Good morning, NBC News readers.
The CDC offers a health advisory for the "mystery" COVID-19 illness in kids, Swedes urge Americans to take a closer look before embracing their pandemic policy and streetside tributes to frontline workers around the world.
Here's what we're watching this Friday morning.
'Americans need to be told the truth' — ousted whistleblower unloads on Trump admin
The six one-page "decision tool" checklists are meant to help schools, workplaces, camps, childcare centers, mass transit systems, and bars and restaurants decide when to reopen — but they arrived days and weeks after many states began lifting restrictions on their own.
The CDC drafted more extensive guidance — about 57 pages of it — over a month ago, but it was initially shelved by the Trump administration, The Associated Press reported last week.
The agency also issued a health alert to doctors Thursday on the rare COVID-19 "mystery illness" in kids.
The illness was given an official name: MIS-C, or multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children.
The alerts from the CDC came on the heels of damning Congressional testimony by a former top Health and Human Services official denouncing the Trump administration's response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Ousted whistleblower Dr. Rick Bright told the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on health Thursday that he had warned the administration about shortages of personal protective equipment — especially the lack of N95 masks in the national stockpile — back in January, but that his warnings went unheeded.
As a result, he said, "lives were endangered, and I believe lives were lost."
President Donald Trump dismissed Bright's testimony, saying he "looks like an angry, disgruntled employee."
Here are some other developments:
- Senator Richard Burr, R-N.C., temporarily stepped aside as chairman of the Intelligence Committee after the FBI seized his cellphone and questioned Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., as part of a possible insider trading investigation.
- New jobless claims hit 2.98 last week, bringing continuing claims to around 22.8 million.
- Check out our live blog for the latest updates.
- See maps of where the virus has spread in the U.S. and worldwide.
- Watch "Nightly News: Kids Edition." In the latest episode kids talk about how they are celebrating their birthdays in quarantine.
- Listen to our "Into America" podcast. In the latest episode, Trymaine Lee talks about tracking coronavirus in nursing homes.
Experts warn about the 'brutal arithmetic' of applying herd immunity to humans
Opponents of lockdowns tout the concept of herd immunity as a way of living safely with the coronavirus.
But experts stress caution without a vaccine and say the idea usually applies to business decisions about whether to let farm animals die to save a herd.
"Humans are not herds," the World Health Organization's emergencies director said this week.
Lockdown protesters shout 'be like Sweden' — but Swedes say they are missing the point
Known for its socialized health care, progressive tax system and liberal social policies, Sweden rarely finds cheerleaders among conservative commentators and activists in the United States.
But on homemade placards at anti-lockdown protests in the last month, an unusual slogan has been spotted: “Be more like Sweden.”
Prominent Republican Party figures and GOP-supporting commentators have praised Sweden for its light-touch approach to the coronavirus pandemic— it is almost unique among nations in not ordering citizens to stay indoors, while cafes and restaurants have stayed open.
According to the Swedes, however, American admirers of their approach are confusing their own beliefs with what is a prudent and carefully planned public health policy.
As the coronavirus crisis hits home, Trump hits the trail
The coronavirus crept into the heart of the West Wing this month, with White House staffers testing positive, the vice president and top officials starting to wear masks and the country's top public health officials going into self-quarantine.
But with President Donald Trump eager to put the crisis behind him, a familiar pre-pandemic routine has made an unlikely return: speeches in 2020 battleground states, writes NBC News White House reporter Shannon Pettypiece.
Meantime, presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden continues to campaign from a home studio.
Biden said Thursday that he would not pardon Trump if elected and insisted any prosecutorial decisions would be left to a more independent Justice Department during a virtual town hall-style event on MSNBC Thursday.
And after again emphatically denying the claim of a former staffer that he sexually assaulted her nearly three decades ago, the former vice president said voters "should vote with their heart."
"I wouldn't vote for me if I believed Tara Reade," Biden said.
Murals salute front-line workers around the world
Artists are using graffiti to vent their fears and frustrations and show their support for medical workers on the front lines of the coronavirus outbreak. See images from around the world.
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- Trump's Mar-a-Lago club will partially reopen — but members must bring their own towels.
- Two giant pandas in Canada are heading back to China because bamboo is getting too difficult to find during the pandemic.
- A teen learning how to drive hits, kills dad during a parking lesson in Florida.
THINK about it
Since this White House ignores science, Congress needs its own scientific agency, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse and Dr. Robert Cook-Deegan write in an opinion piece.
Struggling with feelings of guilt right now? Therapists say you're not alone.
If you’re getting back into gaming, some peripherals and accessories could go a long way in elevating the experience.
One fun thing
Humans have used physical greeting rituals for longer than you might realize.
But in the wake of COVID-19, will the most universal of those rituals — the handshake — be gone for good?
This fun video digs into that question.
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Thanks, Petra Cahill