House holds moment of silence for COVID-19 victims

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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

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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.

People are accidentally throwing out their stimulus check — because it looks like junk mail

Some Americans may be unwittingly throwing their long-awaited stimulus check in the trash. That's because, starting last week, the Treasury Department and the IRS started sending out economic impact payments in regular white envelopes that could be confused for junk mail.

Almost 4 million people — including those for whom the agency does not have a bank account on file — will be getting their stimulus check in the form of a prepaid debit card. The only problem is that the debit cards come in an envelope that says “Money Network Cardholder Services” and does not bear any federal markings.

That has prompted some recipients to complain they look too similar to an unwanted credit card offer, leading some to accidentally throw the card — which could contain as much as $3,400 for a family of four — in the trash.

To help taxpayers identify the card, the IRS said in an FAQ that the cards will bear the Visa logo and are issued by MetaBank. A letter included with the card explains that the card is the Economic Impact Payment Card. More information is available at eipcard.com.

Read the full story here.

Cancer, coronavirus are a dangerous mix, new studies find

New research shows how dangerous the coronavirus is for current and former cancer patients. Those who developed COVID-19 were much more likely to die within a month than people without cancer who got it, two studies found.

They are the largest reports on people with both diseases in the United States, the United Kingdom, Spain and Canada. In one study, half of 928 current and former cancer patients with COVID-19 were hospitalized and 13 percent died. That’s far more than the various rates that have been reported in the general population.

Read more. 

EMTs, paramedics return home after helping NYC battle COVID-19 pandemic

The FDNY thanked volunteer emergency medical technicians and paramedics who came to New York City to aid in the fight against COVID-19 with a parade near their EMS academy at Fort Totten. 

In videos posted on social media, members of the FDNY carrying American flags can be seen clapping and waving as the last of the volunteers leave New York to return to their hometowns. Sirens blare as members of the FDNY Emerald Society Pipes and Drums join in on the celebration. The volunteers responded to more than 31,000 medical emergencies during their time in New York City, the FDNY said.

“We could not be more thankful for all the hard work that these brave men and women put into their service to this city,” FDNY Chief of EMS Operations Lillian Bonsignore said. “They saved many, many lives along the way.”

Coronavirus crisis puts hog farmers in uncharted territory: Kill their healthy livestock

Meat processing plants have shut down across the United States as the coronavirus has spread among workers, creating enormous bottlenecks in an inelastic supply chain. The result has been empty shelves in grocery stores and millions of pigs that are all fattened up with nowhere to go.

Facing rising costs and increasingly cramped conditions for their herds, some hog farmers across the Midwest have taken drastic action: killing their perfectly healthy pigs.

“This goes against everything we do,” Mike Patterson, a hog farmer from Kenyon, Minnesota, told NBC News. “We realize these animals are going to be killed, but we take great pride in knowing we are putting food on Americans’ tables and trying to give the animals the best care we can to ensure they are healthy and thriving every day. To see that go to waste is difficult.”

Read the full story here.

7-year-old boy throws 'mini-prom' for nanny

A 7-year-old boy in North Carolina felt bad after he found out his nanny’s prom was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic so he decided to throw her a prom of her own.

Curtis Rogers, who just finished first grade, decided to put together a prom in his backyard for his nanny Rachel Chapman, a senior at Sanderson High School in Raleigh. Rogers decided to ask Chapman to the prom with a “promposal” by using a sign that said “mini prom is not today, but will you join me on Monday?"

At the backyard prom Rogers even thought to order Chapman’s favorite foods: Chick-fil-A and smoothies from Tropical Smoothie.

Rachel and Curtis were able to enjoy the evening together and used a pool noodle to maintain social distance.Courtesy Rachel Chapman

“I was so surprised. It was really fun. It made me feel special because it showed he really cared and wanted to do something nice for me,” Chapman told NBC News.

The two enjoyed the evening together and were able to share a dance, complete with a pool noodle between them, in order to allow for social distancing.

FEMA faces concerns over ability to respond to disasters during COVID-19 pandemic

Democratic House members raised concerns about FEMA's ability to respond to multiple disasters during the coronavirus pandemic and asked for a briefing on the agency's preparation efforts.

Rep. Bennie G. Thompson, D-Miss., chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, and the other Democratic members of the committee sent a letter to FEMA Administrator Peter Gaynor.

The Atlantic hurricane season, which officially begins on monday, June 1, has already seen two named storms this month.

“Given these projections, we are concerned about FEMA’s capacity to manage natural disaster preparedness and response efforts during the ongoing pandemic,” the committee members said. 

“FEMA needs to take a proactive role in procuring the staffing and resources necessary to respond, keeping in mind that conventional disaster response strategies, such as communal shelters and volunteer recovery and supply distribution efforts, could pose increased health and safety risks during the pandemic.”

Georgia man charged in attempted $317 million N-95 mask fraud

The federal government has charged Paul Penn, a Georgia man, with trying to sell 50 million nonexistent N-95 masks to a foreign government at a price 500 percent higher than the masks' normal market value.

Penn and his associates, through his company Spectrum Global Holdings, LLC, acted as a middle man to negotiate a cut of the $317 million sale price. But the group did not actually possess the masks, according to prosecutors.

The unnamed foreign government agreed to the price and wired funds to complete the purchase. The money transfer was disrupted by the U.S. Secret Service "just before the transaction could be competed," according to the Justice Department.

“Using a worldwide pandemic as an opportunity to take advantage of those searching for badly needed personal protective equipment is reprehensible,” said Bobby Christine, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia.

Boston Marathon will be held as a virtual event due to coronavirus

The Boston Marathon will be held as a virtual event this year due to the coronavirus pandemic after Mayor Marty Walsh announced that hosting a traditional race would not be feasible. 

Runners who are participating will have to complete the 26.2 mile distance within 6 hours and provide proof of their timing, the Boston Athletic Association announced.  

Everyone who finishes the virtual race will receive an official Boston Marathon program, a T-shirt for participating, a medal and a runner's bib. 

"While our goal and our hope was to make progress in containing the virus and recovering our economy, this kind of event would not be responsible or realistic on September 14 or any time this year," Walsh said during a news briefing.

Coronavirus relief payments are taking a new form — here's what to look for

Still waiting for your coronavirus relief check? It may be coming to you in an unusual form.

The Internal Revenue Service issued a reminder on May 27 that nearly 4 million people are being sent their stimulus checks, also known as economic impact payments, in the form of prepaid debit cards.

According to the IRS statement, the debit cards will arrive in a plain envelope from "Money Network Cardholder Services." Cards will be preloaded with your payment and feature the same protections against loss, theft and fraud as a traditional bank account would.

Read the full story here.

Chicago to begin reopening next week, mayor says

Chicago will begin reopening on Wednesday, June 3, Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced on Twitter. 

Child care centers, libraries, hotels, hair salons and barber shops, dentist offices and other health care centers and non-essential retail businesses will be among those allowed to open as long as safety guidelines are followed. 

People will be able to visit restaurants and coffee shops but for outdoor dining only and gyms will reopen with restrictions.

Lightfoot said she wants to reopen the city "in a way that protects the health & safety of our residents." The full list of businesses that will reopen can be viewed here

Pattern of uneven social distancing enforcement coming into view, civil rights experts say

What’s happening with social distancing enforcement mirrors broader patterns in policing, who is most agressively monitored, handled when coming in contact with police and then penalized, according to multiple police accountability, civil rights and civil liberties advocates.

Data provided to NBC News by the New York Police Department show that from mid-March to mid-May, about 81 percent of all citations for social distancing violations were issued to black or Latino individuals, although only about half the city’s population are black or Latino.

But in the spaces in New York and other cities around the country where mostly white people gather, they appear free to sunbathe and picnic, with the occasional police offer of a mask, or even crowd together in small pools. And Americans have watched overwhelmingly white anti-social distancing protesters shovescream and arm themselves at rallies in state capitals. There, they’ve faced-off with police who were not wearing riot gear, and yelled about alleged tyranny.

“We’ve just started seeing more and more incidents happen,” said Lynda Garcia, director of the policing campaign at the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. “We recognize this is unprecedented. We don’t necessarily have the answers, and law enforcement doesn’t have the answers. But we do think we need to put our heads together to reduce the disparities we’ve already seen in the arrests and stops because this is not a public health response to this epidemic. Arresting someone and putting them in jail is the opposite of social distancing.”

Read the full story here.