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U.S. virus deaths top 100,000, protests over George Floyd death and China's security law

As America passes tragic milestone, violence erupts in Minneapolis.
Image: Coronavirus Pandemic Causes Climate Of Anxiety And Changing Routines In America
A woman walks by a memorial for those who have died from the coronavirus outside Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York on Wednesday.Spencer Platt / Getty Images

Good morning, NBC News readers.

As America passed a tragic milestone in the fight against the coronavirus, more violence erupted overnight in Minneapolis over the death of an unarmed African American while in police custody.

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

U.S. coronavirus deaths top 100,000

More than 100,000 Americans have died from COVID-19, according to NBC News' count.

Mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, neighbors, colleagues, strangers in our own towns and cities and states — 100,000 people gone.

The scale of the loss is difficult to absorb. Each death has left unfathomable grief, confusion and anger in its wake.

But the health crisis, and the ensuing political, economic and personal chaos it has created, has caused America to see its promise and flaws more clearly, writes NBC News' Daniel Arkin.

For NBC News THINK editor Hilary Krieger, the pandemic isn't just a news story, it's personal. In an opinion piece, she writes that her father's untimely death from coronavirus has left her not just grieving, but angry.

Here are some other developments:

  • A "silent" killer: Asymptomatic COVID-19 cases may be more prevalent than previously thought.
  • Masks: So how do you get Americans to wear them on vacation? Gentle persuasion.
  • School will be back soon in Britain. But teachers and students may not be with Prime Minister Boris Johnson facing a rebellion over his call to send kids back by June 1.
  • Check out our live blog for the latest updates.
  • See maps of where the virus has spread in the U.S. and worldwide.

Protest over George Floyd death turns violent, deadly in Minneapolis

Protests in Minneapolis over the death of George Floyd in police custody escalated into violence Wednesday night, with a fatal shooting near the site of the demonstrations, widespread looting, fires and the deployment of tear gas.

It was the second night of conflict during rallies by thousands enraged by Floyd's death while he was detained by police on Monday.

The demonstrations on Wednesday began peacefully but grew more violent as the night went on.

Earlier in the day, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey called for charges to be filed swiftly against the police officer who pinned Floyd's neck under his knee for more than eight minutes as the unarmed black man could be heard saying "I can't breathe" multiple times before he died.

"Why is the man who killed George Floyd not in jail?" the mayor asked Wednesday.

The Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin, was a 19-year department veteran who has a history of prior complaints.

Chauvin and three fellow officers were fired on Tuesday.

Family and friends of Floyd say the 46-year-old former high school football and basketball star, was a "gentle giant" who was quick to help and easy to adore.

Floyd's sister, Bridgett Floyd, said that the faith she shared with her brother leads her to believe justice will be done.

"We all have our faults. We all make mistakes. Nobody's perfect. But I believe that justice will be served. I have enough faith to stand on it," she said Wednesday in an interview with "TODAY."

Trump is playing defense with his base

Heading into the crucial summer stretch of his re-election campaign, President Donald Trump's support is declining among key groups that helped deliver his 2016 victory, writes NBC News White House reporter Shannon Pettypiece.

With just over five months to Election Day, a number of polls this month show an erosion of support among voters whom Republican strategists had expected would be rock solid behind the president at this point, including seniors, noncollege-educated white voters and evangelicals.

And on Tuesday, two prominent Republicans — Sen. Mitt Romney and Rep. Liz Cheney — called on Trump to knock it off and stop repeating his baseless conspiracy theories about MSNBC's Joe Scarborough.

"I do think the president should stop tweeting about Joe Scarborough," Cheney said, adding: "We're in the middle of a pandemic. He's the commander in chief of this nation, and it's causing great pain to the family of the young woman who died, so I would urge him to stop it."

China approves draft security law critics say endangers Hong Kong's status, freedoms

China's government passed the first hurdle of enacting a draft security law for Hong Kong on Thursday, legislation that critics warn would erode human rights protections and the territory's unique status.

The move has prompted widespread concern about Beijing's increasing influence on the semi-autonomous region.

On Wednesday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned that the law would mean that Hong Kong no longer qualifies for its special status under United States law.

Hong Kong's pro-democracy activists, who in recent days have taken the streets in protest, spoke out against the move.

"Today's decision is a direct assault on the will" of Hong Kongers, said one prominent activist.

Police stand guard to deter pro-democracy protesters from blocking roads in the Mong Kok district of Hong Kong on Wednesday. Isaac Lawrence / AFP - Getty Images

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THINK about it

To stall the next wave of COVID-19, governors need to mandate masks for all, Vin Gupta, assistant professor of pulmonary and critical care medicine at the University of Washington, writes in an opinion piece.


How to get the most from your virtual doctor's visit.


It’s better for the planet when you buy new tech devices less frequently, here's how to do it, according to technology writer Whitson Gordon.

One fun thing

Call it the pandemic pivot.

The desire for fresh pandemic-appropriate content is forcing fashion and travel influencers to adapt to the times. Think more loungewear and and workout clothes than luxe designer gowns.

You might even be able to relate now. Kinda. Sorta.

Devon Windsor.
Devon Windsor.Devon Windsor / via Instagram

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Be safe and stay healthy, Petra Cahill

CORRECTION (May 28, 2020, 9:50 a.m. ET): An earlier version of this article misspelled the first name of an NBC News reporter who wrote an essay on how the health crisis and ensuing political, economic and personal chaos have caused America to see its promise and flaws more clearly. He is Daniel Arkin, not David.