Trump says he takes hydroxychloroquine as U.S. death toll tops 90,000

Here are the latest coronavirus updates from around the world.
Image: The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Rome
A woman wearing a face shield drinks coffee at a cafe as Italy eases some of its lockdown measures in Rome on May 18, 2020.Yara Nardi / Reuters

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President Donald Trump on Monday said he has been taking hydroxychloroquine, an unproven treatment for COVID-19 that he has vigorously promoted. The FDA has warned the drug can cause serious heart problems.

The U.S. coronavirus death toll has topped 90,800, according to NBC News' count. More than 1.5 million cases have been confirmed in the country.Globally, more than 318,000 have died from the virus, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The number of deaths in the U.S. is expected to hit 100,000 by June 1, according to Robert Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

On Monday, China pledged an extra $2 billion to deal with the coronavirus crisis at the World Health Assembly, which was held virtually. U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar said that the World Health Organization's "failure cost many lives and it must not happen again."

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

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This live coverage has ended. Continue to May 19 coronavirus news.

Ousted HHS whistleblower Bright reports to work in new role

Lawyers for Dr. Rick Bright, a former top Health and Human Services official, told NBC News Monday that he has reported to the National Institutes of Health to begin his new assignment.

“Following the required onboarding process, he is prepared to begin working when NIH is ready,” his attorneys said.

Bright has said he was shoved out of a key coronavirus response job for objecting to "efforts to fund potentially dangerous drugs promoted by those with political connections." He was transferred to a role within the National Institutes of Health, which is part of HHS. Bright alleges that his reassignment from serving as head of the federal government’s vaccine agency to a lower-profile role at the NIH was an act of retaliation by the Trump administration for raising his concerns. 

He filed a whistleblower complaint earlier this month charging "an abuse of authority or gross mismanagement" at HHS and and unloaded on the Trump administration's coronavirus response in testimony to Congress last week. Bright had been taking sick leave since filing his whistleblower complaint.

Maryland restaurant creates social distancing tables out of inner tubes

A Maryland restaurant is planning to use specially-designed tables to comply with social distancing guidelines once it is able to re-open. 

Fish Tales in Ocean City, Maryland said the tables, made out of inner tubes, were designed by Revolution Event Design and Production, a special events company based in Baltimore. Videos posted on social media show Fish Tales staff members wearing the tables around their waists while rolling down a pier near the restaurant. 

Restaurants in Maryland are currently closed for in-person dining due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Italy announces lowest COVID-19 death toll since March 9

Italy has reached its lowest daily toll of deaths from COVID-19 since the start of the lockdown on March 9. Only 99 fatalities and 451 new cases were reported during the weekend, the Civil Protection said in a statement. Italy's total death toll since February 21, when the outbreak started, now stands at 32,007, official figures show.

The European country reopened some of its business Monday - shops, restaurants and churches - as its 10-week lockdown eases. "We could wait for a vaccine, but we can’t afford it," Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said on Saturday. "We have to accept [the risks], otherwise we will never be able to restart."

Wall Street soars as vaccine news prompts hope of economic recovery

Wall Street soared Monday after U.S.-based drugmaker Moderna said it has seen "positive" results from its first human trial for a vaccine against COVID-19, prompting hope among investors that economic recovery could be on the horizon.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up by around 830 points by midday Monday, with the S&P 500 notching up a gain of by 3 percent and the Nasdaq higher by 2.3 percent.

Tourism and airline stocks also rose, with Delta Air Lines, American Airlines, and United seeing double-digit gains. MGM Resorts, Carnival Cruise Line and Disney also rallied, on the possibility of a return to travel and entertainment.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell has emphasized that full economic recovery “may have to await the arrival of a vaccine.”

Read the full story here. 

He thought the coronavirus was 'a fake crisis.' Then he contracted it.

Brian Hitchens.WPTV

A Florida man who thought the coronavirus was "a fake crisis" has changed his mind after he and his wife contracted COVID-19.

Brian Hitchens, a rideshare driver who lives in Jupiter, downplayed the seriousness of the coronavirus in Facebook posts in March and April.

"I'm honoring what our government says to do during this epidemic but I do not fear this virus because I know that my God is bigger than this Virus will ever be," he wrote in a post on April 2. "Jesus is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords."

In mid-April, Hitchens, 46, began documenting his and his wife's health on Facebook.

"Been home sick for over a week. Both my wife and I home sick," he wrote in a post on April 18. "I've got no energy and all I want to do is sleep."

Read the full story here.

Patients petition health groups to revise COVID-19 recovery guidelines

Patients who've endured ongoing COVID-19 symptoms are working to raise awareness of the long-lasting effects of the illness by petitioning public health groups. 

A grassroots effort was published Monday on change.org, targeting the World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.K.'s National Health Service, to "revise the recovery guidelines to reflect a more accurate recovery time to ensure patients are receiving the appropriate care, attention, and respect during their difficult road to recovery."

Some patients, even those who were never sick enough to be hospitalized, have reported fever, fatigue and other symptoms for as many as 10 to 12 weeks.

Some public health groups and physicians have begun to discuss setting up registries of people who have recovered, or who are still recovering from COVID-19, to get a better sense of long-term symptoms. There is no indication yet, though, when such a registry would be established. 

China's Xi announces $2B for coronavirus response as WHO faces calls for investigation

Tensions surrounding the global handling of the coronavirus pandemic came to a head at the World Health Organization's assembly Monday, with China pledging an extra $2 billion to deal with the crisis and the United States blaming the WHO for a failed response that "cost many lives."

Speaking by video link, Chinese President Xi Jinping told the 73rd World Health Assembly that his country's funding package would aid "economic and social development" in developing countries hit badly by COVID-19.

That contrasts with President Donald Trump's move to withdraw donations from the WHO, which would mean stepping back as the organization's biggest financial backer. He accuses the WHO of helping China cover up the pandemic's early stages and worsening its spread, which both the WHO and Beijing deny.

The WHO assembly, being held virtually for the first time, is officially focused on international cooperation on vaccinestreatments and testing to fight the virus.

Read more here.

N.Y. Gov. Cuomo says he has been encouraging sports teams to play without fans

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday he has asked major sports teams to begin planning to play without fans. 

"New York state will help those major sport franchises to do just that," Cuomo said at his daily press briefing. "Hockey, basketball, baseball, football, whoever can reopen, we're a ready, willing and able partner."

Photo: Drinking coffee with a face shield

A woman enjoys a coffee in Rome on Monday as Italy eases some of its lockdown measures.Yara Nardi / Reuters

India threatened by cyclone amid coronavirus pandemic

Police personnel and officials escort a man tested positive for COVID-19 in an alley during a government-imposed nationwide lockdown as a preventive measure against the spread of the coronavirus, in Siliguri, West Bengal State, India on May 18, 2020.Diptendu Dutta / AFP - Getty Images

BHUBANESWAR, India — India began evacuating thousands of villagers and halted port operations ahead of a cyclone expected to hit its east coast this week, officials said on Monday, piling pressure on emergency services grappling with the coronavirus pandemic.

The cyclone, expected to make landfall on Wednesday, comes as India eases the world's longest lockdown, imposed in April against the virus, which has infected more than 96,169 people and killed 3,029.

The states of Odisha and West Bengal sent disaster management teams to move families from homes of mud and thatch to places of shelter from the severe cyclonic storm, Amphan, which is expected to gain strength in the next 12 hours.

Read more here.

N.Y. Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he tested negative for COVID-19

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday said he tested negative for COVID-19. 

"It is peace of mind," he said.

Cuomo received a nasal swab test for the coronavirus during his daily press briefing Sunday. 

"There is no reason why people shouldn't be getting tested," he said Monday. "If you have any symptoms, get a test."