Coronavirus Live Updates: $2 Trillion Aid Bill Becomes Law as U.S. Cases Reach 100,000

Earlier this week, the nation surpassed the case totals in China and Italy. The variety of recognized circumstances has risen quickly in current days, as testing ramped up after weeks of widespread shortages and delays.

On Friday, President Trump signed into legislation a $2 trillion measure designed to answer the coronavirus pandemic. Beneath the legislation, which creates the most important financial stimulus bundle in fashionable American historical past, the federal government will ship direct funds and jobless advantages for people, cash for states and an enormous bailout fund for companies battered by the disaster.

Mr. Trump signed the measure within the Oval Workplace hours after the Home accredited it by voice vote, and fewer than two days after the Senate unanimously handed it. Mr. Trump thanked “Democrats and Republicans for coming collectively and placing America first.”

The laws will ship direct funds of $1,200 to tens of millions of People, together with these incomes as much as $75,000, and a further $500 per baby. It is going to considerably develop jobless help, offering a further 13 weeks and a four-month enhancement of advantages, and for the primary time will prolong the funds to freelancers and gig staff.

The measure can even provide $377 billion in federally assured loans to small companies and set up a $500 billion authorities lending program for distressed firms reeling from the disaster, together with permitting the administration the power to take fairness stakes in airways that obtained help to assist compensate taxpayers. It is going to additionally ship $100 billion to hospitals on the entrance traces of the pandemic.

Confronted with a torrent of criticism from cities and states which were pleading for assist, President Trump introduced on Friday that the federal authorities would purchase hundreds of ventilators from quite a lot of makers, although it appeared uncertain they may very well be produced in time to assist American hospitals that are actually overwhelmed.

His announcement got here shortly after he approved the federal government to “use any and all authority out there below the Protection Manufacturing Act,” a Korean Battle-era authority permitting the federal authorities to commandeer factories and provide chains, to supply ventilators.

It was the most recent instance of Mr. Trump’s blended messages about the right way to ramp up manufacturing to satisfy the disaster. Simply 24 hours earlier than, he had dismissed the complaints of mayors and governors who mentioned they have been getting little of the tools they wanted for an anticipated onslaught of significant circumstances. And this week he praised firms that — Normal Motors included — have been rallying to assist present crucial tools.

However he turned on G.M. on Friday, accusing it of “losing time” and looking for to “rip off” the federal government. “Our combat in opposition to the virus is just too pressing to permit the give-and-take of the contracting course of to proceed to run its regular course,” the president mentioned.

It was unclear whether or not Mr. Trump’s use of the legislation would make a lot distinction. He was primarily ordering the corporate to do one thing it had already organized to do: G.M. introduced earlier on Friday that it was transferring ahead with an emergency three way partnership with a small producer, even within the absence of a federal contract. Firm executives appeared shocked by the president’s effort to command them to hold by with an effort they’d initiated.

Because the coronavirus pandemic rages on, specialists have began to query official steerage about whether or not odd, wholesome individuals ought to defend themselves with a daily surgical masks, or perhaps a scarf.

The World Well being Group and the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention proceed to state that masks don’t essentially defend wholesome people from getting contaminated as they go about their day by day lives.

The official steerage continues to suggest that masks be reserved for people who find themselves already sick, in addition to for the well being staff and caregivers who should work together with contaminated people regularly. Everybody else, they are saying, ought to keep on with frequent hand-washing and sustaining a distance of at the very least six toes from different individuals to guard themselves.

However the current surge in infections in the USA, which has put the nation on the middle of the epidemic, implies that extra People are actually susceptible to getting sick. And wholesome people, particularly these with important jobs who can’t keep away from public transportation or shut interplay with others, might have to begin sporting masks extra frequently.

Whereas sporting a masks could not essentially forestall wholesome individuals from getting sick, and definitely doesn’t exchange vital measures reminiscent of hand-washing or social distancing, it could be higher than nothing, mentioned Dr. Robert Atmar, an infectious illness specialist at Baylor School of Medication.

“For weeks now it has been night,” Pope Francis mentioned Friday on the steps of St. Peter’s Basilica. “Thick darkness has gathered over our squares, our streets and our cities; it has taken over our lives.”

The pope spoke alone, earlier than an enormous and empty sq., its rain-slicked cobblestones reflecting the blue lights of the police locking down Rome. “We discover ourselves afraid,” he mentioned. “And misplaced.”

A brand new anxiousness has seized Vatican Metropolis, which has about 600 residents and a inhabitants of about 246 individuals behind the Vatican partitions. About 100 of the residents are younger Swiss Guards, however the others embody the pope, a handful of older cardinals, the individuals who work of their households, and a few laymen, making it in some methods as weak as a nursing house to a virus that may be devastating to the outdated.

This week, the Vatican confirmed circumstances of the coronavirus inside its partitions, and on Wednesday reviews emerged that an official who lives within the pope’s residence had examined optimistic and required hospitalization. Now the Vatican, which has additionally primarily canceled all public participation in Easter ceremonies, is testing scores of individuals and contemplating isolating measures for the 83-year-old pope, who had a part of a lung eliminated throughout an sickness in his youth.

High Vatican officers mentioned Francis has had adverse outcomes to 2 separate assessments and has mentioned privately he doesn’t have the virus.

Some of those catering to the well-off stress that they are trying to be good citizens. Mr. Michelson emphasized that he had obtained coronavirus tests only for patients who met guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, rather than the so-called worried well.

Still, a kind of pandemic caste system is rapidly developing: the rich holed up in vacation properties; the middle class marooned at home with restless children; the working class on the front lines of the economy, stretched to the limit by the demands of work and parenting, if there is even work to be had.

For the millions of Americans who found themselves without a job in recent weeks, the sharp and painful change brought a profound sense of disorientation. They were going about their lives, bartending, cleaning, managing events, waiting tables, loading luggage and teaching yoga. And then suddenly they were in free fall, grabbing at any financial help they could find, which in many states this week remained locked away behind crashing websites and overloaded phone lines.

In 17 interviews with people in eight states, Americans who lost their jobs said they were in shock and struggling to grasp the magnitude of the economy’s shutdown, an attempt to slow the spread of the virus. Unlike the last economic earthquake, the financial crisis of 2008, this time there was no getting back out there to look for work, not when people were being told to stay inside. What is more, the layoffs affected not just them, but their spouses, their parents, their siblings and their roommates — even their bosses.

“I don’t think anyone expected it to be like this,” said Mark Kasanic, 48, a server at a brasserie in Cleveland who was one of roughly 300 workers that a locally owned restaurant company laid off last week. Now he is home-schooling his children, ages 5 and 7, one with special needs.

Julian Bruell was one of those who had to deliver the bad news to hourly employees like Mr. Kasanic. Mr. Bruell, 30, who helps run the company with his father, said that only about 30 employees were left running takeout and delivery at two of its five restaurants. He has not been earning a salary, his goal being to keep the business afloat through the crisis.

On Thursday, he was planning to file for unemployment himself.

“I don’t think there has ever been more human ingenuity devoted to a single scientific problem than the one we’re facing right now,” he said.

We could be learning crucial lessons. Years from now, if a deadlier virus emerges, we may find that today’s innovations and procedures have prepared us for it. “What we’re facing is unprecedented, and I don’t want to downplay its seriousness, but it’s not the worst-case scenario,” said Malia Jones, a researcher who studies infectious diseases at the University of Wisconsin in Madison.

“I hope the takeaway here is that we’ll be better prepared to deal with the next pandemic,” Dr. Jones said. “This is a good practice run for a novel influenza pandemic. That’s the real scary scenario.”

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