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Trump nearly doubles U.S. death toll projection as more than half the country reopens

“We think we'll have a vaccine by the end of this year,” President Donald Trump said Sunday.
Image: People relax in Brooklyn's Prospect Park on May 2, 2020. The New York City Parks Department has kept parks open, but require people to practice social distancing.
People relax in Brooklyn's Prospect Park on Saturday. Justin Heiman / Getty Images

Good morning, NBC News readers.

President Donald Trump revised his estimate for the number of Americans that could die from the coronavirus as more than half the country's states reopen for business.

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

Trump says as many as 100,000 Americans could die from coronavirus pandemic

President Trump warned that the U.S. death toll from the coronavirus pandemic could reach 100,000 — revising upwards his estimate on the number of people the outbreak could kill by tens of thousands.

"We're going to lose anywhere from 75, 80 to 100,000 people. That's a horrible thing. We shouldn't lose one person out of this," the president said of the death toll during a Fox News virtual town hall on Sunday evening.

He also promised that a vaccine would be available this year, contrary to the predictions of senior scientific advisors, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

The death toll in the U.S. has surpassed 67,000, according to NBC News' latest count.

Nevertheless, many Americans welcomed the arrival of warm weather over the weekend and sought relief from the coronavirus restrictions outdoors — crowding beaches and parks — whether lockdowns had been lifted or not.

As of Monday, 32 states will be partially open for business, with more set to join them during the next week.

The reopenings come as Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, expressed dismay over the anti-lockdown protesters not practicing social distancing.

"It's devastatingly worrisome to me personally, because if they go home and infect their grandmother or their grandfather who has a comorbid condition and they have a serious or a very ... unfortunate outcome, they will feel guilty for the rest of [their] lives," Birx said. "So we need to protect each other at the same time we're voicing our discontent.

Here are some other developments:

  • Italy, one of Europe's worst hit countries, began to reopen on Monday, with 4 million people returning to work.
  • The Swiss drugmaker Roche has won emergency approval from the FDA for an antibody test to determine whether people have ever been infected with the coronavirus.
  • A Department of Homeland Security report says China hid coronavirus' severity [A DHS report says China hid coronavirus' severity in order to hoard medical supplies.]in order to hoard medical supplies.
  • Boris Johnson has heralded Britain's coronavirus successes. The numbers tell a different story.
  • Check out our live blog for the latest updates.
  • See maps of where the virus has spread in the U.S. and worldwide.

A mother and daughter shared a hospital room, fighting coronavirus until the end

Glenda Johnson and her 83-year-old mother, Linda Hopkins, both fell ill with the coronavirus in March.

When their symptoms worsened, they went to a hospital near their Detroit home. They were eventually moved to the same room, where Glenda improved and Linda grew sicker.

"It was a blessing, a bittersweet blessing," Glenda said, "that we both got it and we were there together."

Glenda Johnson and her 83-year-old mother, Linda Hopkins, did everything together, until the end. Courtesy of Glenda Johnson; NBC News

How will colleges recover from coronavirus? Campuses that survived disasters offer clues

Even before the coronavirus brought a halt to in-person classes nationwide this spring, some colleges and universities had confronted climate-linked natural disasters with similarly dramatic effects.

The fires, hurricanes, floods and other emergencies that have been occurring with increasing frequency do not only threaten lives and homes — but also colleges and universities across the country.

Administrators from some of those institutions hope to share some of their hard-learned lessons with other schools facing an uncertain future.

"All of us have learned that no one is immune," said Marvin Pratt, director of environmental health and safety at California State University, Chico, which was closed for two weeks by the 2018 Camp fire.

A burned hillside shows how close a wildfire came to Butte College in Oroville, Calif., as classes resume on Nov. 26, 2018.Anda Chu / MediaNews Group via Getty Images

Thousands of captive tigers in U.S at risk of coronavirus

What's next, social distancing for big cats? Zookeepers demanding personal protective equipment?

In a word, yes. COVID-19, the illness that has cut a swath through the globe's human population, is threatening tigers and lions, experts say.

Those at greatest risk of catching the virus, according to animal welfare experts, are the thousands of tigers living in unregulated zoos and private captivityacross the United States.

More than 5,000 tigers live in captivity in the U.S., with as few as 6 percent of them in accredited zoos — the fruits of an illicit market that was placed under global scrutiny by the Netflix documentary "Tiger King."

A pair of the 39 tigers rescued in 2017 from Joe Exotic's G.W. Exotic Animal Park relax at the Wild Animal Sanctuary in Keenesburg, Colo., in April. Marc Piscotty / Getty Images file

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  • Indivisible, the progressive group never keen on Joe Biden, endorses the former VP.
  • J. Crew filed for bankruptcy as the retailer known for its preppy look succumbed to COVID-19 fallout.
  • Biden accuser Tara Reade said she's "not sure" what the complaint she claims was filed with Senate says.
  • Wasn't a global pandemic enough? Now a giant "murder hornet" invasion has become the latest 2020 concern.

THINK about it

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One kind thing

Across the country, Americans are giving a gift of hope to those who need it most.

They’re donating their stimulus payments to help feed their neighbors, to restaurant workers and more.

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Be safe and stay healthy, Petra Cahill