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Coronavirus testing 'disaster,' security fears after Twitter hack, and more from Mary Trump

‘People are dying’: Doctors and nurses who volunteered in NYC are issuing dire alerts to their hometown communities.
Healthcare workers push a patient into a less intensive unit from the Covid-19 Unit at United Memorial Medical Center in Houston, Texas in early July. Mark Felix / AFP - Getty Images file

Good morning, NBC News readers.

Doctors and nurses who volunteered in New York are raising red flags as the coronavirus pandemic reaches their home states. Delays in testing results delays are an "impending disaster," according to public health experts. And Mary Trump says racist and anti-Semitic comments were "commonplace" in her family growing up.

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

'This is real': Doctors, nurses who helped New York with coronavirus surge warn their home states

Medical professionals from across the country rushed to New York City when it became the center of the pandemic in the U.S. in March and April, but now they are alarmedby what they're seeing in their own backyards as their home states report record numbers of cases.

Almost 1 in 5 new cases of the coronavirus reported around the world one day this week came from just three U.S. states — Texas, Florida and California — an NBC News tally revealed Tuesday.

Ivette Palomeque, a nurse in Houston, volunteered at New York City's Elmhurst Hospital during the peak of the pandemic in New York.

She wished that Texans who weren't practicing social distancing or wearing masks had seen and experienced what she had.

"For some of the general public, this will never be real unless they witness it with their own eyes or it hits them close to home, unfortunately," Palomeque said.

Her message to those in her hard-hit state: "Please wear your mask. People are dying. This is real."

That pain and suffering is beginning to hit areas of the country that had previously been spared, like the impoverished, underresourced Mississippi Delta.

Masks and social distancing seemed to vanish in Mississippi when Gov. Tate Reeves announced that all businesses could reopen at the end of May.

Now, hospitals across the state, particularly in the Delta, are overwhelmed and lack the resources to combat the coronavirus pandemic. There simply aren’t enough medical workers in the state to contend with the huge influx of patients.

  • Track the U.S. hot spots where COVID-19 infection rates are rising.
  • The U.S. death toll from coronavirus has surpassed 139,000 according to NBC News' tally.

'No one wants to wait 26 days for a test result for a highly infectious deadly disease'

More than four months into the pandemic, testing continues to be a major impediment to controlling the spread of the coronavirus.

With the surge in cases and the increase in demand for COVID-19 tests, some people say they’ve been forced to wait not only days, but weeks for their results.

Dr. Brett Giroir, the assistant secretary of health and human services for health, who is overseeing COVID-19 testing, called delayed coronavirus test results "outliers."

But public health experts say they are a recipe for "disaster."

Mary Trump was asked if she ever heard the president use a racial slur: 'Of course I did'

President Donald Trump's niece said that she's heard her uncle use racial and anti-Semitic slurs.

"Oh, yeah, of course I did," Mary Trump said in an interview that aired Thursday night on "The Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC. "And I don't think that should surprise anybody given how virulently racist he is today," Trump said.

Trump, who's promoting her best-selling book, "Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man," said racist and anti-Semitic slurs were "perfectly commonplace" among her family's older generations.

Meantime, in a news analysis, NBC's Jonathan Allen writes that five decades later, President Trump is still pushing segregationist policies.

When the president says Joe Biden wants to "abolish the suburbs," what he appears to mean is that Biden wants to stop suburban segregation, Allen writes.

Conversations about race seem to be so ever-present at the moment, that one black writer joked that he doesn't want to talk about it anymore.

In the latest episode of our "Into America" podcast, host Trymaine Lee talks to Damon Young, a senior editor at The Root, about navigating silly, awkward, and sometimes inappropriate questions about race.

'Only going to get worse': After Hagia Sophia ruling, many fear what's next from Erdoğan

The conversion of Istanbul's symbolic, shape-shifting Hagia Sophia edifice back into a mosque is being described as a victory for the conservative religious agenda of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

The Hagia Sophia was once a cathedral, and then it was a mosque. And then, in 1934, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk— the founder of modern Turkey, who aspired to build a secular state — declared it a museum.

After a Turkish court annulled Atatürk's decision one week ago, Erdoğan swiftly declared the Hagia Sophia to be — once again — a mosque.

Analysts said the decision showed how desperate the president is to maintain his popularity among his religious and nationalist conservative base, which has kept him in power for years — but which is now seen to be waning.

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THINK about it

Hoping people believe face masks work is doomed to fail in an anti-vaccine world, a group of health professionals write in an opinion piece.


Is it safe to go to the beach? Health experts answer 5 important questions.


Spray sunscreen — does it really work? The dermatologist to Oprah Winfrey, Beyoncé and Margot Robbie weighs in.

Quote of the day

"To everybody in town that I see posting on Facebook about how this isn't real and that it’s a political scheme, I'm like, 'Oh, my God, come intubate these patients.'"

Dr. Kelsey Dowell, a doctor in Indianola, Mississippi, a small poverty-stricken town that has seen the spread of COVID-19 grow precipitously in recent weeks.

A new ocean?

The African continent is very slowly peeling apart. Scientists say a new ocean is being born.

The African continent’s tectonic fate has been studied for several decades, but new satellite measurements are helping scientists better understand the transition and are offering valuable tools to study the gradual birth of a new oceanin one of the most geologically unique spots on the planet.

"This is the only place on Earth where you can study how continental rift becomes an oceanic rift," said Christopher Moore, a Ph.D. doctoral student at the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom, who has been using satellite radar to monitor volcanic activity in East Africa that is associated with the continent’s breakup.

Image: East African Rift Valley, satellite view
Astronauts aboard the International Space Station captured this photo in 2012 of the East African Rift Valley, a region where tectonic plates are peeling apart.NASA

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Thanks, Petra