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White House considers scaling back daily briefings after disinfectant comments

Here are the latest coronavirus updates from around the world.
Image: Georgia
Jessica King sits under a dryer at Three-13 Salon, Spa and Boutique, during the phased reopening of businesses and restaurants from coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions in the state, in Marietta, Ga., on April 24, 2020.Bita Honarvar / Reuters

The White House is considering scaling back President Donald Trump's daily briefings on the coronavirus pandemic as his aides and allies increasingly worry that his lengthy appearances may backfire politically.

Those concerns reached an inflection point when the president suggested on Thursday evening that people might be able to inject household cleaning items or disinfectants to deter the coronavirus, sparking immediate and universal backlash from the medical community.

The evaluation of Trump's briefings comes as the worldwide death toll for the coronavirus surpassed 200,000 on Saturday, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

Over 20,000 of those fatalities have been in the United Kingdom, the country's health minister said Saturday, making it the fifth nation to reach that grim milestone.In China, where the pandemic began, the government reported no new deaths for a 10th straight day.Here's what to know about the coronavirus, plus a timeline of the most critical moments:

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This live coverage has ended. Continue reading April 26 for coronavirus news.

Californians head to the beach despite stay-at-home order

Summer-like weather across much of California drove large crowds to the beaches Saturday despite a statewide stay-at-home order intended to curb the spread of coronavirus.

Temperatures reached into the 80s and 90s in Southern California, where people were swimming in the Pacific and sunbathing on beaches that had previously been closed to discourage large gatherings. Not all were reopened but some counties had eased restrictions while warning people to maintain social distancing.

Read the full story here.

1918 flu carries lessons on dangers of reopening too soon

When the clock struck noon, the masks came off.

It was Nov. 21, 1918, and San Francisco residents gathered in the streets to celebrate not only the recent end of World War I and the Allies’ victory, but also the end of an onerous ordinance that shut down the city and required all residents and visitors to wear face coverings in public to stop the spread of the so-called Spanish flu.

Now, amid the coronavirus pandemic, as President Donald Trump urges the reopening of the country and some states, such as Georgia, move to resume normal business even as new cases emerge, how officials acted during the 1918 flu pandemic, specifically in cities such as San Francisco, offers a cautionary tale about the dangers of doing so too soon.

Read the full story here.

Coronavirus spreads in a New York nursing home forced to take recovering patients

The coronavirus patients began arriving the last week of March, transferred to the Gurwin Jewish Nursing and Rehabilitation Center under a New York state mandate requiring nursing homes to accept those recovering from COVID-19, even if they still might be contagious.

At the time, the Long Island nursing home had only one known resident who had contracted the virus, according to the facility’s president and CEO, Stuart Almer.

A month later, Gurwin is battling an outbreak that’s killed 24 residents — only three of whom were hospital transfers — and one staff member, who worked in housekeeping, Almer said. And the nursing home is still mandated to take in recovering hospital patients known to have the virus, potentially increasing its spread in the facility.

Three states hit hard by the pandemic — New York, New Jersey and California — have ordered nursing homes and other long-term care facilities to accept coronavirus patients discharged from hospitals. The policy, intended to help clear in-demand hospital beds for sicker patients, has prompted sharp criticism from the nursing home industry, staff members and concerned families, as well as some leading public health experts.

Read the full story here.

Elective surgeries set to resume, with complications and concerns

Austin Wall left work with severe pain and knew something was not right.

Wall, 42, a Caterpillar dealership parts coordinator in Irving, Texas, went to an urgent care clinic nearly a month ago and was quickly sent to the Medical City Hospital in Arlington -- his kidney stones were causing problems in his digestive system and his right kidney was functioning at a loss.

While his doctors were able to put a stent into his left kidney, they were unable to perform laser surgery to break up the large stone in his right one because of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s March 22 executive order postponing all surgeries that were not “immediately, medically necessary to correct a serious medical condition or to preserve the life of a patient.”

As COVID-19 has spread across the country in recent months, hospitals have postponed elective surgeries, nonemergency procedures such as Wall's that are scheduled in advance. Cosmetic surgery, hernia repair and cancer operations are among the wide range of elective surgeries that come with varying degrees of complexity and urgency.

Read the full story here.

Hospital ship discharges few remaining patients before NY exit

The USNS hospital ship Comfort docked at Pier 90 on Manhattan's West Side in New York on April 3.Mike Segar / Reuters file

The Navy hospital ship sent to relieve stress on New York City hospitals at the height of the pandemic is discharging or transferring its last 12 patients this weekend as it nears the end of its mission, according to Northwell Health, which provides operational assistance to the vessel.

The USNS Comfort, docked at a Manhattan pier since March 30, will soon leave for its homeport in Norfolk, Virginia, where it will restock and be readied for another possible assignment, Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said. He did not provide a date for the ship’s departure.

As of Saturday, the 1,000-bed hospital ship had treated just 182 patients.

Originally deployed to care for patients without coronavirus, the Comfort switched gears and started accepting them as the city’s hospitals became overrun with people suffering from the disease.

Los Angeles shows some love for health care workers, first responders

Miami Beach mayor: 'We are not a city built for social distance'

Dan Gelber, the mayor of Miami Beach, Florida, is defending his decision not to reopen the tourist hot spot's beaches until at least June.

"Listen, everybody in the world knows how beautiful our beaches are, but unfortunately the eight miles of our beaches cannot be opened -- they'll just attract too many people," he told MSNBC's Alicia Menendez on Saturday. "We are not a city built for social distance, so we have to be extra careful given the millions, millions of people that would flock to our beaches."

Some of the state's beaches have reopened in recent weeks, with some restrictions, drawing crowds of beachgoers.

Gelber says he wants to see widespread use of COVID-19 countermeasures, like contact testing, before he decides to restart the city's tourism industry. And the Democrat says he wants the federal government to do more.

"You know, unfortunately, the federal government hasn't been particularly kind to cities about a lot of things," he said. "Frankly, this is just one of them. We're going to get by. But it would be nice if somebody up there would notice that it's not just my residents, we're a small city, it's the fact that we are the tip of the economic iceberg for the arrow-- for the entire state,"

Connecticut dad, 32, writes heart-wrenching note to wife, kids before dying of coronavirus

A Connecticut father who was battling the coronavirus wrote a letter to his wife and young children telling them how much he loved them and how lucky he was to have them in his life.

Jonathan Coelho, 32, wrote the note the day before doctors at a hospital in Danbury intubated him and weeks before his April 22 death from COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.

His wife, Katie Coelho, stumbled upon the letter when she opened up her husband's phone shortly after he died.

"I love you guys with all my heart and you’ve given me the best life I could have ever asked for," Jonathan wrote to his family, according to a Facebook post Katie shared.

Read the full story here.