child has died, the mayor said. In all, 52 cases have been detected, and another 10 are pending. Of those, 25 children have tested positive for coronavirus and 22 have tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies. 

"It's something we did not see essentially through March and April," de Blasio said. "It really has grabbed us all just in the last week or two — it's sobering, it's bluntly frightening." The city is "combining the efforts of healthcare professionals all over New York City to figure out what it is and how to deal with it," he said. 

De Blasio encouraged parents to watch their kids for fever, rash, vomiting and a lack of energy, and immediately call a doctor or 3-1-1 if they see those symptoms and especially if they see a combination of those symptoms. "Early detection, early action makes all the difference here," de Blasio said. "We want people not to hesitate here."

Georgia nearing 1,500 total COVID-19 deaths

Dan Good

Georgia reported 16 new COVID-19-related deaths Tuesday morning, bringing its statewide total to 1,460.

The state also reported 163 new cases. In total, the state has experienced 34,165 cases of COVID-19.

The deadliest day for the state has been April 16, with 52 deaths — but deaths and cases have been declining since reaching their peaks last month.

Gov. Brian Kemp eased coronavirus restrictions and allowed businesses to reopen, but many residents and business owners have been wary about returning to their usual routines.

Peter Jeary

Love-struck American dresses as cleaner to evade German airport security

Andy Eckardt

An American man hatched an unusual plan to see his girlfriend in Germany. After flying from Washington, D.C., he disguised himself as a garbage cleaner at Frankfurt airport to avoid coronavirus-related border checks but never got beyond the transit area, German border police said Tuesday. 

The 20-year-old man changed into a yellow neon vest upon arrival Sunday and carried two black garbage bags he had brought with him from the U.S., police told NBC News. He then tried to convince aviation security that he was a cleaner at the airport.

A staff member noticed he didn't have a security ID or speak German and alerted federal police. After a brief investigation, "the yearning-stricken man was sent back to Washington on May 11," the police report read. He will not face additional repercussions as he never made it past the airport's transit area.

In Nicaragua, express burials cast doubt on official coronavirus numbers, doctors and families say

Associated Press

Image: A woman wears a mask against the spread of COVID-19 disease, as she attends a funeral at the Central cemetery of Managua, Nicaragua
A woman wears a mask against the spread of COVID-19 disease, as she attends a funeral at the Central cemetery of Managua, Nicaragua, Monday, May 11, 2020.Alfredo Zuniga / AP

President Daniel Ortega’s government has stood out for its refusal to impose measures to halt the coronavirus for more than two months since the disease was first diagnosed in Nicaragua. Now, doctors and family members of apparent victims say, the government has gone from denying the disease’s presence in the country to actively trying to conceal its spread.

Read more here.

Kremlin spokesman falls ill with coronavirus

Matthew Bodner

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Russian state news agencies Tuesday that he has been hospitalized after testing positive for COVID-19.

“Yes, I have fallen ill,” he told that TASS news wire. “I am being treated.” 

Peskov follows Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, who announced he was heading to a hospital on April 30 after testing positive.

It is not known when Peskov last came in contact with President Vladimir Putin. Putin has been seen in recent days taking one-on-one meetings without wearing a mask. 

Fauci set to testify to Congress on U.S. coronavirus response, reopening plans

Rebecca Shabadis in Washington, D.C.

Dr. Anthony Fauci and other top Trump administration officials are set to testify at a public Senate hearing Tuesday about the coronavirus response and plans for people to return to work and school.

Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, is expected to testify by videoconference during the hearing before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee because he has decided to self-quarantine after possibly being exposed to COVID-19.

This is the Democrats’ first opportunity since March to grill top administration officials on their response to the coronavirus.

In an email to The New York Times, Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said he plans to warn senators Tuesday of "needless suffering and death" if the country opens too early.

Read the full story here.

Pakistanis throng to shops as some businesses re-open

Mushtaq Yusufzai

Pakistan began the limited opening of businesses and commercial activities this week, after two months of lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.

People thronged to markets and shops in large numbers, in many cases ignoring continuing government measures in place to stem the virus.

On Monday, 28 people died from COVID-19 bringing the total to 667 deaths. Pakistan has recorded almost 31,000 cases, officials said, mostly in the densely populated Punjab region.


Coronavirus pandemic could force a major U.S. airline out of business, says Boeing CEO

The airline industry is having an "apocalyptic" moment that could force a major U.S. carrier out of business, said David Calhoun, president and CEO of Boeing, in an interview with Savannah Guthrie on NBC's "TODAY" show that aired on Tuesday morning.

"The threat to the airline industry is grave. There's no question about it. And apocalyptic does actually accurately describe the moment," Calhoun said of the impact of the coronavirus.

Despite billions of dollars in emergency funding as part of the government's CARES Act, the future for the industry remains uncertain, with many airline executives forecasting traffic will not return to prior levels for three to five years, leading to questions about the survival of some major carriers.

"I don't want to get too predictive on that subject. But yes, most likely," Calhoun said when asked if he thought a major U.S. carrier would have to go out of business.

"Something will happen when September comes around. Traffic levels will not be back to 100 percent. They won't even be back to 25 percent. So there will definitely be adjustments that have to be made on the part of the airlines," Calhoun said.

Read the full story here.

Italy gives green light to reopening bars and restaurants

Lidia Sirna

Bars, restaurants, hairdressers and barbers are set to open in Italy from Monday, May 18, as the government accelerates its plan to relax coronavirus lockdown measures. Previously, the government had planned for these businesses not to open until June 1.

Some 270,000 Italian commercial and service-sector firms risk shutting down for good unless economic conditions improve fast and there is a full reopening in October, retail association Confcommercio said Monday. The worst-hit sectors include clothing shops, hotels, bars, restaurants and businesses linked to entertainment and caring for people, as well as street sellers and travelling sales people.

According to ISTAT, the National Statistics Institute, the country’s industrial production fell 28.4% in March with respect to February. All the main sectors showed big negative variations, ISTAT said

China eases U.S. tariffs and edges back to everyday life

More than 100 million students are back in classrooms, China's education ministry said on Tuesday, accounting for almost 40 percent of the country's students. 

Only four provinces have yet to re-open schools and universities — Beijing, Hebei, Hubei and Heilongjiang — Wang Dengfeng, a senior Ministry of Education official said, as the country edges back to normal. 

China has also continued a streak of no new deaths from coronavirus since mid-April, although it reported 32 new cases over the weekend, bringing its total cases to 82,919.

In a sign that strained relations with the U.S. may also be easing, China announced a suspension of tariffs on a number of U.S. goods from chemical elements to television cameras. 


Peter Jeary

UK's COVID-19 death toll tops 38,000, worst in Europe


The United Kingdom's COVID-19 death toll topped 38,000 as of early May, by far the worst yet reported in Europe, raising questions about Prime Minister Boris Johnson's handling of the coronavirus crisis.

Figures published by the Office for National Statistics for England and Wales brought the United Kingdom's official death toll to 38,289 as of May 3 — up nearly 6,000 in the space of a week, according to a Reuters tally of death registrations data.

While different ways of counting make comparisons with other countries difficult, the figure confirmed Britain was among those hit worst by a pandemic that has killed more than 285,000 worldwide.

Migrants stalled at U.S. border fear COVID-19 outbreak

U.S. officials, immigration attorneys and health care workers fear that border cities in Mexico, where many migrants live in crowded shelters where families share beds, may be a new hot spot for COVID-19 infections.

Migrant health care workers operating in the cities of Juarez, Matamoros and Tijuana say the conditions are right for a "public health disaster in the making."

Read the full story here.

WHO warns summer heatwaves pose greater risks for vulnerable in lockdown

The World Health Organization is warning that summer heatwaves amplified expected to hit Europe in the coming months will add to the risks facing those already vulnerable to coronavirus outbreak. 

High temperatures can trigger heatstroke and aggravate conditions such as cardiovascular, respiratory, kidney or mental illnesses, particularly among people who are older, infants, those working outdoors and people with existing illnesses, the health agency said in a news release Monday. A spike in heat-related illnesses also risks overwhelming already stretched health systems. 

People who are the most vulnerable are recommended to stay at home or in cool environments and avoid sun exposure in over 77-degree heat. The agency is also recommending that countries review their heat health plans to add measures to reduce transmission of COVID-19. 

Japan to approve its first antigen test kits despite false negatives

Mai Nishiyama

Japan will be approving its first antigen test kits on Wednesday to bolster its testing rate despite imperfections in the results. 

The Fujirebio tests will take only 30 minutes to process compared with the four to six hours required for polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests currently being used, the health ministry said in a release on Tuesday. But it also risks showing false negatives when there isn't enough of the virus detected in a patient. 

The tests, which are 80 to 90 percent accurate for positive results, are intended to supplement ongoing PCR testing, the ministry said. As of Tuesday, Japan had reported 15,847 cases and 633 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. 

Sheriff: California inmates tried to infect themselves in hopes of release

A group of Los Angeles County inmates deliberately tried to infect themselves with the coronavirus in a mistaken belief they would be released if they were sick, the sheriff said Monday.

Video released Monday by Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva appeared to show inmates at North County Correctional Facility in Castaic drinking from the same bottle of hot water and taking turns breathing through the same mask.

Villanueva called the behavior disturbing.

"As a direct result of the behavior seen in the video, 21 men tested positive for COVID-19 within a week," he said in a statement.

Read the full story here

Organ transplants dive amid virus crisis, start to inch back

The Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Organ transplants plummeted as COVID-19 swept through communities, with surgeons wary of endangering living donors and unable to retrieve possibly usable organs from the dead -- and hospitals sometimes too full even when they could.

Deceased donor transplants -- the most common kind -- dropped by about half in the U.S. and 90 percent in France from late February into early April, researchers reported Monday in the journal Lancet.

Transplants from living donors had a similarly staggering dive, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing, which runs the U.S. transplant system. There were 151 living donor transplants in the U.S. in the second week of March when a pandemic was declared. There were only 16 such transplants the week of April 5, according to UNOS.

It’s too soon to know how many people waiting for a lifesaving organ transplant may die not from COVID-19 infection but because the pandemic blocked their chance at a new organ. Kidney transplants make up the vast majority of the drop, but heart, lung and liver transplants declined, too.

IRS sets deadline for relief payment by direct deposit

The Associated Press

The Treasury Department and the IRS are urging taxpayers who want to get their economic impact payments directly deposited to their bank accounts to enter their information online by Wednesday.

The government has sent out about 130 million payments in the first four weeks of the program by both direct deposit and by mail.

The IRS said Monday that people should use the “Get My Payment ” tool on the IRS website by noon on Wednesday to provide their direct deposit information.

After that time, the agency will begin preparing millions of files to send to Bureau of Financial Services for paper checks that will begin arriving through late May and into June. The government cannot provide direct deposit once the process of sending a paper check has commenced.