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.
- MAPS: Confirmed cases in the U.S. and worldwide; confirmed deaths in the U.S. and globally
- Reopening America: See what states across the U.S. have already reopened.
- The coronavirus has destroyed the job market in every state. See the per-state jobless numbers and how they’ve changed.
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This live coverage has ended. Continue reading May 29 coronavirus news here.
44 deaths among meatpacking workers in U.S., union says
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — At least 44 meatpacking workers in the U.S. have died from the new coronavirus and another 3,000 have tested positive, according to an estimate released Thursday by the largest union representing workers.
Meat processing plants have become hot spots for infections in communities across the country, but most have stayed open since President Donald Trump's executive order a month ago declaring them critical infrastructure. The United Food and Commercial Workers union said 30 meatpacking plants have closed at some point since March, resulting in an estimated 40% reduction in pork production and a 25% reduction in beef.
The actual number of employees with the coronavirus is likely higher than the estimate, said Mark Lauritsen, director of the food processing and meatpacking division for the United Food and Commercial Workers International. The union compiled the figures from local union members who either received data from the meatpacking plant or verified infections with employees.
RNC signals convention to stay in North Carolina after Trump threats
The top officials from the Republican National Committee and the Republican National Convention signaled in a letter Thursday that its presidential convention will remain in Charlotte, North Carolina.
This comes as President Donald Trump in recent days has threatened to move the convention elsewhere unless Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper loosens some of his COVID-19 restrictions.
NBC News obtained a letter from top Republican officials to Cooper’s office about proceeding with the RNC in Charlotte as planned but asked North Carolina officials for “clear guidelines” given the time crunch.
Ronna McDaniels, the RNC chairwoman, and Marcia Lee Kelly, the president of the Republican National Convention, have asked the Democratic governor to sign off on “safety protocols,” including pre-travel health surveys and thermal scans of all mandatory attendees. They are also requesting an “aggressive sanitizing protocol for all public areas."
Trump has said stated he wants to view proposals by next week to make a decision.
How private jet owners got a subsidy from coronavirus relief funds
A California aviation management company to the elite is sharing the benefits of a taxpayer-financed loan with its private jet-owning clients after it won the loan through the federal Paycheck Protection Program, according to three clients and a copy of a letter announcing the plan.
Congress and President Donald Trump enacted the loan program, known as PPP, to prevent workers at small businesses from being laid off during the coronavirus crisis. The company, Clay Lacy Aviation of Van Nuys in Los Angeles, will be able to keep pilots and flight attendants employed with the money it received.
But the company also decided to provide a benefit for clients who own the jets it manages, a rich set who weren't the target of federal coronavirus relief funds.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
“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.