Live coronavirus updates: U.S. and global news on COVID-19

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The Senate overwhelmingly passed a massive stimulus package late Wednesday night aimed at softening the economic blow of the coronavirus pandemic for American workers and businesses. The bill includes billions of dollars in credit for struggling industries, a boost to unemployment insurance and direct cash payments to Americans.

The fate of the bill now rests with the House, which will not vote until Friday, according to House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md.

The U.S. reached a grim milestone as the number of deaths linked to the coronavirus passed 1,000 in the country, according to a count of reports of cases and deaths by NBC News. Globally, the death toll topped 20,000, with nearly half a million reported cases.

Meanwhile at the U.N., the Trump administration is pushing the Security Council to call attention to the Chinese origins of the coronavirus, four diplomats posted to the United Nations told NBC News, triggering a stalemate as the global body seeks to cobble together a response to the pandemic.

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Pompeo's use of term 'Wuhan virus' shows 'evil intention,' China says

China accused Secretary of State Mike Pompeo of having an "extreme evil intention" after he used the term "Wuhan virus" in relation to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said on Thursday that the continued use of the phrase was "slandering China's efforts to combat the disease" and was an attempt to jeopardize international collaboration to fight the virus.

"This American politician insists on defaming China against the international consensus," he said in a press briefing. "This is an attempt with extreme evil intention to divert domestic attention and putting the blame on others."

President Donald Trump has repeatedly accused Beijing of concealing early knowledge of the virus but has since tweeted that he would no longer call it the "Chinese virus."

More than half a million rush to volunteer for Britain's health service

Britain’s Health Minister Matt Hancock said on Thursday that 560,000 people had volunteered to help the strained National Health Service — more than double the number he had hoped to recruit.

Hancock had on Tuesday issued a call for 250,000 volunteers to sign up to help the National Health Service and vulnerable people hit by the crisis.

The U.K. is in its first week of a three-week lockdown.

Global coronavirus death toll tops 21,000

The global death toll passed 21,000 as a result of the pandemic on Thursday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

The institution's online count showed there have been at least 474,000 confirmed cases around the world, with more than 115,000 people recovering.

While China still has the most confirmed cases — more than 81,000 — it's reported local transmissions have slowed rapidly.  Italy is the second most affected country, with the United States close behind, according to the university's data.

The numbers from the World Health Organisation are slightly behind the university's count, with 18,589 deaths as of Wednesday evening.

London's quiet streets give workers a chance to repaint iconic Abbey Road crossing

A maintenance team takes advantage of the quiet streets during the coronavirus lockdown to repaint London's iconic Abbey Road crossing made famous by The Beatles.Leon Neal / Getty Images

America's working poor face a pandemic without any aid

Dr. Stephen Luking and a member of his staff prepare an outdoor clinic for an expected surge of coronavirus patients in Reidsville, N.C.Courtesy of Dr. Luking

Every six months Penny Wingard’s doctor in Charlotte, North Carolina, checks her white blood cell count even though she can’t afford the tests. After a brutal round of chemotherapy for stage 2 breast cancer in 2014 left her with chemical burns, Wingard has a compromised immune system and no health insurance.

When she lost that coverage, more medical issues followed: She had a brain aneurysm and then the chemo caused Wingard, 56, to go temporarily blind before she underwent cornea surgery. Her medical debt through all this has ballooned to more than $25,000 — an amount she has no hope of ever paying off as a part-time Lyft driver.

Wingard is just one of nearly 30 million people in the United States living without insurance, and the stress of being hospitalized because of the pandemic is immense.

Read the full story here.

Iran bans intercity travel amid fears of second wave of virus

Iran banned intercity a day after a government spokesman warned that the country might face a second coronavirus outbreak.

Officials have complained that many Iranians ignored appeals to stay at home and cancel travel plans for the Persian New Year holidays that began on March 20.

"Those who have traveled for the Iranian New Year holidays should immediately return to their cities without making any stop in the cities on their way back home," said Hossein Zolfaghari, a member of Iran's national headquarters for fighting the coronavirus.

Iran is the worst hit country in the Middle East and the outbreak there has killed 2,234 people. There were 29,406 reported cases as of Thursday.

France uses high speed trains to relocate coronavirus victims

Ambulances stand by to pick up patients aboard a high-speed train in Strasbourg, France on Thursday after they were evacuated from saturated hospitals elsewhere in the region. Frederick Florin / AFP - Getty Images

U.S. deaths linked to COVID-19 passes 1,000

The United States has reached a grim milestone as the number of deaths linked to the coronavirus illness COVID-19 passed 1,000 in the country, according to a count of reports of cases and deaths by NBC News.

The number of reported deaths associated with the disease in the U.S. was at least 1,001 as of Thursday morning, according to that count, and there have been more than 68,100 reported cases.

Johns Hopkins University, which is also tracking cases, puts the number of deaths higher, and listed 1,050 deaths in the U.S. as of around 2:30 a.m.

Man killed in Missouri wanted to bomb hospital amid epidemic, FBI says

A man suspected of plotting to blow up a Missouri hospital and was killed in a shootout with FBI agents was apparently frustrated with local government action to stop the spread of coronavirus, FBI officials said Wednesday.

Timothy Wilson, 36, died Tuesday in Belton, Missouri, a suburb of Kansas City, after members of the FBI’s joint terrorism task force attempted to arrest him. The FBI says Wilson was the subject of a “months-long domestic terrorism investigation."

Wilson was armed, and the shooting occurred when the FBI tried to arrest him when he arrived to pick up what he thought was a car bomb, officials said. There was no actual bomb and authorities say no members of the public were ever in danger during the investigation.

FBI officials say Wilson was a potentially violent extremist known to express racial and religious hatred and antigovernment sentiment. He allegedly had been angered by stay-at-home orders designed to curb the spread of coronavirus, officials said.

Read the full story here.