Good morning, NBC News readers.
The U.S. marks another grim milestone in the coronavirus pandemic as House members race back to Washington to make sure a $2 trillion aid bill gets passed and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson tests positive for the virus.
Here's what we're watching this Friday morning.
U.S. now leads world in coronavirus cases
The United States has surpassed China and Italy as the country with the most confirmed cases of coronavirus, marking another unwelcome turning point as the number of global cases passes 500,000.
As of early Friday, the U.S. had 85,707 cases, according to NBC News' count.
Here are some of the latest developments:
- British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced Friday he has tested positive for coronavirus and will be self-isolating.
- In New York City, the epicenter of the American outbreak, hospitals are seeing crisis conditions, with hospital waiting rooms packed with people who are contagious and doctors a "tidal wave" of cases.
- Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle are scrambling back to Washington out of fears that the $2 trillion economic relief package might not pass by the voice vote planned for Friday and could be delayed if at least 216 members don't show up to vote on the floor.
- Get the latest updates in our live blog.
- See maps of where the virus has spread in the U.S.and worldwide.
- The stay-at-home orders vary from state-to-state. Check out a breakdown of all the existing orders.
- Listen to our new podcast "Into America" for more on how the uninsured are grappling with coronavirus.
'This is a war': NYC doctors describe fight against coronavirus as cases surge
Overfilled waiting rooms packed with people who are contagious. Patients waiting six hours to be seen. Others on stretchers waiting 50 to 60 hours for a bed. Doctors desperately trying to get more ventilators.
That is what it’s like to be on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic at a public hospital in New York City, Dr. Rikki Lane, an emergency room doctor at the Elmhurst Hospital Center in Queens, said.
“Our hospital has never, ever, ever seen anything like this,” said Lane, who has worked for more than 20 years at Elmhurst, a public hospital with 545 beds.
And the virus is not sparing those in its path.
Kious Jordan Kelly an assistant nursing manager at Mount Sinai Hospital, a major New York City hospital, died after contracting the virus at work.
The 48-year-old suffered from asthma, his sister said. But as New York hospitals face the growing crisis with severe shortages of crucial medical equipment and protective gear for staffers, his sister, Marya Sherron, fears he won't be the last health worker to die.
"There's only going to be more," his sister, Marya Sherron said. "He's not the only one with asthma. He's not the only one with conditions who is going to work every day helping and fighting for people."
The coronavirus warning light is blinking red in New Orleans. Here's why.
New Orleans is on track to become the next coronavirus epicenter in the U.S.
The city's rich cultural history that prizes large social gatherings, combined with its higher than average rates of obesity and chronic disease, put its population at particular risk.
"New Orleans needs help, or the next week may be disastrous," one local doctor said.
Latest to interview Fauci on coronavirus? NBA's Steph Curry, on Instagram
In times like these, accurate information is key.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, is doing his level best to get it out there, on whatever platforms are possible.
On Thursday he took his message of calm awareness to Instagram for a Q &A session with NBA star Stephen Curry.
Repeating advice he has been giving for weeks, Fauci said people must practice social distancing to mitigate infection rates and not overwhelm hospitals.
"This is serious business. We are not overreacting," he said. "We have a responsibility to protect the vulnerable ones."
Earlier this month, Curry, a six-time All-Star, three-time league champion and two-time Most Valuable Player, missed two games because of flu-like symptoms. Since recovering, Curry has become active in fighting the spread of the coronavirus.
"We're going through a period of time now where we need to pull together," Fauci told Curry. "Don't get frightened. Don't get intimidated. Use the energy to be able to confront it and do the things that will put an end to it."
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- If you liked TARP, you'll love the new coronavirus bill, NBC News' Jonathan Allen writes in a news analysis.
- Coronavirus unemployment benefits: Who qualifies and how much do they get?
- Trump told governors he is setting new coronavirus social distancing guidelines.
THINK about it
Trump says coronavirus was a "surprise." It wasn't to his intelligence analysts, former FBI assistant director for counterintelligence and NBC News/MSNBC analyst Frank Figliuzzi writes in an opinion piece.
Jamming out to Spotify favorites on your phone? For better quality, here's how to shop for a bookshelf speaker.
Quote of the day
"Together we will beat this. #StayHomeSaveLives"
— British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announcing he has tested positive for coronavirus.
A round of applause for the health workers
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.
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.
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I hope you have a restful weekend.
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Be safe and stay healthy, Petra Cahill