The global coronavirus death toll passed 300,000, with more than 4.4 million confirmed cases around the world, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. remains the world's worst-hit country, with more than 86,600 deaths.
Friday evening the House passed a $3 trillion coronavirus relief package that would include another round of stimulus payments of up to $1,200 per person. President Donald Trump has suggested he won't support the bill.
Critics Friday said U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is presenting families detained at the border with the choice of allowing children to be released without them or staying together and facing possible virus exposure in detention.
Additionally, the CDC issued a health alert to physicians on a rare but potentially deadly condition linked to COVID-19 in children that has now been reported in at least 19 states and Washington, D.C.
- 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. have already reopened.
- The coronavirus has destroyed the job market in every state. See the per-state jobless numbers and how they’ve changed.
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Heat wave preparations for pandemic: NYC buying 74,000 air conditioners for seniors
New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio announced on Friday that the city is preparing for a possible heat wave during the pandemic this summer, including by providing air conditioners to all low-income seniors so that they can stay safe and cool at home.
The city will buy 74,000 air conditioners for this vulnerable population, including 22,000 for public housing residents, de Blasio said at a news conference Friday. The initiative will cost an estimated $55 million dollars, $20 million of which the city will be getting from the state, the mayor said.
The preparations also include work to open cooling centers for the public that abide by social distancing rules, he said.
Pandemic teleworking is straining families, E.U. study says
The COVID-19 pandemic is placing unprecedented strain on families and working life, an E.U. study showed on Friday, with more than a fifth of people who now work at home in households with younger children struggling to concentrate on their jobs.
The study by the E.U. agency Eurofound, found that over a third of people working in the European Union had started working remotely or teleworking as a result of the pandemic.
"The toll this pandemic has taken on family life cannot be ignored," said Mary McCaughey of Eurofound. "Parents are facing unprecedented challenges."
Wuhan to test all 11 million residents as China tries to avoid second wave
All 11 million residents of Wuhan will be tested for the coronavirus, officials in the Chinese city where the outbreak began last year said on Friday, as the country marked one month without any reported deaths from the disease.
Beijing also responded to the latest volley from President Donald Trump, who said he didn't want to speak to President Xi Jinping at the moment, and added that he could cut ties with the world's second-largest economy if he wanted to.
China called for "maintaining the stable development of Sino-U.S. relations" Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told press on Friday.
April retail sales fell by 16.4 percent, the lowest level on record
April retail sales sank by 16.4 percent to their lowest level on record, as stores and restaurants felt the full weight of a month of coronavirus closures.
The monthly sales data, which measures spending at places such as gas stations, restaurants, bars, and stores, was released Friday by the U.S. Bureau of the Census.
The number was worse than economists had been anticipating, with most having forecast a 12 percent drop.
By comparison, March sales were down by 8.3 percent, which was at that time the worst decline since records began in 1992.
Consumer spending drives around three-quarters of the U.S. economy, but social distancing measures have restricted business operations, limited driving, and forced the closure of most retail stores and food service locations.
Amal Clooney: Coronavirus exacerbates 'existing human rights crisis'
Catholic churches gradually reopen in Pittsburgh
Catholic churches in the Diocese of Pittsburgh will gradually reopen on Friday in most areas, with private prayers, baptisms and confession allowed, the diocese announced.
Worshipers will be required to follow social distancing rules and wear masks. Daily masses are scheduled to resume on June 1, with a goal of restarting weekend masses over the weekend of June 6 and 7.
“It fills my heart with so much joy to think of the doors of our Churches opening once again,” said Pittsburgh Bishop David Zubik. "I’ve heard from so many who have missed praying in their parishes, I’ve missed it too."
Moscow announces massive antibody testing program
Moscow health officials launched an ambitious antibody screening program Friday to evaluate the population’s immunity levels as coronavirus cases continue to grow across Russia, with more than 260,00 cases reported nationwide.
In a blog post explaining how the effort will work, Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said that every several days 70,000 residents will be selected and invited into one of 30 state clinics across the city to be given an enzyme test for Immunoglobulin M antibodies. Sobyanin said the effort was necessary to provide an informed answer to the question of when Moscow can begin lifting a strict lockdown that has been in place for the past six weeks, and is currently not scheduled to end before May 31.
Sobyanin’s decision would seem to be a subtle rebuke to President Vladimir Putin, who earlier this week lifted a federal stay at home order and declared Russia was now ready to begin a gradual easing of restrictions — despite growing case numbers that surpassed a quarter of a million by mid-week, propelling Russia’s outbreak to be the second largest in the world.
Germany begins to loosen quarantine requirement for some travelers
German states have begun to loosen requirements on travelers entering the country in the coming days, with North-Rhine Westphalia now allowing travelers from other E.U. states, as well as the U.K., Iceland, Liechtenstein, Switzerland and Norway, to forego a 14-day quarantine following arrival.
Other Germans states are expected to lift the quarantine restrictions in the next few days. However, restrictions around who is allowed to enter the country still remain in place. That means only those with a valid reason to enter the country, such as family ties or medical personnel, will be allowed in.
The goal is to restore free travel by June 15, however, a resurgence of the pandemic in these nations could lead to a reinstatement of the stricter measures, officials have said.
Trump says he lost five people to the coronavirus
President Donald Trump said Thursday that he has personally lost five people who contracted COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.
"It's a very tough disease. I lost five people that I know. A couple of very good friends, too, out of it," he said in an interview with The Washington Examiner.
Trump added that he's never lost anyone because of the flu. The president did not identify any of the five people and did not elaborate further on who they were.
Last month, Trump's personal friend and New York real estate mogul Stanley Chera died on from complications of coronavirus.