May 27, 2020

Former Vice President Joe Biden on Wednesday delivered a message to the families of the 100,000 Americans who are known to have died of COVID-19, letting them know that they are not alone.

"This nation grieves with you," he said in a video posted on social media. "Take some solace from the fact that we all grieve with you." On Wednesday, the U.S. coronavirus death toll surpassed 100,000, and Biden said this was a "moment in our history so grim, so heart-rending" that it will be "forever fixed in each of our hearts as shared grief."

Biden touched on how tragic a coronavirus death is, as many families and friends aren't able to be with their loved one due to hospital restrictions and they die alone. "It's made all the worse by knowing that this is a fateful milestone we never should have reached and could have been avoided," Biden said, referring to a recent Columbia University study that showed had federal social distancing guidelines been implemented one week earlier, 36,000 deaths may have been averted.

The grief may feel "suffocating" now, Biden said, and he knows his sympathies won't "dull the sharpness of the pain you feel right now," but he "can promise you from experience, the day will come when the memory of your loved one will bring a smile to your lips before it brings a tear to your eye. My prayer for all of you is that the day will come sooner rather than later. God bless each and every one of you and the blessed memory of the one you lost." Catherine Garcia

10:57 p.m.

Doctors at Methodist Hospital in San Antonio, Texas, are hoping that by sharing one patient's story, it will discourage others from attending "COVID parties."

Dr. Jane Appleby, the hospital's chief medical officer, said that a COVID party is a gathering held by a person who has tested positive for the coronavirus and wants to see if the virus is real and spreads to guests. A 30-year-old patient was recently hospitalized after attending a COVID party, and just before dying, "they looked at their nurse and said, 'I think I made a mistake, I thought this was a hoax, but it's not,'" Appleby said.

Appleby finds the rising number of infections "concerning," with up to 22 percent of tests now coming back positive, compared to about five percent of tests a few weeks ago, The Guardian reports. "I don't want to be an alarmist, and we're just trying to share some real world examples to help our community realize that this virus is very serious and can spread easily," she said.

The hospital has seen an increase in critically-ill patients in their 20s and 30s, and Appleby is imploring Texans to "please wear a mask, stay at home when you can, avoid groups of people, and sanitize your hands." On Sunday, state health officials reported 8,196 new COVID-19 cases and 80 additional deaths. There are 10,410 Texans hospitalized with the virus. Catherine Garcia

9:58 p.m.

A section of the southern border wall that was privately built in January, using funds raised by supporters of President Trump, is showing signs of erosion, and Trump is taking it personally.

"I disagreed with doing this very small (tiny) section of wall, in a tricky area, by a private group which raised money by ads," Trump tweeted on Sunday. "It was only done to make me look bad, and perhsps [sic] it now doesn't even work. Should have been built like rest of Wall, 500 plus miles."

Trump was responding to a ProPublica and Texas Tribune report on a three-mile section of the fence built by Fisher Industries in South Texas, about 35 feet away from the Rio Grande. The riverbank is starting to erode, ProPublica and the Texas Tribune say, and a judge on Wednesday ordered lawyers for Fisher Industries and opponents of the fence to inspect the area.

The group We Build the Wall was established during the government shutdown in 2018, when Trump was demanding Congress fund his border wall. The group raised more than $25 million to privately build fencing, but the South Texas project turned into a showcase for Fisher Industries, The Associated Press reports, and the organization only contributed $1.5 million. Steve Bannon, Trump's former chief strategist, is on We Build the Wall's board, and staunch Trump ally Kris Kobach, Kansas' former secretary of state, is its general counsel.

Experts cautioned that building the fence so close to the river would cause a break in the fence or flooding, AP says, but Fisher Industries still put it up. In May, the company won a $1.3 billion contract from the federal government to build 42 miles of wall in Arizona. CEO Tommy Fisher told AP on Sunday he has "complete respect" for Trump, and thinks he "just got some misinformation on this stuff." Fisher also said rain and the river's natural flow caused some erosion, and if it continues, the gaps will be filled with rocks. "The wall will stand for 150 years, you mark my words," he declared. Catherine Garcia

8:38 p.m.

Benjamin Keough, Lisa Marie Presley's son and the grandson of Elvis Presley, has died. He was 27.

A representative for Lisa Marie Presley told NBC News on Sunday the family does not know how or where Keough died, adding that his mother is "completely heartbroken, inconsolable, and beyond devastated, but trying to stay strong for her 11-year-old twins and her oldest daughter, Riley. She adored that boy. He was the love of her life." Keough's father is Lisa Marie Presley's former husband, singer-songwriter Danny Keough.

Benjamin Keough was a musician, and his mother — the only child of Elvis and Priscilla Presley — noted in 2012 that he strongly resembled her dad. While appearing at the Opry, "everybody turned around and looked when he was over there," she told CMT. "Everybody was grabbing him for a photo because it is just uncanny. Sometimes I am overwhelmed when I look at him." Catherine Garcia

8:19 p.m.

On Sunday, for the first time in four months, New York City reported its first day with zero confirmed or probable coronavirus deaths.

New York City was hit hard during the early days of the coronavirus pandemic — its first COVID-19 fatality was reported on March 11, and on April 7, the city hit its peak with 597 deaths. Overall, New York City has recorded 18,670 confirmed COVID-19 deaths and 4,613 probable ones.

"New Yorkers have been the hero of this story, going above and beyond to keep each other safe," Avery Cohen, a spokeswoman for Mayor Bill de Blasio, told Bloomberg in an email, adding that "with cases surging around the country, we know we can't let our guard down just yet, and will continue to do everything we can to fight the virus together."

Last Monday, New York City entered Phase 3 of its reopening plan, allowing nail salons and tanning facilities to once again welcome customers but postponing the start of indoor dining. Catherine Garcia

7:12 p.m.

Seventeen sailors and four civilians sustained non-life threatening injuries on Sunday morning, after an explosion caused a three-alarm fire on board the USS Bonhomme Richard at the U.S. Naval Base in San Diego.

The injured are being treated at an area hospital, the U.S. Navy said in a statement. San Diego Fire Chief Colin Stowell told CNN the ship could burn for days, "down to the water line." He also said the explosion took place as personnel were leaving the ship.

The USS Bonhomme Richard, an amphibious assault ship, was undergoing maintenance. When the fire broke out, there were 160 people on board. It is unclear what started the blaze. Catherine Garcia

2:40 p.m.

The topic of reopening schools in the fall amid the coronavirus pandemic made the network rounds Sunday.

Most everyone seemed to agree that states should do what they can to get kids back into the classroom after the summer, but plenty of people expressed concern. Former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said while children are less susceptible to infection, they aren't immune to it. He added that no country, save for possibly Sweden, tried to open schools "against so much spread," making the United States a "unique case" in need of protective measures.

Phoenix, Arizona, Mayor Kate Gallego said many elected schoolboard leaders in her community, which has been hit hard in recent weeks, are saying they can't reopen schools safely until "at least October." If that's the case, Gallego said she hopes there will be "full financial support" since President Trump has threatened to withhold federal funding for school districts that keep delaying their reopening.

CNN's Dana Bash asked Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, who has suggested redistributing those funds directly to parents, about the issue during Sunday's edition of State of the Union. DeVos did say "there is no desire to take money away" and said the White House is committed to "ensuring the resources are there" to help schools fully reopen five days a week, but she didn't provide a clear answer about whether pulling funding is a possibility if schools don't open their doors. Tim O'Donnell

1:58 p.m.

President Trump reportedly commuted his friend and confidant Roger Stone's 40-month prison sentence against the wishes of many top White House officials, NBC News reports.

Multiple officials told NBC News that the president was counseled against the move, which was described as a "big mistake." Among those who urged their boss not to grant Stone clemency were White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and Attorney General William Barr. Barr did reportedly intervene in Stone's case earlier this year when the Justice Department suddenly revised the recommended sentencing time for Stone from the initial seven to nine years to 40 months, but it seems he drew the line there.

Trump's advisers also tried to tell the commander-in-chief it was a politically risky move because his voting base elected him in the hopes he would "build the wall and drain the swamp," NBC's Kristen Welker told Meet the Press host Chuck Todd on Sunday. The Stone move, on the other hand, comes across as a "very swamp move," one aide told Welker. Read more at NBC News and watch Welker's report below. Tim O'Donnell

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