U.S. death toll passes 80,000, U.K. to begin lifting lockdown

Here are the latest updates on the global pandemic.
Image: Customers buy balloons and flowers for Mother's Day at the Los Angeles Flower Market on May 10, 2020.
Customers buy balloons and flowers for Mother's Day at the Los Angeles Flower Market on Sunday. Marcio Jose Sanchez / AP

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The U.S. death toll crossed 80,000 on Sunday, and Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced Britain would begin easing its lockdown measures.

In Washington, Dr. Anthony Fauci on Saturday became the third member of the White House coronavirus task force to self-quarantine after possible exposure to the coronavirus.

Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who has emerged as the most high-profile public health expert on President Donald Trump's task force, will follow a “modified” quarantine for the next two weeks after “low-risk” exposure to a White House aide who tested positive, an administration official confirmed.

Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, will also self-quarantine for 14 days, and Stephen Hahn, the administrator of the Food and Drug Administration, has already gone into quarantine. Two other people with access to the White House have also tested positive for the coronavirus, including Vice President Mike Pence's press secretary, Katie Miller.

As of Sunday afternoon, the U.S. death toll was 80,032, with more 1.3 million cases reported, according to an NBC News tally.

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

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This live coverage has now ended. Continue reading May 11 coronavirus news.

Pence putting 'a little distance' after staffer tests positive

Vice President Mike Pence was putting "a little distance" between himself and others this weekend after a staffer tested positive for COVID-19, a senior administration official told NBC News.

That official said Pence would take the advice of the White House medical unit and continues to test negative for the virus. The vice president chose not to attend a national security meeting on Saturday, the official said, adding that there is "no restriction" on his activities.

Pence distanced himself from others "out of caution," the official said.

Read the full story.

Baseball in a pandemic: 90 feet between bases, 6 feet between players

Organizers of a California baseball league, for college players with pro dreams, pitched plans for a socially distant version of America's pastime this summer.

Sports events, such as baseball games, are currently sidelined under state guidelines, a Department of Public Health official said Saturday.

The San Diego League said it could largely keep its players six feet apart during action and hopes to start on May 30 with no fans in the stands, if Sacramento says it's OK to play ball during the coronavirus pandemic.

The greatest crunch under the league's plan would be for the hitting team. That squad's roster of 18 would have to practice these social distancing guidelines: One in the batter's box, one in the on-deck circle, six spread in the dugout, three spaced through the bullpen and seven extended through the bleachers. 

Dozens of these college leagues invite top amateur players to compete with wood bats each summer, offering scouts glimpses of their pro potential. The nation's best known summer action for top collegiate talent, the Cape Cod League, cancelled its season on April 24

Coronavirus fatalities in the U.S. top 80,000

More than 80,000 people in the U.S. have now died from the coronavirus, according to an NBC News tally on Sunday.

The latest numbers reveal there are now 1,323,051 million confirmed cases and 80,033 fatalities.

The numbers come as many states have begun to reopen, including some that have been hard hit by the virus, like New Jersey, which has a reported 138,532 cases.

Among the states hardest hit by coronavirus deaths are New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Michigan, Connecticut and California.

GOP Sen. Alexander says increased testing is the 'only solution' for economic recovery

Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., speaks at a committee hearing on Capitol Hill on May 7, 2020.Anna Moneymaker / Pool via Reuters

WASHINGTON — Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., said Sunday that Congress can’t allocate enough aid to offset the toll the coronavirus pandemic has taken on the U.S. economy, a reality that underscores the need for the country to rapidly scale up testing to give workers the peace of mind they need to return to work and jumpstart the economy.

“The only solution is test, trace, isolate, treatments and vaccines,” Alexander said during an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

“We have to reopen the economy, we have to do it carefully, we have to let people go back to work and earn a living. And I don’t see us being able to appropriate much more money to help provide a counter to that.”

Read the full story here. 

When the virus hit Spain, this U.S. student opted to stay and help the most vulnerable

When the coronavirus pandemic stuck and her family begged her to return home to Ohio, Stacye Toups was offered an offramp.

She didn't even consider taking it.

Not only did she decide to stay in Spain, where she is studying medicine; she remained and volunteered to work in a hard-hit nursing home to help those most vulnerable to the respiratory illness.

Read the full story here.

Hong Kong’s nightlife gets back to normal as lockdown on bars ends

The streets of Hong Kong were filled with people on Saturday night as a month long lockdown on bars came to an end. Some restrictions still apply due to the coronavirus pandemic, but it didn't stop people from mingling and socializing.

U.K.'s Boris Johnson unveils Britain's roadmap out of lockdown

In what he called “a sense of a way ahead,” Johnson said he will be establishing a new five-level alert system that will help detect local flare-ups and give a national picture of coronavirus spread.

The alert level will tell the nation how tough social distancing measures need to be, he said.

Over the seven-week lockdown, Johnson said, the U.K. has been in level 4, and is now in a position to move to level 3.

But he cautioned: “This is not the time to simply end the lockdown this week; instead, we are taking the first careful steps to modify our measures.”

Read the full story here. 

'It is scary to go to work': Top White House official reacts to staffers with coronavirus

White House senior adviser Kevin Hassett arrives for a meeting in the State Dining Room on May 8, 2020.Evan Vucci / AP

White House senior adviser Kevin Hassett said Sunday it's "scary" to go to work in the West Wing after two Trump administration staffers tested positive for COVID-19 within the past week.

Hassett, who formerly served as President Donald Trump's top economic adviser, told CBS's "Face the Nation" he practices "aggressive social distancing" and will "wear a mask when I feel it's necessary."

"It is scary to go to work," he said. "I was not part of the White House in March. I think that I'd be a lot safer if I was sitting at home instead of going to the West Wing. But, you know, it's a time when people have to step up and serve their country."

Read the full story here. 

Healthcare workers cheer for patient who spent 64 days in hospital fighting COVID-19

A heartwarming video posted on social media shows healthcare workers cheering for a patient who was discharged after spending 64 days in the hospital fighting coronavirus. 

Gregg Garfield was the first patient admitted to Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center in Burbank, California on March 5 for COVID-19, the disease associated with coronavirus. He first contracted the virus after an annual ski trip in February and was on a ventilator for 31 days, according to a GoFundMe started by his sister.

In the video posted on Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center’s Facebook page, healthcare workers line the hospital’s atrium clapping and cheering as Garfield is wheeled out. As Garfield stands up and walks out with the help of his sister and girlfriend, the hospital employees roar in excitement. 

Cuomo wishes mom happy Mother’s Day: 'I can’t be with you because I love you'

During his daily coronavirus briefing, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo virtually wishes his mother a happy Mother's Day and says "I can't be with you because I love you" due to the coronavirus.