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Brazil records big surge as global deaths approach 400,000

Here are the latest coronavirus updates from around the world.

Fears continue to grow over the growth of COVID-19 in Latin America, with the number of confirmed cases in Brazil passing that of Italy to make it the second worst-affected country, after the United States.

Brazil recorded 1,349 deaths in a single day Thursday — only the U.S. and the U.K. have declared more COVID-19 related deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. President Jair Bolsonaro has been accused of minimizing the effects of the crisis.

Elsewhere, more shops, businesses and places or worship are opening up. The Las Vegas strip was abuzz this week with tourists and revelers after some casinos reopened. Across the Muslim world, from Saudi Arabia to Indonesia, Friday prayers are starting again after weeks of mosques being off-limits.

Meanwhile authorities across the world are struggling to ensure that people attending protests sparked by the death of George Floyd practice social distancing.

More than 1.84 million coronavirus cases have been confirmed in the U.S. along with more than 107,000 deaths.

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

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This live coverage has now ended. Continuing reading June 6 coverage here.

Obama holds town hall on racial injustice with Rep. John Lewis

Black unemployment rises

Before George Floyd was killed in police custody and protests wracked the country, he had been laid off from his security job at a Minneapolis restaurant. He was just one of the millions of workers of color most likely to lose their job in the pandemic, recent labor market data shows.

As the nationwide shutdowns gradually lift and economic activity returns, the latest employment figures show that while the virus is colorblind, its effects are anything but indiscriminate.

Black unemployment rose to 16.8 percent in the monthly employment snapshot released Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. While that number is slightly up from 16.7 last month, white unemployment came in at 12.4 percent, down from 14.9 percent.

Read the whole story here.

Protesters should get tested and timing is key

Around the country, thousands of protesters are shoulder-to-shoulder, shouting for change. Some wear masks.  Few wear eye coverings. And social distancing is near impossible.

“The question that's been posed to me is do mass protests have the risk of spreading covid-19?  The answer is: yes,” Dr. Jay Varkey, an infectious disease physician at Emory said.

Director of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Dr. Robert Redfield also advised demonstrators to “highly consider” a coronavirus test. That doesn’t mean go to a testing site a day after protesting. 

“The virus enters your body immediately.  But it does take some time for enough of the virus to build up in your system for a diagnostic test to detect it,” NBC medical correspondent Dr. John Torres said.

“In three, five, seven days, go get tested,” Redfield said.

Getting a test too early could result in a false negative.  So waiting between 3-7 days will give a more accurate read.

Donald Trump touts racial equality while referring to COVID-19 as 'China plague'

President Donald Trump referred to the coronavirus as the “China plague” on Friday during a news conference in which he boasted about the U.S. economy.

Speaking at the White House, Trump addressed the May jobs report that was released this week, claiming that a strong economy is the “greatest thing that can happen for race relations.”

“When we had our tremendous numbers … just prior to the China plague that floated in, we had numbers, the best in history, for African American, for Hispanic American, for Asian American, and for everybody,” he said.

The re-emergence of the phrase elicited criticism across social media, from many who pointed out that terms like the “China plague” or the “China virus” -- which experts have warned could put Asian Americans in harm’s way -- run counter to ideas of racial equality, particularly as protests continue across the nation over the death of George Floyd, a black man who died in Minneapolis police custody.

Read the full story here.

Dow closes up 829 points after blowout jobs report

The Dow Jones Industrial Average continued its five-day rally on Friday, after the monthly jobs report revealed 2.5 million positions were added to the economy last month, the largest monthly gain on record. Economists had predicted 8 million jobs would be lost.

Confidence in a faster economic recovery boosted all three major averages, with the Dow closing up by 829 points at the closing bell, or just over 3 percent. The S&P closed up by 2.6 percent and the Nasdaq gained 2 percent, reaching a record high.

Companies that would benefit from a return to travel and tourism saw some of the strongest gains, with American Airlines up by 8 percent and MGM Resorts up 2.4 percent. Boeing provided the biggest boost for the blue-chip Dow, gaining more than 11 percent.

President Donald Trump described the jobs report as "amazing," "incredible," and "really big."

"This shows that what we've been doing is right," he said in a news briefing from the White House Rose Garden on Friday morning.

Ohio golf club plans to host PGA Tour event -- with fans in attendance

A PGA Tour event, the Memorial Tournament, is slated to be held next month in Ohio with fans in attendance, Gov. Mike DeWine announced.

The golf tournament is scheduled for July 16 to 19 at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin.

Further details on social distancing measures were expected in the coming days and weeks. Tournament organizers, in a statement, called the decision "an example of how public gathering events can be developed and implemented with approved and accepted protocols in place."

Ohio also plans to reopen casinos, racinos, amusement parks and water parks on June 19, DeWine said.

WHO changes COVID-19 mask guidance: Wear one if you can't keep your distance

The World Health Organization is broadening its recommendations for the use of masks during the coronavirus pandemic and said Friday it is now advising that in areas where the virus is spreading, people should wear fabric masks when social distancing is not possible, such as on public transportation and in shops.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said people over age 60 or with underlying medical conditions also should wear masks in situations where social distancing cannot be maintained. WHO previously had recommended that only health care workers, people with COVID-19 and their caregivers wear medical masks, noting a global shortage of supplies.

Read more.

Black Americans talk of pain, uncertainty with soaring jobless rates due to COVID-19

Victor Patterson, a human resources executive who moved from Chicago to Atlanta, thought his six-month job search had ended, but then the coronavirus pandemic hit.

“I was positioned to receive a job offer in late February/early March,” he said. “As the virus anchored itself in America, the position was postponed or put on hold with projected ‘new’ dates when an offer and hire date would occur. At this point, it has not materialized.”

Patterson, 51, is not alone. More than 43 million Americans have filed for unemployment benefits, according to government figures, and African Americans are disproportionately affected by the sudden economic collapse.

According to statistics from the Department of Labor on Friday, the jobless rate dropped to 13.3 percent and 2.5 million jobs were added in May. But the unemployment rate for African Americans rose to a staggering 16.8 percent; Hispanic women 19.5 percent. The jobless rate for whites dropped from 14.2 percent to 12.4 percent. That’s not comforting news for many African Americans.

Read the full story here.

CDC report on COVID-19 cleaning practices finds some gargling with bleach. That's very dangerous.

People are engaging in extremely dangerous behaviors — including gargling with bleach — in an effort to prevent COVID-19, according to a report published Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Such acts are not only harmful, they also do nothing to prevent infections and should never be done.

Read more. 

Surgeon General: You don't have to choose between being heard and being safe

Protesters against the killing of George Floyd may feel they're caught between the two pandemics of COVID-19 and racism. While it'll be at least another week or two before cities and states see an uptick in new cases related to protests, many public health experts seem certain there will be a rise in transmissions — they just don't know how much. They also say there's a way to lessen the risks of being in close proximity to other protesters and police.  

In a series of tweets Friday, the U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams advised participants that they "don’t have to choose between being heard and being safe." 

"If going out in public for any reason — especially to protest in large groups — wear a face covering. Pay attention to hand hygiene (carry hand sanitizer & avoid touching your face), and practice social distancing as much as possible," Adams wrote. 

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Florida announces more than 1,300 new coronavirus cases

Florida's health department announced 1,305 new COVID-19 cases Friday, bringing the statewide total to 61,488.

The state also announced 53 additional deaths related to the coronavirus outbreak; some 2,660 people have died across Florida.

Wisconsin's World Dairy Expo canceled due to COVID-19

The World Dairy Expo, a Wisconsin tradition that drew more than 60,000 attendees in 2019, was canceled for the first time in its 53-year history due to COVID-19 concerns.

This year’s expo was scheduled for Sept. 29 through Oct. 3 at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison.

By that point, members of the expo’s Executive Committee expect Dane County to be in the third phase of the state’s reopening plan, which sets a 250-person limit for outdoor events.

“Our collective heart is heavy as we share with you that World Dairy Expo 2020 has been cancelled,” Scott Bentley, WDE General Manager, said in a statement. “We know how much this hurts; we feel it, too. Please know other options were explored and considered by the World Dairy Expo Executive Committee and staff.”

CBP seizes 'unapproved' COVID-19 products, including hydroxychloroquine

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said Friday that it "continues to ... seize a large number of counterfeit, unapproved or otherwise substandard COVID-19 products" and "unproven medicines," including chloroquine.

A CBP official said chloroquine is an umbrella term for drugs that include hydroxychloroquine, and that the agency's drug seizures included hydroxychloroquine. President Trump has taken the drug and touted it as a treatment for COVID-19. 

Among the items CBP said it had seized as of June 1 were 107,300 FDA-prohibited COVID-19 test kits in 301 incidents; 750,000 counterfeit face masks in 86 incidents; 2,500 EPA-prohibited anti-virus lanyards in 89 incidents; and 11,000 FDA-prohibited chloroquine tablets in 91 incidents.

In a press release, CBP said, "Criminal organizations are attempting to exploit the limited supply of and increased demand for some pharmaceuticals, personal protective equipment and other medical goods required to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Among other products, these criminals are smuggling and selling counterfeit safety equipment, unapproved COVID-19 test kits, unproven medicines and substandard hygiene products through the online marketplace."

Michigan governor signs executive orders reopening additional parts of the state

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer put her signature on executive orders Friday to reopen more regions of the state, according to a news release from the governor's office.

The executive orders state that much of northern Michigan and all of the state's Upper Peninsula can reopen salons, movie theaters and gyms starting on Wednesday. The businesses in question will still be "subject to safety protocols and procedures designed to minimize the spread of COVID-19," the governor's office said.

The orders further state that businesses that provide personal services — including hair and nail salons, and massage parlors — can reopen on June 15.

“Today marks another milestone in the safe reopening of Michigan’s economy,” Whitmer said in the release. “As we continue to slowly reopen different parts of our state, it’s critical that we listen to the experts and follow the medical science to avoid a second wave of infections.

"The good news is that we are headed in the right direction, and if the current trajectory continues, I anticipate we'll be able to announce more sectors reopening in the coming weeks. We owe it to our front line workers to keep doing our part," Whitmer added.

Global coronavirus case numbers are spiking

The coronavirus pandemic is hitting new heights around the world.

Driven by surging case counts in Brazil and India, and a steady number of new cases in the United States and Russia, the number of daily new confirmed COVID-19 cases globally has crossed the 100,000 mark all but once this week.

More than 6.4 million coronavirus cases have been reported worldwide.

According to worldwide coronavirus case numbers from the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center and NBC News' collection of U.S. case counts, new infections have totaled more than 100,000 14 times during the pandemic. Twelve of those 14 have occurred in the last two weeks.

Read a timeline of the spread of the coronavirus, or, see a map and chart of U.S. coronavirus cases per state and a map of coronavirus cases around the world.

Fact check: Trump touts job gains as 'tribute to equality.' Black, Asian unemployment went up.

Touting surprising job gains in May’s jobs report, President Donald Trump said the jobs report was “a tremendous tribute to equality.”

“This is a great tribute, what we’re announcing today, is a tremendous tribute to equality — we’re bringing our jobs back,” he told reporters on Friday.

This is not an accurate interpretation. White Americans saw much better numbers than minorities.

White unemployment dropped nearly two points to 12.4 percent in May, while Hispanic unemployment fell 1.2 percent, from 18.9 to 17.6 percent. Black unemployment ticked up from 16.7 percent in April to 16.8 percent in May. Asian unemployment ticked up half a point from 14.5 percent to 15 percent. 

"What's happened to our country... is the greatest thing that can happen for race relations, for the African American community, for the Asian American community, for the Hispanic community, for women, for everything," Trump said, when asked about a plan to address systemic racism. "That's what my plan is — were going to have the strongest economy in the world."

Pressed on black and Asian unemployment rising, Trump told PBS' Yamiche Alcindor, "You are something."

Tennesseans can vote by mail during the pandemic, judge rules

A Tennessee judge ruled Thursday that all eligible voters in the state could apply for a mail-in ballot because of dangers posed by the coronavirus.

Despite unsubstantiated claims from President Trump against the practice, the overwhelming majority of states either already offered voting by mail or have moved to increase the practice this year to avoid unnecessary exposure to the coronavirus.

Separately, Missouri signed legislation Thursday to allow voters with medical risk to mail in their ballot, though it has stopped short of offering that option to all eligible voters. 

Only Texas and Mississippi require voters to provide an excuse for them to vote absentee and haven't taken any steps to make it easier for voters to mail in their ballot this year.

Unemployment rate falls to 13.3 percent as economy gains surprise 2.5 million jobs despite coronavirus

The U.S. economy gained 2.5 million jobs in May and the unemployment rate dropped to 13.3 percent. That’s down from 14.7 percent in April, according to the monthly employment report released Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The surprising data comes amid the phased reopening of businesses across the country after months of economic pain from the coronavirus pandemic, which pushed up unemployment to Great Depression-era levels and obliterated all job gains since the Great Recession.

Dow futures soared after the numbers were released, rising by 600 points in premarket activity as investors train their focus on the nation's reopening and any positive signs of a recovery.

Read the full story here.

Is summer camp during the pandemic worth it?

In a year when children across the country have been stuck indoors for months, ripped from their normal routines and separated from their friends, the joys and freedoms of camp are more necessary than ever, many camp proponents say.

But with no reliable treatment or vaccine yet for the coronavirus, the arrival of summer has created a dilemma for the $18 billion summer camp industry, which serves 20 million children. Many camp directors and parents are wondering: Will camp be able to operate safely? And if so, will it still feel like camp?

Read the rest of the article here.

Paris police ban rallies at the U.S. Embassy over coronavirus concerns

The Paris police have banned two rallies meant to take place Saturday outside the U.S. Embassy, citing restrictions on large gatherings in place to stop the coronavirus pandemic.

Earlier in the week, the Defense League for Black Africans in France had scheduled a demonstration to denounce racism and in solidarity with protesters in the U.S.

A June 2 demonstration against police violence and racism was also banned by police, but 20,000 people attended to protest near the Palais de Justice in central Paris.

Image: People in Paris, France run from tear gas as they attend a banned demonstration on Tuesday.
People in Paris, France run from tear gas as they attend a banned demonstration on Tuesday held in memory of Adama Traore, a black Frenchman who died in a 2016 police operation, which some have linked to the death of George Floyd in the U.S.GONZALO FUENTES / Reuters

87 Israeli schools forced to close after reporting outbreaks

Israel has been forced to close 87 schools and kindergartens, shortly after reopening, after 300 staff and students tested positive for coronavirus. 

The outbreaks mean almost 13,700 individuals have been placed into quarantine due to fears they've been exposed to the virus. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had ruled Wednesday that schools would have to be closed whenever staff or students tested positive for the virus. 

Israel has reported over 17,000 cases of the virus to date with almost 300 fatalities.

The coronavirus emptied movie theaters. But it's resurrecting the drive-in.

Virus City
Patrons watch "The Greatest Showman" at the Bel Aire diner parking lot in Queens, N.Y., in May.Timothy Fadek

The coronavirus has been a pox upon nearly the entire entertainment industry. But there is one pocket of the business that is undergoing a revival, even a reincarnation: the drive-in. Fueled by the need to socially distance and the collective nostalgia for happier times, the comfort food of show business is providing a much-welcome way to consume live entertainment.

Indeed, these strange, socially isolated times have led us to look back to find a path forward. And while drive-in movies — and their new partner, concerts — seem like a clever but temporary solution to the dearth of live events at present, drive-in theaters should continue to be embraced in American life long after COVID-19 is behind us.

Read the full article here.

Brazil reports its highest daily death toll, surpasses Italy's count

Brazil reported 1,473 new deaths from COVID-19 Thursday — the highest daily number to date — as the country's death toll reached 34,000, surpassing Italy to become the third highest in the world. 

The rate of new infections continues to remain high in Latin America's worst impacted nation, with over 30,000 new cases being reported in a single day. 

Brazil's controversial president Jair Bolsonaro has previously played down the risk posed by the coronavirus, and joined President Trump in promoting the use of the drug hydroxychloroquine — recently shown to be ineffective — against the virus. 

U.S. military commander says China pushing territorial claims under cover of coronavirus

Image: RRoyal Australian Navy helicopter frigate HMAS Parramatta (top right) conducts officer of the watch manoeuvres with amphibious assault ship USS America, guided-missile destroyer USS Barry and guided-missile cruiser USS Bunker
Royal Australian Navy helicopter frigate HMAS Parramatta (top right) conducts officer of the watch manoeuvres with amphibious assault ship USS America (top middle), guided-missile destroyer USS Barry (top left) and guided-missile cruiser USS Bunker Hill (right) in the South China Sea, in April.Australia Department Of Defence / Reuters

TOKYO — China is using the coronavirus as a cover to push territorial claims in the South China Sea through a surge in naval activity meant to intimidate other countries that claim the waters, the commander of U.S. Forces in Japan said on Friday.

There has been a surge of activity by China in the South China Sea with navy ships, coast guard vessels and a naval militia of fishing boats in harassing vessels in waters claimed by Beijing, said Lieutenant General Kevin Schneider.

"Through the course of the COVID crisis we saw a surge of maritime activity," he told Reuters in a phone interview. He said Beijing had also increased its activity in the East China Sea, where it has a territorial dispute with Japan.

Beijing's increased level of activity would likely continue, predicted Schneider: "I don't see troughs, I see plateaus," he said.

Friday prayers return across the Middle East

Friday prayers at mosques in countries across the Middle East have been permitted today following the lifting of restrictions brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. 

In Jordan, mosques — closed since March — were allowed to reopen Friday although the elderly and worshipers with pre-existing conditions were warned not to attend. Faithful were also told to wear face masks and gloves. The Prophet's Mosque in Medina, Saudi Arabia, was also permitted to reopen for Friday prayers with capacity to be limited to 40 percent of the Mosque's usual capacity. 

In Egypt — which has had its worst week for deaths from the virus — the Al Azhar Mosque will hold Friday prayers with only imams and workers present, but it will be broadcast nationwide.

Police try to stop Black Lives Matter rally in Sydney due to coronavirus fears

Image: Protesters hold an Aboriginal flag in Canberra, Australia on Friday.
Protesters hold an Aboriginal flag in Canberra, Australia on Friday.Rod McGuirk / AP

Police challenged whether a Black Lives Matter protest planned for Saturday in Sydney is too much of a virus risk. Prime Minister Scott Morrison is among those who criticized the plans, saying of the protesters: “I say to them, don’t go.”

Outdoor gatherings in Australia's largest city are restricted to 10 people, while up to 50 people can go to funerals, places of worship, restaurants, pubs and cafes.

In Canberra, organizers of a rally Friday that attracted about 2,000 demonstrators handed out masks and hand sanitizer. Most protesters kept a recommended social distance but drew closer to hear speeches. Public gatherings are limited to 20 in Canberra, but police did not intervene.

School teacher Wendy Brookman, a member of the Butchulla indigenous people, said Australia should not accept more than 430 indigenous Australians dying in police custody or prison in the past three decades. “We’re not here to jump on the bandwagon of what’s happened in the United States,” Brookman said. “We’re here to voice what’s happening to our indigenous people.”

Face coverings to be made mandatory on public transit in England

Face coverings will be mandatory for all passengers using public transit in England from June 15, the U.K. government announced Thursday. 

All bus, train, streetcar, subway, ferry and aircraft passengers will be asked to wear face coverings as a condition of carriage in plans designed to reduce the transmission of coronavirus as the U.K's lockdown continues to ease. The official advice, however, remains for people to avoid travelling on transit and to continue to work from home if possible.

While the rate of infection continues to decline, The U.K. has reported almost 40,000 deaths in hospital or nursing homes from COVID-19 to date giving it the highest official death count in Europe. 

Minnesota Gov. Walz: 'Anyone who demonstrated should receive a test for COVID-19'

New York governor to protesters: Get tested

In New York, which once had the highest coronavirus infection rate in the U.S., the total number of hospitalizations are down and the state is seeing a continued decline in deaths, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said during a briefing Thursday. At the same time, protests against the murder of George Floyd have continued in New York’s largest cities, worrying officials about a resurgence in infections. An estimated 30,000 people have marched across the state, with 20,000 protesters in New York City.

“With the protesters, they could actually compound the situation,” Cuomo said. The state plans to open testing facilities for all protesters to avoid a super-spreader event, he said. 

 “As fast as the numbers come down is as fast as the numbers can go up,” Cuomo warned. 

USDA issues $545 million in COVID-19 assistance for food producers

The United States Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency (FSA) has issued its first payments to farmers through the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), the agency announced Thursday.

The agency began taking applications on May 26 and has already made payments to more than 35,000 producers, totaling more than $545 million, the USDA said in a news release. The states that have received the most CFAP payments include Illinois, Kansas, Wisconsin, Nebraska and South Dakota. 

“The coronavirus has hurt America’s farmers, ranchers, and producers, and these payments directed by President Trump will help this critical industry weather the current pandemic so they can continue to plant and harvest a safe, nutritious, and affordable crop for the American people,” U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said.

The FSA is accepting applications for up to $16 billion in aid to farmers who have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic through Aug. 28.

The Lancet retracts large study on hydroxychloroquine

The medical journal The Lancet on Thursday retracted a large study on the use of hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19 because of potential flaws in the research data. The study, published two weeks ago, found no benefit to the drug — and suggested its use may even increase the risk of death.

Thursday's retraction doesn't mean that the drug is helpful — or harmful — with respect to the coronavirus. Rather, the study authors were unable to confirm that the data set was accurate.

Read more.