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A different May Day, Biden denies sexual assault allegations and Queen releases "You Are The Champions"

As President Donald Trump minimizes death toll, the federal government has ordered a 100,000 more body bags.
Image: Lansing Michigan protest
Michigan State Police block protesters trying to enter the Michigan House of Representatives chamber in Lansing on Thursday. Jeff Kowalsky / AFP - Getty Images

Good morning, NBC News readers.

It's May Day, a day usually marked by labor protests across the globe in "normal" times. But in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, today we expect to see demonstrations calling to re-open the economy, counterprotesters in support of stay-at-home orders and workers demanding more safety protection.

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


While Trump minimizes the toll, government orders 100,000 new body bags

The federal government placed orders for well over 100,000 new body bags for victims of COVID-19 in April, according to internal administration documents obtained by NBC News.

The orders came even as President Donald Trump projected that the U.S. death toll from the coronavirus might not exceed 50,000 or 60,000 people.

This is just one illustration of how Trump’s sunny confidence about the nation’s readiness to reopen is in conflict with the views of administration officials who are quietly preparing for a far worse outcome.

The heated debate over how and when states should reopen continues as many stay-at-home orders expire today, while others are issuing new ones.

Armed protesters stormed Michigan's CapitolThursday in demonstrations against the state's emergency orders as the governor extended the measures for another 30 days.

What are the current rules in your state? Check here.

Meantime, workers at Target, Walmart, Amazon and other major companies are planning nationwide "sickout" protests Friday over coronavirus safety to coincide with International Workers' Day, also known as May Day.

The expected protests come amid grim economic news as national jobless claims top 30 million — or around 18 percent of the workforce.

Here are some other developments:

  • About face: Vice President Mike Pence wore a mask during a visit to a General Motors plant in Indiana Thursday, days after being criticized for not wearing one while visiting the Mayo Clinic. (Apologies, readers pointed out I had the wrong link to a story about doctors reaction to Pence's mask-less hospital visit yesterday. Here it is.)
  • Check out our live blog for the latest updates.
  • See maps of where the virus has spread in the U.S.and worldwide.
  • Listen to our Into America podcast. This week host Trymaine Lee talks with NBC News senior financial reporter Gretchen Morgenson about the survival of Main Street in the midst of the coronavirus crisis.

A rare, dangerous complication is now being seen in some kids with coronavirus

Early data on pediatric COVID-19 cases suggested that, for the vast majority of children, the illness is relatively mild.

Recently, however, reports of potentially serious complications specific to children have begun to emerge in the U.S. and Europe: A handful of kids have developed dangerous inflammation around the heart and other organs, somewhat similar to a rare condition called Kawasaki disease, which causes swelling of the coronary arteries, primarily in children.

The development has perplexed physicians, who have scheduled a call with experts from around the globe this weekend to share information about cases.

"We are scrambling to put together a unified case definition," said Dr. Jane Burns, director of the Kawasaki Disease Research Center at the University of California, San Diego.

The World Health Organization is also now "urgently" investigating the potential link between this new problem and COVID-19.

Children wearing face masks to help protect against the spread of the new coronavirus watch soap bubbles fly in South Korea last week. Ahn Young-joon / AP

Grief and questions: Britain's bereaved ask if coronavirus deaths could have been avoided

Behind the news last month that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was released from a London hospital where he was treated for coronavirus — and where, he says, his time in intensive care saved his life — are the thousands of stories of those who didn’t make it.

More than 26,000 people have died in the U.K. as a result of COVID-19 as of Thursday, according to the National Health Service. The latest figures make Britain's death toll among the highest in Europe.

Some say their loved ones died because the country wasn’t locked down soon enough, which allowed the infection to spread more widely — a decision made by Johnson’s government.

"If we went into lockdown quickly, people didn't need to die," lamented one grieving son who believes the government's slow response cost his father his life.

Thomas Harvey, center-left, a 57-year-old health care assistant at Goodmayes Hospital in London died from coronavirus-related symptoms. He leaves behind his wife and seven children.

The Week in Pictures

Navy Blue Angels and Air Force Thunderbirds demonstration teams fly over Manhattan bridge during the "America Strong" tour of U.S. cities to honor first responders and essential workers in Brooklyn, N.Y., on Tuesday.Brendan McDermid / Reuters

See more of the most compelling photos from the past week.


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Plus


THINK about it

Trump's Twitter outburst proves he can sympathize — just not with COVID-19 victims, radio host and columnist Dean Obeidallah writes in an opinion piece.


BETTER TODAY

Americans are in love with cereal again during the quarantine. Is that a good thing?


Shopping

We're all at home a lot more now. Here are 16 gift ideas to make it a smarter home.


One fun thing

The rock band Queen and singer Adam Lambert released a new version of the iconic song "We Are The Champions" on Thursday evening, re-naming the song "You Are The Champions" in a tribute to healthcare workers around the world.

The song was recorded on mobile phones and all funds and proceeds "will go to supporting frontline workers through the World Health Organization's efforts in the global fight against COVID-19," the band's official page said.

The effort had already raised more than $4.5 million as of Friday morning.


Thanks for reading the Morning Rundown.

We made it to Friday. I hope you have a restful weekend wherever you are.

Please send me any comments or questions you have on the newsletter: petra@nbcuni.com

And if you'd like to receive this newsletter Monday to Friday, please sign-up here.

Be safe and stay healthy, Petra Cahill