U.S. death toll nears 100,000 on muted Memorial Day weekend

Here are the latest updates from around the world.
Image: People visit California's Huntington Beach on Memorial Day weekend on May 23, 2020.
People visit California's Huntington Beach on Memorial Day weekend on May 23, 2020.Patrick T. Fallon / Reuters

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No arcades. No rides. No concerts or special events. Closed playgrounds. Capacity limits on beaches. Just takeout at most bars and restaurants, and drones flying overhead to help authorities monitor it all. Memorial Day weekend is not anything like years past.

As the U.S. death toll creeps towards 100,000, according to an NBC News tally, home care professionals and nurses said the coronavirus pandemic shows how crucial the industry is.

They said it can be elaborate, involving a health care professional who provides additional oxygen, monitors vital signs, administers medication and helps with daily tasks such as eating, bathing and getting in and out of bed.

Elsewhere, for the first time since the pandemic began, China reported no new cases on Saturday and millions of Muslims are marking a muted and gloomy holiday of Eid al-Fitr, the end of the fasting month of Ramadan — a usually joyous three-day celebration that has been significantly toned down as coronavirus cases soar.

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 now ended. Continue to May 25 coronavirus news.

Texas Chick-fil-A holds graduation ceremony for employees

A Chick-fil-A in San Antonio, Texas, held a graduation ceremony last week for its class of 2020 employees. 

In a video posted on the restaurant’s Facebook page, graduates wearing face masks and gloves walk down a red carpet as their names are called. They are then adorned with a class of 2020 stole and presented with a gift basket before taking photos with a masked mascot wearing a graduation cap.

"While this may not be how you guys pictured graduation a few years ago, months ago, or even days ago, we wanted to make sure that you guys were celebrated in a way that we could all be here and celebrate you guys for the accomplishment you have made," a store employee said at the beginning of the ceremony. "We know it took a lot of hard work and determination, so we did not want that to go uncelebrated."

Mexico's president says country could lose 1 million jobs

MEXICO CITY - Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Sunday that the coronavirus could cost as many as 1 million jobs in the country as many industries considered not essential remain shut.

The Mexican economy was already in recession before the pandemic struck and different investment banks have forecast contractions as large as 9% for this year with only a gradual recovery next year.

"My prediction is that with coronavirus, a million jobs will be lost," Lopez Obrador said in a televised speech. "But we will create two million new jobs."

Lopez Obrador's government repeatedly said it had the outbreak under control but since posted record numbers for new cases and deaths.

Haiti voodoo leaders prepare temples for patients

PORT-AU-PRINCE — Haiti's voodoo leaders have trained priests of the Afro Caribbean religion to concoct a secret remedy for the novel coronavirus and to prepare the sacred initiation chambers of their temples to receive patients.

In Haiti, where Western healthcare services are scarce and too expensive for many, inhabitants often rely on the herbal remedies and ritual practices of their voodoo “houngan” priest or “mambo” priestess.

While the virus took root slowly in the poorest country in the Americas, in the last two weeks the number of confirmed cases has nearly quintupled to 865 while reports of a mysterious "fever" are spreading. Ever since the first cases of the new coronavirus were confirmed in Haiti in mid-March, Voodoo priests have been serving up teas with ingredients including moringa, eucalyptus, ginger and honey to strengthen the immune system.

More than half of Haiti’s 11 million people are believed to practice voodoo, a religion brought from West Africa centuries ago by enslaved men and women and practiced clandestinely under French colonial rule.

White House announces travel ban with Brazil

The White House announced a travel ban with Brazil on Sunday that will bar anyone from entering the United States who has been in that country for the prior two weeks.

The ban, which will go into effect Thursday night, came as the number of confirmed coronavirus cases and deaths there surged. With more than 22,000 deaths and 347,000 cases, Brazil ranks second in the world after the United States, according to an NBC News tally.

The suspension includes several exemptions, including U.S. residents and spouses, siblings and children of U.S. citizens.

Doctors in Brazil have warned that there is so little testing that the rate of infection could be 15 times higher than the official estimate. On Friday, the World Health Organization called the country “a new epicenter” of the virus.

Florida wildlife park introduces Social Distancing Skunk Ape mascot

A Florida wildlife park found a creative way to make sure guests practice social distancing while visiting during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Gatorland Orlando, which reopened to the public on Saturday, introduced a new mascot, “Social Distancing Skunk Ape,” to encourage guests to remain 6 feet away from each other. The mascot has been previously featured in Gatorland’s YouTube show, “Gatorland Vlogs,” as well as their Facebook morning show, “School of Croc,” the park said on its website

In a video posted on the attraction’s YouTube page, the mascot is seen shoving apart guests who don’t practice social distancing and scaring another guest who doesn’t wash his hands after using the bathroom. The park said he will also appear in informational videos throughout the wildlife attraction. 

Second stylist at same Missouri hair salon tests positive, 140 customers exposed

The Great Clips hair salon in Springfield, Mo., on May 22, 2020. A stylist who tested positive for coronavirus worked at the salon for over a week.Nathan Papes / Springfield News-Leader via Reuters

140 clients at a hair salon in Missouri have now potentially been exposed to COVID-19 after a second hairstyle at the location tested positive for the coronavirus.

On Friday, the city of Springfield said 91 people had been exposed to the coronavirus after a stylist worked for eight days while showing symptoms. Among the 91 were 84 clients and seven employees.

Now, 56 more clients have been “potentially directly exposed,” the city said Saturday, explaining that the second stylist at the Great Clips salon tested positive and worked five days while “experiencing very mild symptoms.”

Read the full story here. 

GOP governor says wearing masks is public health issue

WASHINGTON — Ohio Republican Gov. Mike DeWine on Sunday dismissed the politicization of wearing masks in public to help contain the spread of the coronavirus, imploring Americans during the Memorial Day Weekend to understand “we are truly all in this together.”

With many states like Ohio beginning to relax stay-at-home restrictions, DeWine underscored the importance of following studies that show masks are beneficial to limiting the spread of the virus in an exclusive interview with “Meet the Press.”

“This is not about politics. This is not about whether you are liberal or conservative, left or right, Republican or Democrat,” DeWine said.

Read the full story here. 

Muslims worldwide celebrate Eid-al-Fitr amid coronavirus restrictions

A man wearing a protective face mask prays in a space to enforce social distancing ahead of the Eid Al-Fitr prayer at the Grand Mosque in Durres, Albania, on May 24, 2020.Gent Shkullaku / AFP - Getty Images

JERUSALEM— Muslims around the world on Sunday began celebrating Eid al-Fitr, a normally festive holiday marking the end of the fasting month of Ramadan, with millions under strict stay-at-home orders and many fearing renewed coronavirus outbreaks.

The three-day holiday is usually a time of travel, family get-togethers and lavish daytime feasts after weeks of dawn-to-dusk fasting. But this year many of the world's 1.8 billion Muslims will have to pray at home and make due with video calls.

Some countries, including Turkey, Iraq and Jordan, have imposed round-the-clock holiday curfews. But even where many restrictions have been lifted, celebrations will be subdued because of fears of the pandemic and its economic fallout.

“This outbreak is not just dampening spirits of Eid, but also has made the tradition entirely different,” said Andieka Rabbani, a university student in Jakarta. This year, like many Indonesians, he will only see family and friends through video calls.

Read the full article here.

Professional sports teams allowed to begin spring training in New York

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that professional sports teams can begin training in the state as coronavirus restrictions begin to loosen. 

Cuomo told reporters Sunday that the economy can slowly reopen as cases decline — so long as smart policies are put in place, such as reduced capacity and requiring face masks. Sports teams will be allowed to conduct training together starting Sunday and veterinarian clinics can resume normal operations beginning Tuesday. 

COVID-19 is costing drug cartels millions of dollars

Part of a $1 million seizure in the Los Angeles area.DEA

The coronavirus pandemic has crippled cities and crushed businesses from coast to coast.

It’s also costing drug traffickers millions, multiple law enforcement officials told NBC News, because their methods of moving money have been compromised.

Since the start of the crisis, federal drug agents in major U.S. hubs have seized substantially more illicit cash than usual amid statewide lockdowns that have disrupted the way cartels do business, the officials said.

“Their activities are a lot more apparent than they were three months ago,” said Bill Bodner, special agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Los Angeles field office.

Read the full story here.