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:

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This live coverage has ended. Continue to May 22 coronavirus updates.

Security firm says North Dakota's contact-tracing app is sending user data to third parties

A new report from cybersecurity firm Jumbo Privacy claims that Care19, a contact-tracing app created to track the spread of coronavirus in North Dakota, is sending user data to third-party services, including location service Foursquare.

FAQs about the app published on North Dakota’s official site say that "information is 100% anonymous,” and that “the application does not have any information that is tied to an individual person.”

Jumbo disagrees.

"They share the IDFA with Foursquare, which means it’s not anonymous,” said Jumbo Privacy CEO Pierre Valade. "It’s a unique ID tied to your phone.” 

North Dakota is one of a few states, including South Dakota and Utah, that have built their own contact-tracing apps.

Foursquare said in a statement that while it receives Care19 data, it does not use it in any way and promptly discards it. ProudCrowd did not immediately return a request for comment.

White House to issue guidance on church reopenings after dispute with CDC caused delay

President Donald Trump said Thursday that his administration will release guidelines for reopening places of worship by Friday after they were delayed by a disagreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention over what the recommendations should entail.

Trump said he told the CDC on Thursday to put out the guidelines, which have been revised by White House officials in recent days to make them less stringent than the ones the agency initially recommended.

“The CDC is going to put something out very soon,” Trump said during an event in Michigan. “We’re going to get our churches open.”

“They’re so important to the psyche of our country,” the president said.

According to a senior administration official, the guidelines for places of worship that have been cleared by the White House Counsel’s Office include recommendations such as wearing gloves while distributing Holy Communion, social distancing and holding virtual services as a last resort.

Read the full story.

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."