Global cases top 2 million, U.S. stimulus money starts arriving

Here are the latest coronavirus updates from around the world.
Image: A staff member cleans the floor after the last patients were discharged from Leishenshan Hospital, originally built to treat people infected with COVID-19, in Wuhan on Tuesday.
A staff member cleans the floor after the last patients were discharged from Leishenshan Hospital, originally built to treat people infected with COVID-19, in Wuhan on Tuesday.AFP - Getty Images

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The number of confirmed coronavirus cases around the world topped 2 million Wednesday, according to Johns Hopkins, with more than 128,000 confirmed deaths.

The IRS released an online form Wednesday that allows Americans to upload their bank account information in order to receive their stimulus money faster and a portal where they can check the status of their payment.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced an executive order mandating that everyone in the state must wear a mask or face-covering in public when social distancing is not possible.

Meanwhile, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer faced intense opposition as thousands gathered at the state Capitol to demonstrate against her restrictive stay-at-home order. Organizers encouraged people to attend "Operation Gridlock" by using their cars to clog the streets but many ignored pleas to stay in their vehicles and broke social distancing.

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 16 coronavirus news here.

Photo: Protesters rage over Ohio lockdown

Joshua A. Bickel / Columbus Dispatch via USA TODAY NETWORK

Protesters shout outside the Statehouse Atrium where reporters listen to Gov. Mike DeWine's update on the state's response to the coronavirus pandemic at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus on Monday, April 13, 2020. About 100 people assembled outside the building to protest the state's continued stay at home order and non-essential business closures.

Her father's delirium was a first sign of coronavirus. He's not the only one.

Frank Carter celebrated his 82nd birthday with his wife and daughters this past February. His daughter, Nicole, top right, noticed signs of cognitive problems in Carter about a week before he died from COVID-19.Courtesy of Nicole Hutcherson

Nicole Hutcherson first noticed something was wrong with her father — normally a spry early-riser who enjoyed yard work and home renovation projects — earlier this month, when he wasn't getting out of bed until nearly midday.

Her dad, Frank M. Carter, 82, of Goodlettsville, Tennessee, insisted he felt fine, despite some nausea and vomiting. Hutcherson suspected he was dehydrated, so she went to his house to give him intravenous fluids. Hutcherson is a nurse, and had supplies on hand.

Read the full story here.

Private labs say demand for coronavirus tests is down and they can test more people who aren't as sick

Cars line up outside the Central Outreach Wellness Center, in partnership with Quest Diagnostics, on the Northside of Pittsburgh, on March 16, 2020.Gene J. Puskar / AP file

The demand for coronavirus tests at the nation's private labs, which handle the vast majority of testing for the disease, has dropped so much since its peak that the labs now have "considerable" unused capacity and can test more lower priority patients, according to the American Clinical Laboratory Association.

The number of COVID-19 tests conducted daily by private labs peaked on Sunday, April 5, at 108,000. It dropped under 100,000 per day after that.

From Sunday, April 12, to Monday, April 13, the number of daily tests fell from 75,000 to 43,000.

Read the full story here. 

Wall Street has a rough day as brutal economic data begins to pile up

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed the day down by just under 450 points Wednesday, after weak manufacturing reports added to the list of grim economic data, including a record decline in monthly retail sales and ugly quarterly earnings from some of the country’s largest banks.

President Donald Trump continues to move ahead with plans to reopen the economy, announcing at a coronavirus task force briefing on Tuesday he would be speaking to "all 50 governors very shortly" in order to discuss "a very powerful reopening plan of their state at a time and in a manner as most appropriate."

Read the full story here. 

88-year-old man lifted in bucket truck during coronavirus lockdown to visit wife in nursing home

Coronavirus isolation couldn’t keep 88-year-old Nicholas Avtges Sr. from visiting his wife. The couple have been separated for weeks while Marion Avtges, 85, is under lockdown in a nursing home in Waltham, Massachusetts. Her family came up with an idea using a bucket truck to reunite the couple, who have been married for 61 years.

'Lock her up!': Anti-Whitmer coronavirus lockdown protestors swarm Michigan Capitol

Protesters outside the Michigan State Capitol in Lansing, Mich. on April 15, 2020.Elaine Cromie / Getty Images

Demonstrators descended on the state Capitol in Lansing on Wednesday to protest Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's restrictive stay-at-home order, clogging the streets with their cars while scores ignored organizers' pleas to stay inside their vehicles.

The protest — dubbed "Operation Gridlock" — was organized by the Michigan Conservative Coalition and the Michigan Freedom Fund, a DeVos family-linked conservative group. Protesters were encouraged to show up and cause traffic jams, honk and bring signs to display from their cars. Organizers wrote on Facebook: "Do not park and walk — stay in your vehicles!"

Read the full story here. 

Rihanna, Jay-Z and Twitter CEO offer more than $6M in relief grants

Rihanna, Jay-Z, and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey announced they were co-funding more than $6 million in coronavirus relief grants to marginalized communities in areas that have been hit hard by the pandemic. 

The three entrepreneurs have co-funded $6.2 million for organizations aiding vulnerable populations, with a particular focus on New York, New Orleans and Puerto Rico, according to a news release Wednesday. 

Some of the organizations that have been chosen to receive the grants including the Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City, Covenant House New Orleans, the Hispanic Federation in Puerto Rico, and Doctors Without Borders. 

Jay-Z and Rihanna previously funded $2 million in grants through their foundations at the end of March for organizations that support undocumented immigrants, homeless populations and children of frontline workers. 

Viral video shows the immigrant faces behind UK's coronavirus fight

A group of key immigrant workers brought their voices together to remind the United Kingdom who it's clapping for every Thursday — in hopes of changing anti-immigrant sentiment.

Darren Smith wrote a poem after interviewing his friend and co-worker Sachini Imbuldeniya’s mother, a retired National Health Service worker and an immigrant. Imbuldeniya then decided to have first, second, and third-generation immigrants read the poem aloud line-by-line on a video to showcase the workers that the country has put its faith in during the coronavirus outbreak. 

“We ask everyone to remember that we are stronger as a nation when we welcome people of all ethnicities and backgrounds to our shores to work and live and love alongside us,” Imbuldeniya said. “That is a sentiment worth clapping for.”

911 calls falling, but New York City EMTs still responding to extra 'cardiac calls'

Calls to 911 in New York City have finally started to fall back towards pre-coronavirus levels, with about 4,000 calls per day in recent days. That's similar to the volume on a busy day prior to March.

However, the FDNY's EMTs are still responding to three times their usual daily number of "cardiac calls." On Tuesday, the FDNY responded to 205 cardiac calls; an average day in April last year brought 69 such calls. And 141 of Tuesday's calls, or 70 percent, involved a death, twice the average percentage.

As NBC News previously reported, "cardiac calls" are any calls involving fatal or near-fatal cardiac arrest. The FDNY attributes much of the increase in calls, and the higher percentage involving death, to coronavirus.

Could coronavirus deal a fatal blow to the U.S. Postal Service?

The USPS is responsible for mail delivery of prescription drugs, census reminders, mail-in ballots — and will soon be charged with delivering Treasury stimulus checks.

Yet the same agency that will help deliver those economic relief checks is in need of major financial help itself. 

In early March, when the first coronavirus cases began to appear in the U.S., the USPS experienced a 5.3 percent decline in overall mail volume. By March 30, that had plunged to 30 percent.

Postmaster General Megan Brennan estimated that the Postal Service will run out of cash by the end of September if it doesn’t receive government assistance due to the coronavirus crisis.

Read the full story here.

Photo: Nurse couple unites to fight virus

Nurses Mindy Brock and Ben Cayer, wearing protective equipment, hold each other and look into each other's eyes, in Tampa General Hospital in Tampa, Fla., on March 30, 2020. It was a lovers' gaze in the most unlikely situation. The picture, which has been shared on social media, is inspiring people around the globe. "Everybody's talking about the photo," says Cayer, 46. It strikes a chord "because we're all going through the same thing right now and it's a symbol of hope and love." Nicole Hubbard / via AP