U.S. now leads the world with most deaths, Boris Johnson out of hospital

Here are the latest coronavirus updates from around the world.
Image: Norma Urrabazo prays at an Easter drive-in service at the International Church of Las Vegas on April 12, 2020.
Norma Urrabazo prays at an Easter drive-in service at the International Church of Las Vegas on Sunday. John Locher / AP

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The U.S. has surpassed Italy as the country with the highest number of coronavirus deaths with nearly 22,000 recorded by early Monday, according to NBC News figures.

Worldwide, the death toll is more than 113,000, and the number of confirmed cases has surpassed 1.8 million, according to Johns Hopkins University.

In the U.K., Prime Minister Boris Johnson was released from St. Thomas' Hospital in London and returned home Sunday, a promising sign for the Conservative leader's recovery.

To mark Easter, Pope Francis gave his annual address on Sunday to an empty basilica, calling for solidarity and prayer during these difficult times as holiday traditions have been upended in the pandemic.

In pop culture, coronavirus survivor Tom Hanks made a surprise appearance on "Saturday Night Live," giving the opening monologue for the show's remote episode from his kitchen. SNL's current and former cast members also memorialized SNL music producer Hal Willner, who died of complications from the virus.

As unemployment continued to soar in the U.S., Former Vice President Joe Biden released a plan to reopen the American economy in a New York Times op-ed.

Mainland China reported 99 new coronavirus infections, more than doubling from the previous day to reach a one-month high, as the number of single-day imported cases hit a record, official data released Sunday showed. Almost all the new infections — the biggest daily count since March 6 — involve travelers from overseas. Just two out of the 99 cases were locally transmitted.

In addition, highlighting another major source of risk, newly reported asymptomatic coronavirus cases nearly doubled to 63, up from 34 the previous day, according to China's National Health Commission.

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Photo: Virtual worship in Seattle

Rev. Kelly Wadsworth live streams Easter service at the Alki United Church of Christ in Seattle on Sunday. Elaine Thompson / AP

Biden releases coronavirus plan

Former Vice President Joe Biden detailed his plan to reopen the U.S. economy on Sunday, writing in a New York Times op-ed that the country will first need to significantly decrease the number of new cases, provide widespread testing and ensure that the healthcare system is prepared for flare-ups later in the year.

Biden said social distancing "has to continue and the people on the front lines have to get the supplies and equipment they need."

"Make no mistake: An effective plan to beat the virus is the ultimate answer to how we get our economy back on track," Biden said. So we should stop thinking of the health and economic responses as separate. They are not. Once we have taken these steps, we can begin to reopen more businesses and put more people back to work. Things will not go back to 'normal' right away. As public health experts have said, we should expect activity to return gradually, with sites like offices and stores reopening before arenas and theaters."

Live from their bedrooms, it's 'SNL'!

Saturday Night Live's Kate McKinnon portrays Ruth Bader Ginsberg teaching a workout class in her skit from home on Saturday.NBC

"Saturday Night Live" returned from a planned break that turned into a monthlong coronavirus hiatus and made the most of its cast members and host Tom Hanks, who sent in a series of fast-moving videos from self-isolation at home.

The show did not open with its usual refrain, "Live from New York, it's Saturday Night!" But Kate McKinnon did say, "Live from Zoom." And an announcer said, "It's Saturday Night Live at home."

The usual opening credits of cast members on the town in Manhattan were nixed in favor of footage of them at home, in kitchens, with children and even in bed.

Tom Hanks emerged as a surprise host of the evening. He said, "It’s good to be here. But it's also very weird to be here hosting 'Saturday Night Live' from home."

Read the whole story.

Fauci: Earlier social distancing measures 'obviously' would have saved more lives

Dr. Anthony Fauci listens during a coronavirus task force briefing at the White House on April 9, 2020.Andrew Harnik / AP

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious diseases expert, said Sunday that earlier efforts to stop the spread of coronavirus in the U.S. "obviously" could have saved lives but top health officials faced "a lot of pushback about shutting things down."

Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, was responding on CNN's "State of the Union" to a New York Times report stating that President Donald Trump's top public health officials concluded by the third week of February that they should recommend to the president a new approach to COVID-19, which included social distancing steps.

But, according to The Times, the White House "focused instead on messaging and crucial additional weeks went by before their views were reluctantly accepted by the president — time when the virus spread largely unimpeded."

"We look at it from a pure health standpoint," Fauci told CNN. "We make a recommendation. Often, the recommendation is taken. Sometimes, it's not. But ... it is what it is. We are where we are right now."

Read the full story here.

Treasury official: Tens of millions to receive coronavirus payments this week

Tens of millions of Americans will get their coronavirus stimulus payments by this Wednesday, April 15, via direct deposit, a senior Treasury Department official told NBC News.

And a website is coming by next week where you can check the status of your coronavirus payment – and update your direct deposit information if needed.

The first payments started hitting bank accounts on Friday night, the official says, several days ahead of schedule. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin had said Wednesday they would start going out “next week.” The official says more payments are being direct deposited into people’s bank accounts throughout the weekend.

Andrea Bocelli to stream special live concert at Duomo di Milano

Italian music icon Andrea Bocelli will give an audience-free solo performance representing a message of “love, healing and hope to Italy and the world” on Easter Sunday at the Duomo cathedral of Milan, amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

The #MusicForHope performance will be streamed at 7 p.m. local time (1 p.m. ET).

Outbreak could 'decimate' Latino wealth, which was hammered by the Great Recession

Octavia Nieto worked for over 10 years as a pastry chef at a bakery in Princeton, New Jersey. Now with the business closed indefinitely, she relies on a part-time job with a cleaning company.

“I’m making about $170 a week. What can I do with that? Not much. The other day I went to the store to get some essential things and it was like $30,” Nieto said, adding she only has enough savings for two months.

“When I think about what the future will bring us, I don’t even know what that looks like,” Nieto said.

The economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic is dealing a hard-hitting blow to Latinos who barely recovered from the hammering they took in the Great Recession, raising the possibility of a setback from which many may not recover.

Read the whole story here.

Despite encouraging signs, Coronavirus is 'advancing' worldwide, WHO envoy warns

WASHINGTON — A top envoy to the World Health Organization warned Sunday that the coronavirus will be a “virus that stalks the human race for quite a long time” until a vaccine is developed.

In an exclusive interview with "Meet the Press," Dr. David Nabarro, a special envoy to the WHO, noted there are signs that the rate of new infections could be beginning to slow in the United States and Europe thanks in part to “very rapid” mitigation.

Read the full story here. 

U.K.'s Boris Johnson leaves hospital where he was treated for COVID-19

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson left the London hospital where he was being treated for COVID-19, and returned home on Sunday, Downing Street confirmed.

A spokesperson said he would continue his recovery at Chequers, the prime minister's country residence in the county of Buckinghamshire, to the north of London.

“On the advice of his medical team, the PM will not be immediately returning to work," they said, adding that he wanted to thank everybody at London's St. Thomas Hospital where he was treated for the brilliant care he has received."

Johnson, 55, was admitted to London’s St. Thomas' Hospital on April 5 after "persistent" COVID-19 symptoms.

Read the rest here.

Banish 'self-centredness' Pope Francis says in lonely Easter Sunday address

Pope Francis reads his "Urbi et Orbi" ("To the City and the World") message in St. Peter's Basilica on Easter with no public participation due to the coronavirus outbreak.POOL / Reuters

Pope Francis called for global solidarity on Easter in fighting the pandemic and its economic fallout, urging the relaxation of international sanctions, debt relief for poor nations and ceasefires in all conflicts.

The pope's Easter Sunday "Urbi et Orbi" (to the city and the world) message was delivered from an empty St. Peter's Basilica instead of to the usual crowd of tens of thousands in the square outside. The Mass was live-streamed for those who could not attend in person.

Saying the message of this year's "Easter of solitude" should be a "contagion of hope," the pope praised doctors, nurses and others risking their lives to save others and hailed those working to keep essential services running.

"This is not a time for indifference, because the whole world is suffering and needs to be united in facing the pandemic," he said. "Indifference, self-centeredness, division and forgetfulness are not words we want to hear at this time. We want to ban these words forever!"

Saudi Arabia extends curfew indefinitely

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman extended a nationwide curfew until further notice due to the spread of the virus, the interior ministry said on Sunday, after the kingdom reported more than 300 new infections on each of the last four days.

Last month Saudi Arabia imposed a nationwide curfew, and last week, it placed its capital Riyadh and other big cities under a 24-hour lockdown to stem the spread. 

The country of some 30 million has recorded 4,033 infections with 52 deaths, the highest among the six Gulf Arab states. The kingdom has also halted international flights, suspended the year-round umrah pilgrimage, and closed most public places. Other Gulf states have taken similar precautions.