Global COVID-19 cases reach 5 million

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Global cases of COVID-19 topped 5 million early Thursday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

By Thursday night that number had passed 5.1 million, according to the university.

More than 332,900 people have died worldwide, according to that count. In the United States, more than 1.5 million cases have been reported and more than 95,000 deaths, according to NBC News' count.

President Donald Trump visited a Ford plant in Michigan on Thursday, and while he did wear a mask at one point, when he appeared before the media he did not. " I didn’t want to press to get the pleasure of seeing it,” Trump told reporters. The president also said he wasn't wearing one because he was making a speech.

Trump also tweeted that he will be ordering flags on federal buildings and monuments nationwide to fly at half-staff over the Memorial Day weekend to honor those who have died of COVID-19.

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 ended. Continue to May 22 coronavirus updates.

Pelosi: Voting in the United States 'is under assault'

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday said voting in the United States is "under assault both from a systematic national, nationwide campaign of voter suppression and from the coronavirus" and must be protected with vote-by-mail provisions.

"People should not have to choose between voting and preserving their good health and that of their families," Pelosi, D-Calif., said during her weekly briefing with reporters in Washington, D.C.. She called on the Senate to pass the House Democrats' latest stimulus package, dubbed the "HEROES Act." The $3 trillion coronavirus relief bill includes over $3 billion in funding in election protections.

Pelosi called the sum "a small price to pay for our democracy and the good health of people going to the polls."

The California Democrat's comments come one day after President Donald Trump threatened to withhold federal funding from Michigan and Nevada over their pursuit of mass mail-in voting, calling their moves illegal.

Read the full story.

COVID-19's severe toll on blood vessels in lungs much worse than flu

A post-mortem analysis of individuals who died from COVID-19 or influenza reveals key differences in how the coronavirus damages the lungs.

The paper, published Thursday in The New England Journal of Medicine, found severe blood vessel damage and widespread blood clotting throughout the lungs of those with COVID-19. The lungs of people who died from flu didn't show that kind of damage.

The authors also observed more new blood vessel growth in the lungs of COVID-19 patients than influenza patients. This blood vessel growth, the authors hypothesize, is the body's response to the blood vessel damage and blockage — essentially growing new blood vessels to compensate. 

The study included seven autopsied lungs from COVID-19 victims, seven autopsied lungs from H1N1 flu victims, and 10 uninfected autopsied lungs. 

High school administration personally delivers caps and gowns to graduating seniors

Administrators at a high school in Maine drove over 500 miles to personally deliver caps and gowns to more than 200 seniors.

It took Principal Ted Moccia, along with vice principals Laurie Catanese and John Springer, some 21 hours over three days to drive to each seniors' home and socially distantly deliver the cap and gown.

Principal Moccia told the Sun Journal, “we tried to get every family,” and added, "we did miss a few because they were not at home. But now I’m doing a class-wide email with instructions for everyone on how to prepare for the drive-in ceremony and to make sure the seven that we missed get their graduation gear.”

Graduation is set to take place on June 21 at a drive-in, where each student will be allowed to bring one vehicle filled with their families to the ceremony, according to the school

Senate Democrats unveil proposal to create coronavirus jobs program

Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, and several other Senate Democrats unveiled a proposal Thursday to create a jobs program that would train up to 1.5 million people to fight coronavirus outbreaks. 

“With nearly 40 million people unemployed, we need solutions that meet the scale of the problem,” Schatz said in a statement. “Our bill will put people back to work and provide the workforce we need to stop the spread of the coronavirus and help us safely reopen.”

The Jobs to Fight COVID-19 Act would provide $100 billion in grants to state and local governments that would allow them to hire and train unemployed workers to help in contact tracing, cleaning, surveillance and efforts to mitigate the spread of the virus. The bill would also require the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to develop a national plan for testing and contact tracing. 

The bill is co-sponsored by Democratic Sens. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Kamala Harris of California, Cory Booker of New Jersey and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island. 

Scientists urge caution as Americans head outside for Memorial Day

Visitors sit in social distancing circles at Dolores Park on May 20, 2020 in San Francisco.Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

With Memorial Day approaching, beaches are reopening. Cities are letting restaurants seat people outside and closing streets to encourage foot traffic. Many parks are also letting people back in.

Stay-at-home orders have been eased in many cities across the United States this week just as temperatures are warming up for the holiday weekend. And many of the changes have a distinct feature: they allow for outdoor activities.

These developments come as growing scientific consensus around the spread of the coronavirus has given the OK for people to be outdoors but with some very important caveats.

Still, they’re balanced by concern that people will view the changes as a license to ignore other recommendations such as social distancing and wearing masks.

Read more here.

Pennsylvania COVID-19 deaths climb to 4,869 with more than 65,000 cases

The Pennsylvania Department of Public Health announced that the state has logged some 4,869 coronavirus deaths as of Thursday afternoon.

The state recorded an additional 980 positive cases of COVID-19 as of Thursday morning, bringing its total to 65,392.

All 67 counties in Pennsylvania have confirmed cases of COVID-19, the department said. In total, 303,514 patients have tested negative.

N.Y. Gov. Andrew Cuomo says too early to say if schools will open in fall

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Thursday said it is too early to say if schools will reopen in the fall but that schools and colleges should come up with various alternatives.

The governor said the state will issue guidelines in June for schools and colleges to prepare for next semester.

There are 2.6 million students enrolled in K-12 schools and more than 550,000 in public colleges, according to state education data.

"To reduce the risk of spread, summer school this year will be conducted through distance learning," the governor said. "Meal programs and child care services for essential employees will continue."

Photo: Social distancing at a French beach

A woman sunbathes at a beach with roped-off zones for social distancing in La Grande Motte on Thursday as France eases lockdown measures.Clement Mahoudeau / AFP - Getty Images

McConnell: Unemployment Insurance expansion 'will not' be in the next relief bill

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., told House Republicans on Wednesday that he opposes extending the temporary unemployment insurance benefit of an additional $600 per week in the next coronavirus relief package.

“This will not be in the next bill,” McConnell said, according to a readout of the call given to NBC News.

McConnell spent much of the call talking about the need for liability protections for employers in the next package, saying that trial lawyers are “vultures” who are lining up to launch lawsuits.

“If we do another bill, it won’t look anything like the House Democrats’ bill,” McConnell told House Republicans, according to the readout.

The majority leader added that Republicans will have a lot to discuss next month, providing a window into his timeline of when Senate Republicans will engage in discussions. He  said Senate Republicans are unified with the House GOP and the White House, and he thanked the House members for voting against the $3 trillion Democratic relief bill last week.