This is our daily update of breaking COVID-19 news for Wednesday, May 6th, 2020. Previous daily updates can be found here, and up-to-date statistics are here.

Read our guide to understanding New York on PAUSE, NY's stay-at-home order; a look at preparing for the spread of coronavirus is here, and if you have lingering questions about the virus, here is our regularly updated coronavirus FAQ. Here are some local and state hotlines for more information: NYC: 311; NY State Hotline: 888-364-3065; NJ State Hotline: 800-222-1222.

New York City Public School Students Can Go Back To Using Zoom

City education officials said that New York City public schools could resume using Zoom, the video conferencing platform that was banned only two weeks after the rollout of online learning to 1.1 million students.

The decision in early April frustrated thousands of educators who had worked to acclimate students and parents with the software, whose popularity has surged amid the pandemic. But school officials were alarmed by a discovery that Zoom’s software included a data-mining feature that allowed users to view LinkedIn profile data. Another security flaw has given way to "zoombombing," in which hackers break into meetings and insert often graphic or disturbing content.

But over the last month, the company has made security upgrades to their platform that gave city education officials confidence to reverse its decision.

“The security of our students and staff is paramount, and we’ve worked with Zoom to create a tailored platform that provides the safety and functionality schools need to engage in remote learning," said Richard Carranza, the city's schools chancellor, in a statement. "I’m happy that Zoom has addressed vulnerabilities over the last few weeks and effective immediately, our community can safely use the Department of Education licensed Zoom account for remote learning.”  

The DOE had not provided a hard deadline in which schools had to transition to Zoom, and many teachers have continued to use the program. Schools may also continue to use Google Meet or Microsoft Teams, two other platforms approved by the department.

64 Children Across New York State Hospitalized For New Condition Linked To COVID-19

Hospitals across New York state have treated at least 64 children for an inflammatory condition thought to be linked to COVID-19, according to an advisory issued on Wednesday by the state Department of Health.

Health officials still do not fully understand the disease, which is officially being called “pediatric multi-system inflammatory syndrome" potentially associated with COVID-19.

The majority of the patients have tested positive for COVID-19 or antibodies developed in response to the virus. To date, no fatalities have been reported, but some children have required intensive care treatment.

On Monday, New York City health authorities issued a bulletin reporting that 15 children, many of whom tested positive for COVID-19, had been hospitalized. Five of the children had been placed on ventilators. The illness has surfaced in children in Europe as well as in other parts of the country, including Boston and Philadelphia.

Symptoms are similar to those of toxic shock syndrome, a bacterial infection, as well as Kawasaki disease, a relatively rare disorder which can lead to inflammation of the blood vessels. Children with Kawasaki disease typically have prolonged high fever, very red eyes, and swollen or "strawberry" tongues.

The advisory from the state said all hospitals in New York must report any cases to the Department of Health. Hospitals are also required to perform a diagnostic and serological or antibody test on children exhibiting symptoms of the disease.

During an interview with MSNBC on Wednesday afternoon, Governor Andrew Cuomo acknowledged that the trend was concerning, especially for parents of young children.

"This is still a developing situation and we don't know all the facts," he said.

State Survey Finds Majority Of New Yorkers Hospitalized Were Over 51 And Unemployed Or Retired

A preliminary state survey found that most New Yorkers who were hospitalized for coronavirus were aged 51 or older and not currently working nor taking public transportation, Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Wednesday.

The initial results of the study, which was performed over three days across 100 hospitals and included 1,000 people, contradicts the theory that most infected people who were admitted to hospitals were essential workers believed to have more exposure to the virus.

"It reinforces what we’ve been saying, which is much of this comes down to what you do to protect yourself," Cuomo said during a press conference at a medical research institute in Long Island.

He reiterated that New Yorkers should wear masks and frequently wash their hands.

Of those surveyed, 84 percent within the state said they were either working from home "or other." Within New York City, the figure was even higher, that of 90 percent. Across the state, only 17 percent of those surveyed said they were currently employed.

Consistent with the state's testing data, the overwhelming number of people hospitalized were in downstate regions, including 57 percent who came from New York City. Of the patients surveyed, 66 percent said they arrived from home, as opposed to a congregate living facility. Those who came from nursing homes represented 18 percent of people, the second highest source of admission category.

The survey also confirmed previous findings that the pandemic has disproportionately affected minorities relative to their population size, especially in New York City. Black NYC residents, who make up 22 percent of the population, made up the largest proportion of hospitalized virus patients, that of 25 percent. Latinos, who make up 29 percent of the city’s population, represented 20 percent of surveyed hospital patients.

More men, 52 percent, were hospitalized, and 96 percent were identified as having a comorbidity, or underlying health condition.

The new daily death toll was 232 people, in line with numbers from the last three days. New hospitalizations of COVID-19 patients continues to fall gradually. On Tuesday, the level fell to around 600 admissions, the lowest number since March 21st.

De Blasio Adds Two Miles Of Open Streets

Open streets sign on York Avenue near Carl Schurz Park on the Upper East Side.

Mayor Bill de Blasio on Wednesday announced a roughly two-mile long cluster of streets that would be closed to car traffic so that pedestrians and cyclists would have more space to maneuver and socially distance amid the coronavirus pandemic.

New York City has now set aside nine miles of open streets, the bulk of which are inside city parks.

As part of a deal with the City Council, the de Blasio administration has agreed to open at least 40 miles of streets in May and a total of 100 miles in the coming months.

The new set of open streets, located in business districts, including the Flatiron and downtown Brooklyn, will be available beginning on Thursday, de Blasio said during his morning press briefing. Operating hours are daily, between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. unless otherwise noted.

The mayor also said a half-mile stretch along 34th Avenue in Jackson Heights, which had been part of the city's pilot open streets program, would be permanently added to the plan.

The first set of open streets were unveiled on Saturday, to largely positive reviews on social media. Several transit experts have said that the pandemic brings a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reimagine the city's streets.

Cities like Milan are concertedly using the crisis to build more bike lanes and widening sidewalks or pavements in hopes of keeping car use at bay once the virus abates.

"The challenge we face isn’t whether cities will survive. The question is whether we have the imagination and vision to transform streets to bring about the safer, more accessible, and more resilient cities we’ve needed all along," Janette Sadik-Kahn, the city’s former transportation commissioner, recently tweeted.

On Wednesday, de Blasio announced 10 new advisory councils, including one on surface transportation, that would come up with reopening strategies.

The morning after the city's subways began its unprecedented daily shut down, the mayor acknowledged the need for the city to rethink its reliance on cars and strengthen modes of public transportation.

"We need to see this as a transformational moment," he said. "We’re not going to bring New York City back to the way it was."

Trump Says Economy Must Restart Despite Soaring Death Projections

Speaking from an Arizona factory on Tuesday, President Donald Trump continued to press the importance of reopening up the country even while he acknowledged the rising coronavirus death toll.

“Will some people be affected? Yes. Will some people be affected badly? Yes. But we have to get our country open and we have to get it open soon," he said.

Trump has recently said that deaths from the virus could grow up to 100,000. Many models are now predicting worsening scenarios as states move to lift restrictions. A draft report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention projected that coronavirus deaths could rise to more than 3,000 deaths each day by June, roughly double the current level of about 1,750 deaths per day. The author of the study has said his work was incomplete and not meant to be publicly released.

On Tuesday, in an interview with ABC News, the president provided a chilling metaphor to describe the casualty toll.

“I always felt 60, 65, 70 [thousand], as horrible as that is. I mean, you’re talking about filling up Yankee Stadium with death. So I thought it was horrible. But it’s probably going to be somewhat higher than that," he said.

He then continued: "There will be more death, but the virus will pass with or without a vaccine."

At least 71,130 are known to have died from COVID-19 across the United States as of May 5th, Reuters reports in its interactive map of coronavirus cases.

Certain regions in New York may reopen as early as May 15th should certain health and testing benchmarks be met. Earlier in the day, Governor Andrew Cuomo said the decision on reopening boiled down to one sobering question.

"How much do we think a human life is worth?" he said. "The faster we reopen, the lower the economic cost, but the higher the human cost."

Trumps remarks capped off a whirlwind cross-country trip that was likened to a campaign trail. The president wore googles but did not wear a mask while he toured a factory run by Honeywell International, a company which had been converted to produce N95 masks. At one point, workers blasted a Guns N’ Roses’ cover of the Wings song “Live and Let Die" as Trump surveyed the production processes of the plant.

Prior to Trump's appearance in Arizona, the New York Times reported that the White task force would be phased out despite the hot spots emerging across the country and roughly 25,000 newly discovered cases a day. During a White House meeting with reporters, Vice President Mike Pence, who was tapped by Trump to lead the task force, said the group would probably finish its work around the end of the May, and let federal agencies shoulder the public health response effort.

Only moments before Pence spoke, Dr. Anthony Fauci, an infectious disease expert who has at times pushed back on Trump's misstatements about the virus, denied that the group was being disbanded in an interview with CBS News.

"That's not true, I've been in every task force meeting, and that's not what they are doing," Fauci said.

But Trump himself confirmed the news, saying, "I think we're looking at phase two."

"The country is starting to open up," he added.