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Spring sun and fighter jet flyovers to honor health workers bring people outside

Here is a look at some of the latest news on COVID-19 from the U.S. and around the world on Saturday.

WASHINGTON — This article contains ongoing U.S. and international updates on the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects. Here are some key updates for Saturday, May 2, 2020. You can find more details by scrolling through the story.

Key updates

  • British death toll from coronavirus surpasses 28,000
  • Number of beds used to treat COVID-19 patients in Italy declining
  • The U.S. death toll passed 65,000 early Saturday morning
  • New York nursing home links 98 deaths to virus

There have been more than 1.1 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. on Saturday, according to Johns Hopkins University. More than 65,000 people have died and 164,000 have recovered. The U.S. has conducted 6.5 million tests.

Worldwide, over 3.4 million cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed, with a million recoveries. More than 242,000 people have died around the globe.

Gorgeous spring weather across the United States and Europe is drawing people cooped up inside for weeks outside to soak in the sun, even as additional coronavirus hot spots in places like Russia emerge. People are still wary, though — masks are being worn everywhere, even on southern U.S. beaches and by some joggers in Spain on Saturday.  

Fighter jets from the U.S. Navy Blue Angels and U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds brought people outside flying over Atlanta, Baltimore and Washington in formation to honor health care workers.

For most, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death. The vast majority of people recover.

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Pelosi and McConnell decline COVID-19 tests

The top Republican and Democrat in Congress say they are respectfully declining an offer of quick COVID-19 tests offered by President Donald Trump’s administration.

Limited testing for lawmakers has become an issue in decisions about when they should return to Washington.

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar had tweeted Friday that three rapid-testing machines and 1,000 tests were being sent for the Senate to use next week.

Trump also tweeted that “tremendous” testing capacity is available for senators returning on Monday, and for the House.

But Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate leader Mitch McConnell said Saturday in a statement that they want the equipment to go to front-line facilities instead.

Pelosi decided against having her members join the Senate in returning next week because the Washington area remains a virus hot spot.

France to consider quarantine for travelers

French Health Minister Olivier Veran said people traveling into France, including French citizens returning home, will be placed in a 14-day quarantine as part of new extended proposals to limit the spread of the new coronavirus.

Entering France is currently very restricted to essential travel, and a travel certificate is required for everyone entering the country. The proposals are being sent to Parliament next week.

Veran said that “the compulsory quarantine will concern anyone entering the national territory, an overseas territory or Corsica.”

It's not clear if the quarantine would apply only to travelers from beyond the Schengen border and Britain. The Schengen Area includes 26 countries and encompasses most of the European Union nations.

Atlanta watches Thunderbirds, Blue Angels flyover to honor first responders, medical teams

People across metro Atlanta went on roofs and patios, to parks and even cemeteries, or stopped on the side of a usually busy interstate to watch a military flyover Saturday afternoon.

The Air Force Thunderbirds and the Navy Blue Angels flew to honor first responders and medical teams. They passed over downtown and midtown, where major hospitals are located, and were loudly cheered.

People outside at historic Oakland Cemetery generally adhered to social distancing guidelines but few wore masks. Some carried lawn chairs and beverages while others pushed strollers, while many tried to capture the moment with phones or cameras.

Georgia has already allowed businesses like hair and nail salons, restaurants and gyms to open with social distancing restrictions.

RELATED: Blue Angels, Thunderbirds salute health care workers over DC

RELATED: Blue Angels, Thunderbirds flyover honors coronavirus first reponders

British death toll surpasses 28,000

Britain’s Department of Health says a total of 28,131 people have died in hospitals, care homes and the wider community after testing positive for the new coronavirus in the United Kingdom, an increase of 621 from the previous tally.

The figures include deaths as of 5 p.m. on Friday.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Thursday told the nation that Britain had passed its peak in the COVID-19 outbreak and said he has plans to reveal a “road map’’ outlining how lockdown steps might be eased in the coming week.

Michigan animal agriculture industries making adjustments to strengthen supply chain

Michigan’s agriculture department says the state’s animal agriculture industries are making adjustments due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Gary McDowell, director of the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said Saturday in a release that the changes will strengthen the supply chain and make workers safer but could “lead to some near-term speedbumps.” He was responding to concerns of food shortages due to national shutdowns of beef and pork producers.

Mary Kelpinski, chief executive officer of the Michigan Pork Producers Association, says there’s plenty of meat in cold storage around the state but advised shoppers to resist panic buying of meat products in the weeks ahead.

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COVID-19 cases in Italy on the decline

The number of beds treating COVID-19 patients continued to decline as Italy prepared to ease its strict lockdown measures on Monday.

The Civil Protection Agency said that there were 212 fewer people hospitalized with the virus and 39 fewer in intensive care in the past 24 hours, numbers that have been consistently easing in recent weeks. That has given authorities confidence to be able to cope with any new spike in cases as more businesses reopen and individuals are allowed more freedom to move around their towns and cities of residence.

At the same time, the number of dead nudged up the most in 11 days — by 474 — and the number of people who have recovered from the virus was the lowest in more than two weeks. Italy has registered the most deaths after the United States, at 28,710.

NY 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.

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There are plans to reopen some businesses in Singapore before mid-May

Singapore will let selected businesses reopen from May 12 in a cautious rollback of a two-month partial lockdown despite rising coronavirus infections among foreign workers. 

Saturday, the city-state reported 447 new cases to take its total to 17,548. About 85% of the confirmed infections are linked to foreign workers living in crowded dormitories. 

The Health Ministry says daily infections among Singaporeans have dropped by more than half to 12 in the past week. It says restrictions will be eased cautiously and gradually to avoid a flareup of new infections. Sri Lanka’s government has asked workers to head back to work on May 11, even though some parts of the country will still be under curfew.  

Credit: AP
The Blue Angels and Thunderbirds fly over Washington, in a "salute to frontline COVID-19 responders," as seen from the U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial that depicts the flag raising over Iwo Jima, in Arlington, Va., Saturday, May 2, 2020. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)