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U.S. coronavirus deaths top 32,000 as White House drafts plan to reopen economy

Another 5 million people filed unemployment claims last week, bringing the total to almost 22 million in one month.
Image: A woman is loaded into an ambulance by paramedics Chateau at Brooklyn Rehabilitation & Nursing Center during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID19) in Brooklyn, New York
A woman is loaded into an ambulance by paramedics at the Brooklyn Rehabilitation & Nursing Center on Tuesday. There has been a spike in the number of deaths at long-term care facilities across the country - New York sadly saw the highest increase. Brendan McDermid / Reuters

Good morning, NBC News readers.

As President Donald Trump looks to reopen the economy, the U.S. death toll from coronavirus has climbed to more than 32,000 people.

Here's what we're watching this Thursday morning.

Coronavirus deaths in nursing homes more than doubled in a week. Families fear the actual number could be way higher.

The number of reported coronavirus deaths in long-term care facilities has more than doubled to 5,670 since last week, according to state health data gathered by NBC News.

Amid the high mortality rate, families with loved ones in nursing homes are worried they are being left in the dark, as the federal government does not keep track of the deaths or require these facilities to report outbreaks to other residents.

The news comes as the number of confirmed coronavirus cases around the world topped 2 million on Wednesday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

The United States has the highest global death toll, with COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, killing more than 32,000 people in the country as of late Wednesday, according to NBC News' tally.

Amid those statistics, President Donald Trump said that the pandemic may have reached its peak in U.S.

"The battle continues, but the data suggests that nationwide we have passed the peak of new cases," Trump said during Wednesday's coronavirus briefing in the White House Rose Garden. "These encouraging developments have put us in a very strong position to finalize guidelines for states on reopening the country."

Here are some other developments:

White House drafts patchwork plan to ease social distancing and reopen economy

A draft plan to reopen the economy being circulated by the Trump administration would advise areas with low numbers of coronavirus infections to begin pulling back on social distancing measures after May 1, with harder-hit areas possibly having to wait an additional month or more.

Public health experts have warned that easing restrictions too soon could cause a resurgence in infections just as there are signs of leveling off in certain places.

The plan acknowledged the risk of a resurgence and called for large-scale hiring of public health workers to support testing, contact tracing and data entry.

Trump has repeatedly predicted a quick economic recovery once the restrictions put in place to stem the spread of the pandemic start to ease.

But economists and other key financial figures say that the recovery won't be immediate, and that the repercussions of the pandemic will be felt for months and maybe years to come.

And another 5 million people filed jobless claims last week, bringing the cumulative total to almost 22 million unemployed people in one month.

Earlier this week Trump read a long list of business titans who would be part of a new advisory group to lead the country's economic revival.

But while happy to participate, the vast majority of those on the list were not informed that they would be named by the president and not told in advance what their roles might be.

'Lock her up!': Anti-Whitmer lockdown protestors swarm Michigan Capitol, some carrying firearms

Demonstrators, some carrying firearms, descended on the state capitol in Lansing, Michigan, on Wednesday toprotest 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.

"Stay in your dam[n] car and put the freaking rifles away ... You're going to ruin this for everyone!" a commenter posted amid fierce social media reaction to the gathering.

And one Michigan health worker blasted the "idiots"protesting the stay-home who were preventing him from getting to the hospital to treat coronavirus victims.

'We can't run away': Medical residents thrust into crisis balance pride and fear

Medical residents in New York City described their fears and hopes to NBC News and said they never imagined they would have to bear witness to so much death this early in their careers.

"I never in a million years thought that I would ever be in this situation," Daniela Tello, a medical resident in Brooklyn, said. "I wake up every day and I feel like I'm living a nightmare."

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THINK about it

Trump's "total authority" boast reveals the paradox — and perils — of Trumpism, Charlie Sykes, editor-at-large of the Bulwark and MSNBC contributor, writes in an opinion piece.


Got cabin fever? Here are some activities that might helpyou and your kids keep busy and entertained.

One fun thing

With many senior living facilities across the country on indefinite lockdown, one company has made it their mission to provide virtual entertainment for the isolated residents.

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Be safe and stay healthy, Petra Cahill