Coronavirus live updates: U.S. death toll tops 99,500 –

Charts: COVID-19 cases in Alabama, California and Virginia are surging

As the number of confirmed coronavirus infections in the U.S. inches toward 1.7 million, certain states are seeing case numbers surge.

California’s had 15,000 new cases since last Thursday and will likely count its 100,000th confirmed COVID-19 case Wednesday.

Alabama, where no more than 500 new cases had been reported in a day, has now reported 500-plus cases four of the previous five days according to an analysis of NBC News COVID-19 case data.

Virginia, which has close to 40,000 cases, set new one-day highs for confirmed cases Monday and then again Tuesday, with 1,615.

See NBC News’ coverage of the coronavirus, read a timeline of the spread of the coronavirus, see a map of U.S. coronavirus cases, a map of U.S. deaths, and a map of coronavirus cases around the world.

Egypt’s doctor’s union warns healthcare system could collapse due to lack of PPE

Egypt’s main doctor’s union has warned that the country’s health system could “completely collapse” if the government continues to provide inadequate personal protective equipment to health care workers.

In a statement posted on their website, the Egyptian Medical Syndicate, which has more than 200,000 members, said the government had failed to provide enough PPE, had not made early detection tests available to workers and had not properly trained hospital staff who were working closely with COVID-19 patients.

Dr. Mohamed Abdel Hamid, treasurer of the organization, told NBC News that 19 doctors had died since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak. The Egyptian Minister of Health and Population Dr. Hala Zayed disputed this figure and said 11 doctors had died and 291 had been infected. She defended the government’s management of the pandemic and said the Ministry had taken “all precautions and procedures to protect its medical staff.”

May 27, 202001:20

Students return to school in South Korea

More than two million students returned to school in South Korea on Wednesday, as the country recorded the highest number of new infections in more than a month.

Kindergarten students, the two lowest grades of elementary school, middle school seniors and second-year high school students were among those to return. It followed the reopening of high schools for seniors on May 20.

Some 450 schools chose to delay reopening their doors, however, after a kindergarten student and teacher in Seoul tested positive for coronavirus. The Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education told NBC News at least 19 of those schools will aim to reopen classrooms from June 1. The country reported 40 new cases as of midnight Tuesday, nearly double the 19 recorded the day before.

Prince Charles curates classical music playlist for Britons

Britain’s Prince Charles gave radio listeners a glimpse of his taste in music, broadcasting a playlist of classical favorites as the country remains in lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

“I have no doubt when we are finally allowed to enjoy concerts and theatrical performances once again, our brilliant orchestral players…will be ready to thrill us all,” he said, adding that they will be “all the brighter because of their enforced silence and absence.” 

The curated playlist, including both of Frédéric Chopin’s piano concertos and the Four Last Songs of Richard Strauss also included a specially commissioned piece in memory of his grandmother, the queen’s mother. Charles, 71, was among the high-profile British figures to contract coronavirus in March but made a swift recovery and remains in his Scottish home during the lockdown.

The Americas now the ‘epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic,’ WHO says

The Americas have emerged as the new epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, the World Health Organization said in a briefing.

“Our region has become the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Carissa Etienne, WHO director for the Americas and head of the Pan American Health Organization, said via videoconference on Tuesday. Also of concern to WHO officials are accelerating outbreaks in Peru, Chile, El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua.

The Americas have registered more than 2.4 million cases of the new coronavirus and more than 143,000 deaths from the resulting COVID-19 respiratory disease. Latin America has passed Europe and the United States in daily infections, she said.

Robot waiters, video doctors: SKorea moves to less personal contact

SEOUL, South Korea — When you approach the sleek silver counter of Lounge X, a cafe in one of southern Seoul’s corporate hubs, a masked and aproned barista takes your order. Motioning toward the chip reader, he completes the order and walks over to pick out a glass cup. He presses a few buttons, then hands it off to Baris, the robot barista.

The robotics cafe, founded almost a year ago, finds itself in the middle of South Korea’s “untact” paradigm, the word being a portmanteau of the negative prefix “un” and “contact” that alludes to what a contactless society in the post-coronavirus era will look like.

Schools are back in session and hordes of masked commuters squeeze into cars. Daily life has resumed — but with the tacit acknowledgment that human interaction may never be the same.

Read the full story here.

New Zealand discharges its last coronavirus patient from hospital

New Zealand has reached another milestone in its fight against coronavirus, discharging its final hospitalized patient on Wednesday. 

“Currently there is nobody in hospital with COVID-19, following the discharge of one person,” Ashley Bloomfield, the country’s director general of health, told reporters.

New Zealand has been praised for its handling of the virus where only 21 people have died so far and much of the country has slowly begun to re-open. The country credits its success with enforcing a strict and early one-month lockdown.

Coronavirus pandemic leaves Iditarod winner stranded in Alaska

After winning this year’s 975-mile Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in Alaska in March, Thomas Waerner found himself  —and his 16 dogs — unable to return home to Norway due to travel restrictions and flight cancellations caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

It was only after he crossed the finish line that he realized how difficult flying home would be. 

“Its not easy to (travel) with that many dogs,” said Waerner, who plans to fly home in early June with his dogs and a few of his friend’s dogs too. “I knew when airlines were shutting down that (it was) going to be hard.”

Waerner, who arrived in Alaska three months ago, said he’s looking forward to being reunited with his wife, five children and 35 other sled dogs. “When you’re sitting in a situation where you can’t go home, you’re not missing the big things, you’re missing the small things,” he said.

May 26, 202002:32

Amtrak asks Congress for an additional nearly $1.5B

Amtrak sent a letter to Congress seeking an additional $1.475 billion in supplemental funding in the next fiscal year, citing the coronavirus pandemic and associated economic effects. The money sought is in addition to its annual $2 billion grant request made earlier this year.

“Amtrak, like all other modes, has seen a dramatic decline in demand for service since the pandemic, and is expecting ridership to only return to approximately 50% in FY 2021,” Amtrak said in a statement.

The letter from Amtrak President and CEO William J. Flynn says it is seeking the money through either a supplemental appropriations bill dealing with the COVID-19 crisis or through an annual appropriations bill.

The letter says that in 2019 Amtrak and its state partners carried more than 32 million passengers and had been on pace for what it called another record-breaking year, but the pandemic changed that.

“Today, many of our routes are struggling to reach ten percent of the ridership levels we had only months ago,” Flynn said in the letter.

Amtrak said it is working to shave $500 million from its operating costs, which includes reducing some service and restructuring its workforce. 

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