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U.S. death toll tops 100,000

Here are the latest coronavirus updates from around the world.
Image: Coronavirus Pandemic Causes Climate Of Anxiety And Changing Routines In America
Medical workers walk outside a special coronavirus area at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York on May 26, 2020.Spencer Platt / Getty Images

The United States surpassed 100,000 coronavirus deaths as of Wednesday afternoon, according to NBC News' count, becoming the first country to reach the grim milestone.

The U.S. leads the world in both deaths and confirmed cases, with 1.69 million infections. Among the infected are more than 62,000 doctors, nurses and other health care providers on the front lines of the COVID-19 response, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported. At least 291 have died.

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 reading May 28 coronavirus news here.

Pandemic worsens periods for women, says charity


Millions of women worldwide are facing shortages of sanitary products, price hikes, and worsened stigma while managing periods during lockdowns, due to the coronavirus pandemic, a charity warned on Thursday.

About three-quarters of health professionals in 30 countries surveyed by Plan International, from Kenya to Australia, reported supply shortages of sanitary products. Around half cited reduced access to clean water to help manage periods.

"Periods don’t stop during a pandemic, but managing them safely and with dignity has become a whole lot harder," Susanne Legena of Plan International Australia, said in a statement to mark Menstrual Hygiene Day.

Nevada governor tests negative after possible exposure

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak said Wednesday he's tested negative for coronavirus after possible exposure during a visit to an employment center last week.

Last week, Sisolak visited a Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation center in Carson City where an employee later tested positive, the office said. The employee and the governor were not in the same building. 

On Tuesday, the governor canceled an in-person announcement about the state's second phase of reopening and instead released his remarks online as a precaution so he could self-isolate.

"I hope Nevadans can use this as a learning lesson, if you have been exposed, or if you know someone who has been exposed, go get a test, even if you’re asymptomatic," he said in the remarks.

Dem lawmaker goes on epic rant after GOP colleague admits hiding positive coronavirus test

A Pennsylvania Democratic lawmaker joined colleagues on his side of the aisle in lambasting a Republican lawmaker for keeping them in the dark about testing positive for the coronavirus.

Rep. Brian Sims, D-Philadelphia, delivered an epic Facebook Live rant on Wednesday about the exclusion, saying state House Republicans called for in-person committee meetings to argue that business sectors were safe to reopen even as they knew they had been exposed to the virus.


"Every single day of this crisis this State Government Committee in Pennsylvania has met so that their members could line up one after one after one and explain that it was safe to go back to work," he said. "During that time period they were testing positive. They were notifying one another. And they didn’t notify us."

"I never ever, ever knew that the Republican leadership of this state would put so many of us at risk for partisanship to cover up a lie," he said during the nearly 12-minute tirade. "And that lie is that we're all safe from COVID."

Rep. Andrew Lewis, R-Dauphin, said in a Facebook Live address Wednesday night, hours after he publicly announced he had tested positive, that he informed as few people as possible about contracting the coronavirus because he wanted to protect the privacy of those around him and because he was only in close quarters with a handful of house colleagues.

Click here for the full story.

Texas bar bans masks

14 million could go hungry in Latin America because of virus

The Associated Press

BOGOTA, Colombia — The U.N. World Food Program is warning that upward of at least 14 million people could go hungry in Latin America as the coronavirus pandemic rages on, shuttering people in their homes, drying up work and crippling the economy.

New projections released late Wednesday estimate a startling increase: Whereas 3.4 million experienced severe food insecurity in 2019, that number could more than quadruple this year in one of the world’s most vulnerable regions.

Signs of mounting hunger are already being felt around the region, where desperate citizens are violating quarantines to go out in search of money and food and hanging red and white flags from their homes in a cry for aid. Many of the hungry are informal workers who make up a sizable portion of Latin America’s workforce, while others are newly poor who have lost jobs amidst an historic economic downturn.

Boeing to lay off 7,000 workers this week

Boeing announced plans to lay off almost 7,000 workers this week, as the coronavirus crisis continues to hammer the aircraft manufacturer.

"We have come to the unfortunate moment of having to start involuntary layoffs. We’re notifying the first 6,770 of our U.S. team members this week that they will be affected," Boeing CEO David Calhoun wrote Wednesday in a letter to employees.

The Chicago-based airplane manufacturer — the biggest exporter in the U.S. — already announced it would trim its workforce by around 10 percent. Boeing said Wednesday that 5,520 employees had been approved for voluntary layoff. Calhoun also said Wednesday that international locations would see "workforce reductions."

Read the full story here

Mother who gave birth while in virus-induced coma takes daughter home

As Starbucks reopens, workers ask why they should risk their life 'for a frappuccino'

Restless coffee addicts emerging from lockdowns are doubtlessly cheering the return of some normalcy, after Starbucks said it would be reopening almost 90 percent of its locations by June 1.

But many employees are questioning why a company known for its highly personalized drinks is opting for a one-size-fits-all policy when it comes to nationwide reopenings amid a public health crisis.

"It seems to be bad to reopen when you have an ongoing worsening pandemic," said one barista in Chicago who is currently on quarantine after his manager came down with a fever.

At a time when few other companies have made a definitive public statement about their timeline, Starbucks began reopening stores May 4, with new sanitation and safety protocols that include worker temperature and health checks, required masks, closed seating areas and only drive-thru or mobile orders.

Read the full story here

Cheyenne Frontier Days canceled for 1st time in 124 years

The Associated Press

CHEYENNE, Wyo. — Cheyenne Frontier Days was canceled Wednesday because of the coronavirus pandemic, marking the first time the event billed as the world’s largest outdoor rodeo has been called off in its 124-year history.

Event organizers decided the risk of spreading the virus was too great for the more than 140,000 people who visit the city for Frontier Days over the last two weeks in July, Cheyenne Mayor Marian Orr said.

“What this pandemic means is we just can’t come together,” Orr said. “We really have to stay apart so we can come together again sooner rather than later. It’s clear that we just aren’t going to be ready for this.”

Frontier Days carried on through both world wars and the Great Depression when tough finances prompted it to become a mostly volunteer-run event.

Influencers in the time of coronavirus: Fewer yoga retreats, more yoga pants

Ahiza García-Hodges

Devon Windsor.
Devon Windsor.Devon Windsor / via Instagram

This time last year, Devon Windsor was preparing for the launch of her eponymous swimwear collection. Stylized photos on her Instagram feed featured her decked out in luxe designer gowns and pantsuits on the streets of New York City.

Things look different this May.

The thousand-dollar dresses have been swapped out for clothes that fit the homebound reality created by the COVID-19 pandemic: loungewear, workout clothes and swimsuits. The content of her posts has gone from still photos to more videos given the amount of time she now has at home. Her husband of six months makes regular cameos in cooking tutorials and yoga pose challenges.

Read the full story here. 

Robots run coffee shop for socially-distancing South Koreans

Robotic baristas and waiters serve drinks to human customers in Daejeon, as South Korea gets used to a new type of normal.

'An ego trip': Pelosi blasts Trump's insistence that Republican convention occur

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday slammed President Donald Trump's insistence that the Republican National Convention occur as planned despite the pandemic, and suggested neither party had any business holding its massive quadrennial gathering given the risks to public health.

"I don't think there's anyone who would say at this point that tens of thousands of people should come together for a political convention, no matter how great an ego trip it is for somebody,” Pelosi, D-Calif., said during a press conference with other Democratic House leaders in response to a question about whether the two major political conventions should be held this summer.

Her comments came just days after Trump threatened to move the Republican convention from Charlotte, North Carolina, if there is a chance the venue might not be filled there later this summer due to coronavirus-related restrictions.

The GOP convention is currently scheduled for Aug. 24-27 in a state which recently reported its highest number of new cases in a single day. North Carolina entered the second phase of its reopening last week, but gatherings of groups over 10 people indoors, and 25 people outdoors, are still prohibited.

Read the full story.

Louisiana parents sue to get children out of juvenile detention as coronavirus spreads

The Swanson Center for Youth at Monroe, Louisiana.
The Swanson Center for Youth at Monroe, Louisiana.Google Maps

A group of senators is pressing the Department of Justice to explain what it’s doing to protect youth in juvenile detention facilities from COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

In a letter sent Tuesday, the senators raised concerns that parents of incarcerated youth in several states are not receiving information about their child’s health, or being told about the spread of the coronavirus in these facilities.

The senators requested that the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, part of the Justice Department, publicly disclose the measures it has taken to ensure the health and safety of youth in detention during the coronavirus pandemic.

Read the full story here.

History in the making as House is poised for proxy voting

Associated Press

It’s a day that's shaping up as one for the history books: For the first time, House lawmakers intend to vote by proxy, a move to avoid the risk of travel to Washington during the pandemic.

To mark Wednesday's history-making moment, House Republicans sued to stop the majority party from going ahead.

The House, with 432 current members and three vacancies, is trying to strike a balance between working from home during the coronavirus outbreak and honoring the Constitution’s requirement to be “present” and voting.

The House rules change is fast becoming a political test on party lines. Dozens of Democrats signed up to have colleagues cast their vote by proxy. Twenty Republicans joined in the leaders’ lawsuit against that move, which House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy of California says is unconstitutional.

Read the full story.

How do you get Americans to wear masks on vacation? Gentle persuasion.

Memorial Day Weekend Celebrated On The Jersey Shore Amid Pandemic
Visitors in Belmar, N.J., over Memorial Day weekend.Michael Loccisano / Getty Images

Where’s your face mask?

That is the question that everybody from security workers guarding major venues like Walt Disney World to the proprietors of shops in tourist towns are already asking visitors as they descend on vacation venues that had been shuttered by the coronavirus.

And it’s a question that some quarantine-weary vacationers are already rebelling against.

“It’s been a big shock to the system ‘cause we have found that a sizeable number of folks coming and visiting aren’t taking the mask wearing as seriously as folks here locally are,” Ben Sproul, mayor of the scenic Kill Devil Hills on North Carolina’s Outer Banks, told MSNBC recently. “We’re in the vacation business here, so we hope that we can communicate that we really want everybody to come and have fun but also be as safe as possible.”

Read more here.

These simple financial tweaks can help you survive — and even thrive — during the pandemic

Jill Cornfield, CNBC

We are all getting back to the basics.

While it might feel good to bake bread, the best way to get through the coronavirus pandemic could be to stock your emergency fund and learn to “do-it-yourself” with household chores so you can save on expenses.

One bright spot: You might have more time on your hands.

Think optimistically. You can learn to DIY, sock away cash and set a disaster budget for tough times.

If you’ve been putting off thinking about money, now’s the time to dedicate those extra hours in the week — no more commuting, no more rushed work mornings — to shoring up your finances.

Read more here.

Iconic Berlin theater looks very different with seats removed for social distancing

Chiara Sottile

When the famous Berliner Ensemble theater company in Berlin reopens in September, the auditorium will look much different than before the coronavirus pandemic. In order to follow social distancing rules, the Theater am Schiffbauerdamm, the historic building where the theater company performs, will have only 200 of its usual 700 seats.

Berliner Ensemble artistic director Oliver Reese called the temporary seating arrangement a “creative solution” to allow theatergoers to access their seats while also keeping a safe distance from others. “It is not only our primary mission and obligation as a public theatre but also our heartfelt wish to get back on stage,” wrote Reese in an email. “We are all longing for normality. But I am absolutely sure that our ensemble will perform with at least the same energy for 200 than for 700 people.”

The Berliner Ensemble have removed half of their seats to follow regulations and maintain social distancing.
The Berliner Ensemble have removed half of their seats to follow regulations and maintain social distancing.Ingo Sawilla / Berliner Ensemble

The theater has suffered a massive financial hardship as a result of canceling tours and shows, and this new seating plan allows them to resume performances as well as renovate the theater’s seats. The theater was built in 1892 and has housed Bertolt Brecht’s famous theater company since 1954.

“I am positive that this will allow actors and audience to connect in a different way with the perspective of creating a new intimacy between the auditorium and the stage,” wrote Reese.

Asymptomatic COVID-19 cases may be more common than suspected

New estimates of the number of asymptomatic people with the coronavirus suggest that "silent" COVID-19 is much more prevalent than once thought — but these individuals may not spread the virus for as long as symptomatic patients do, a study from China suggests.

The report, based on 78 people in Wuhan, China, was published Wednesday in the journal JAMA Network Open. All of the patients were confirmed to have COVID-19; a little more than half of the patients (58 percent) had symptoms, while 42 percent did not.

Read more. 

Louisiana cop fired for saying 'unfortunate' more black people didn't die of coronavirus

A Louisiana police officer was fired over a Facebook comment that said it was "unfortunate" more black people did not die of the coronavirus.

The chief of police in Kaplan, about 87 miles southwest of Baton Rouge, said Officer Steven Aucoin commented under a local news station's live feed of the governor's coronavirus news conference on May 15. Aucoin was fired later that day.

CBS affiliate KLFY in Lafayette, Louisiana, reported that Aucoin's post was made on its Facebook page in response to another commenter who wrote,"virus that was created to kill all the BLACKS is death."

"Well it didn't work," Aucoin wrote, "how unfortunate," according to screenshots shown by KLFY.

Read the full story here

Animated map: See the U.S. coronavirus death toll hit 100,000 across the U.S.

From the first reported COVID-19 fatality March 1 to the 100,000th death, every U.S. state and territory, except American Samoa, has lost a resident to the coronavirus pandemic. Watch the day-by-day rise in reported deaths in this animated map:

See NBC News' charts of reported deaths in U.S. states per day, and a timeline of the coronavirus pandemic.

Disney announces plans to reopen in mid-July

Ahiza García-Hodges

The Walt Disney Company announced plans Wednesday to begin a phased reopening of some of its Orlando, Florida, parks later this summer. 

The plans have been approved by the Orange County Recovery Taskforce and endorsed by the mayor of Orange County, but still need to be approved by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom are planning to open July 11. Epcot and Disney's Hollywood Studios are set to open July 15. That's more than one month after other Orlando-based parks such as SeaWorld, which is planning to open for staff on June 10 and June 11 for the public.

The parks will have "substantially lower numbers of guests" when they first open, Disney CEO Bob Chapek told CNBC in an interview Wednesday morning. While he did not give a specific number for capacity, he said "the number of people we put in the park" will be a "function of the six-foot social distancing guidance that we have from the CDC."

There will be temperature checks for guests and employees, and masks will be required throughout the park for everyone over the age of three. 

Some Disney attractions that draw large group gatherings, such as parades and nighttime events, won't return when the parks first reopen. High-touch experiences such as playgrounds and character meet-and-greets will also be temporarily unavailable. 

Half of Americans would get a COVID-19 vaccine, AP-NORC poll finds

The Associated Press

Only about half of Americans say they would get a COVID-19 vaccine if the scientists working furiously to create one succeed, according to a new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

That’s surprisingly low considering the effort going into the global race for a vaccine against the coronavirus that has sparked a pandemic since first emerging from China late last year. But more people might eventually roll up their sleeves: The poll, released Wednesday, found 31 percent simply weren’t sure if they’d get vaccinated. Another 1 in 5 said they’d refuse.

Read more. 

Federal remdesivir trial enters second phase. Here's what's next.

A large federal trial of remdesivir has entered its next phase, in which researchers will test the effects of combining the antiviral drug with a pill to bring down inflammation.

The pill, called baricitinib, was approved in 2018 to treat rheumatoid arthritis.

Remdesivir, manufactured by Gilead Sciences, is the only treatment that's been shown in a clinical trial to have an effect on COVID-19 so far. Preliminary results from that trial, which included sites worldwide, published Friday in The New England Journal of Medicine, found that the drug reduced patients' length of hospital stay by about four days, from 15 days, on average, to 11 days. More than 1,000 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 received either remdesivir or a placebo.

Read more here.

Boeing to lay off almost 7,000 workers this week

Boeing announced plans to lay off 6,770 workers this week, as the coronavirus crisis continues to hammer the aircraft manufacturer.

"We have come to the unfortunate moment of having to start involuntary layoffs. We’re notifying the first 6,770 of our U.S. team members this week that they will be affected," Boeing CEO David Calhoun wrote Wednesday in a letter to employees he called an "update on workforce actions."

Citing the "whipsawing" of the global pandemic, Calhoun said "it will take some years" for the airline industry to "return to what it was just two months ago."

Air travel has seen a 95 percent decline in traffic since the coronavirus hit, with major airlines canceling flights, pulling out of airports, and laying off large swaths of their staff. 

In March, Chicago-based Boeing saw a near-record number of order cancellations for its passenger jets, and zero new orders in April, exacerbating the company's financial woes. The troubled 737 Max aircraft has been grounded worldwide since last March, following two fatal crashes.

Feds' response to Native Americans is another 'broken promise,' Warren, Haaland say

Two Democratic lawmakers, including Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, are asking the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights to update its 2018 report on how the federal government has failed to sufficiently fund Native American communities in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

The report, "Broken Promises: Continuing Federal Funding Shortfall for Native Americans," described vast health care, housing and educational disparities and stated that "the efforts undertaken by the federal government in the past 15 years have resulted in only minor improvements, at best, for the Native population as a whole."

"The Administration's failure to uphold the trust responsibility to provide adequate relief, health services, and public safety resources to tribal communities has exacerbated the pandemic's impact. This failure requires the Commission's voice," Warren and Rep. Deb Haaland of New Mexico wrote in their request to the commission, which makes recommendations to the administration.

The lawmakers noted that promised federal funding to tribal nations and urban Indian organizations was significantly delayed from the onset of the pandemic. The issue of funding disbursement remains an ongoing problem, tribal leaders have said.

NYC hopes to do 50K coronavirus tests per day by Aug. 1

New York City, now doing about 20,000 coronavirus per day, hopes to have that rate up to 50,000 a day by Aug. 1, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Wednesday.

The country's largest city has the capacity to conduct 27,000 tests a day at more than 180 sites that are open now or will be operating shortly, according to the mayor.

"It's getting easier and easier for more and more New Yorkers to get testing," the mayor told reporters during his daily briefly on the city's efforts to fight the global pandemic. "And that's going to help us move forward." 

New York City has been the nation's epicenter for the coronavirus, with over 21,300 deaths.


Peter Jeary

Charts: COVID-19 cases in Alabama, California and Virginia are surging

As the number of confirmed coronavirus infections in the U.S. inches toward 1.7 million, certain states are seeing case numbers surge.

California's had 15,000 new cases since last Thursday and will likely count its 100,000th confirmed COVID-19 case Wednesday.

Alabama, where no more than 500 new cases had been reported in a day, has now reported 500-plus cases four of the previous five days according to an analysis of NBC News COVID-19 case data.

Virginia, which has close to 40,000 cases, set new one-day highs for confirmed cases Monday and then again Tuesday, with 1,615.

See NBC News’ coverage of the coronavirus, read a timeline of the spread of the coronavirus, see a map of U.S. coronavirus cases, a map of U.S. deaths, and a map of coronavirus cases around the world.

Egypt's doctors union warns health care system could collapse due to lack of PPE

Mahalia Dobson

Charlene Gubash

Mahalia Dobson and Charlene Gubash

Egypt’s main doctors union has warned that the country’s health system could “completely collapse” if the government continues to provide inadequate personal protective equipment to health care workers.

In a statement posted on their website, the Egyptian Medical Syndicate, which has more than 200,000 members, said the government had failed to provide enough PPE, had not made early detection tests available to workers and had not properly trained hospital staff who were working closely with COVID-19 patients.

Dr. Mohamed Abdel Hamid, treasurer of the organization, told NBC News that 19 doctors had died since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak. The Egyptian minister of health and population, Dr. Hala Zayed, disputed this figure and said 11 doctors had died and 291 had been infected. She defended the government’s management of the pandemic and said the ministry had taken “all precautions and procedures to protect its medical staff.”

Peter Jeary

Students return to school in South Korea

Mahalia Dobson

Stella Kim

Mahalia Dobson and Stella Kim

More than two million students returned to school in South Korea on Wednesday, as the country recorded the highest number of new infections in more than a month.

Kindergarten students, the two lowest grades of elementary school, middle school seniors and second-year high school students were among those to return. It followed the reopening of high schools for seniors on May 20.

Some 450 schools chose to delay reopening their doors, however, after a kindergarten student and teacher in Seoul tested positive for coronavirus. The Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education told NBC News at least 19 of those schools will aim to reopen classrooms from June 1. The country reported 40 new cases as of midnight Tuesday, nearly double the 19 recorded the day before.

Prince Charles curates classical music playlist for Britons

Britain's Prince Charles gave radio listeners a glimpse of his taste in music, broadcasting a playlist of classical favorites as the country remains in lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

"I have no doubt when we are finally allowed to enjoy concerts and theatrical performances once again, our brilliant orchestral players...will be ready to thrill us all," he said, adding that they will be "all the brighter because of their enforced silence and absence." 

The curated playlist, including both of Frédéric Chopin’s piano concertos and the Four Last Songs of Richard Strauss also included a specially commissioned piece in memory of his grandmother, the queen's mother. Charles, 71, was among the high-profile British figures to contract coronavirus in March but made a swift recovery and remains in his Scottish home during the lockdown.

The Americas now the 'epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic,' WHO says


The Americas have emerged as the new epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, the World Health Organization said in a briefing.

"Our region has become the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic," Carissa Etienne, WHO director for the Americas and head of the Pan American Health Organization, said via videoconference on Tuesday. Also of concern to WHO officials are accelerating outbreaks in Peru, Chile, El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua.

The Americas have registered more than 2.4 million cases of the new coronavirus and more than 143,000 deaths from the resulting COVID-19 respiratory disease. Latin America has passed Europe and the United States in daily infections, she said.

Robot waiters, video doctors: SKorea moves to less personal contact

Grace Moon

SEOUL, South Korea — When you approach the sleek silver counter of Lounge X, a cafe in one of southern Seoul's corporate hubs, a masked and aproned barista takes your order. Motioning toward the chip reader, he completes the order and walks over to pick out a glass cup. He presses a few buttons, then hands it off to Baris, the robot barista.

The robotics cafe, founded almost a year ago, finds itself in the middle of South Korea's "untact" paradigm, the word being a portmanteau of the negative prefix "un" and "contact" that alludes to what a contactless society in the post-coronavirus era will look like.

Schools are back in session and hordes of masked commuters squeeze into cars. Daily life has resumed — but with the tacit acknowledgment that human interaction may never be the same.

Read the full story here.

New Zealand discharges its last coronavirus patient from hospital

Claire Beers

New Zealand has reached another milestone in its fight against coronavirus, discharging its final hospitalized patient on Wednesday. 

"Currently there is nobody in hospital with COVID-19, following the discharge of one person," Ashley Bloomfield, the country's director general of health, told reporters.

New Zealand has been praised for its handling of the virus where only 21 people have died so far and much of the country has slowly begun to re-open. The country credits its success with enforcing a strict and early one-month lockdown.

Coronavirus pandemic leaves Iditarod winner stranded in Alaska

Mahalia Dobson

After winning this year’s 975-mile Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in Alaska in March, Thomas Waerner found himself  —and his 16 dogs — unable to return home to Norway due to travel restrictions and flight cancellations caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

It was only after he crossed the finish line that he realized how difficult flying home would be. 

“Its not easy to (travel) with that many dogs,” said Waerner, who plans to fly home in early June with his dogs and a few of his friend's dogs too. “I knew when airlines were shutting down that (it was) going to be hard."

Waerner, who arrived in Alaska three months ago, said he's looking forward to being reunited with his wife, five children and 35 other sled dogs. “When you’re sitting in a situation where you can’t go home, you’re not missing the big things, you’re missing the small things,” he said.

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Amtrak asks Congress for an additional nearly $1.5B

Amtrak sent a letter to Congress seeking an additional $1.475 billion in supplemental funding in the next fiscal year, citing the coronavirus pandemic and associated economic effects. The money sought is in addition to its annual $2 billion grant request made earlier this year.

"Amtrak, like all other modes, has seen a dramatic decline in demand for service since the pandemic, and is expecting ridership to only return to approximately 50% in FY 2021," Amtrak said in a statement.

The letter from Amtrak President and CEO William J. Flynn says it is seeking the money through either a supplemental appropriations bill dealing with the COVID-19 crisis or through an annual appropriations bill.

The letter says that in 2019 Amtrak and its state partners carried more than 32 million passengers and had been on pace for what it called another record-breaking year, but the pandemic changed that.

"Today, many of our routes are struggling to reach ten percent of the ridership levels we had only months ago," Flynn said in the letter.

Amtrak said it is working to shave $500 million from its operating costs, which includes reducing some service and restructuring its workforce. 

Chile says it's nearly out of ICU space

The Associated Press

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

The Associated Press

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.

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.