U.S. death toll nears 100,000

Here are the latest coronavirus updates from around the world.
Image: A man wears a protective mask as he walks on Wall Street during the coronavirus outbreak in New York
A man wears a protective mask as he walks on Wall Street during the coronavirus outbreak in New York on March 13, 2020.Lucas Jackson / Reuters file

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The number of U.S. coronavirus deaths approached 100,000, with more than 99,600 deaths recorded as of early Wednesday, according to NBC News' count. The U.S. leads the world in both deaths and confirmed cases, with 1.69 million infections.

The National Hockey League on Tuesday announced a plan to resume its suspended season by moving directly into playoffs, but details, including which "hub cities" would host the contests, remained up in the air.

Former vice president and presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden called President Donald Trump "an absolute fool to talk that way" after Trump criticized Biden for wearing a mask during a Memorial Day remembrance.

"Every leading doc in the world is saying we should wear a mask when you're in a crowd," Biden said in a CNN interview.

Trump, who did not wear a mask during Memorial Day services, retweeted Fox News commentator Brit Hume's Monday night tweet criticizing Biden. Trump denied mocking Biden at a Tuesday news conference.

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

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Nevada will allow bars, more to reopen

Nevadans could return to bars as soon as Friday, the governor said Tuesday in announcing the state's move into the next phase of reopening its economy.

Casinos, gaming operations, brothels, adult entertainment businesses and nightclubs will still be closed. Gov. Steve Sisolak said in prepared remarks that reopening of gambling is eyed for July 4, although there will be restrictions.

"Our collective actions have helped bring us to where we are today," Sisolak said.

Restaurants and bars will generally be limited to 50 percent occupancy or less with strict social distancing. Patrons won't be able to walk up to bars and order, but can be served while seated at bar tops if spaced apart. Places like pools, art galleries, museums, gyms and movie theaters also have occupancy limits.

Houses of worship can have in-person services of up to 50 people. But the governor "strongly" urged residents to use virtual services.

Sisolak had planned to announce the changes at a press conference, but he is quarantined after possibly being exposed to COVID-19. He said he has no symptoms and will be tested Wednesday.

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Chile says it's nearly out of ICU space

SANTIAGO, Chile — Chilean authorities say intensive care units in the country’s hospitals are nearly at capacity amid a flood of coronavirus patients, and some doctors report they are having to make wrenching choices over which patients should get available beds.

Health officials said Tuesday that 95 percent of the country’s 2,400 ICU beds are occupied, even after a doubling of capacity from the levels in March. They announced plans to add 400 more critical care beds in the coming days.

The nation of 18 million people has the third most coronavirus cases in the region, after Brazil and Peru. An average of 4,000 new infections are being reported daily. About 15 percent of the cases require hospitalization.

Sweden steadfast in strategy as toll continues climbing

STOCKHOLM — Sweden’s government defended its response to the COVID-19 global pandemic Tuesday despite the Scandinavian country now reporting one of the highest mortality rates in the world with 4,125 fatalities, or about 40 deaths per 100,000 people.

“Transmission is slowing down, the treatment of COVID-19 patients in intensive care is decreasing significantly, and the rising death toll curve has been flattened,” Foreign Minister Ann Linde told foreign correspondents at a briefing in Stockholm. “There is no full lockdown of Sweden, but many parts of the Swedish society have shut down.”

More than 76,000 people have been made redundant since the outbreak of the disease and unemployment, which now stands at 7.9 percent, is expected to climb higher.

Sweden took a relatively soft approach to fighting the coronavirus, one that attracted international attention. Large gatherings were banned, but restaurants and schools for younger children have stayed open. The government has urged social distancing, and Swedes have largely complied.

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Miami, Miami Beach reopen restaurants

Starting Wednesday, the city of Miami will allow dine-in eating to resume at restaurants, but with restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus.

"Restaurants are a big part of our local economy, directly employing thousands of Miamians, and we are ready to begin carefully reopening them to dine-in customers,” Miami Mayor Francis Suarez said in a statement.

Restaurant capacity will be capped at 50 percent of maximum approved occupancy. Masks will be required unless customers are seated at a table, and no parties larger than four allowed, except household parties, which are capped at six. Restaurant bars remain closed for now.

The city of Miami Beach also announced Tuesday that restaurants could reopen Wednesday. 

Justice Department drops insider trading investigations of three senators

The Justice Department has closed insider trading investigations into three senators who sold off stocks following early briefings on the coronavirus, aides told NBC News.

A spokesman for Sen. Kelly Loeffler, R-Ga., confirmed that she had been informed that the Justice Department had dropped an inquiry into her trades and called the allegations "politically motivated."

"Today's clear exoneration by the Department of Justice affirms what Senator Loeffler has said all along — she did nothing wrong. This was a politically-motivated attack shamelessly promoted by the fake news media and her political opponents. Senator Loeffler will continue to focus her full attention on delivering results for Georgians," said the spokesman, Stephen Lawson.

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Los Angeles allows all retail businesses, houses of worship to reopen

After weeks of public health restrictions over the coronavirus epidemic, all retail business in Los Angeles will be allowed to welcome customers back inside, and houses of worship can resume in-person services, the mayor announced Tuesday.

Mayor Eric Garcetti said some restrictions will remain for retail and churches, like limiting the number of people inside.

"We're not moving beyond COVID-19, but we're learning to live with it," Garcetti said.

Places like barbershops and hair salons remain closed, and in-restaurant dining is not yet allowed. 

The news that retail businesses and houses of worship could reopen or resume in-person services comes a day after the state announced they could resume under certain restrictions if county health officials approved. The restrictions on places like churches include having less than 25 percent capacity or 100 people inside, whichever is less.

Nevada governor cancels press briefing after possible coronavirus exposure

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak canceled Tuesday's press briefing after learning of a possible exposure to COVID-19, Sisolak wrote in a series of tweets.

The Democratic governor said he visited a workplace last week where an employee, who was not in the building at the time of his visit, has since tested positive for COVID-19. Sisolak's office learned of the test result on Tuesday. 

Sisolak said that he will take a coronavirus test on Wednesday and share the results publicly. He said he currently does not have any symptoms. 

Biden calls Trump 'an absolute fool' for mocking him wearing a mask

Joe Biden called President Donald Trump "an absolute fool" for criticizing the former vice president for wearing a face mask during a Memorial Day remembrance. 

"He's a fool, an absolute fool to talk that way. Every leading doc in the world is saying you should wear a mask when you're in a crowd," Biden said in a CNN appearance on Tuesday, adding that Trump is trying to act "macho."

Biden also changed his profile picture on Twitter to one of him wearing the same mask he donned during the services. 

Trump, who did not wear a mask during Memorial Day services, retweeted Fox News commentator Brit Hume's Monday night tweet criticizing Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, for wearing one. Monday’s appearance was Biden’s first public one since mid-March. He appeared wearing a black mask covering most of his face and a pair of aviator sunglasses with his wife, Jill Biden, who also wore a mask.

Trump denied mocking Biden at a Tuesday news conference. 

"Biden can wear a mask," Trump added, saying it was "unusual" since Biden does not wear one indoors. However, the administration's guidelines recommend wearing a mask outdoors.