Demonstrations against stay-at-home orders were held across the country Friday as protesters vented their frustrations about the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Shouting “USA! USA!” protesters flew American and “Don’t Tread on Me” flags, outside the Capitol building in Albany, New York. There were similar scenes in Sacramento, California and rallies were scheduled in at least 10 states.
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Some states slowly started to reopen, including Texas, where retail stores, restaurants, movie theaters and malls were allowed to open for business. In Louisiana, restaurants (except those in hard-hit New Orleans) are allowed to add outdoor tables.
As the U.S. death toll neared 65,000 it emerged that the White House blocked Dr. Anthony Fauci from testifying about the response to the crisis before the House Appropriations Committee, a spokesman for the committee told NBC News on Friday. However, he will be allowed to testify before the Senate Health Committee.
It also emerged that the Food and Drug Administration has granted the drug remdesivir, emergency use authorization to treat the most severely ill COVID-19 patients.
Here’s what to know about the coronavirus, plus a timeline of the most critical moments:
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1h ago / 7:25 AM UTC
A Texas park ranger advising revelers at a lake to practice social distancing because of the coronavirus pandemic was shoved into the water.
The ranger, identified in an Austin police report as Cassidy Zukeran Stillwell, was telling a group of parkgoers at Lake Austin to spread apart when he was pushed. Thursday’s scene was captured on video and shared on social media.
Brandon James Hicks, 25, was arrested on suspicion of assault on a public servant and damaging city property, the ranger’s emergency radio. Officials said he could have “caused the Ranger to strike his head on the dock as he was falling, and render himself unconscious in at least three feet of water where he could have drowned to death,” according to a police report obtained by NBC affiliate KXAN.
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1h ago / 7:24 AM UTC
NYC nursing home reports 98 deaths linked to coronavirus
A New York City nursing home on Friday reported the deaths of 98 residents believed to have had the coronavirus — a staggering death toll that shocked public officials.
“It’s absolutely horrifying,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said. “It’s inestimable loss, and it’s just impossible to imagine so many people lost in one place.”
It is hard to say whether the spate of deaths at the Isabella Geriatric Center, in Manhattan, is the worst nursing home outbreak yet in the U.S., because even within the city facilities have chosen to report fatalities in different ways. A state tally of nursing home deaths released Friday listed only 13 at the home.
But officials at the 705-bed center confirmed that through Wednesday 46 residents who tested positive for COVID-19 had died as well as an additional 52 people “suspected” to have the virus. Some died at the nursing home and some died after being treated at hospitals.
The number of bodies became so overwhelming the home ordered a refrigerator truck to store them because funeral homes have been taking days to pick up the deceased.
Photo: A police officer talks to a protestor at a demonstration in Huntington BeachA Police officer talks to a protestor at a demonstration in Huntington Beach, California on May 1, 2020.Apu Gomes / Getty Images
3h ago / 6:11 AM UTC
107-year-old Missouri man celebrates beating COVID-19
CHESTERFIELD, Mo. — A resident of a suburban St. Louis nursing home is believed to be one of the oldest people in the world to survive the coronavirus.
Rudi Heider had two reasons to celebrate on Thursday — he turned 107 and he beat COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. Relatives couldn’t come into his room at Friendship Village in Chesterfield, Missouri, but gathered outside his window while Heider enjoyed a slice of his favorite dessert, lemon meringue pie.
Heider said he looks forward to being able to be with family and friends again.
Heider’s granddaughter, Janet Heider of Seattle, called her grandfather “amazing.”
“I had to tell him that he’s lived through the Spanish Flu, two World Wars, a stroke at 100 years old, and a fractured vertebra at 104 years old that he would not to lose to COVID-19, and he ended up beating it,” she said.
1h ago / 7:27 AM UTC
New Mexico governor seals off roads to help control virus
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The governor of New Mexico invoked the state’s Riot Control Act on Friday as she sealed off all roads to nonessential traffic in the city of Gallup to help control a surging coronavirus outbreak in the former trading post city on the outskirts of the Navajo Nation.
Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham also announced a ban on routine outings and required that businesses close from 5 p.m. to 8 a.m. in the city of about 70,000 people.
COVID-19 infection rates in Gallup and surrounding McKinley County make it one of the worst U.S. hotspots for the pandemic as patients overwhelm intensive care facilities.
Lujan Grisham said the virus has run amok in McKinley County and physical distancing is not being maintained among residents.
“A problem in one part of our state, with a virus this contagious, is a problem for our entire state,” she said.