Coronavirus: NCAA to lift moratorium on football, basketball workouts

Nearly 5 million people worldwide – including more than 1.5 million in the United States – have been infected with the new coronavirus, and the number of deaths from the outbreak continues to rise. While efforts to contain the COVID-19 outbreak continue, states have begun to shift their focus toward reopening their economies.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is tracking cases in the U.S. here.

>> Coronavirus: Know the facts directly from the CDC

Live updates for Wednesday, May 20, continue below:

NCAA to lift moratorium on football, basketball workouts

Update 11:50 p.m. EDT May 20: The NCAA Division I Council voted Wednesday to lift a moratorium on voluntary workouts by football and basketball players effective June 1 as a growing number of college leaders expressed confidence that fall sports will be possible in some form despite concerns about the coronavirus pandemic.

This decision clears the way for individual workouts by athletes, mostly on their own, subject to safety and health protocols decided by their schools or local health officials..

NCAA officials noted that the workouts could go on as long as all local, state and federal regulations are followed. The status of voluntary workouts for other sports will be determined later.

“We encourage each school to use its discretion to make the best decisions possible for football and basketball student-athletes within the appropriate resocialization framework,” Penn athletic director and council chair M. Grace Calhoun said in a statement. “Allowing for voluntary athletics activity acknowledges that reopening our campuses will be an individual decision but should be based on advice from medical experts.”

From Notre Dame to LSU and more, a number of schools have announced plans to reopen campuses for the fall semester and conferences have begun setting up plans for how to play football amid the pandemic. The latest came this week with the Florida State system announcing plans for its 12 schools and more than 420,000 students.

Many questions remain, including specific safety protocols and whether fans would be allowed if games proceed.

Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith said in conference call Wednesday that he believes the Buckeyes could safely play home games with 20,000 to 30,000 fans in its 105,000-seat stadium.

“I think we can get there,” Smith said.

Smith said he hadn’t figured out yet how those 20,000 to 30,000 spectators would be chosen. He said masks and other precautions would be required to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Smith added that Ohio State is ready to open the 15,000-square-foot Woody Hayes Athletic Center to athletes starting June 8 if the NCAA allows it. About 10 players at a time would be allowed to work out on staggered scheduled with social-distancing and other hygiene precautions in place. Some coaches returned to the complex on a limited basis this week.

Other schools also are looking into ways they can hold workouts as safely as possible.

Middle Tennessee athletic director Chris Massaro said his school plans to take the temperature of players daily and make sure they are wearing masks. Massaro has even discussed moving some equipment from the weight room to the Red Floyd Stadium concourse to make sure workouts allow social distancing.

“We’re a little bit kind of almost like guinea pigs,” Middle Tennessee coach Rick Stockstill said. “We’re the ones that are coming back first, football’s coming back first all across the country. So we’ve got to make sure we’re doing our part so there’s not a setback, and it’s going to take all of us buying in and doing whatever we can to keep everybody else healthy and safe.”

The presidents of Miami and Notre Dame said in separate interviews they expect the football season to be played.

Notre Dame President Fr. John Jenkins told MSNBC he expects to have clarity on how — or if — the football season can happen in the next few weeks.

“The team itself, I feel we can manage that one,” Jenkins said. “Then the question is people in the stands. We have an 85,000-person stadium. Can we get 85,000 people in there? That will be a big challenge to do that. But could we get a smaller number -- 10,000, 15,000, 20,000? I don’t know.”

Miami President Julio Frenk told CNN he hopes the Hurricanes can play this fall and that safety would be the top priority.

“They will probably play in empty stadiums, like so many other sports,” Frenk said.

Scott Woodward, the athletic director at defending national champion LSU, has said that his school was preparing to welcome back its athletes after the Southeastern Conference’s closure of athletic facilities to students is slated to end May 31.

LSU will offer summer classes online and doesn’t have plans to reopen its campus to the general student population at least until the fall semester.

The Division I Council also passed a series of waivers that included suspending the minimum football attendance required of Football Bowl Subdivision members for two years.

Most athletic departments need the revenue generated from football to fund their other sports. Hundreds of schools are reeling financially from the effects of the pandemic. Athletic departments, particularly at smaller schools and in Division II, have already cut a number of sports.

The NCAA this week lowered the minimum and maximum number of games Division II schools are required to play in all sports next year. The move includes a 33% reduction in the minimum number of games needed for sponsorship and championship qualification in most sports.

Under the plan, D-II schools must play at least five football games to maintain NCAA sponsorship and at least seven games to be eligible for playoff consideration. The maximum number of allowable games is 10.

The requirements would return to normal in 2021-22.

Japan ending state of emergency in 3 prefectures

Update 10:40 p.m. EDT May 20: Japan is preparing to remove a coronavirus state of emergency later Thursday in Osaka and two neighboring prefectures in the west where the infection is deemed slowing, while keeping the measure in place in the Tokyo region and Hokkaido.

Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura, in his opening remark at a government task force meeting, asked experts to evaluate a government plan to lift the measure in Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo.

The three are among the eight prefectures still under the emergency status after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe lifted the measure last week in all but eight of the 47 Japanese prefectures. Abe declared the state of emergency on April 7 in parts of Japan including Tokyo and later expanded it to nationwide.

Under Japan’s state of emergency which does not enforce lockdowns, many people have followed the social distancing requests but others had to continue commuting, while a sizeable minority continued to dine out or picnicked at parks. More stores, restaurants and bars have started to reopen recently, under new anti-infection guidelines.

Experts are expected to approve the government plan to lift the state of emergency in the three prefectures before endorsement by parliamentary committees and Abe’s formal announcement later Thursday.

Japan has about 16,424 confirmed cases and 777 deaths as of Wednesday, according to the health ministry.

White House report blasts Chinese ‘malign activities’

Update 10:20 p.m. EDT May 20: Beyond its hard-hitting rhetoric against China over its handling of the coronavirus, the White House on Wednesday issued a broad-scale attack on Beijing’s predatory economic policies, military buildup, disinformation campaigns and human rights violations.

The 20-page report does not signal a shift in U.S. policy, according to a senior administration official, who was not authorized to publicly discuss the report and spoke only on condition of anonymity, but it expands on Trump’s get-tough rhetoric that he hopes will resonate with voters angry about China’s handling of the disease outbreak that has left tens of millions of Americans out of work.

“The media’s focus on the current pandemic risks missing the bigger picture of the challenge that’s presented by the Chinese Communist Party,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday before the White House released its report.

“China’s been ruled by a brutal, authoritarian regime, a communist regime since 1949. For several decades, we thought the regime would become more like us — through trade, scientific exchanges, diplomatic outreach, letting them in the World Trade Organization as a developing nation. That didn’t happen,” he said. “We greatly underestimated the degree to which Beijing is ideologically and politically hostile to free nations. The whole world is waking up to that fact.”

Later in the day, the State Department announced that it had approved the sale of advanced torpedoes to the Taiwanese military, a move sure to draw a rebuke from Beijing, which regards the island as a renegade province. The department said it had informed Congress of the $180 million sale of heavy-weight torpedoes, spare parts, support and testing equipment, which “will help improve the security of (Taiwan) and assist in maintaining political stability, military balance, and economic progress in the region.”

While pushing back on China, Trump has sometimes uttered contradictory statements. He has talked about having a great personal relationship with Chinese President Xi Jinping, yet has repeatedly denounced China for not doing more to stop the virus from spreading across the world. He’ll criticize China, then say he wants Beijing to sign Phase II of a trade deal and join the United States and Russia in a three-way nuclear arms control treaty.

Late Wednesday, Trump wrote on Twitter that China’s “massive disinformation campaign” is intended to help Joe Biden win the 2020 presidential election.

Singapore sentences drug suspect to death at Zoom hearing

Update 9:30 p.m. EDT May 20: Singapore sentenced a drug suspect to death at a court hearing held on the videoconferencing app Zoom because of the city-state’s coronavirus lockdown, in a decision slammed by a human rights group as callous and inhumane.

Defense lawyer Peter Fernando said the Supreme Court announced the penalty to his client, Punithan Genasan from Malaysia, in a virtual hearing Friday. Genasan was in jail, while Fernando and prosecutors participated in the hearing from different locations.

A Supreme Court spokesperson said courts have been conducting hearings and delivering judgments remotely to minimize the spread of the virus. The spokesperson, who declined to be identified under court policy, confirmed Genasan’s case was the first “where a death sentence was pronounced by remote hearing in Singapore.”

“This has been the arrangement made by the court ... with essential hearings conducted via Zoom. We have no complaints,” Fernando said Wednesday. He said he will meet Genasan on Friday to discuss an appeal.

The Singapore court ruled that Genasan, 37, was involved in drug trafficking in October 2011. Court documents said the judge found he recruited two drug couriers and directed them to transport and deliver 28.5 grams of heroin.

Singapore applies the death penalty to a range of offenses including drug trafficking, murder, kidnapping, waging war against the government and use of firearms. It has defended capital punishment as a deterrent for the most serious crimes. Most of the cases are drug-related.

COVID-19 immune response noted in primates with new vaccines

Update 7:45 p.m. EDT May 20: They will not be tested in humans, but six vaccine candidates against COVID-19, designed for lab-use only, have proven what has probably been assumed by many: that infections with the novel coronavirus can, conceptually, be prevented through immunization.

“Currently there’s very little evidence in humans about whether natural immunity or vaccine-induced immunity can protect,” said Dr. Dan Barouch, one of the researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. “So we addressed these two questions in an animal model, rhesus monkeys.”

Although rhesus monkeys have 93% similarity in DNA with humans, they are by no means ‘stand-ins’ for people in pharmaceutical studies.

“This is an animal study. And therefore extrapolations for humans needs to be done very carefully and will require definitive, large-scale clinical trials for proof,” Dr. Barouch said.

To gauge the development of natural immunity, nine rhesus monkeys were infected with COVID-19. The animals recovered. Some 30 days later, they were re-exposed to the virus without ill effect.

“These data suggest that there is indeed natural protective immunity to the virus,” Dr. Barouch said.

>> Read more here.

Apple, Google release technology for pandemic apps

Update 6:45 p.m. EDT May 20: Apple and Google on Wednesday released long-awaited smartphone technology to automatically notify people if they might have been exposed to the coronavirus.

The companies said 22 countries and several U.S. states are already planning to build voluntary phone apps using their software. It relies on Bluetooth wireless technology to detect when someone who downloaded the app has spent time near another app user who later tests positive for the virus.

Many governments have already tried, mostly unsuccessfully, to roll out their own phone apps to fight the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of those apps have encountered technical problems on Apple and Android phones and haven’t been widely adopted. They often use GPS to track people’s location, which Apple and Google are banning from their new tool because of privacy and accuracy concerns.

Public health agencies from Germany to the states of Alabama and South Carolina have been waiting to use the Apple-Google model, while other governments have said the tech giants’ privacy restrictions will be a hindrance because public health workers will have no access to the data.

The companies said they’re not trying to replace contact tracing, a pillar of infection control that involves trained public health workers reaching out to people who may have been exposed to an infected person. But they said their automatic “exposure notification” system can augment that process and slow the spread of COVID-19 by virus carriers who are interacting with strangers and aren’t yet showing symptoms.

The identity of app users will be protected by encryption and anonymous identifier beacons that change frequently.

NCAA weighs moratorium amid push to offer fall sports

Update 5:15 p.m. EDT May 20: The NCAA Division I Council debated Wednesday whether to let a moratorium on voluntary workouts on campus expire at the end of the month as a growing number of college leaders express confidence that fall sports will be played in some form.

NCAA spokeswoman Michelle Hosick said the topic was on the agenda for the council for Wednesday, though it was not clear a decision would be made. The moratorium on athletic activities for all sports currently runs through May 31.

From Notre Dame to LSU and more, a number of schools have announced plans to reopen their campuses for the fall semester and conferences have begun setting up plans for how to play football amid the coronavirus pandemic. The latest came this week with the Florida State system announcing plans for its 12 schools and more than 420,000 students.

Many questions remain, including specific safety protocols and whether fans would be allowed if games proceed.

Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith said he believes the Buckeyes could safely play home games with 20,000 to 30,000 fans in its home stadium, which seats about 105,000.

“I think we can get there,” Smith said.

Smith said he hadn’t figured out yet how those 20,000 to 30,000 spectators would be chosen. He said masks and other precautions would be required to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

First there’s the matter of making sure players can safely practice.

>> Read more here.

Trump considering hosting G-7 summit in US after all

Update 4:30 p.m. EDT May 20: President Donald Trump said Wednesday that he’s considering holding a meeting in the U.S. with the leaders of the world’s major economies after all because it would be a “great sign to all” of things returning to normal during the coronavirus pandemic.

The announcement was the latest effort by Trump to signal to the nation that the U.S. economy is humming again after months-long shutdowns meant to slow the spread of COVID-19 are beginning to be lifted across the country.

Trump had scheduled the Group of Seven summit for June 10-12 at Camp David, the presidential retreat in Maryland. But in March, he announced he was canceling the annual meeting because of the pandemic and that the leaders would confer by video conference instead.

White House press secretary holds news briefing

Update 3:45 p.m. EDT May 20: White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany is holding a news conference Wednesday afternoon.

Royal Caribbean loses $1.4B in first quarter

Update 3:20 p.m. EDT May 20: Officials with one of the world’s largest cruise ship companies have announced staggering first-quarter losses as the coronavirus pandemic halted many ships from setting sail worldwide.

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. reported a loss of $1.4 billion during the first quarter of 2020, the Miami Herald reported. Over the same period last year, Royal Caribbean had a profit of $249.7 million, according to the newspaper.

Judge rules Ohio gyms can’t be penalized if they reopen early

Update 3:10 p.m. EDT May 20: An Ohio judge issued a preliminary injunction Wednesday, ruling that the state can’t impose penalties on gyms and fitness centers that violate an order issued by Gov. Mike DeWine aimed at keeping the businesses closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to WHIO-TV and WBNS-TV.

However, the judge ruled that facilities are required to follow “all applicable safety regulations” that are included either in the state’s order or supplemental guidelines for gyms and fitness centers, WBNS-TV reported.

The decision was part of a lawsuit filed by 35 Ohio gym owners who have claimed that state health orders closing their businesses “criminalized all safe gym, fitness, and recreation operations, without providing any process, venue or judicial review to determine whether these Ohioans businesses are in fact safe enough to warrant operations,” WHIO-TV reported.

DeWine announced last week that gyms and fitness centers would be allowed to reopen May 26 with restrictions in place to stymie the spread of the novel coronavirus, according to WHIO-TV.

Louisiana officials report 278 new coronavirus cases

Update 2:50 p.m. EDT May 20: Officials in Louisiana reported 278 new coronavirus infections Wednesday, raising the state’s total number of infections to 35,316.

Officials said that statewide, at least 2,485 people have died of COVID-19 and 26,249 people have recovered from the viral infection.

Ford resumes production at Chicago plant after coronavirus-related shutdowns

Update 2:40 p.m. EDT May 20: Production of the Ford Explorer and Lincoln Aviator resumed Wednesday morning after two shutdowns due to the novel coronavirus.

Ford temporarily halted production at its Chicago SUV factory twice on Tuesday after two workers tested positive for the disease.

The company said the workers contracted COVID-19 outside the factory, triggering protocols that included production halts to sanitize equipment and isolate employees who came in contact with the affected workers.

One worker tested positive on the day shift and a second worker tested positive on the night shift, causing shutdowns for several hours, spokeswoman Kelli Felker said.

The shutdowns came just a day after Ford, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler restarted their U.S. factories after being idle for about two months due to the disease.

Florida data scientist says she was fired for refusing to manipulate data, official calls for probe

Update 2:25 p.m. EDT May 20: A Florida state cabinet member is calling for an investigation after reports surfaced that the state employee in charge of Florida’s COVID-19 dashboard was removed after she refused to suppress data to support reopening efforts, WFTV reported.

In a statement obtained by WFTV, state Commissioner of Agriculture Nicole Fried said Rebekah Jones, the employee in charge of the Department of Health’s COVID-19 dashboard, "was not only involuntarily removed from her position after expressing concerns about an order she received to manipulate COVID-19 data, but was fired.”

Fried is requesting that Surgeon General Rivkees and Dr. Carina Blackmore, Director of the Division of Disease Control and Health Prevention, appear before the cabinet at its next meeting on May 28 to discuss the incident.

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20 coronavirus cases linked to Dole Fresh Vegetables packaging plant in Ohio

Update 1:55 p.m. EDT May 20: Health officials in Ohio have connected 20 cases of COVID-19 to a Dole Fresh Vegetables packaging plant in Springfield, WHIO-TV reported.

Twelve of the cases involved Dole employees -- 10 of which were confirmed positive cases and two of which were considered probable cases, WHIO-TV reported. Five other confirmed and three other probable cases were linked to contacts with the infected employees, WHIO-TV reported.

The first case was detected April 22, according to officials with the Clark County Combined Health District.

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1,670 new cases of COVID-19 reported in New Jersey

Update 1:30 p.m. EDT May 20: Gov. Phil Murphy of New Jersey said Wednesday that 1,670 new coronavirus infections have been reported, raising the total number of COVID-19 cases in the state to 150,399.

On social media, Murphy said the numbers continued to trend downward, although he warned that “we all still have a lot of work to do.”

“We can’t move forward unless we’re confident that doing so won’t move us backward,” the governor said.

Officials said Wednesday that 168 more people have died of COVID-19 in New Jersey. Statewide, 10,747 people have died of coronavirus.

Reports of active coronavirus cases continue to fall in Italy

Update 1:15 p.m. EDT May 20: The number of active coronavirus cases dipped by about 2,500 cases Tuesday in Italy, with 62,752 ongoing cases reported as of 6 p.m. local time, according to numbers released by health officials.

Authorities said 227,364 cases of COVID-19 have been reported nationwide as of Wednesday. The virus has claimed 32,330 lives in Italy. Officials said 132,282 people have recovered from COVID-19.

Trump threatens to hold up federal funding to Nevada over mail-in voting

Update 12:45 p.m. EDT May 20: President Donald Trump on Wednesday threatened to withhold federal funding for Nevada after officials in the state sent ballots to voters ahead of its June 9 primary.

“State of Nevada ‘thinks’ that they can send out illegal vote by mail ballots, creating a great Voter Fraud scenario for the State and the U.S. They can’t!” Trump wrote Wednesday on Twitter. “If they do, ‘I think’ I can hold up funds to the State. Sorry, but you must not cheat in elections.”

A federal judge recently cleared Nevada’s decision to mail ballots, which were sent by the Republican secretary of state, according to The Associated Press.

Trump has frequently criticized voting by mail, which he claims leaves elections vulnerable to fraud, although there is scant evidence of widespread wrongdoing with mail-in voting. Trump himself requested a mail ballot for Florida’s GOP primary last month and he has voted absentee in previous elections.

Earlier Wednesday, he threatened to cut federal funding to Michigan, erroneously claiming officials in the state had sent absentee ballots to voters. On Tuesday, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said mail-in ballot applications would be sent to all the state’s registered voters to ensure “that no Michigander has to chose between their health and their right to vote” amid the coronavirus pandemic.

112 new fatal coronavirus cases reported in New York

Update 11:45 a.m. EDT May 20: Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York said Wednesday that 112 more people have died of COVID-19 statewide. The number was slightly more than the 105 new fatal cases reported one day earlier.

Cuomo said the fatality numbers were “painfully high” but he added that the number of new cases, new hospitalizations and new admissions to intensive care units continued to fall Wednesday.

“Numbers are headed in the right direction today,” he said.

117 new cases of COVID-19 reported in DC

Update 10:55 a.m. EDT May 20: Mayor Muriel Bowser of Washington D.C. said Wednesday that 117 new coronavirus infections have been reported in the area, raising the total number of cases in the area to 7,551.

Bowser also said seven more people between the ages of 32 and 93 died of COVID-19. As of Wednesday, 407 Washington D.C. residents have died of coronavirus, officials said.

Stocks open higher on Wall Street a day after a late slide

Update 9:45 a.m. EDT May 20: Stocks opened broadly higher Wednesday on Wall Street as investors regained their confidence following a sudden drop one day earlier.

Big-name investor favorites like Facebook, Apple and Amazon helped pull the market higher in early trading. The S&P 500 was up 1.4% in the first few minutes of trading, more than it lost a day earlier. Target reported that its online sales more than doubled in the first quarter as the coronavirus pandemic put millions in lockdown.

Markets in Europe and Asia also rose. The price of crude oil was up about 3% and bond yields held steady.

Trump threatens to withhold funding from Michigan over mail-in ballots

Update 8:55 a.m. EDT May 20: President Donald Trump on Wednesday said he will ask to withhold funding for Michigan one day after officials in the state announced a plan to send vote-by-mail applications to its 7.7 million registered voters.

In a tweet posted Wednesday morning, Trump erroneously said officials had sent absentee ballots to voters. State officials said Tuesday that they plan to send absentee ballot applications to voters ahead of elections in August and November.

“This was done illegally and without authorization by a rogue Secretary of State,” Trump said Wednesday. “I will ask to hold up funding to Michigan if they want to go down this Voter Fraud path!”

It was not immediately clear what funds Trump was referencing. The states are paying for their elections changes through coronavirus relief spending measures the president signed into law. Trump tagged his acting budget director, his chief of staff and the Treasury Department on the tweets.

Officials in Michigan announced the decision Tuesday to send mail-in ballot applications to all voters due to the ongoing threat of the coronavirus pandemic. In a statement, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said the move “ensured that no Michigander has to chose between their health and their right to vote.”

Trump has been very vocal about his opposition to voting by mail, claiming the practice is ripe for fraud although there is scant evidence of widespread wrongdoing with mail-in voting. Trump himself requested a mail ballot for Florida’s GOP primary last month and he has voted absentee in previous elections.

Trump has said people should have to show up at polling stations and present ID to vote, but the coronavirus pandemic has upended that long-standing practice, with many voters fearful of waiting in line at polling stations and voting on machines that have been touched others.

Worldwide cases approach 5M, total deaths near 324K

Update 7:50 a.m. EDT May 20: The global death toll attributed to the novel coronavirus reached 323,723 early Wednesday, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally.

In the four months since the virus was first identified in Wuhan, China, it has infected at least 4,918,938 people worldwide. Meanwhile, 12 nations now have total infection counts higher than China’s 84,063. The 10 nations with the highest number of infections recorded to date are as follows:

• The United States has reported 1,528,661 cases, resulting in 91,938 deaths.

Russia has confirmed 308,705 cases, resulting in 2,972 deaths.

Brazil has recorded 271,885 cases, resulting in 35,422 deaths.

• The United Kingdom has reported 250,138 cases, resulting in 35,422 deaths.

Spain has confirmed 232,037 cases, resulting in 27,778 deaths.

Italy has reported 226,699 cases, resulting in 32,169 deaths.

France has confirmed 180,933 cases, resulting in 28,025 deaths.

Germany has reported 177,842 cases, resulting in 8,112 deaths.

Turkey has recorded 151,615 cases, resulting in 4,199 deaths

Iran has recorded 126,949 cases, resulting in 7,183 deaths.

Rolls-Royce cutting 9K jobs worldwide, citing coronavirus crunch

Update 6:41 a.m. EDT May 20: Aircraft engine maker Rolls-Royce Holdings PLC announced Wednesday it will cut its global workforce by 9,000, or roughly 17%, in a bid to weather the collapse in demand the novel coronavirus has wrought on air travel.

The company, which makes turbines for Boeing Co. and Airbus SE, said the majority of cuts will affect its civil aerospace business with some unidentified facilities being eyed for closure, The Wall Street Journal reported.

“Governments across the world are doing what they can to assist businesses in the short-term, but we must respond to market conditions for the medium-term until the world of aviation is flying again at scale,” CEO Warren East said in the statement.

"Governments cannot replace sustainable customer demand that is simply not there,” he added.

Russia’s coronavirus cases surge past 300K

Update 5:42 a.m. EDT May 20: With 8,764 new coronavirus cases confirmed, Russia’s total infection count swelled to 308,705 on Wednesday.

According to the Russian coronavirus response headquarters, the country also recorded its highest daily increase in virus-related deaths of 135, bringing the nationwide total to 2,972.

Although the United States remains the hardest-hit country with more than 1.5 million confirmed novel coronavirus cases, Russia’s numbers have surged in recent weeks from a few thousand cases per day to roughly 10,000 cases per day in May, CNN reported.

NFL testing use of ‘modified’ face masks that could incorporate surgical or N95 materials

Update 4:57 a.m. EDT May 20: The National Football League has partnered with a sports equipment company to investigate the pros and cons of potentially incorporating surgical or N95 material into face masks on players’ helmets, The Washington Post reported.

NFL leadership confirmed Tuesday it is working closely with Foothill Ranch, California-based Oakley to test prototypes that might better protect players from the spread of the novel coronavirus as the league looks to keep its 2020 schedule hopes alive.

Thom Mayer, the NFL Players Association’s medical director, told the Post “there will probably be a recommendation” to use modified masks.

Kids with suspected coronavirus-related syndrome require immediate attention, doctors say

Update 4:09 a.m. EDT May 20: Doctors on Tuesday said children experiencing a coronavirus-related inflammatory syndrome should seek immediate medical care and will most likely require hospitalizations to recover fully.

The condition, which has been dubbed MIS-C for multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, is a little-understood complication of COVID-19 infections caused by the novel coronavirus that appears to damage the kidneys, lungs and especially the hearts of its youngest victims.

First steps taken to reshore US medical supply chains amid coronavirus fallout

Update 3:20 a.m. EDT May 20: The Trump administration took baby steps Tuesday intended to return pharmaceutical manufacturing to the United States, following decades of offshoring that saw India and China capture most of the global market, especially for generic drugs.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on Tuesday awarded a four-year, $354 million contract to Richmond, Virginia-based Phlow Corp., a startup leading the nation’s charge to replenish supplies and stockpile needed pharmaceutical ingredients, chemical compounds and generic drugs.

The contract carries an extension option of up to 10 years, representing a total potential investment of $812 million, and is intended to prevent drug shortages.

US coronavirus cases soar past 1.5M, deaths near 92K

Update 12:35 a.m. EDT May 20: The number of novel coronavirus cases in the United States continued to climb past 1.5 million early Wednesday across all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

According to a Johns Hopkins University tally, there are at least 1,528,568 confirmed U.S. cases of the virus, which have resulted in at least 91,921 deaths.

The hardest-hit states remain New York with 352,845 cases and 28,558 deaths and New Jersey with 149,356 cases and 10,587 deaths. Massachusetts, with 87,925 cases, has the third-highest number of deaths with 5,938, while Illinois has the third-highest number of cases with 98,030. Only 17 states and territories have confirmed fewer than 5,000 cases each.

Six other states have now confirmed at least 41,000 novel coronavirus cases each, including:

California: 83,752 cases, resulting in 3,403 deaths

Pennsylvania: 67,311 cases, resulting in 4,628 deaths

Michigan: 52,350 cases, resulting in 5,017 deaths

Texas: 50,552 cases, resulting in 1,388 deaths

Florida: 46,944 cases, resulting in 2,052 deaths

Maryland: 41,546 cases, resulting in 2,081 deaths

Meanwhile, Georgia, Connecticut, Louisiana and Virginia each has confirmed at least 32,000 cases; Ohio, Indiana and Colorado each has confirmed at least 22,000 cases, followed by North Carolina with 19,239; Washington state and Tennessee each has confirmed at least 18,000 cases, followed by Minnesota with 17,029; Iowa and Arizona each has confirmed at least 14,000 cases; Rhode Island, Wisconsin and Alabama each has confirmed at least 12,000 cases; Mississippi and Missouri each has confirmed at least 11,000 cases, followed by Nebraska with 10,854 and South Carolina with 9,056; Kansas, Kentucky and Delaware each has confirmed at least 8,000 cases; Utah, the District of Columbia and Nevada each has confirmed at least 7,000 cases, followed by New Mexico with 6,192 and Oklahoma with 5,489.

Click here to see CNN’s state-by-state breakdown.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.