Around 2.98 million Americans filed for first-time unemployment claims last week, more than economist expectations of 2.7 million, and the eighth straight week of numbers in the millions. More than 36.5 million unemployment claims have been filed since the COVID-19 pandemic struck two months ago.
Meanwhile, a Health and Human Services whistle blower, Dr. Rick Bright, warned Congress on Thursday that "2020 will be the darkest winter in modern history" without clear action against the coronavirus.
- MAPS: Confirmed cases in the U.S. and worldwide, confirmed deaths in the U.S. and globally.
- Reopening America: See what states across the U.S. are starting to reopen.
Download the NBC News app for latest updates on the coronavirus outbreak.
This live coverage has ended. Continue reading May 15 coronavirus news.
McConnell slams Dems' relief bill as 'an unserious product from an unserious House majority'
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., on Thursday slammed the House Democrats’ proposal for the next coronavirus relief package.
“The House gave themselves no assignments for two months except developing this proposal," McConnell said on the Senate floor. "Yet it still reads like the speaker of the House pasted together random ideas from her most liberal members and slapped the word “coronavirus” on top of it — an unserious product from an unserious House majority that has spent months dealing itself out of this crisis.”
McConnell, for his part, has agreed with Trump administration officials that Congress needs to pause work on providing more relief aid to Americans because lawmakers have already approved massive assistance measures already.
The House is expected to vote on the Houses Democrats’ proposal on Friday.
Oxford vaccine candidate shows promise in small study in monkeys
An experimental coronavirus vaccine from Oxford University appears to be effective at preventing COVID-19, according to findings from a small study in six monkeys.
Oxford scientists posted the preliminary findings on the vaccine on the preprint server bioRxiv early Thursday.
Delta Air Lines to retire its entire fleet of Boeing 777 jets as international travel tumbles
Delta Air Lines is retiring its entire fleet of Boeing 777 jets as part of cost-cutting measures as the air travel industry battles for survival amid its worst crisis since the events of September 11.
“With international travel expected to return slowly, we’ve made the difficult decision to permanently retire our Boeing 777 fleet — 18 aircraft — by the end of the year,” Delta CEO Ed Bastian told staff Thursday morning.
The company will instead rely on “fuel-efficient and cost-effective” A330s and A350-900 planes, made by Boeing's European rival, Airbus.
“Our principal financial goal for 2020 is to reduce our cash burn to zero the end of the year, which will mean for the next to three years, a smaller network, fleet and operation in response to substantially reduced customer demand,” Bastian said.
Delta just reported its first quarterly loss in five years, and received $5.4 billion in support from the Treasury Department to keep the airline afloat. The company said last month it expected second quarter revenue to fall by 90 percent.
Virologist hospitalized with coronavirus believes he got it through his eyes
Virologist Dr. Joseph Fair, an NBC News contributor who has been hospitalized with coronavirus despite being in good health and taking precautions against getting sick, said Thursday that he believes he contracted the virus through his eyes on a crowded flight.
The 42-year-old virologist and epidemiologist, who has responded to multiple outbreaks around the world, got sick about three days after a flight to his home in New Orleans.
"I had a mask on, I had gloves on, I did my normal wipes routine ... but obviously, you can still get it through your eyes," Fair said on the "TODAY" show from his hospital bed. "And of course I wasn’t wearing goggles on the flight."
"That’s one of the three known routes of getting this infection that we just don’t pay a lot of attention to; we tend to pay attention to the nose and mouth because that is the most common route," he said. "But you know, droplets landing on your eyes are just as infectious."
NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio says video of mother being arrested was 'deeply troubling'
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said it was "deeply troubling" to see a video of a mother with her child being arrested for allegedly not properly covering her face.
Officers with the New York City Police Department said they stopped Kaleemah Rozier, 22, in a subway station and attempted to enforce the face-covering rule, according to NBC New York. The mother and her child had on face masks but were not covering their nose and mouth, the outlet reported.
A video of the arrest surfaced on social media this week and showed officers escorting the mother out of the station as she screamed and told police not to touch her. At one point, Rozier is seen slapping away an officer's hand. Police then took her to the ground and placed her in handcuffs, according to NBC New York.
De Blasio said at a news briefing on Thursday that no matter what else was going on the situation should not have escalated to a mother with her child being arrested.
"It's not what we want to see in our city," he said. The mayor, however, told the public they need to respect the police and "not ignore the instructions of police officers."
"But what we saw there did not reflect our values; it did not reflect our value of de-escalation and we have to do better," de Blasio said.
The arrest this week comes after newly released statistics on the police department's social-distancing enforcement show that black people account for the majority of arrests in Brooklyn.
NYC now has 100 children with rare syndrome linked to COVID-19
New York City now has 100 cases of children with a rare inflammatory syndrome thought to be linked to the coronavirus, including one child who has died, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday.
That is up from 52 cases of the illness, called pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome, that the mayor reported for the city on Tuesday.
De Blasio also cited other figures that were more positive.
Hospital admissions for people with COVID-19 are down to 59 from 78 as of May 11, the mayor said. The number of coronavirus patients in intensive care units is also down to 517 from 561, while the percentage of tests showing positive cases of the virus dipped to 11 percent from 13 percent.
He credited social distancing guidelines and people's wearing face coverings while out in public for the improved numbers. "Today is a very good day," de Blasio said.
New York City plans to expand testing for residents to those who have had close contact with a coronavirus patient and to people who work in settings such as nursing homes and shelters. T
Photos: Boarded-up storefronts are magnets for graffiti in New York City
Patient dances out of hospital after recovering from COVID-19
A heartwarming video shows healthcare workers cheering for a patient who danced out of the hospital after spending nearly 30 days there fighting COVID-19.
Tom Berisha, 49, was first admitted to New York-Presbyterian Allen Hospital in the Inwood neighborhood of Manhattan for COVID-19 treatment in early April. After some 27 days in the hospital fighting the virus, he was finally well enough to be discharged.
In the video posted on social media by New York-Presbyterian Hospital, healthcare workers line the hospital’s hallway clapping and cheering as Berisha is wheeled out in a wheelchair. Berisha, visibly emotional as he is reunited with his family, then stands up and dances. Hospital employees roar in excitement.
“To finally see him standing up, reuniting with his family, and going home to get better was overwhelming,” Cynthia Quezada, a clinical nurse manager, said in a statement released by New York-Presbyterian Hospital. “We really appreciate the success stories through this pandemic. It is a light at the end of the tunnel for the patient and for the staff.”
Vietnam determined to save British pilot in order to avoid its first COVID-19 death
Vietnam has mounted an all-out effort to save the life of its most critically ill coronavirus patient, a British pilot who works for Vietnam Airlines. Through aggressive testing and a mass, centralized quarantine program, the Southeast Asian country has kept its tally of total cases to just 288 as of Thursday, and has reported no deaths.
Little expense has been spared to try to save the life of the 43-year-old man, identified only as "Patient 91", who caught the virus at a bar in Ho Chi Minh City in mid-March, state media reported. More than 4,000 people connected to the cluster were tested, with 18 of them found to be infected.
While most have recovered, the British pilot is on life support and his condition has deteriorated significantly. On Tuesday, the health ministry held a meeting with experts from top hospitals and decided that the only way to save the man's life was with a lung transplant.
His case has garnered national interest in Vietnam, where the government has won broad support for its campaign to contain the outbreak. On Thursday, state media said 10 people — including a 70-year-old military veteran — had volunteered themselves as lung donors, but had been turned down by state doctors.
First coronavirus case detected in Rohingya refugee camp
The first confirmed coronavirus case has been detected in a Bangladesh camp, home to more than one million Rohingya refugees fleeing Myanmar, officials said on Thursday.
An ethnic Rohingya refugee and another person had tested positive for COVID-19, a senior Bangladeshi official and a U.N. spokeswoman said. The camps are more densely populated than most crowded cities on earth.
Aid workers have warned of a potential humanitarian disaster if there is a significant outbreak in the refugee camps outside Cox's Bazar. As many as 60,000 to 90,000 people are jammed into each square kilometer, with families of up to a dozen sharing small shelters.