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U.S. now leads world in deaths, passes 20,000 mark

Here are the latest coronavirus updates from around the world.
A man wearing a protective facemask looks at the reflection of the Eiffeil Tower on the Seine river, in Paris, on Saturday.Ludovic Marin / AFP - Getty Images

The U.S. has now passed the 20,000 mark in the number of coronavirus deaths and leads the world in this grim tally, surpassing Italy for the first time.

The virus has killed 20,029 people in the United States, just above the number in Italy, according to NBC News' figures.

Worldwide, the death toll is more than 107,000, and the number of confirmed cases has surpassed 1.7 million, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top infectious disease expert in the U.S., has warned that it is too early to relax coronavirus restrictions.

"Now is not time to back off," Fauci said Friday,

Meanwhile, current and former U.S. officials have told NBC News that American spy agencies collected raw intelligence hinting at a public health crisis in Wuhan, China, in November, but the information was not understood as the first warning signs of an impending global pandemic.

Download the NBC News app for latest updates on the coronavirus outbreak.

This live coverage has ended. Continue reading Apr. 12 Coronavirus news.

Florida doctor temporarily loses custody of child due to pandemic

A Florida emergency room physician temporarily lost custody of her daughter over concerns she poses a health risk to the 4-year-old child. 

Dr. Theresa Greene tested negative for coronavirus, but her ex-husband worried her job could endanger their daughter. The little girl splits her time equally between both parents, NBC Miami reported.

Greene is entitled to "equivalent make up timesharing" for every day of custody lost as a result of the temporary custody suspension, according to court documents. She is also entitled to daily phone calls or video chats with her daughter.

In his court order, Miami-Dade County Circuit Judge Bernard Shapiro said his ruling was intended to "protect the best interests" of the child and is solely based on concerns over the coronavirus pandemic.

Greene told NBC Miami the ruling was devastating and also shocking because the judge did not consult with medical experts.

"I feel like the family court system now is stressing me almost more than the virus," Greene said.

Image: Daily life in West Hills, California, under lockdown

Todd Bigelow / Contact Press Images

A hair dresser trying to make her rent works at home after the salon she rents space from had to close its doors as a non-essential business.

See more photos from photojournalist Todd Bigelow's portrait of a neighborhood lockdown. 

Planned Parentood asks SCOTUS to lift Texas abortion ban

Planned Parenthood on Saturday asked the U.S. Supreme Court to step into the Texas legal battle over whether abortions should be accessible during the coronavirus pandemic.

A legal fight over abortion services has been waged since March 22 when Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, issued an executive order banning all medical procedures that are not immediately necessary. The goal, he said, was to conserve personal protective equipment and hospital resources. Attorney General Ken Paxton said the order applied to all abortion procedures, even those that involve taking only pills.

A federal judge in Texas has twice ruled that the order restricts the constitutional right to abortion access, and the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals has twice ruled that he got it wrong. In going to the Supreme Court, Planned Parenthood said Abbott's order means virtually all women in the state with unplanned pregnancies have no access to abortion, even in pill form. 

"Some will engage in risky, out-of-state travel," the group said, "this increasing contagion risks in the midst of a pandemic." The court will likely ask Texas for a response before acting on the request.

COVID-19 cases spike aboard USS Theodore Roosevelt

At least 550 crew members aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt have tested positive for COVID-19 more than a week after its captain, Brett Crozier, was relieved of duty for sounding the alarm about an outbreak on the ship. 

The Navy said 92 percent of crew members have been tested for COVID-19. More than 3,600 tested negative. The ship had 416 cases two days ago. 

A crew member who had contracted coronavirus was found unresponsive Thursday in the room where they were quarantined. That person is now hospitalized in an intensive care unit. 

U.S. deaths pass 20,000 mark, with over a half million cases

The number of deaths from COVID-19 in the United States passed the 20,000 mark on Saturday, with over a half million confirmed cases of the coronavirus.

As of late afternoon ET, the disease had killed 20,029 people in the country, according to NBC News' tally.

More than half of the deaths were concentrated in three states: New York, with 8,627; New Jersey had 2,183;  and Michigan, with 1,392..

Earlier on Saturday, the death toll in the U.S. became the highest in the world, surpassing that of Italy.

Families mourn as Latinos suffer disproportionate number of deaths in NYC

Ricardo Román woke up on Wednesday morning asking "God to give me the strength necessary to be able to see my father for the last time." That afternoon he attended his father's funeral.

Ramón Román, 52, died Sunday of complications from COVID-19 at a hospital in Brooklyn. For 10 years, he worked as an auxiliary police officer for the New York City Police Department.

The coronavirus outbreak is hitting Hispanics in the city harder than any other racial or ethnic group. Latinos account for 34 percent of all coronavirus deaths in New York City, while making up 29 percent of the city's population, according to officials. The preliminary death rate for Hispanics in the city is about 22 people per 100,000 compared to 10 per 100,000 for white residents.

Read the full story here.

Hospital workers find tires slashed after overnight shifts

In this image from video provided by News12 Hudson Valley, one of 22 vehicles with a flat tire is seen in the parking lot outside New York-Presbyterian Hudson Valley Hospital in Cortlandt, N.Y., on, April 11, 2020.News12 Hudson Valley / via AP

While many people around the country are applauding health care workers during the pandemic, some employees of a hospital in Westchester County, New York didn't feel the love Friday morning.

Staff at New York-Presbyterian Hudson Valley Hospital in Cortlandt completed an overnight shift Friday morning to find their car tires had been slashed, authorities said.

A 29-year-old man has since been arrested for cutting the tires of 22 vehicles in the hospital's parking lot.

Read the full story here.

Every U.S. state is now under disaster declaration

The entire country is now under a major disaster declaration for the coronavirus pandemic.

Wyoming on Saturday became the final state to receive such a declaration, which comes 22 days after the first one was approved, for New York, on March 20.

In addition to the 50 states, disaster declarations are also in place for Washington, D.C., as well as Puerto Rico, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Only one U.S. territory isn't under a major disaster declaration — American Samoa.

Bus and train riders in New Jersey will have to wear face coverings

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said he is signing an executive order that requires all riders on NJ Transit buses and trains and on private bus lines to wear a mask or face covering. 

The order also says transit operators must provide their workers with masks and gloves.

"For many of our essential workers, public transit is how they get to work and we need to protect them during that trip," the governor said at a press conference on Saturday. 

In addition, Murphy said he was reducing the capacity on all buses, trains and rails by 50 percent. 

The governor previously said that all residents must wear a face covering when inside a grocery store or supermarket. On Saturday, he extended that to include restaurants and bars when residents go inside to pick up takeout orders. 

The new orders go into effect Monday at 8 p.m.

Promising research on vaccine and treatments for coronavirus

New York governor says will bring together 'best minds' to assess how to safely reopen state

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Saturday that 8,627 people have died of coronavirus in New York, with the latest daily toll at 783.

The “number of deaths is stabilizing at a horrific rate,” Cuomo said during a press briefing. New York saw it's highest one-day death toll of 799 on Wednesday.

At the same time, the number of new hospitalizations and intubations have been decreasing overall this week, suggesting that "we have hit the apex," the governor said.

He added that he will bring together the "best minds" to assess how to reopen the state without bringing on a second wave of infections.