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House holds moment of silence for COVID-19 victims

Here are the latest coronavirus updates from around the world.
Image: Coronavirus Pandemic Causes Climate Of Anxiety And Changing Routines In America
A woman walks by a memorial for those who have died from the coronavirus outside Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York on Wednesday.Spencer Platt / Getty Images

The House on Thursday afternoon held a moment of silence to honor those who have died during the pandemic. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., called for the moment around 1:15 p.m. "in remembrance of the over 100,000 Americans who have passed away from the COVID-19 virus."

COVID-19 has killed more Americans than the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam combined.

While the pandemic is confusing to adults, it's especially so for children who have suddenly lost their school, their connections with friends and grandparents, and even their ability to play freely outside. To them, coronavirus is like an unseen monster under the bed. What no one knows yet is just how sharp its fangs are.

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 reading May 29 coronavirus news here.

916d ago / 3:26 PM UTC

Tim Kaine and wife test positive for coronavirus antibodies

Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., said in a statement Thursday that he and his wife, Anne Holton, recently tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies

"I tested positive for the flu earlier this year and was given standard medication to treat it," Kaine said. "The symptoms lingered and I continued to receive treatment from my physician for the flu through mid-March. At the end of March, I experienced new symptoms that I initially thought were flu remnants and a reaction to an unusually high spring pollen count. Then Anne experienced a short bout of fever and chills, followed by congestion and eventually a cough."

Kaine said doctors told him and his wife in early April that it was possible they had "mild cases of coronavirus." They were not tested immediately, he said, because of "the national testing shortage." By mid-April, the couple was symptom-free. This month, the Kaines both tested positive for the antibodies.

916d ago / 3:15 PM UTC

Researchers in Denmark develop robot that can test for COVID-19

Robotics researchers in Denmark have developed a machine that can test patients for COVID-19, which they say could help limit the need for health care workers to come into contact with people carrying the virus. 

The robot, which was designed by the Industry 4.0 Lab at the University of Southern Denmark, is able to swab a patient's throat using a disposable tool, place the swab into a glass bottle and screw on the lid, according to a press released published on the university's website on Wednesday. 

Image: Thiusius Rajeeth Savarimuthu demonstrates his team's automatic throat swab robot.
Thiusius Rajeeth Savarimuthu demonstrates his team's automatic throat swab robot.Industry 4.0 Lab, University of Southern Denmark

"I was surprised at how softly the robot managed to land the swab at the spot in the throat where it was supposed to hit, so it was a huge success," said Thiusius Rajeeth Savarimuthu, who runs the Industry 4.0 Lab. 

The lab says it is working with Danish startup Lifeline Robotics to manufacture a prototype that can begin testing patients by the end of June, with the end goal of selling the machines by fall.

916d ago / 3:07 PM UTC

Photo: Romanian port city marks Easter late due to coronavirus

Image: Romanian port city marks Easter late due to coronavirus
Orthodox worshipers, a few wearing masks for protection against COVID-19, attend an Easter service at an open archaeological site outside the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul in the Black Sea port of Constanta, Romania, Wednesday, May 27, 2020.Vadim Ghirda / AP
916d ago / 2:58 PM UTC

NYC hopes to get up to 400,000 people back to work in early June

New York City, a focal point for America's coronavirus pandemic, hopes to reopen a wide swath of businesses and get 200,000 to 400,000 people back to work in early June, officials said Thursday.

The Phase 1 of reopening businesses would include construction, manufacturing, wholesale and nonessential retail in the first two weeks of next month, Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

Work sites would need to keep employees 6 feet apart, be at no more than 50 percent capacity, offer personal protective equipment and keep confined space to one person, such as in an elevator or behind a cash register. Retail locations would be limited to pickup only.

“We’ve come a long way, we're not going to blow it now," said de Blasio, who declined to set an exact date for the partial reopening.  “We don’t get a memo from the disease telling us when it plans on a resurgence.” 

916d ago / 2:44 PM UTC

Trump eager for July Fourth celebration in D.C. despite coronavirus pandemic

President Donald Trump is again eager for the nation's capital to host a Fourth of July celebration, despite the coronavirus pandemic.

“As President Trump has said, there will be an Independence Day celebration this year and it will have a different look than 2019 to ensure the health and safety of those attending,” White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere said in a statement.

Americans have “shown tremendous courage and spirit in the fight against this global pandemic just as our forefathers did in the fight to secure our independence, and both deserve celebration on America’s birthday this year,” Deere said.

The president last commented on the event on April 22, saying, “on July 4, we'll be doing what we had at the Mall, as you know. We're going to be doing it. Last year was a tremendous success, and I would imagine we'll do it — hopefully, I can use the term 'forever.'”

Read the full story.

916d ago / 2:32 PM UTC

Anxiety and depression rates up in Americans during pandemic

More Americans are reporting signs of clinical anxiety or depression during the coronavirus pandemic than they were at the same time last year, according to data from both the Census Bureau and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The most recent results from the Census Bureau's weekly Household Pulse survey, which asks adults about mental health symptoms they were experiencing over the past week, showed that more than 28 percent reported symptoms of an anxiety disorder, and 24 percent reported symptoms of depression. 

That's up significantly compared with last year: Thursday, the CDC released preliminary data from another survey, the National Health Interview Survey, which found that this time last year, 8 percent of adults reported symptoms of an anxiety disorder, and 6.5 percent reported symptoms of depression.

916d ago / 2:05 PM UTC

Trump says the U.S. reaching 100,000 coronavirus deaths is 'a very sad milestone'

President Donald Trump acknowledged Thursday that the U.S. death toll in the coronavirus pandemic had reached 100,000, calling it "a very sad milestone." 

"To all of the families & friends of those who have passed, I want to extend my heartfelt sympathy & love for everything that these great people stood for & represent. God be with you!" Trump tweeted. 

The U.S. has become the first country to top 100,000 reported coronavirus deaths. The U.S. leads the world in both deaths and confirmed cases, with nearly 1.7 million infections. 

916d ago / 1:58 PM UTC

Boris Johnson's top adviser may have broken lockdown rules, police say

British police said Thursday that a top political adviser to Prime Minister Boris Johnson may have broken lockdown rules, when he drove 30 miles to a nearby town.

Johnson has faced mounting public pressure to fire Dominic Cummings, who drove from London to Durham, in the north of England, at the height of the lockdown despite his wife suffering coronavirus symptoms.

Durham police force said in a statement that the 260-mile cross-country trip did not break the law.

However, a second trip he made while he was there — to the nearby historical Barnard Castle — "might have been a minor breach of the regulations that would have warranted police intervention," police said. 

Cummings said he made that trip to test his eyesight before attempting a longer drive back to London. 

The police force said it will take no further action.

916d ago / 1:44 PM UTC

U.K. royal gives reading of Roald Dahl book for virus relief

The Duchess of Cornwall, the wife of Prince Charles, joined a star-studded cast in performing the beloved Roald Dahl children's classic "James and the Giant Peach" on Wednesday to raise money for organizations fighting the coronavirus.

Camilla — playing a ship's captain who spots a giant flying peach — reads in the video: "Holy cats! Send a message to the Queen at once! The country must be warned!"

She is accompanied by the actors Lupita Nyong'o and Josh Gad. Celebrities from previous weeks of the book’s reading include Meryl Streep and Cate Blanchett.

Camilla is not the first British royal to be involved in coronavirus campaigns. Last week, Prince William and Kate joined seniors confined by lockdown restrictions in a game of virtual bingo. 

916d ago / 1:31 PM UTC

Google launches awareness campaign around coronavirus scams

Google has helped launch a public awareness campaign to keep people from falling for online scams that capitalize on the coronavirus pandemic.

The campaign, Scam Spotter, aims to spread the basics of online awareness, like how to recognize a phony IRS call, or to be wary of a stranger insisting on being quickly paid in gift cards.

The COVID-19 scare has inspired an enormous boom in cybercrime. It's particularly hit older Americans: those 50 and older have reported a combined nearly $10 million in money lost to coronavirus-themed fraud, according to FTC complaints.

 

916d ago / 1:11 PM UTC

916d ago / 12:53 PM UTC

Weekly initial jobless claims in U.S. hit 2.1 million

More than 2.1 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits for the first time last week, the 10th straight week that jobless claims have been in the millions as the coronavirus continues to cripple the economy.

The total number of people who have sought unemployment assistance now stands at more than 40 million since the crisis began in mid-March.

Continuing claims, or the number of people who have filed for ongoing benefits, is now at 21 million, according to weekly data released Thursday by the Department of Labor.

Read the full story here. 

Image: The U.S. Department of Labor Building  in Washington, DC.
The U.S. Department of Labor Building in Washington, DC.Alex Edelman / AFP - Getty Images file
916d ago / 12:45 PM UTC

England launches virus contact tracing system

A contact tracing system started in England on Thursday, as a step toward allowing the loosening of lockdown measures, the U.K. government said. 

The tracing service will have a task force of 40,000 people locating and testing those who have been in contact with anyone who tests positive for COVID-19, and requiring them to self-isolate for 14 days. 

The service will initially rely on what the government described as people doing their "civic duty," rather than a mobile app or data collection. Britain has one of the highest death tolls from the virus in Europe and the government has faced criticism for its approach to virus testing.

916d ago / 12:30 PM UTC

Lack of COVID-19 immunity no reason to vote by mail, Texas court rules. Trump cheers.

WASHINGTON — The Texas Supreme Court has blocked an effort by Democrats in the state to expand voting by mail, ruling that lack of immunity to COVID-19 does not qualify a person to apply for a mail-in ballot.

"We agree with the State that a voter's lack of immunity to COVID-19, without more, is not a 'disability' as defined by the Election Code," the court, made up of Republicans, said in a ruling Wednesday.

Read the full story here. 

Image: Ohio voters walk to drop off their ballots at the Board of Elections in Dayton, Ohio
Ohio voters walk to drop off their ballots in Dayton.Megan Jelinger / AFP - Getty Images
916d ago / 12:16 PM UTC

Russian deaths pass 4,000 as Moscow lockdown set to ease

The coronavirus death toll in Russia passed 4,000 people on Thursday, as the country grapples with the ongoing health crisis. 

Despite the increasing number of deaths and infections, from June 1 Moscow will begin "Phase 1" of easing its lockdown, with some non-food stores and businesses re-opening. However, electronic passes will remain in place to enforce stay at home rules introduced in April.

The Mayor of Moscow also said he would allow some outdoor exercise to resume during scheduled times, so long as people wear protective face masks. 

Earlier this week, President Vladimir Putin announced that Russia would go ahead with a delayed military parade on June 24, as he declared the pandemic had peaked. Many other Russian provinces have already eased lockdowns.

916d ago / 12:01 PM UTC

Africa faring well but should not be complacent, says WHO

Three months since the first coronavirus case was reported in sub-Saharan Africa, the WHO confirmed on Thursday the continent was faring relatively well, with 123,000 COVID-19 cases and 3,600 deaths.

South Africa and Nigeria were among the countries with the highest number of cases, the WHO said during an online briefing. But added it had trained more than 10,000 health workers across the continent, in skills such as psychological support and infection prevention. 

"With strong country leadership ... cases in Africa remain lower than in some other parts of the world," said Matshidiso Moeti, WHO's regional director for Africa. "However, we cannot let our guard down and we cannot be complacent." 

916d ago / 11:36 AM UTC

Iraq virus cases pass 5,000 mostly in Baghdad

Cases of the deadly coronavirus are continuing to grow in Iraq, the Health Ministry said, with cases now totaling more than 5,000 and 175 people dead. 

A statement by the ministry on Wednesday said that 287 new cases were recorded nationwide during the past 24 hours — the vast majority in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad.

"The cases of coronavirus pandemic are all over Baghdad, and there is no specific area in the city that is far from the risk of the disease," Provincial Governor Mohammed Jaber al-Atta, said in a statement.

More than 200,000 tests have been carried out in the conflict-ridden country, the Health Ministry said, which had helped to identify new outbreaks.

 

916d ago / 11:15 AM UTC

Australian archbishop calls for equality between churches and pubs

A Catholic archbishop has accused an Australian state government of unfair pandemic rules, which allow up to 50 people into pubs while limiting church congregations to just 10.

Archbishop Anthony Fisher, in Sydney, encouraged Catholics on Thursday to sign a petition calling on the New South Wales government to treat churches equally with pubs and restaurants when it brings in new rules on June 1. 

"Contrary to what has been said throughout this pandemic, we do not consider church attendance to be non-essential — indeed, nothing is more essential than the practice of our faith," the petition said.

916d ago / 10:41 AM UTC

Siberian zoo sees lockdown baby boom

A Siberian zoo that closed its doors to visitors for over two months due to the coronavirus, says the lockdown has encouraged a baby boom among its animals.

Among the zoo's new arrivals are rare Egyptian goslings, reindeer calves, llama crias and a baby brown weeper capuchin monkey.

"Judging by the baby boom, the lockdown has clearly been good for us because there are a lot of interesting and beautiful baby animals now," said Andrei Gorban, the director of Krasnoyarsk's Royev Ruchey Zoo.

Gorban said that while the absence of onlookers had encouraged mating among some residents, it had confused others, with the zoo's herd of camels among those particularly missing visitors, he said. 

Image: Alpacas, male Romeo (L) and female Juliette, walk inside their open air enclosure at the Roev Ruchey Zoo in Krasnoyarsk, Russia
Alpacas, male Romeo (L) and female Juliette at the Roev Ruchey Zoo in Russia.Ilya Naymushin / Reuters file
916d ago / 10:12 AM UTC

Image: Training center which has been converted into quarantine house in Tangerang, on the outskirts of Jakarta, Indonesia, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak
Patients exercise at the balconies of a training center in Jakarta, Indonesia.WIlly Kurniawan / Reuters
916d ago / 10:06 AM UTC

WHO creates foundation to increase funding in virus fight

The World Health Organization announced the creation of a foundation for new sources of funding, in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, aiming to broaden its contributor base.

Calling it a "historic step," WHO Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus announced the creation of the WHO Foundation on Wednesday at a virtual briefing.

He said it would ease a potential financial shortage and that it had been in the works for years. The funds will go towards all the WHO projects including vaccine research and preparing for future pandemics, not just the current coronavirus. 

President Donald Trump recently threatened to permanently halt funding from the U.S. — the WHO's biggest financial contributor — after criticizing its handling of the pandemic.

 

916d ago / 9:40 AM UTC

South Korea reports worrying new spike in cases

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South Korea reported its biggest spike in coronavirus cases in more than 50 days on Thursday, marking a setback after the country won praise for initially bringing its epidemic under control.

Thursday’s resurgent spike of 79 new cases is linked to workers at a massive logistics warehouse in Seoul, operated by a local e-commerce giant.

Health minister Park Neung Hoo said the government would reimpose some "enhanced quarantine measures in the Seoul metropolitan area" for the next two weeks, to quell the flare-up. 

Recently, hundreds of other infections have been linked to nightclubs in the country’s capital, which saw huge crowds pour into them in early May after officials relaxed social distancing rules.

916d ago / 9:18 AM UTC

Singaporean gets jail time for Facebook post

A taxi driver in Singapore has been sentenced to four months in jail, after posting a message to a private Facebook group claiming food outlets would close and urged people to stock up during the coronavirus pandemic. 

The public prosecutor called for a sentence that would deter others from spreading "hysteria." 

Singapore has imposed tough punishments on those who breach COVID-19 rules or spread misinformation. This is not the first example. Last month, a man who broke a curfew by 30 minutes, to buy a flatbread, was fined $1,000. While another, breached a stay-home order to go out and eat pork rib soup and was jailed for six weeks.

 

916d ago / 9:02 AM UTC

U.K.'s Boris Johnson faces schools rebellion over plans to send kids back

LONDON — In the early days of the lockdown, it almost felt like a novelty for parents like Claire Collins as she and her friends swapped home schooling tips on WhatsApp.

"There was an influx of people passing around, quite excitedly, things you could do with your kids at home: links on Pinterest, that sort of thing," said Collins, 37, who has children ages 2 and 5 and lives in the town of Abergavenny in Wales.

"Now I think that enthusiasm has died. It's fizzled out," she said, struggling to speak over her children, Amber and Romy, who were vying for her attention in the background. "It sounds fun, but it's actually been quite taxing and draining."

Read the full story here.

Image: A thank you sign for the NHS is seen outside a closed school in Cheshunt, following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), Cheshunt
A thank you sign for the NHS is seen outside a closed school in Cheshunt.Mark Hartnell / Reuters
916d ago / 8:40 AM UTC

India has record daily jump in cases

India sees no respite from the coronavirus, reporting another record single day jump of over 6,500 cases, bringing the total to 158,333 on Thursday, as the two-month lockdown is due to ease on Sunday.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government is preparing a new set of guidelines to be issued this weekend, possibly extending the lockdown in worst-hit areas, as it promotes economic activity.

The Indian Health Ministry reported 4,531 deaths so far. Mumbai ⁠— India’s financial and entertainment capital ⁠— is the worst hit city with nearly 1,200 deaths.

An increase in cases has also been reported in some of India’s poorest eastern states, as migrant workers returning to native villages from large cities have begun arriving home on special trains.

Image: Migrant workers queue outside the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus railway station to return to their hometowns after the government eased a nationwide lockdown as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 coronavirus, in Mumbai
Migrant workers queue outside an Indian railway station to return to their hometowns.Punit Paranjpe / AFP - Getty Images
916d ago / 8:17 AM UTC

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.

916d ago / 5:15 AM UTC

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.

916d ago / 4:54 AM UTC

Texas bar bans masks

916d ago / 4:16 AM UTC

14 million could go hungry in Latin America because of virus

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.

916d ago / 3:38 AM UTC

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