Protesters defy lockdown rules as U.S. death toll tops 110,000

Here are the latest coronavirus updates from around the world.
Image: Medical workers protest
Medical workers on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic march down 16th towards the White House on Saturday, June 6, in a show of support for those protesting George Floyd's death.Lauren Egan / NBC News

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As tens of thousands of people defied lockdown restrictions to protest George Floyd's death on Saturday, the number of coronavirus deaths in the United States surpassed 110,000 Saturday, according to NBC News' accounting of virus data.

The nation has seen 1,916,237 cases and 110,041 deaths related to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the data. The global death toll crossed 400,000, according to John Hopkins University statistics.

Elsewhere India reported 9,971 new cases Sunday in another biggest single-day spike and has now surpassed Spain as the fifth hardest-hit by the pandemic with 246,628 confirmed cases and 6,929 fatalities.

Fears continue to mount over the growing number of cases in Latin America, particularly Brazil where almost 673,000 cases have been recorded and over 36,000 people have died, according to John Hopkins University data.

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India reports almost 10,000 new cases on the day before lockdown ends

India reported 9,971 new virus cases Sunday in another biggest single-day spike, according to the Ministry of Health, a day before it prepares to reopen shopping malls, hotels and religious places after a 10-week lockdown.

India has now surpassed Spain as the fifth hardest-hit by the pandemic globally with 246,628 confirmed cases and 6,929 fatalities.

India has already partially restored train services and domestic flights and allowed shops and manufacturing to reopen. E-commerce companies have started to deliver goods, including those considered nonessential, to places outside containment zones.

South Korea reports over 50 cases for second day in a row

South Korea recorded more than 50 cases for the second day in a row on Sunday as authorities continue to work to suppress a spike in fresh infections in the country's capital Seoul metropolitan area.

The additional 57 cases reported by the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Sunday took the country’s total to 11,776 cases, while the death toll has remained 273 deaths for the fifth consecutive day. The agency said 10,552 people have recovered.

South Korea’s high caseload peaked in early March, and aggressive tracing and testing prompted authorities to ease strict social distancing rules. The country has since seen an increase in new infections — mostly in the densely-populated Seoul region — linked to nightclub-goers and warehouse workers.

China defends COVID-19 response in new report

Chinese officials released a lengthy report on the nation’s response to the pandemic on Sunday, which defended the government’s actions and said that the country had provided information in a timely and transparent manner.

National Health Commission Chairman Ma Xiaowei said Sunday that a recent news media report that the Chinese government didn’t initially share the genome sequence for the virus “seriously goes against the facts.”

However, an Associated Press investigation found that government labs sat on releasing the genetic map of the virus for more than a week in January, delaying its identification in a third country and the sharing of information needed to develop tests, drugs and a vaccine.

The report entitled “Fighting COVID-19: China in Action” lauded China’s success in reducing the daily increase in new virus cases to single digits within about two months as well as the “decisive victory... in the battle to defend Hubei Province and its capital city of Wuhan” in about three months, according to state media. Wuhan — where the first cases of the new virus were detected late last year — was the hardest hit part of China in the outbreak.

U.K. health minister: Protests against police brutality "undoubtedly a risk" for coronavirus spread

Protests against police brutality after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis are "undoubtedly a risk" for increasing the spread of coronavirus, Britain's health minister said Sunday.  

"I support very strongly the argument that's being made by those who are protesting for more equality and against discrimination," Matt Hancock said in an interview with Britain's Sky News Sunday. "But the virus itself doesn't discriminate and gathering in large groups is temporarily against the rules, precisely because it increases the risk of the spread of this virus."

With the number of deaths in the U.K. now exceeding 40,000, London remains under partial lockdown, but mass gatherings are still banned and many businesses are still shuttered.  

"I would urge people to make their argument, and I will support you in making that argument," Hancock said. "But please don't spread this virus, which has already done so much damage and which we are starting to get under control."

Brazil takes down COVID-19 data, hiding soaring death toll

Brazil removed months of data on its COVID-19 epidemic  from public view on Saturday, as President Jair Bolsonaro defended delays and changes to official record-keeping of the world's second-largest outbreak.

Brazil's Health Ministry removed the data from a website that had documented the epidemic over time and by state and municipality. The ministry also stopped giving a total count of confirmed cases, which have shot past 672,000 — more than anywhere outside the U.S. — or a total death toll, which passed Italy this week, nearing 36,000 by Saturday.

"The cumulative data... does not reflect the moment the country is in," Bolsonaro said on Twitter, citing a note from the ministry. "Other actions are underway to improve the reporting of cases and confirmation of diagnoses."

Bolsonaro has played down the dangers of the pandemic, replaced medical experts in the Health Ministry with military officials and argued against state lockdowns to fight the virus.

Neither Bolsonaro nor the ministry gave a reason for erasing most of the data on the government website, which had been a key public resource for tracking the pandemic. The page was taken down on Friday and reloaded Saturday with a new layout and just a fraction of the data, reflecting only deaths, cases and recoveries within the last 24 hours.

Study: Black Americans most interested in COVID-19 news

NEW YORK — Black Americans, who have suffered disproportionately from the coronavirus, have shown a more intense interest in news about the pandemic compared to whites. Those were the consistent findings in a Pew Research Center survey taken in late April when COVID-19 was dominating the news.

For example, 26 precent of blacks reported discussing the virus “almost all the time” with others, compared to 10 percent of whites who say that. Forty-eight percent of blacks told Pew they were closely following news about the local availability of coronavirus tests, compared to 25 percent of whites.

Similarly, almost half of black people questioned (47 percent) said they were following stories about local hospitals closely, while a quarter of whites (24 percent) said the same thing. Roughly half of blacks had an intense interest in the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths, with 34 percent of whites saying the same.

The margin of error in Pew's American News Pathways Project is plus or minus 1.5 percent.

U.S. coronavirus deaths surpass 110,000

As people took to the streets Saturday to decry the death of George Floyd the number of coronavirus deaths in the United States surpassed 110,000, according to NBC News' accounting of virus data.

The nation has seen 1,916,237 cases and 110,041 deaths related to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the data. One month ago President Donald Trump, who has revised his estimation of the pandemic's death toll upward multiple times, said he believed it could reach 100,000 when all was said and done.

Johns Hopkins University of Medicine counts 6,804,044 cases worldwide and 362,678 deaths, with the United States leading in raw numbers for both categories.

On Saturday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, whose state has been hardest hit by the virus, said Friday's COVID-19 death toll of 35 marked a "record low" since the pandemic struck.

North Carolina sets record for new cases for third straight day

North Carolina reported 1,370 new cases of coronavirus on Saturday — the third straight day the state has set a record for new cases. 

State officials reported 1,189 new cases on Thursday and 1,289 on Friday.

The numbers bring the state's total coronavirus cases to 34,625, with 992 deaths, including 26 new deaths reported Saturday.

The spike comes more than two weeks after North Carolina lifted its stay-at-home rules, allowing for limited social gatherings and letting restaurants reopen to customers with reduced capacity.