President Donald Trump on Friday signed the $2 trillion economic stimulus bill that the House passed earlier in the day, while the number of coronavirus cases in the U.S. surpassed 100,000.
The legislation signed by Trump and also unanimously passed by the Senate on Wednesday provides relief for workers and businesses devastated by the outbreak.
The United States now has more reported coronavirus cases than any other country, including China, as the number climbed past 100,000, according to NBC News' count.
In the U.K., Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted he tested positive for the coronavirus.
- Here's what to know about the coronavirus, plus a timeline of the most critical moments.
- MAPS: Where cases have been confirmed in the U.S. and worldwide.
- LISTEN: The latest episode of the NBC News/MSNBC podcast "Into America," focused on the plight of the uninsured amid this crisis.
Download the NBC News app for latest updates on the coronavirus outbreak.
This live coverage has ended. Continue reading March 28 Coronavirus news.
Four people die, two test positive on Holland America cruise ship
Four older guests died on a Holland America cruise ship where two people have tested positive for the coronavirus and more than 100 are experiencing flu-like symptoms, the company said Friday.
The British–American-owned cruise line company said that out of its more than 1,800 passengers and crew on the Zaandam ship, 53 guests and 85 staff members are sick, the company said in a post.
The ship was sailing on a South America cruise that departed Buenos Aires, Argentina, on March 7 and was originally scheduled to end in Chile on March 21. It is currently off the coast of Panama, where healthy passengers will be taken off and put on a sister ship. Those who are sick will remain in isolation.
"While the onward plan for both ships is still being finalized, we continue to work with the Panamanian authorities on approval to transit the Panama Canal for sailing to Fort Lauderdale, Florida," the company said.
Los Angeles County shuts down beaches and hiking trails
Los Angeles County closed off its beaches and hiking trails on Friday, in another move to keep Southern Californians at home during the fight against coronavirus.
"It is crucial that we limit access to non-essential places where crowds have been gathering," said Barbara Ferrer. director of the Public Health Department. "I ask that that you help us by not going to our beaches and not going on our hiking trails, at least for the next few weeks."
Volleyball nets have been taken down, and nearby parking lots, bike paths and bathrooms closed. The shutdown took effect immediately and is set until at least April 19.
"We cannot afford to see a repeat of last week's crowded beaches," said Gary Jones, director of the Department of Beaches and Harbors Gary Jones. "The risk of spreading COVID-19 is too great. Please stay home."
The Week in Pictures: The world in the grip of a spreading virus
With at least a third of the globe under lockdown, the coronavirus has continued its march across nations. See more of the most stunning images from the last week here.
Record number of 911 calls in New York City
New Yorkers are flooding the city's 911 system with a record number of calls for help, officials said Friday.
The FDNY received more 911 calls Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday than in any other three-day period in system history, officials said.
FDNY spokesman Frank Dwyer begged New Yorkers to think twice before dialing: “We need the public’s help – please do not call unless a true emergency.”
Nurse brought to tears as Seattle claps for health care workers
A Seattle nurse was brought to tears Thursday night by the sound of her community clapping and cheering for the city's health care workers. Ashlyn Juul, a nurse at Swedish Hospital in Washington state, works night shifts most of the time, but happened to work a day shift the first night the city of Seattle did this, her girlfriend, Mara Curley, told NBC News.
"She is not normally an emotional person, but this has been a hard few weeks as her unit does have COVID positive patients with critically low protective equipment," Curley said. "These were undoubtedly happy tears to be recognized and appreciated."
Seattle's Office of Arts and Culture asked the city's residents to take part in applauding and celebrating from their homes for the people working on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Pope Francis delivers blessing to empty St. Peter's Square
Pope Francis delivered a special "Urbi et Orbi" blessing to an empty St. Peter's Square on Friday, praying for an end to the coronavirus pandemic.
"Urbi et Orbi," which means "to the city and to the world," is a prayer that can be led only by the pope and is reserved for solemn occasions, such as Easter, Christmas or the installation of a new pope.
"You ask us not to be afraid, but our faith is weak, and we are fearful. But Lord, do not leave us to the mercy of the storm," Francis said during the prayer. "Tell us again, 'Do not be afraid.' And we together with Peter will cast all our anxieties to you, because we know that you care for us."
St. Peter's Square has been empty for weeks because of Italy's national lockdown. More than 80,000 coronavirus cases and more than 9,000 deaths have been recorded in Italy as of Friday, making it the third most affected country.
Disability rights groups slam state ventilator-rationing plans
Disability rights groups have filed federal civil rights complaints alleging that ventilator-rationing plans or proposals in Alabama and Washington state would discriminate against the disabled and put them at imminent risk amid the coronavirus pandemic.
A complaint filed Tuesday with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office for Civil Rights takes aim at a part of Alabama's Emergency Operations Plan focused on managing access to ventilators during an event that the governor deems a public health crisis.
Google to offer $800 million in ad credits and aid to small businesses
The tech giant said in a blog post it would provide $340 million in Google Ad credits to small businesses with active accounts over the past year. The credits can be used for advertising goods and services until the end of 2020.
“We hope it will alleviate some of the cost of staying in touch with their customers,” said Sundar Pichai, the chief executive of Google and its parent company, Alphabet.
Advertising grants worth $250 million will also aid the World Health Organization and more than 100 government agencies in providing information about how to slow the spread of the virus.
The latest stats from NYC
New York City now has more than 25,000 coronavirus cases and has had 366 deaths, according to the latest data from the city's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
The Friday numbers show that 50 percent of deaths have been people 75 years of age and older and another 25 percent were people between 65 and 74 years old. Ninety-seven percent of deaths have been cases where the person had an underlying illness, defined as "diabetes, lung disease, cancer, immunodeficiency, heart disease, hypertension, asthma, kidney disease, and GI/Liver Disease."
Of the city's 25,573 coronavirus cases, nearly half were age 18 to 44.Only two percent were under 18 years old.
Of the five boroughs, Queens continues to have the most cases (32 percent), followed by Brooklyn (26 percent), then Manhattan (18 percent).
House gives final passage to $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill
The House on Friday passed the $2 trillion coronavirus economic stimulus bill, and President Donald Trump is expected to sign it quickly.
The legislation, which was passed unanimously by the Senate on Wednesday, provides relief for workers and businesses that have been devastated by the outbreak.
Trump has applauded the final product — the largest economic relief package in modern U.S. history — and said this week that he would sign the legislation, which the Senate passed 96-0 late Wednesday.
The House vote Friday came after Democratic and Republican leaders summoned House members to Washington late Thursday because they feared the package wouldn't be able to pass by voice vote, causing lawmakers to scramble back to the capital from their districts.
Read the full story here.
Infected pregnant women may pass coronavirus onto babies, small study suggests
Pregnant women who have the coronavirus can possibly pass the infection onto their babies, though it's unclear whether this transmission occurs in the womb.
Although more research is needed, a small study, published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics on Thursday, found that of 33 women in China who were confirmed to have the coronavirus while pregnant, three gave birth to newborns who were then diagnosed with the virus. All three infants recovered, adding to a growing pile of evidence that most children experience milder cases of COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus, than adults.
OPINION: As coronavirus deaths mount, Trump's handling of intelligence warnings looks worse and worse
Those of us who served in the intelligence community knew this day was coming. The day when President Donald Trump's near total disregard for intelligence professionals would eventually affect every American, writes Frank Figliuzzi, former FBI assistant director for counterintelligence and NBC News/MSNBC analyst.
The missed warnings pointed to a pandemic that has so far resulted in over 82,000 infected Americans and over 1,100 dead here at home. While Trump claims the coronavirus was a "surprise," we've now learned that as early as January, intelligence professionals were sounding the alarm.
Trump lashes out at GM, Ford over ventilators
President Donald Trump lashed out at Ford and General Motors in a Friday morning tweet, blaming them for not gearing up production of medical supplies quickly enough.
GM and Ford both announced earlier this month that they are working with medical suppliers to help ramp up production of medical gear.
GM responded to Trump's tweet by pointing out in a statement it is “taking aggressive steps” to speed up production of ventilators by Washington-based Ventec Life Systems, while also converting a GM plant in Kokomo, Indiana, to have it ready to start shipping additional ventilators “as soon as next month.”
Ford this week announced it will work with 3M and GE Healthcare for production of medical supplies, hoping to have several hundred thousand ventilators ready by June. It has already delivered a first batch of masks.
Apple launches its own COVID-19 screening app
Apple has released its own app to push authoritative information on COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.
The app includes a screening tool that asks users a series of questions to help people know what they should do to help themselves or loved ones if they are feeling ill.
"The COVID-19 app, built in partnership with the CDC, has up-to-date information from trusted sources and a screening tool to find out what you should do next," Apple said on its website.
Coronavirus in juvenile detention is a ‘nightmare scenario,’ doctors and advocates say
The coronavirus pandemic has spurred a flurry of activity to release children from juvenile detention centers. Doctors, youth advocates and former probation and detention officials say it's the only way to prevent an outbreak.
At the New Orleans juvenile detention center, children have expressed fears of getting sick, said Christy Sampson-Kelly, an administrator for the center's school.
"They're worried about being left behind," she said. "They're an afterthought. I think in the efforts to slow down the virus and be responsible, we just said, 'Kids, stay home,' but no one thought about our kids."
Dyson designs new ventilator to help COVID-19 patients
Several companies around the world are trying to make ventilators, but it takes time.
At Dyson, the British company best known for making vacuums, a team of engineers has been working on a design for the last 10 days since receiving a request for help from Britain Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Billionaire inventor James Dyson told his staff the device would draw on technology used in the company's air purifier ranges and is powered by a digital motor. Britain wants to increase the availability of ventilators from 8,000 to 30,000.
'Praying for Laura': Tweet about 30-year-old victim strikes chord, goes viral
A man's tweet requesting prayers for a 30-year-old coronavirus victim went viral Friday, inspiring thousands of tweets with the phrase "Praying for Laura."
The man, author Jonathan Merritt, said his friend, whom he identified only as "Laura from NYC," was diagnosed with COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. Merritt said Laura is on a ventilator in intensive care "fighting for her life."
"She is only 30," he wrote in his tweet Thursday night. "Please pray for her."
His post had upward of 10,000 retweets as of Friday morning and more than 70,000 likes.
Bishops tell faithful they don't have to give up meat on Lenten Fridays
Some Roman Catholic bishops around the country are relieving the faithful of the need to give up meat on Fridays as they are already deprived of some foods and other pleasures during the coronavirus pandemic.
Catholics are instructed not to eat meat on Ash Wednesday, when Lent begins, and all Fridays.
Some bishops are telling parishioners that they've given up enough as the pandemic denies them of gatherings, outside entertainment and everyday conveniences. Others loosened the guidance because many foods are hard to come by on picked-over grocery shelves and going out to shop for specific foods could jeopardize people's health.
Death toll hits more than 500 in New York, Cuomo says
New York's coronavirus death toll has topped more than 500 — about half of all deaths linked to COVID-19 in the U.S., Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Friday.
"This is a different beast than we're used to dealing with," Cuomo said, speaking from the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in Manhattan, which has been turned into a field hospital.
The deaths in New York climbed to 519, a nearly 35 percent increase from Thursday. Cuomo said he expects the number to grow as people who have been on ventilators for a long period succumb to the virus. He also said:
- The number of positive cases is at 44,635, up 20 percent from Thursday. The total in New York City is 25,398, up 22 percent.
- There are 6,481 hospitalized in the state, up from 1,042 a week ago. But Cuomo said hospitalizations are doubling every four days instead of every 2.5 days, showing a possible slow down is occurring.
- New York public schools will remain closed for an additional two more weeks until at least April 15, after Cuomo initially gave an April 1 deadline to reassess the situation.
- Aside from temporary field hospitals in Manhattan, Westchester County and Long Island, he's planning for similar field hospitals in New York City's other four boroughs.
Instacart workers plan a national 'emergency' walkout
Instacart workers announced Friday that they will hold a national "emergency" walkout on Monday, accusing the company of failing to take proper safety precautions and not honoring its promise to pay workers for 14 days if they are diagnosed with the coronavirus or subjected to quarantine.
The announcement, which was posted to Medium, said workers will not return to work until their demands for safety precautions, hazard pay and an "extension and expansion of pay" for workers affected by coronavirus are met.
"This is an extraordinary time in history, and as Shoppers, those of us who are able — and have the means to protect ourselves — do want to help those in our community by delivering groceries and supplies," the post read. "But with Instacart neglecting the basic wellbeing of its 150,000+ drivers, we believe there is no choice but to not only walk off, but to raise awareness to the company’s practices."
Instacart did not immediately respond to NBC News' request for comment.
Morning roundup of coronavirus coverage
The four possible timelines for life returning to normal [The Atlantic]
A Twitch streamer is exposing coronavirus scams live [Wired]
Need tips on social distancing? This guy's been doing it for almost 50 years. [KUNC in Northern Colorado]
South Africa struggles to adapt to lockdown
South Africans struggled to adapt to new confinement rules Friday, with many city streets no less crowded than normal as a strict lockdown regime took effect. This came as the country recorded its first two deaths from the virus Thursday, with the number of confirmed cases above 1,000, according to Reuters.
The 21-day lockdown — which is among Africa's strictest — came into force at midnight. It restricts people to their homes for most activities including exercise, only permitting excursions for buying food or for health emergencies.
While streets in the more affluent parts of Johannesburg appeared quiet, large crowds continued to gather in other poor townships, where cramped conditions hinder social distancing among people reliant on an ailing public health system.
Many are also too poor to weather the associated economic fallout: “I don’t have money, now I am thinking what should I do? Because of this, I will be stuck in the house with my babies and everyone and my wife,” street vendor Godfrey Thula told Reuters in downtown Johannesburg.
Photos: Matterhorn lights up with messages of solidarity
Dow plunges by 900 points as questions rise over passage of $2 trillion relief package
Stocks tanked on Friday as the fate of the $2 trillion economic relief package suddenly came into question overnight.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell by around 900 points at the opening bell, with the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq down by around 3 percent each.
Members of Congress were scrambling to get back to Washington, D.C., late on Thursday due to fears the bill might not pass by the voice vote planned for Friday after being advised the measure could require an in-person vote instead.
Optimism that the vote would pass had carried stocks into a three-day rally, despite Thursday's staggering unemployment numbers that surpassed 3.2 million.
All three major averages are now down more than 20 percent from recent highs, as investors flee the markets in favor of cash safety such as money market funds.
Italy will not 'loosen the containment measures' after cases slow down
While new cases of COVID-19 in Italy showed some signs of slowing last week, "let us not delude ourselves that we can loosen the containment measures," Silvio Brusaferro, president of the Italian Institute of Health, said — referring to strict lockdown measures imposed across the country — in an online conference Friday.
"There are areas of the country where the virus circulation is strong — in Lombardy, part of Piedmont and Veneto,” he added.
Italy remains Europe's worst hit country with over 80,000 cases across the country. More than 8,000 people have died as of Friday.
In Iran, false belief that a poison fights the coronavirus kills hundreds
Standing over the still body of an intubated 5-year-old boy wearing nothing but a plastic diaper, an Iranian health care worker in a hazmat suit and mask begged the public for just one thing: Stop drinking industrial alcohol over fears about the coronavirus outbreak.
The boy, now blind after his parents gave him toxic methanol in the mistaken belief it protects against the virus, is just one of hundreds of victims of poisoning inside the pandemic now gripping Iran.
As the country battles the worst outbreak in the region, Iranian media reports nearly 300 people have been killed and more than 1,000 sickened so far by ingesting methanol across the country. It comes as fake remedies spread across social media in Iran, where people remain deeply suspicious of the government after it downplayed the crisis for days before it overwhelmed the country.
Photo: Police enforce stay-at-home order in Uganda
Pompeo announces $274 million in emergency humanitarian funding
Secretary Mike Pompeo announced Thursday evening that the U.S. has made nearly $274 million in emergency health and humanitarian funding available to assist in fighting the global coronavirus outbreak.
“Today’s $274 million will provide resources to 64 of the world’s most at-risk countries to better combat the pandemic and enable the UN High Commissioner on Refugees to assist some of the world’s most vulnerable populations,” the statement said.
These new pledges include nearly $100 million in emergency health assistance, Pompeo announced, saying that “the American people continue to lead in responding to this pandemic.”
There are now more than 500,000 recorded cases of coronavirus around the world.
Trump says NY doesn't need 30,000 ventilators as Cuomo claimed
President Donald Trump on Thursday night questioned New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's claim that his state needs 30,000 ventilators to treat patients hospitalized with the coronavirus.
"I don't believe you need 40,000 or 30,000 ventilators,” Trump said in a phone interview on Fox News with Sean Hannity’s show. “You know, you go into major hospitals sometimes and they'll have two ventilators. Now all of a sudden they're saying, 'Can we order 30,000 ventilators?'"
Earlier this week, Cuomo said that New York needed 30,000 ventilators to help keep patients who've suffered from severe cases of COVID-19 alive.
During the interview, Trump also criticized Michigan's Democratic governor, Gretchen Whitmer, saying that he's having a problem with her.
"I've asked repeatedly and respectfully for help," Whitmer responded on Twitter. "We need it. No more political attacks, just PPEs, ventilators, N95 masks, test kits. You said you stand with Michigan — prove it."
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson tests positive for coronavirus
Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson has tested positive for coronavirus, he announced in a tweet Friday morning.
“Over the last 24 hours I have developed mild symptoms and tested positive for coronavirus,” he wrote, adding that he was “now self isolating.”
He said that he would continue lead his government’s response to the epidemic via video-conference.
The U.K.'s Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock also tested positive on Friday.
Global coronavirus cases top 500,000 as U.S. passes China
The United States is leading the world in the number of coronavirus cases as of Friday with 85,707 people sick, according to tracking by NBC News — a toll that surpasses the caseload in China where the pandemic ignited in December.
The number of deaths has also risen to 1,268, with New York being the worst hit, accounting for 433 of those killed by COVID-19.
France's Macron says he and Trump are preparing coronavirus initiative
French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted late Thursday that he had a "very good discussion" with President Donald Trump, and that they "are preparing with other countries a new strong initiative in the coming days."
The tweet didn't give further details on the initiative.
French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe warned residents Friday that "we are settling in a crisis that will hold." He added that the epidemic will soon hit Paris and the surrounding region.
France's initial 15-day lockdown period is set to end Saturday. Philippe said he would hold a press conference Saturday to announce the country's strategy and plans going forward. The president of the French Hospital Federation warned that some Paris hospitals would soon reach capacity, and called for the transfer of patients to less affected regions.
At least 44 health workers in Italy have died from coronavirus
At least 44 health workers in Italy have died of the coronavirus as of Friday and the number is rising rapidly, according to the Italian Federation of Doctors.
The huge number of infections — now over 80,000 across the country — has overwhelmed hospitals particularly in the region of Lombardy. More than 8,000 people have died in Italy.
Health workers across the country have taken selfies of their faces, bruised from constantly wearing the personal protective equipment they need to protect themselves.
Britons coughing at emergency workers could face jail
Anyone claiming to have coronavirus who deliberately coughs at emergency workers faces being jailed for two years, Britain’s Director of Public Prosecutions Max Hill said on Thursday.
Hill said he was “appalled” there had been reports in recent days of people deliberately coughing in the faces of police, other emergency workers and shop staff by people claiming to have COVID-19 infections. Those responsible could face charges of common assault he said.
On Friday, the London Metropolitan Police Service called on retired officers — as well as those nearing retirement — to consider returning to or staying on the force, as the city tries to cope with the virus outbreak.
The British government announced a three-week lockdown on Monday, as the virus infected more than 11,000 people in the country as of Friday.
Britain claps for health care workers in mass applause
People across the U.K. gathered on their doorsteps and balconies on Thursday night to show their appreciation to the country’s health workers.
From apartment blocks to 10 Downing Street, well-wishers paid tribute to all the staff in the National Health Service. Even the royal family got in on the action, with staff at Windsor Castle coming out to applaud and Prince William's children, George, Charlotte and Louis clapping on a video shared on social media.
Along with the applause, buildings across the country were lit up with blue lights in tribute to those working within the NHS and emergency services. One paramedic team was driving their ambulance down a residential street at the time of the applause, and flashed their lights in appreciation, while in Yeovil Hospital ICU doctors took time to applaud their colleagues.
The British government announced a three-week lockdown on Monday intended to slow the spread of the virus, which has infected more than 11,000 people and killed 578.
Mexican zoo names new baby tiger 'Covid'
The birth of a baby tiger called "Covid" has brought a glimmer of hope to a private zoo in eastern Mexico, even as normal life slows down to contain the deadly coronavirus that inspired his name.
Named by the family that owns the zoo, Bengal tiger Covid was born on March 14 in the city of Cordoba in a small zoo that specializes in rescuing animals from circuses and exotic private collections.
"He's going to have a big impact because the situation right now is difficult for everyone, even for us," Kitzia Rodriguez, daughter of the zoo owner and a vet there, told Reuters. "But I think the birth, in spite of the situation, will help us and gives us hope to carry on, so we can have visitors. Covid was a gift."
In Tokyo, face masks are a must-wear for commuters
Trump speaks to China's Xi about coronavirus
President Donald Trump tweeted early Friday that he had a "very good conversation" with China's President Xi Jinping, and that the two leaders discussed the coronavirus pandemic and are working closely together.
State-run Xinhua reported that the two leaders had spoken.
Trump has repeatedly called the coronavirus the "Chinese virus," even though the World Health Organization in 2015 said that diseases should not be named based on geographic locations. The outbreak began in the Chinese city of Wuhan.
Trump this week seemed to back off from the term. Trump was asked about the change in language Thursday and said that the virus did come from China but "I think it was time" and that "I don't have to say it, if they feel so strongly about it."
Montana governor latest to tell residents to stay home to slow spread of virus
Montana Gov. Steve Bullock issued a stay-at-home directive Thursday, which his office says requires residents to remain in their homes as much as possible and for nonessential businesses to temporarily close in order to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Montana has 90 cases of the coronavirus illness COVID-19, many of them in Gallatin and Yellowstone counties, which is where Bozeman and Billings are located, respectively. The order goes into effect Saturday.
Bullock also announced Thursday that the state has seen its first death related to the illness.
Like other orders around the country, essential businesses like grocery stores and pharmacies will remain open and residents are allowed to leave to go shopping, take walks or other outdoor exercise or to walk dogs, and to care for loved ones, among other activities.
Navy hospital ship USNS Mercy to arrive in Los Angeles Friday
The Navy hospital ship USNS Mercy is expected to arrive in Los Angeles on Friday to support medical systems amid the coronavirus epidemic.
The Mercy set sail from San Diego this week. The Defense Department says the ship can hold up to 1,000 hospital beds, which will reduce the burden on regular hospitals that have to handle COVID-19 patients.
COVID-19 is the illness caused by the coronavirus. In Los Angeles County, the number of cases grew to 1,216 Thursday, including 21 people who have died, the health department said. There had been 559 new cases confirmed in the past 48 hours, and the department said the large increase was in part due to greater testing capacity that is allowing officials to identify cases.