Coronavirus News – April 8

Push for interim emergency bill to include $500B in extra relief

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), in a joint statement, supported another $250 billion in loans to small businesses, a sum that the Trump administration requested and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) aims to pass through the Senate on Thursday. It would add to the $350 billion in aid approved as part of the $2 trillion emergency package passed in March. Pelosi and Schumer want the stopgap legislation to stretch further, including:

  • $250 billion in small business loans, with $125 billion going to community leaders
  • $100 billion for hospitals and community health centers, with funds going to COVID-19 testing and PPE
  • $150 billion for state and local governments
  • 15% increase to the maximum Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefit

Pelosi and Schumer described the bill as separate from the bill to expand the provisions of the CARES Act. McConnell said he would try to pass the additional small business funding by unanimous consent or voice vote during the Senate’s pro forma session on Thursday. Any one senator can stop legislation from passing by unanimous consent. Read more.

U.S. suffers its deadliest day of pandemic; Wuhan ends its 11-week lockdown

The U.S. suffered its deadliest day of the pandemic yet, with close to 2,000 deaths between Tuesday and Wednesday. Meanwhile, China’s Wuhan, the original epicenter of the outbreak, ended its 11-week lockdown early Wednesday. Wuhan residents will be tracked by smartphone apps to prove they are healthy and haven’t congregated with anyone infected with the coronavirus. Read more.

Los Angeles orders residents to wear masks; California governor says curve is flattening

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has ordered all residents to wear masks when visiting essential businesses starting Friday. The state of California has secured nearly 200 million masks a month for healthcare workers and California Gov. Gavin Newsom has expressed optimism that lockdowns are flattening the curve and slowing the spread of the coronavirus. The rate of people going to the hospital and needing intensive care has lessened. Read more.

Georgia governor extends emergency powers to mid-May

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp said he would extend Georgia’s public health emergency through May 13, granting him more time to use extraordinary authorities to suspend laws and impose other restrictions. Georgia House Speaker David Ralston and Georgia Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan both said they would not request a special legislative session tentatively scheduled for next week. The entire Georgia legislative branch was forced to self-isolate after a Georgia state senator, who was at a state session in March, revealed he tested positive for the coronavirus. Read more.

Widely cited IHME model projects when each state will hit peak

The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation’s (IHME) COVID-19 projections, widely cited nationwide and in the White House, consider how the pandemic is playing out in several countries worldwide. The projections incorporate the current trend line of deaths in the U.S. and the estimated impact of social distancing measures to predict when each state might reach peak daily deaths and hospital usage. IHME researchers make frequent updates to the model based on new data. The latest update on Sunday showed fewer people dying over a shorter period. NPR analyzed the IHME projections by state through deaths per 100,000 residents to compare the vast differences. Read more.