Coronavirus Live Updates The latest news and updates related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The novel coronavirus, first detected at the end of 2019, has caused a global pandemic.

Coronavirus Live Updates

Latest news and updates on the pandemic

A fence outside Brooklyn's Green-Wood Cemetery is adorned with tributes to victims of COVID-19 on Thursday in New York. Mark Lennihan/AP hide caption

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Mark Lennihan/AP

A fence outside Brooklyn's Green-Wood Cemetery is adorned with tributes to victims of COVID-19 on Thursday in New York.

Mark Lennihan/AP

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday that the "number of new [coronavirus] cases walking in the door is at an all-time low."

Cuomo said that the number of new coronavirus hospitalizations reported on June 1 was 154, which is the lowest number since the state started counting in mid-March.

New York has been the state hit hardest in the U.S. by the coronavirus.

New York City's five boroughs have seen more than 200,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus, according to the dashboard from John's Hopkins University.

Across the state, more than 373,000 people have tested positive for the virus and over 24,000 have died as a result, according to state data.

The state reported just 1,329 new confirmed cases of coronavirus on Monday.

This Sunday, May 31, the state reported its lowest percentage of positive test results to date. Less than 2% of the nearly-50,000 tests came back with positive results on that day, according to state data.

"We're doing very, very well when it comes to dealing with the COVID-19 crisis," Cuomo told reporters.

Muslim pilgrims circumambulate the Kaaba during last year's pilgrimage to Islam's holiest sites in Saudi Arabia. This year's hajj is in doubt — and Indonesia has canceled its participation because of COVID-19. Ashraf Amra/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images hide caption

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Ashraf Amra/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Muslim pilgrims circumambulate the Kaaba during last year's pilgrimage to Islam's holiest sites in Saudi Arabia. This year's hajj is in doubt — and Indonesia has canceled its participation because of COVID-19.

Ashraf Amra/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Indonesia, home to more Muslims than any country in the world, is canceling this year's hajj pilgrimage to holy sites in Saudi Arabia, saying the health and safety of travelers would be at risk during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Our religion teaches us that saving lives is an obligation. That is the consideration in this policy," Minister of Religious Affairs Fachrul Razi said Tuesday during a news conference in Jakarta.

The decision comes weeks before the first group of pilgrims was slated to leave Indonesia to begin their journey to the Saudi cities of Mecca and Medina.

But Mecca, Islam's holiest city, is currently under a 24-hour curfew because of the coronavirus, and it's expected to remain so until at least June 21.

Saudi Arabia currently has nearly 90,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, while Indonesia has just over 27,500, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

In a normal year, Saudi Arabia sets quotas for millions of pilgrims based on their country of origin. But the kingdom has not yet announced whether it will allow visitors for this year's hajj, and it canceled most international travel in March because of the coronavirus.

"Indonesia, which has the largest quota of haj pilgrims in the world, initially planned to send up to 221,000 people for the annual Muslim tradition," The Jakarta Post reports.

With uncertainty lingering over this year's hajj, there wouldn't be enough time to process visas, coordinate flights and also enforce mandatory 14-day quarantines for pilgrims, the Ministry of Religious Affairs says.

Indonesia's decision to cancel the pilgrimage applies to all Indonesian citizens, whether or not they were planning to travel for the hajj under the government's official quota, Razi said.

Parkview Early Learning Center in Spokane, Wash., has been operating at one-third capacity under pandemic guidelines. Co-owner Luc Jasmin III says it has been tough to turn away parents, many of whom are essential workers. Kathryn Garras hide caption

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Kathryn Garras

Parkview Early Learning Center in Spokane, Wash., has been operating at one-third capacity under pandemic guidelines. Co-owner Luc Jasmin III says it has been tough to turn away parents, many of whom are essential workers.

Kathryn Garras

When Luc Jasmin III took over Parkview Early Learning Center six years ago, he wanted to create a safe space where young children could not only be cared for but also get an educational foundation to prepare them for a lifetime of learning.

During normal times, the center in Spokane, Wash., serves about 100 children who range in age from 4 weeks old to 13 years. The center didn't close down during the coronavirus pandemic, except for a couple of days to retrain staff on social distancing and cleaning guidelines.

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However, since mid-March, it has been operating at one-third capacity under the guidelines. Because the center serves families in need, it has been a tough decision. Jasmin says he gets calls every week from parents asking about enrollment, but he has had to turn them away.

It's tough, he says, "because so many essential workers rely on us to be consistent and reliable. And we're really unable to offer that right now."

A majority of the children at his center come from low-income families — about 90% of them get some kind of subsidy and some are homeless.

At a time when routine and structure have changed drastically, Jasmin says some children are having more outbursts and challenging behaviors than usual. The stresses under the coronavirus have been tough — not just on the kids but also on his staff, many of whom experienced trauma as children.

"They can relate to the kids we have here, but the increased behaviors are triggering the traumas of my own employees. There are kids swearing at them and punching them in the face," Jasmin says. "They're trying to be bigger, kinder, stronger, wiser for these kids, but inside they're barely holding it together."

Most of the kids who have continued to come in are children of essential workers — those in front-line emergency services and health care, grocery and food delivery. Jasmin especially understands the need for child care for families with working parents and their role in reopening the economy.

"I'm really worried," he says. "Unless we as a nation ... decide to fund early learning, I don't know how we're going to get back to normal."

Read more stories in Faces Of The Coronavirus Recession.

Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Seema Verma, pictured at a White House event last month, says her agency will be stepping up fines for nursing homes that fail to sufficiently control infections. Evan Vucci/AP hide caption

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Evan Vucci/AP

Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Seema Verma, pictured at a White House event last month, says her agency will be stepping up fines for nursing homes that fail to sufficiently control infections.

Evan Vucci/AP

Newly released data from the U.S. government show that nearly 26,000 nursing home residents have died from COVID-19 and more than 60,000 have fallen ill. These figures, however, don't account for all nursing homes across the country.

According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, known as CMS, about 80% of nursing homes nationwide reported data to the CDC as is now required. The remaining 20% could face fines if they don't comply.

CMS Administrator Seema Verma told reporters on a conference call Monday that the data has limitations: Some facilities have reported cumulative figures, and some have reported weekly. She said she expects the discrepancies will even out over time. The figures will be publicly available Thursday on a government website called Nursing Home Compare.

Verma also said CMS had found that the nursing homes with the lowest ratings had some of the worst outbreaks of COVID-19. In March, CMS ordered states to inspect nursing homes for proper infection control. But figures released Monday show that nationwide, a little over half of those inspections have been done, with Nevada completing 100 percent of inspections and West Virginia completing around 11 percent.

States that do not finish all of the required infection inspections by the end of July could face having to forfeit some of their funding under the coronavirus aid package known as the CARES Act. That money could be redistributed among states that are in compliance with the requirement.

CMS also announced Monday that it will be stepping up fines for nursing homes that fail to sufficiently control infections. Nursing homes that have previously been cited for lax infection control could receive fines ranging from $5,000 to $20,000.

Adm. Brett Giroir, who has been leading federal coronavirus testing efforts, speaks during one of the daily White House coronavirus task force briefings in April. Alex Brandon/AP hide caption

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Alex Brandon/AP

Adm. Brett Giroir, who has been leading federal coronavirus testing efforts, speaks during one of the daily White House coronavirus task force briefings in April.

Alex Brandon/AP

The Trump administration's testing czar announced Monday that he will be leaving that position in mid-June.

Adm. Brett Giroir told a meeting of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS that he will be "demobilized" from his role overseeing coronavirus testing at FEMA in a few weeks and going back to his regular post at the Department of Health and Human Services.

An HHS spokesperson confirmed the plan for Giroir to stand down from his role and indicated that there are no plans to appoint a new "head of efforts" for coronavirus testing.

"While Adm. Giroir will remain engaged with the COVID-19 testing and related efforts, many of the day-to-day management and operations of testing are being transitioned to HHS operating divisions," the spokesperson said in a statement to NPR. This will allow Giroir "to return to the key public health responsibilities of the Assistant Secretary for Health."

Giroir was appointed to the testing position in March at a time when the U.S. was struggling to ramp up testing capacity as coronavirus was spreading. When Giroir took charge, on March 12, there were only 5,247 tests done per day nationally.

By the end of May, there were around 400,000 tests done daily according to The COVID Tracking Project. While that's a significant increase, some public health experts say that in order to safely reopen, as many as 900,000 daily tests may be needed.

"Week after week, things do look a little bit better," says Scott Becker, CEO of the Association of Public Health Laboratories. "But we're working to continue to expand because we really believe much more testing is needed through through the summer and certainly into the fall."

Becker says Giroir was responsive and forthright about the testing issues, and that he appreciated him in the "command and control kind of role." The move by HHS away from that model is understandable, Becker says, adding that it also makes him "a little bit anxious."

"The testing supplies are still not perfect — the supply chain still isn't fully operational," he says. "So I want to make sure that we're still getting the attention that we need."

Becker takes some comfort in the fact that Giroir should still be accessible and responsive on testing issues from his usual post as assistant secretary for health at HHS, noting, "I still know where to find him."

Almost two weeks before the reopening, teacher Jane Cooper used a two-meter length of ruler and pipe to check seat spacing in her classroom at Lostock Hall Primary school in Poynton near Manchester, England. Jon Super/AP hide caption

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Jon Super/AP

Almost two weeks before the reopening, teacher Jane Cooper used a two-meter length of ruler and pipe to check seat spacing in her classroom at Lostock Hall Primary school in Poynton near Manchester, England.

Jon Super/AP

Grade schools in the United Kingdom began a staged reopening Monday, welcoming back the first wave of students since closing in late March to all but vulnerable children and children of essential workers.

The reopening comes as the government begins to ease other restrictions, now allowing groups of up to six people from different households to convene in private outdoor settings like gardens with appropriate social distance. The rate of daily coronavirus cases in the U.K. is on a downward trend, but the country continues to report around 4,000 new cases per day, according to a New York Times tracker.

Now, as primary schools invite back more than 2 million children across three grades, experts say they expect about half of parents to continue keeping children at home, according to a survey published Monday by the National Foundation for Education Research.

Geoff Barton of the Association of School and College Leaders estimates that attendance will range from 40% to 70% in schools reopening this week. Some schools allowed to reopen Monday have chosen to remain closed due to safety concerns.

"Our early impression is that the picture on the wider opening of primary schools is very mixed, according to a range of factors, such as different approaches by local authorities, constraints on the space available in schools to accommodate eligible pupils while implementing the safety protocols, and the availability of staff," Barton said in a press release Monday.

That survey also found that more than 60% of school leaders feel unprepared for some aspects of reopening, including managing students' movement and reorganizing spaces to allow for social distancing.

The U.K. Teachers' Union, NASUWT, has consistently criticized Prime Minister Boris Johnson's decision to move ahead with reopening schools in June despite possible risks.

"The Prime Minister's display of determination to press ahead with the wider reopening of schools from 1 June is seriously at odds with the scientific evidence released to date, and the deep concerns expressed by schools, teachers and parents," NASUWT General Secretary Dr. Patrick Roach said last month.

Still, in an interview with the Express & Star Monday, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson maintained that reopening schools is safe and now necessary for students.

"All schools need to start opening up," he said. "It is in the interests of the children's learning and well being."

Additional primary and secondary schools are slated to resume classes later this month, according to the Department of Education.

Commuters wait to board buses in Mexico City on Monday. Fernando Llano/AP hide caption

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Fernando Llano/AP

Commuters wait to board buses in Mexico City on Monday.

Fernando Llano/AP

Mexico's government has announced a nationwide lifting of coronavirus social distancing measures — with the exception of areas marked as red zones. Making the announcement virtually meaningless, a government map shows nearly the entire country marked in red.

It's just the most recent example of confusing messaging from the president who was late to acknowledge the seriousness of the coronavirus threat. While President Andrés Manuel López Obrador is eager to get the country back to work, cases are rising. Mexico has now recorded the seventh-highest number of COVID-19 deaths in the world, according to the Johns Hopkins tracker, with nearly 10,000 virus-related fatalities and almost 100,000 confirmed cases. Testing in the country is low and health officials acknowledge that the numbers are likely much higher.

López Obrador has downplayed the virus outbreak and has criticized stay-at-home orders for harming the economy.

This week the president resumed traveling around the country, on Monday visiting the resort town of Cancún, which has been hit hard by the lack of tourism.

The governor of Quintana Roo state, where Cancún, Tulum and other popular spots are located, says the state will open back up to tourists next week.

The president drove the 1,000-mile trip from Mexico City to the Yucatán Peninsula, in southeastern Mexico, opting not to fly commercial airlines as one of the personal precautions he promised to take against the virus.

He is in the region to tout an infrastructure project, the Mayan Train. The railway will carry tourists around the Yucatán and other, poorer areas of the south, to create new economic opportunities and up to 80,000 jobs, according to the president.

He told reporters there is good news on Mexico's economic horizon, pointing to a slight increase in oil prices, which have been low, and a small strengthening of the peso, which has slumped against the dollar since the outbreak.

If easing restrictions leads to a spike in coronavirus cases, he said, he is prepared to once again shut activities. But any new measures would be recommendations and never done by force, he added.

In the Mexico City metropolitan area, which has been hit hardest by the outbreak, it's unclear when social distancing rules will be lifted. Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum is urging residents to remain indoors and only go out when absolutely necessary.

Protests over police treatment of black people have sparked concerns about the spread of COVID-19. Here, a protester marches Monday in Philadelphia with a cloth mask saying, "I can't breathe." Mark Makela/Getty Images hide caption

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Mark Makela/Getty Images

Protests over police treatment of black people have sparked concerns about the spread of COVID-19. Here, a protester marches Monday in Philadelphia with a cloth mask saying, "I can't breathe."

Mark Makela/Getty Images

Mass protests that have erupted over police brutality toward black people in America are raising concerns about the risk of spreading the coronavirus. But some health experts, even as they urge caution, said they support the demonstrations — because racism also poses a dire health threat.

Tens of thousands of people, masked and unmasked, have thronged the streets of Minneapolis, Atlanta, Louisville, Ky., and other cities in the week since George Floyd died after a white Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck. They are the largest public gatherings in the U.S. since the pandemic forced widespread shutdowns, and many local officials warned of a possible spike in new cases in one or two weeks.

"Risk of transmission is lower in open spaces, but wherever there is a gathering there is still the risk of transmitting the virus," said Dr. Elaine Nsoesie, an assistant professor of global health at Boston University.

Health experts urged protesters not to sing and shout to reduce the threat of person-to-person transmission. And they cautioned that police tactics such as tear gas and pepper spray could exacerbate the situation by prompting people to cough and gasp for air.

The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene issued a list of tips for demonstrators to lower their risk of contracting COVID-19, such as covering their faces and staying in small groups.

"Don't yell; use signs & noise makers instead," the department advised.

Nsoesie said that while she agrees with the sentiment, "I can see how some of these tips can be difficult to follow. For example, if you are angry or frustrated about an issue, you want to express that feeling, and speaking is one way of doing that."

She added, "It's also hard to keep 6 feet of distance at a protest."

Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser said she's worried about how consecutive days of protests could trigger an influx of COVID-19 cases. Huge demonstrations began in the nation's capital on Friday — the same day Bowser lifted stay-at-home orders and eased shutdown rules.

The city is still limiting gatherings to no more than 10 people. But in the streets around the White House, that cap is regularly exceeded by orders of magnitude.

"I'm so concerned about it that I'm urging everybody to consider their exposure if they need to isolate from their family members when they go home and if they need to be tested, because we have worked very hard to blunt the curve," Bowser said on NBC's Meet the Press.

But the risks of congregating during a global pandemic shouldn't keep people from protesting racism, according to dozens of public health and disease experts who signed an open letter in support of the protests.

"White supremacy is a lethal public health issue that predates and contributes to COVID-19," the letter said.

Initially written by infectious disease experts at the University of Washington, the letter cited a number of systemic problems, from the disproportionately high rate at which black people have been killed by police in the U.S. to disparities in life expectancy and other vital categories — including black Americans' higher death rate from the coronavirus.

"Data is showing that blacks and Latinos have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19 in many states," said Nsoesie, who was not among the letter's signatories when NPR contacted her. "Racism is one of the reasons this disparity exists."

She continued, "Racism is a social determinant of health. It affects the physical and mental health of blacks in the U.S. So I wouldn't weigh these crises separately."

Local governments should not break up crowded demonstrations "under the guise of maintaining public health," the experts said in their open letter. They urged law enforcement agencies not to use tear gas, smoke and other irritants, saying they could make people more susceptible to infection and worsen existing health conditions.

The medical professionals also acknowledged the potential for COVID-19 cases to rise in the days to come, and they called for public health agencies to boost access to care and testing in affected communities.

Thousands attend a 2019 candlelight vigil in Hong Kong for victims of the Chinese government's 1989 crackdown on protesters in Beijing's Tiananmen Square. Organizers question why police are blocking the demonstration this year. Kin Cheung/AP hide caption

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Kin Cheung/AP

Thousands attend a 2019 candlelight vigil in Hong Kong for victims of the Chinese government's 1989 crackdown on protesters in Beijing's Tiananmen Square. Organizers question why police are blocking the demonstration this year.

Kin Cheung/AP

For the first time in 30 years, police in Hong Kong have denied permission for organizers to hold an annual vigil for victims of the Tiananmen Square massacre. Police have cited concerns over the spread of the coronavirus.

The rally has been held each year since 1990 to commemorate the lives lost in the June 4, 1989, crackdown in Beijing's Tiananmen Square. The Chinese military opened fire on citizens who were calling for economic and democratic reforms.

The Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, which organized the vigil, told the South China Morning Post that alliance members still planned to enter Victoria Park to observe a moment of silence that night.

The alliance also asked the public to join an online gathering and light candles across the city.

NPR's Emily Feng reported that the move to deny the demonstration comes amid controversy surrounding China's proposed national security law that could limit Hong Kong's autonomy.

The potential law has concerned pro-democracy advocates, and as Feng noted, "Legal scholars question whether Beijing has the authority to impose this law on Hong Kong."

In justifying an earlier extension of restrictions to June 4, police cited a lingering threat of the spread of the coronavirus, The Guardian reported.

"Police believe the event will not only increase participants' chances of contracting the virus, but also threaten citizens' lives and health, thus endangering public safety and affecting the rights of others," police said, according to the newspaper.

Lee Cheuk-yan, who chairs the alliance that organized the event, told the South China Morning Post that he believes the government was using the pandemic to shut down the demonstration.

"We believe this is totally unreasonable and unscientific, because everything is normal in Hong Kong. They are just using this excuse to suppress our rally," he said, adding that many other facilities had already reopened.

To Reach The Homeless, An Alabama Church Brings 'The Steeple To The Streets'

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Patrick Aitken, missions coordinator at the River City Church in Montgomery, Ala., is concerned that the city's already vulnerable homeless population will be forgotten during the coronavirus pandemic. Mary Joyce McLain hide caption

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Mary Joyce McLain

Patrick Aitken, missions coordinator at the River City Church in Montgomery, Ala., is concerned that the city's already vulnerable homeless population will be forgotten during the coronavirus pandemic.

Mary Joyce McLain

In Montgomery, Ala., just down the road from where Martin Luther King Jr. once preached, a noisy trailer sits in a tiny church parking lot.

The trailer is like a mini-laundromat, equipped with three washers and dryers and two shower stalls. Every week, it serves a homeless congregation at River City Church — even through a pandemic.

Patrick Aitken, the church's missions coordinator, calls the trailer "The Clean Machine." For the small crowds that pass through the parking lot to pick up their laundry and a hot meal, Aitken is a familiar face, always in a T-shirt with bold lettering that reads Homeless Lives Matter. Aitken is concerned that the city's already vulnerable homeless population will be forgotten.

"I dare say half of our congregation is homeless or formerly homeless," Aitken says during the church's recent Loads of Love event, where volunteers wash clothes and offer showers to those in need. "We did it before COVID-19 and we'll continue to serve our homeless friends after COVID-19."

He devotes himself to outreach in his community, though it comes with plenty of risk. The Alabama Department of Public Health announced the state's biggest single-day increase in COVID-19 cases last week, and Montgomery County has emerged as a coronavirus hot spot.

"We need to take the steeple to the streets," Aitken says. "We've got to go where the people are. If that means going out at 10 o'clock at night to take someone some supplies that they called and said they desperately needed, that's what we're going to do."

Along with shoes, clothing and food, River City Church now supplies care packages with hand sanitizer and hygiene products.

"I see the tears in their eyes when they look at me, and they hug me, and they shake my hand, and they say, 'Thank you,' " Aitken says, acknowledging that he doesn't always follow social distancing guidelines during his ministry. "For me to pull back and say, 'Please don't touch me,' that just hurts them to their core. I'm not going to deny them a hug if they want to hug me."

Aitken says a man in his congregation recently described his own experience in the pandemic this way:

"He said, 'People have always looked down on me, but right now, they look down on me even more. I'm not allowed to come inside a restaurant, I'm not allowed to come inside a gas station to wash my hands or use the bathroom, people avoid me like the plague when I'm walking down the sidewalk.' It breaks my heart," Aitken says.

June 1

2 Tribal Casinos In Connecticut Roll The Dice And Reopen

Connecticut Public Radio

A hand sanitizing wipe station is seen next to the slot machines at the Mohegan Sun casino on May 21. Connecticut's two federally recognized tribes said they're planning to reopen parts of their casinos on June 1, despite Gov. Ned Lamont saying it's too early and dangerous. Mary Altaffer/AP hide caption

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Mary Altaffer/AP

A hand sanitizing wipe station is seen next to the slot machines at the Mohegan Sun casino on May 21. Connecticut's two federally recognized tribes said they're planning to reopen parts of their casinos on June 1, despite Gov. Ned Lamont saying it's too early and dangerous.

Mary Altaffer/AP

Tribal casinos in Connecticut reopening on Monday in defiance of state leadership. They are the latest to make that decision.

Two weeks ago, Viejas Casino & Resort in Alpine, Calif., was part of a wave of tribal gaming facilities to resume operations in that state even after Gov. Gavin Newsom wrote a letter trying to dissuade them.

Now, Foxwoods Resort Casino and Mohegan Sun are touting "limited" re-openings despite Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont saying he thinks it's too early for them to do so.

"I think the idea of opening up on June 1 is early," Lamont said. "It's earlier than Las Vegas, it's earlier than any of our regional casinos want to do. I'd like to have more time."

Officials at Foxwoods were confident ahead of the June 1 reopening, particularly because the tribe's safety plan calls for 25% occupancy across the casino's more than 9 million square feet.

"We feel like we've put forward a plan to mitigate the risk," said Rodney Butler, chairman of the Mashantucket Pequot tribal nation, the tribe that runs Foxwoods. "Don't go with the perception of what casinos were. Let's focus on what we're doing, and you have to come and see it."

Foxwoods patrons will have their temperatures checked at the door and will be required to wear masks. Ten miles west of Foxwoods, Mohegan Sun is instituting similar safety guidelines. Also, players at table games will be separated by plexiglass. Dice will reportedly be disinfected after each roll.

The Connecticut gaming facilities are the first to reopen in a part of the country hit hard by the coronavirus. More than 3,800 state residents have died from COVID-19. In addition to the Connecticut and California reopenings, the Detroit Free Press reports that several tribal casinos in Michigan are following suit.

Top officials with the European Union urged President Trump to rethink his plans to leave the international agency. Trump announced his decision Friday after weeks of levying criticisms and threatening to pull funding. Alex Brandon/AP hide caption

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Alex Brandon/AP

Top officials with the European Union urged President Trump to rethink his plans to leave the international agency. Trump announced his decision Friday after weeks of levying criticisms and threatening to pull funding.

Alex Brandon/AP

Officials with the European Union are urging President Trump to rethink his recently announced plans to pull the United States from the World Health Organization.

The president told reporters on Friday of his intentions to immediately cut ties with the international health agency. On Saturday, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Josep Borrell, the EU's top diplomat, called on Trump to reconsider his plans, saying "actions that weaken international results" during the coronavirus pandemic "must be avoided."

"The WHO needs to continue being able to lead the international response to pandemics, current and future," said von der Leyen and Borrell in a joint statement. "For this, the participation and support of all is required and very much needed."

The officials also note that the members of the WHO had agreed earlier this month to review lessons learned from the pandemic response.

In April, Trump temporarily halted U.S. funding for the WHO and accused it of "mismanaging and covering up the spread of the coronavirus." He's also claimed that China has too much influence over the agency.

Then on May 18, Trump gave the United Nations agency 30 days to make substantial changes or face the U.S. funding cuts becoming permanent. Trump's Friday announcement happened less than two weeks after that ultimatum.

The WHO had no comment on Trump's announcement, but health ministers and member states expressed disappointment in the retreat of the agency's largest single donor.

South African Health Minister Zweli Mkhize called the decision "unfortunate."

"Certainly, when faced with a serious pandemic, you want all nations in the world to be particularly focused ... on one common enemy," Mkhize told reporters.

Quoting German media, The Associated Press reports that the country's foreign minister said Trump's plan sends the "wrong signal at the wrong time."

"The number of people infected worldwide is increasing and the crisis is spreading," Heiko Maas told the Funke media group. "We can't tear down the dike in the middle of the flood and build a new one."

The BBC reports a spokesperson for the United Kingdom reaffirmed that country's commitment to the WHO.

"Coronavirus is a global challenge and the World Health Organization has an important role to play in leading the international health response. We have no plans to withdraw our funding," the spokesperson said.

A church in North Hollywood, Calif., stands empty last month after services were canceled because of coronavirus restrictions. Damian Dovarganes/AP hide caption

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Damian Dovarganes/AP

A church in North Hollywood, Calif., stands empty last month after services were canceled because of coronavirus restrictions.

Damian Dovarganes/AP

The Supreme Court has rejected a California church's attempt to overturn the state's coronavirus restrictions on in-person religious services.

In a 5-4 decision issued late Friday, Chief Justice John Roberts sided with the court's liberal bloc in upholding the state's right to impose limits on congregations in order to slow the spread of COVID-19.

"Although California's guidelines place restrictions on places of worship, those restrictions appear consistent with the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment," Roberts said, in an opinion that denied a request by the South Bay United Pentecostal Church for relief from the rules.

The Chula Vista-based house of worship sued Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, over an order limiting congregations to 25% capacity or 100 attendees, whichever is lower. The plaintiffs told the court its services typically attract 200 to 300 congregants.

Worship services and nonessential retail were halted for more than two months in California, which has recorded nearly 107,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and more than 4,000 deaths.

During the lawsuit's path through the lower courts, the state issued guidelines earlier this week allowing for a limited reopening — but that did not satisfy the plaintiffs, who felt the eased restrictions remained unconstitutional.

In rejecting that challenge, Roberts wrote that the Constitution generally grants broad leeway to state leaders in circumstances of medical uncertainty. In particular, the chief justice found that Newsom's order was consistent in limiting not just religious services, but also various kinds of activities "where large groups of people gather in close proximity for extended periods of time."

"The notion that it is 'indisputably clear' that the Government's limitations are unconstitutional seems quite improbable," wrote Roberts.

The court's four reliably conservative justices — Samuel Alito Jr., Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Clarence Thomas — dissented. Kavanaugh said the guidelines violate the First Amendment because they "discriminate against places of worship and in favor of comparable secular businesses."

Unlike Roberts, who said church services were on par with sporting events, concerts and other large secular gatherings also limited by the order, Kavanaugh compared the church with secular spaces that were excepted from the restrictions, such as supermarkets. The court's newest justice argued that, in this sense, the limits single out religious services.

"The State also has substantial room to draw lines, especially in an emergency," he said in the dissent. "But as relevant here, the Constitution imposes one key restriction on that line-drawing: The State may not discriminate against religion."

In a separate case, the court also rejected a lawsuit from two churches in Illinois seeking to block Gov. J.B. Pritzker's rule limiting religious services to just 10 worshipers. Pritzker later modified the order to allow for up to 100 people at services, and the court denied the churches' request for relief without a noted dissent.

The limits on church services have been a flashpoint in the national conversation surrounding the coronavirus, with President Trump wading into the controversy earlier this month to push for churches' right to reopen. Even as many states — such as California and Illinois — have moved to loosen their restrictions in recent weeks, critics continue to argue that the rules on houses of worship are discriminatory.

Earlier this week, California, officials said they plan to reevaluate the reopening order based on where matters stand with the coronavirus in mid-June.

Motels are closed in late April in Old Orchard Beach, Maine, during measures to stem the spread of the coronavirus. Robert F. Bukaty/AP hide caption

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Robert F. Bukaty/AP

Motels are closed in late April in Old Orchard Beach, Maine, during measures to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

Robert F. Bukaty/AP

Updated at 8:13 p.m. ET

The U.S. Department of Justice is siding with campground and restaurant owners in Maine who sued the state over a two-week self-quarantine policy for out-of-state visitors.

Democratic Gov. Janet Mills imposed the restriction as part the state's response to the ongoing pandemic. Several other states have imposed similar measures.

In a brief filed on behalf of Bayley's Campground in Scarborough and other plaintiffs, attorneys with the Department of Justice, including the U.S. attorney for Maine, said the government is getting involved because of its "compelling interest in protecting the public and citizens' constitutional right to be free from unjustified discrimination on the basis of state residency."

In this case, the federal attorneys said Maine has likely exceeded the Constitution's limits by discriminating between Mainers and people from out of state, with respect to the ability to patronize campgrounds and recreational vehicle parks.

The government's statement noted that the order doesn't require all nonresidents to go into quarantine. "As far as public safety goes, it is unclear why out-of-state residents may enter Maine to engage in any 'legal, business, professional, environmental permitting and insurance services,' for example, but not to patronize a campground or RV park. ... If Maine wants to prevent the spread of COVID-19, one would think it would start by preventing outsiders from attending a boardroom meeting, not from pitching a tent."

In response, Mills said in a statement she is "deeply disappointed and frankly disgusted – that the U.S Department of Justice is making a concerted effort to undermine the health of the people of Maine."

Mills pointed out that these objections "were never raised when the President and his own task force took steps to limit travel."

"Maintaining the 14-day quarantine ... has never been about anything other than protecting the health and safety of Maine people at a time when millions are expected to flock to our state from COVID-19 hot spots," Mills said. "I imagine it is for this same reason that so many other governors have enacted similar measures."

On Friday, the judge rejected a motion for a preliminary injunction against the governor's orders.

Bioethicist: 'Immunity Passports' Could Do More Harm Than Good

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A woman's blood is collected for testing of coronavirus antibodies at a drive-through testing site in Hempstead, N.Y., to determine whether she may have some immunity to the virus. Seth Wenig/AP hide caption

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Seth Wenig/AP

A woman's blood is collected for testing of coronavirus antibodies at a drive-through testing site in Hempstead, N.Y., to determine whether she may have some immunity to the virus.

Seth Wenig/AP

"Immunity passports" have been proposed as one way to reboot economies in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

The theory is this: The approval of the so-called passports would rely on the positive results from an antibody test of your collected blood sample. If you have antibodies to the coronavirus after recovering from an infection, you might be immune from future infection and therefore could be authorized to work and circulate in society without posing a risk to yourself or others.

At least, that's the idea.

But it "could create a lot more harm than it does good," says Natalie Kofler, who teaches bioethics at Harvard Medical School.

As she argues in a recent essay for the journal Nature, Kofler says a system that hinges on a blood test could cut off already marginalized populations from access to critical public resources, wherein "an immunoprivileged sort of status or an immunodeprived status" would dictate "where and what they can go do."

In any case, she says, scientists aren't certain that it's even possible to achieve immunity from the coronavirus and how long that immunity would last.

"I am really concerned that too much attention time and funding is being given to a policy that's likely to firstly, not work, and also create more risks than it does benefits," Kofler says in an interview with NPR's All Things Considered.

Here are excerpts from the interview:

Who is interested in using "immunity passports"?

Governments including the U.K., the United States — as well as Chile has actually already begun to roll out a version of an immunity passport.

Private companies are also interested, particularly in partnering with certain app developers to create applications that would allow for people on their phones to validate and show their immunity status, in which case could allow private companies, like certain hotels and even sporting events, to control who can enter their premises.

Another issue that you raise is equity — that the poor will simply not have as much access to these immunity passports. Explain what you mean.

Those that are already marginalized by society — the poor, minority groups — they end up being often last in line for access to these precious resources. So we have a lot of concern about who would actually be able to have their immunity status validated. You could have people that just aren't able to access society because they can't even be able to certify their immune status.

If immunity passports aren't the answer, what is then?

I really think that attention needs to be given right now to really developing a vaccine is effective but also that is going to be universally available. And I also do support maybe thinking about ways that we can protect particularly vulnerable locations and spaces.

It may be that, for example, to enter certain nursing homes or [long-term care] facilities to enter certain penitentiaries where there's high density — people who are [at] higher risk of COVID-19 — that we might have health check status there. We may want to check for presence of virus in people who entering and exiting.

But not on the individual level where everybody is gonna either have an immunoprivileged sort of status or an immunodeprived status to be able to depend on where and what they can go do. I think that that could create a lot more harm than it does good.

Listen to the full interview at the audio link above.

Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, says a new analysis supports the effectiveness of the CDC's system for spotting infectious disease outbreaks early. Drew Angerer/Getty Images hide caption

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Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, says a new analysis supports the effectiveness of the CDC's system for spotting infectious disease outbreaks early.

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The head of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday that a new analysis shows the agency's delayed rollout of coronavirus testing did not hinder the nation's response to the pandemic.

The coronavirus didn't start spreading in the U.S. until late January or early February, the CDC analysis found, and it circulated at low levels for quite some time.

As a result, the availability of earlier widespread testing for the virus would not have been able to spot it, according to CDC Director Robert Redfield.

"It really would be like looking for a needle in a haystack," Redfield told reporters in a briefing about the analysis. The study was published in the agency's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

The CDC has come under intense criticism for botching the rollout of testing for the new virus. The agency's first test was flawed, delaying the availability of wide-scale testing. Many public health experts said that delay squandered a crucial window of opportunity to keep the virus from spreading in the United States.

More than 100,000 Americans have died from COVID-19, more than in any other country.

But other experts disputed Redfield's assertion about the testing delay.

"No one is arguing that the U.S. should have done widespread testing in January," Jennifer Nuzzo, an epidemiologist at the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, wrote in an email to NPR. "We should have done targeted surveillance testing, however."

She added: "We still don't know precisely when COVID-19 was first introduced or how many people were infected. The only way we would have been able to know this is if we had been testing more broadly."

The new CDC analysis was based on four lines of evidence, including an analysis of genetic sequences of the coronavirus, testing of specimens collected as part of routine monitoring for the flu, emergency room records and the cases of two people in California later discovered to have died from COVID-19 in early and mid-February.

Other researchers said the new analysis adds little to the body of research on the origins of the coronavirus epidemic in the United States

"Not a huge amount of new science there," Michael Worobey, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Arizona, said in an interview with NPR.

Redfield also said the analysis supports the effectiveness of the agency's system for spotting infectious disease outbreaks early.

"We had pretty good eyes on it," Redfield said. "And the availability of having a diagnostic didn't change our ability to do the surveillance."

But Michael Mina, an infectious disease expert at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, expressed skepticism.

"On the contrary, I think it demonstrates the need for large scale-ups and improvements to public health infectious disease surveillance," Mina told NPR via email.

People stroll near the Eiffel Tower in Paris on Monday. France is entering its second phase of lifting COVID-19 restrictions. Michel Euler/AP hide caption

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Michel Euler/AP

People stroll near the Eiffel Tower in Paris on Monday. France is entering its second phase of lifting COVID-19 restrictions.

Michel Euler/AP

The French are heading into a long holiday weekend with sunny, blue skies and the promise of some newfound freedoms. Starting June 2, for the first time since the country was put under lockdown in mid-March, people will be able to travel more than 60 miles from their homes, parks will open and restaurants, cafes and bars will be allowed to serve food and drinks again to customers onsite.

"It will be so nice to be able to go lie on the grass in a park and have a picnic or to sit at a sidewalk cafe again," says Suzanne Helous, sitting on the cobblestones near the Seine River with friends. The banks of the Seine have become Paris' new happy hour spot most evenings.

In a speech on Thursday, Prime Minister Édouard Philippe said the country is entering phase two of lifting its lockdown, and the government will be removing more and more confinement measures because the situation is evolving positively since the lockdown ended on May 11.

France has confirmed 183,275 COVID-19 cases and more than 28,600 deaths. Since the lockdown's end, there has been a significant and steady decline in hospitalizations.

Philippe said the government and France's scientific council looked at three factors in making their decision to begin lifting pandemic restrictions: the circulation of the coronavirus, the number of available intensive care unit beds and whether testing capacity could keep up with new clusters of infection.

"We are at an even better place than we thought we would be at the end of May," he said, acknowledging the efforts of health workers and ordinary citizens. "It doesn't mean the virus is gone. It's present to varying degrees across France. But its propagation rate is under control now. This is very good news."

When restaurants, cafes and bars reopen Tuesday, there will be restrictions. Tables must be spaced at least three feet apart and employees and diners (when leaving their tables) will have to wear face masks.

In Paris — where the risk of virus spreading remains higher than elsewhere in France — restaurants will limit service to outdoor seating until June 22.

After that, there will be another assessment — and if all goes as planned, France will move into phase three of reopening, with swimming pools, gyms and movie theaters back in business.

There's still plenty to worry about. The prime minister warned in his remarks of the economic crisis that will follow the health crisis.

"It will be brutal," he said. "And this is only the beginning."

But as this weekend starts, the French are breathing a sigh of relief and relishing the prospect of their new freedom.

Moscow has revised its April death toll from the coronavirus to 1,561 amid criticism that Russia may have undercounted fatalities from COVID-19. Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP hide caption

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Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP

Moscow has revised its April death toll from the coronavirus to 1,561 amid criticism that Russia may have undercounted fatalities from COVID-19.

Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP

The city of Moscow has suddenly doubled its coronavirus death toll from last month.

Media reports and analysts have questioned the accuracy of Russia's mortality figures for the virus.

Under its initial methodology, Moscow's Health Department had attributed 636 deaths to COVID-19. But on Thursday, the department announced that 1,561 deaths in April could be linked to COVID-19.

It attributed the revision to an alternative counting method that takes into account "debatable cases."

The department said the newly counted deaths include 756 coronavirus patients who tested positive but who died of other causes and 169 people who tested negative but were still suspected to have the virus.

Even with the revision, Moscow's death rate from the coronavirus is well below other major cities, including New York and London.

Nationwide, Russia has attributed less than 5,000 deaths to COVID-19, even as its infection rate continues to rise to more than 380,000 cases, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

The apparent discrepancy has raised questions among journalists and analysts over the legitimacy of those numbers.

An independent analysis of Moscow's mortality rate showed a nearly 20% increase in overall deaths for April compared with the previous 10 years. One of the researchers involved told NPR that it was likely that many of those deaths could be attributed to the coronavirus.

"I think it's safe to say that if you multiply official death count by a factor of three, you will get a more or less true picture," Aleksei Raksha told NPR's Charles Maynes earlier this month.

Media outlets such as The New York Times and Financial Times have published similar claims.

Russian officials have disputed those suggestions, attributing the country's low mortality rate from COVID-19 to government efforts and a Russian medical practice of certifying a patient's cause of death based on the particular organ that failed.

Moscow's Health Department initially said 60% of deaths among coronavirus patients were due to other causes, apparently using that methodology.

Moscow's revision to its death toll – and methods for tallying COVID-19 deaths – also only count for the city. Other parts of Russia have seen dramatic increases in deaths but still attribute a relatively small number to COVID-19.

The Muslim-majority republic of Dagestan, home to some 3 million people, is among them.

In an interview this month, the republic's health minister, Dzhamaludin Gadzhiibragimov, said 29 people died from COVID-19 in spite of 13,000 infections in the region. He also attributed 657 deaths to "community-acquired pneumonia."

The CDC has revised its guidance to church leaders, deleting a warning about the risk of spreading the coronavirus through choirs and singing. In this photo from last summer, a choir sings at Christ Cathedral in Garden Grove, California. Leonard Ortiz/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images hide caption

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Leonard Ortiz/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images

The CDC has revised its guidance to church leaders, deleting a warning about the risk of spreading the coronavirus through choirs and singing. In this photo from last summer, a choir sings at Christ Cathedral in Garden Grove, California.

Leonard Ortiz/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images

Updated at 6 p.m. ET

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has removed guidance on its website that houses of worship should limit choir activities — advice that was based on evidence that group singing can spread the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

The warning was part of new guidance for leaders of faith-based organizations that the CDC had posted last Friday. It stated that they should:

"Consider suspending or at least decreasing use of a choir/musical ensembles and congregant singing, chanting, or reciting during services or other programming, if appropriate within the faith tradition. The act of singing may contribute to transmission of COVID-19, possibly through emission of aerosols."

But that wording disappeared over the weekend, apparently because the White House had not approved it. The passage was deleted because it had been published by mistake, according to a federal official, who didn't want to be identified because they were not authorized to speak about the changes.

"CDC posted the wrong version of the guidance," the official told NPR, adding, "The version that is currently up on the website is the version cleared by the White House."

The revised guidance on singing now states only that faith-based organizations should: "Promote social distancing at services and other gatherings, ensuring that clergy, staff, choir, volunteers and attendees at the services follow social distancing, as circumstances and faith traditions allow, to lessen their risk."

The change was first reported by The Washington Post.

The CDC's initial advice to religious leaders was posted on the same day President Trump called for all 50 states to allow houses of worship to reopen, after weeks of forced closures due to the coronavirus. The president's comments came after some faith leaders said they planned to defy shutdown orders.

That earlier language is now visible only in a web archive of the agency's site.

The CDC has previously highlighted the risk of singing in choirs. Just two weeks ago, it published a report on a choir practice in Skagit County, Wash., that was deemed to be "a superspreading event." Only one person out of the 61 people who attended the March 10 practice was known to be symptomatic, researchers said. But 53 cases of coronavirus infection were later identified.

That report concluded that:

"Choir practice attendees had multiple opportunities for droplet transmission from close contact or fomite transmission, and the act of singing itself might have contributed to SARS-CoV-2 transmission. Aerosol emission during speech has been correlated with loudness of vocalization, and certain persons, who release an order of magnitude more particles than their peers, have been referred to as superemitters and have been hypothesized to contribute to superspeading events. Members had an intense and prolonged exposure, singing while sitting 6–10 inches from one another, possibly emitting aerosols."

The lead author of that report, communicable disease expert Lea Hamner of Skagit County Public Health, says she is concerned by the CDC's revisions.

"As a Public Health official, I would strongly encourage that religious services continue to happen remotely or in cars," Hamner told NPR via email, "and large group gatherings not take place unless strict safety measures are put in place such as physical distancing, wearing face coverings or masks, providing tools for excellent hand hygiene, and not attending while ill."

The CDC's guidance on choirs had been part of a section titled "Promote social distancing" – a section that has now been cut from eight entries to five.

A CDC entry on social distancing had originally recommended suspending or reducing the use of singing and choirs in church services. The entry was later revised, and the warning about choirs was removed. CDC / Screenshot by NPR hide caption

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CDC / Screenshot by NPR

A CDC entry on social distancing had originally recommended suspending or reducing the use of singing and choirs in church services. The entry was later revised, and the warning about choirs was removed.

CDC / Screenshot by NPR

In another change, the first entry in that section now includes a reference to the First Amendment, which guarantees the freedom of religion and speech. Here's how the sentence now reads, with the newly added phrase in bold:

"Take steps to limit the size of gatherings in accordance with the guidance and directives of state and local authorities and subject to the protections of the First Amendment and any other applicable federal law."

The CDC has also come under scrutiny in recent days for other revisions to its website.

The agency changed the prominence of its guidance about surface spread of the coronavirus, saying that the main means of transmission is person-to-person. As NPR reported, the CDC said "usability improvements," such as a new headline on its page about preventing viral infection, caused confusion about whether its guidelines have changed about how the coronavirus spreads.

In clarifying the agency's guidance, a CDC spokesman said the agency's language about transmission had not changed.

NPR's Selena Simmons-Duffin contributed to this report.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he does not support extending additional unemployment benefits that run out at the end of July. Patrick Semansky/AP hide caption

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Patrick Semansky/AP

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he does not support extending additional unemployment benefits that run out at the end of July.

Patrick Semansky/AP

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he expects Senate Republicans will begin considering proposals for a "fourth and final" coronavirus response bill to address the needs of the country "in about a month."

McConnell said the bill will be narrowly crafted and will focus in particular on jobs and schools. He said there could be funding for small businesses and health care, but he will not support extending the additional $600 per week in federal unemployment benefits that run out at the end of July.

"Unemployment insurance is extremely important, but it is not designed to encourage you to stay home; it is designed to get you through a trough until you can get back to work," McConnell said. "I think you can certainly assume we will not be paying people a bonus for staying home in another bill."

Speaking at an event in his home state of Kentucky, McConnell said Congress needs more time to assess the needs of the country before voting on another costly aid package.

"We need to push the pause button here and think through the next step and do it very carefully," McConnell said. "We do have the potential long-term health of the country with this level of massive debt."

Democrats have criticized GOP leaders for refusing to open negotiations on the next round of relief. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., is calling on McConnell to cancel upcoming committee hearings related to the 2016 election and focus instead on the coronavirus response.

"Watching our Republican colleagues over the last few weeks, you'd never know that the nation is in the midst of crisis," Schumer said in a letter to Senate Democrats. "As unemployment claims reach their highest levels since the Great Depression, Senate Republicans have decided to 'hit the pause button.' "

McConnell has generally ignored calls for further negotiations on coronavirus aid until this week. In his Friday remarks, McConnell did not rule out the possibility of including some money for state and local governments but pointed out that Congress had already approved significant funds for them.

The only proposal McConnell explicitly endorsed was a plan to include liability protections for businesses, individuals, nonprofits and schools. Republicans have insisted they need to protect people from the threat of litigation who are doing their best to comply with regulations related to COVID-19. He detailed that the provision would cover the time period between December and go through 2024 – "a narrowly crafted liability protection for this disease."

Commuters at the Luz station in São Paulo. Brazil has the world's second-highest number of COVID-19 cases after the U.S. Pacific Press/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Ge hide caption

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Pacific Press/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Ge

Commuters at the Luz station in São Paulo. Brazil has the world's second-highest number of COVID-19 cases after the U.S.

Pacific Press/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Ge

Brazil reported a record spike of daily coronavirus infections Thursday, as widespread criticism continues to dog President Jair Bolsonaro for playing down the outbreak. The country has confirmed more than 438,000 cases, the world's second-highest number after the United States.

The rise in cases comes as São Paulo, the state with the highest number of registered deaths, prepares to ease restrictions in some areas.

Brazil's Health Ministry reported 26,417 new confirmed cases in the previous 24 hours. For the third consecutive day, the country's official tally of newly registered COVID-19 deaths — 1,156 — topped 1,000, although many of the deaths occurred days earlier and were not logged until now.

The virus has killed 26,754 Brazilians, according to the official count. Just under a quarter of those fatalities were in São Paulo, considered the national epicenter of the pandemic. Despite this, the governor has announced a gradual loosening of restrictions, even as medical researchers warn infections have not yet peaked in Brazil.

In the city of São Paulo, Brazil's business capital, shopping centers and some stores will be permitted to open beginning Monday. Numerous social distancing measures and the wearing of masks will be required. Bars, restaurants, theaters and sports centers will remain closed.

A group of mayors in neighboring municipalities, where nonessential businesses are still closed, has complained to state authorities, saying the governor's move could bring more cases of infection into their neighborhoods.

Until now, Gov. João Doria has urged São Paulo state residents to stay home, with patchy results. His approach put him at loggerheads with Bolsonaro, who has scoffed at the virus as a "little flu" and wants social distancing measures to be restricted to people older than 60.

While some parts of Brazil are under lockdown, others are moving to ease restrictions, including the vast rainforest state of Amazonas, one of the areas hardest hit by the coronavirus.

Its governor has announced certain nonessential businesses can reopen on Monday. That decision has drawn criticism from Arthur Virgílio Neto, mayor of the Amazonas capital Manaus.

A surge of COVID-19 cases last month collapsed Manaus' health system. Authorities buried the dead in mass graves because cemeteries were overwhelmed.

Virgílio Neto is warning that although the number of deaths in Manaus has since gone down, it is too soon to start reopening the local economy — because a potential second wave of COVID-19 could prove even more deadly than the first.

New Zealand is now allowing gatherings of up to 100 people, and the country says it has just one active COVID-19 case. Much of the credit for the country's success has gone to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, seen here walking through the coastal city of Napier on Friday. Kerry Marshall/Getty Images hide caption

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Kerry Marshall/Getty Images

New Zealand is now allowing gatherings of up to 100 people, and the country says it has just one active COVID-19 case. Much of the credit for the country's success has gone to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, seen here walking through the coastal city of Napier on Friday.

Kerry Marshall/Getty Images

New Zealand is now down to only one active COVID-19 case, reaching a new level of success in its fight against the coronavirus. The last time a new case was reported in the country was more than a week ago; no one is currently hospitalized with the disease caused by the coronavirus.

"For the seventh day in a row, there are no new cases of COVID-19 to report in New Zealand," the Ministry of Health said on Friday.

The news came on the same day that the country further eased its restrictions on the public. It will now permit gatherings of up to 100 people — clearing the way for weddings, parties, funerals and other large events. Restaurants can also host up to 100 people, as long as safety protocols are followed.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has repeatedly urged caution, even as she has celebrated a string of successes in combating COVID-19.

When Ardern announced last month that the country had eliminated community transmission, she said, "We have won that battle," and added, "But we must remain vigilant if we are to keep it that way."

The prime minister is credited with taking decisive and early action to minimize the coronavirus's impact on her country.

"In mid-March, as cases were exploding in Italy and Spain, Ardern ordered anyone entering New Zealand into quarantine," NPR's Jason Beaubien reports. "At that point, the country had confirmed just six cases. A few days later, on March 19, Ardern shut down travel to the country, essentially banning all foreigners from entering the island nation of 4.8 million."

The prime minister also explained the "unprecedented" threat posed by the coronavirus and the country's plan to tackle it, laying out a four-stage lockdown system that closed schools, businesses and travel.

That system worked well, allowing New Zealand to permit businesses and schools to reopen earlier this month.

In a bid to help the country's economy by bolstering domestic tourism, Ardern has also urged businesses to consider allowing employees to work a four-day week.

Overall, New Zealand has reported a total of 1,154 confirmed and 350 probable cases of COVID-19. Twenty-two people have died.

With seven more people having recovering from COVID-19 late this week, the number of recovered cases now stands at 1,481, the ministry says.

Worldwide, the four countries with the highest numbers of confirmed cases are the U.S. — with more than 1.7 million cases — followed by Brazil, Russia and the United Kingdom.

The novel coronavirus, first detected at the end of 2019, has caused a global pandemic.

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