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Senate approves stimulus, Georgia plans to reopen

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Some states are progressing slowly towards reopening their economies while others are progressing more rapidly towards reopening.

UNITED STATES TODAY

The fate of a $ 484 billion stimulus package was in the hands of the United States House on Wednesday as the death toll in the country exceeded 45,000 and a senior public health official has warned that a second wave of coronavirus could be worse than the current crisis.

It also appears that the first death in the United States took place in California, three weeks before what would have been the first death in the country reported in Washington state.

The Senate approved the stimulus package on Tuesday and a vote in the House is scheduled for Thursday. President Donald Trump has said he will sign it. Majority of paycheck protection program would direct more than $ 320 billion to small businesses, with $ 60 billion earmarked for community lenders, small banks and credit unions to help businesses that have not established relationships with banks.

The financial relief comes as Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, warned that a combined flu season and a second wave of coronavirus next winter could overwhelm the healthcare system.

“It is possible that the virus attack on our nation next winter will actually be even more difficult than the one we have just gone through,” Redfield told The Washington Post.

Meanwhile, with deaths and infections continuing to increase worldwide, the push for reopening in places like Georgia has triggered warnings from health officials that the crisis that has killed more than 178,000 people in the world is far from over and that the relaxation of the stay home orders too quickly could allow the virus to reappear.

The United States has seen more than 825,300 confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. New York State suffered more than a third of the deaths.

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Senate approves billions for small businesses

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said congressional leaders reached an agreement Tuesday to relaunch a program to prevent small businesses from shutting down and their employees from being laid off due to the impacts economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. The nearly $ 500 billion deal will provide more funding for the paycheck protection program, which was halted last week after running out of money. McConnell, R-Ky., Hailed the deal as a “bipartisan agreement”.

The $ 484 billion bill, approved by voice vote, will inject the program, which provides loans to small businesses, with more than $ 320 billion, according to McConnell. A portion will be reserved for small businesses that have not established relationships with banks and have had more difficulty accessing funds during the first round of loans. It will also strengthen the Small Business Administration’s disaster loan program, which also dried up due to the coronavirus.

– Christal Hayes

First death in the United States occurred 3 weeks earlier than previously reported

The first known death of coronavirus in the United States occurred earlier than previously – and in California, not in Washington State, public health officials said. The medical examiner for Santa Clara County, southeast of San Francisco, said Tuesday that autopsies on the bodies of two people who died on February 6 and February 17 showed that they were positive for the virus. The first American death would have taken place on February 29 outside of Seattle.

The victims “died at home at a time when very limited testing was only available through the CDC,” said Dr. Michelle Jorden in a statement. She said the criteria set by the CDC at the time limited testing to only people with a known travel history who sought medical attention for specific symptoms.

Green cards stopped for 60 days

President Donald Trump has said his executive order will suspend the new green card rewards for at least 60 days and be re-evaluated after that time. Trump stressed that his new decision would not affect temporary workers, such as seasonal workers arriving from other countries through multiple visa programs.

Trump has said that his executive order, which the White House has yet to provide, “would only apply to people seeking permanent residence; in other words, those who receive green cards. ”

– John Fritze

Cuomo: “functional and efficient” White House visit

President Donald Trump and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo rejoiced after an Oval Office meeting on Tuesday as US administration and governors remain locked in a dispute over coronavirus testing.

Cuomo called the meeting “functional and efficient.” He described the president as “curious” about the New York reopening schedule, but said Trump has not attempted to impose a deadline for this milestone. Trump said they had a “very productive” session in which he and the governor signed a plan to double tests in New York over the next few weeks.

Cuomo’s unusual visit, announced a day earlier by the President, comes as New York State strives to withdraw from its particularly deadly fight against the virus. Trump and Cuomo, a Democrat, hovered between slamming and applauding each other at closely watched press conferences during the health crisis.

David jackson

FDA approves home test kit

Health care workers and first responders who may have been exposed to the coronavirus will soon have access to a diagnostic home test. LabCorp, a global life science company based in North Carolina, received approval from the Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday for kits that allow people to take samples of nasal swabs at home and send them to a laboratory for testing.

The FDA’s emergency authorization is the first for a COVID-19 home test. The procedure reduces the need for personal protective equipment, as no clinician is required to take a sample. LabCorp said it hopes to make the tests available to other US consumers in the coming weeks, assuming the supplies last. The company refused to develop.

– Kevin McCoy

Trump: Harvard will return stimulus money

President Donald Trump said Harvard University would return coronavirus stimulus money for small businesses – “They shouldn’t have taken it,” he said – and added that he would ask other large entities to give money back as well. Later in his press briefing on coronaviruses, Trump clarified that the university did not agree that it should return the funds. “If they don’t, then we will do something else,” he said without further details. Harvard has been criticized for taking nearly $ 9 million in humanitarian aid funding, particularly in light of the multi-billion dollar endowment from the school.

Harvard released a statement on Tuesday saying it had not requested or received funds from the Small Business Paycheque Protection Program. Rather, the university said it had received part of the funding from the Ministry of Education that had been distributed to thousands of schools across the country, and that it planned to use the money to help students faced urgent financial needs due to the pandemic.

– John Fritze

More news and information on US coronaviruses TODAY:

Study shows no benefits of malaria drug Trump touted for treatment

A malaria drug widely touted by President Donald Trump for the treatment of coronavirus has shown no benefit in a broad analysis of its use in veteran hospitals in the United States. Researchers said there were more deaths among those receiving hydroxychloroquine than standard care.

The national study was not a rigorous experience. But with 368 patients, it’s the biggest look so far of hydroxychloroquine with or without the antibiotic azithromycin for COVID-19. The study was published on an online site for researchers and was submitted to the New England Journal of Medicine, but has not been reviewed by other scientists.

– The Associated Press

Doubts about the 2021 Tokyo Olympics

The postponement of the Tokyo Olympics to 2021 last month was a painful but expected decision amid the coronavirus pandemic. Perhaps more surprisingly, the event may not take place next year either.

“I don’t think the Olympics are likely to be held next year,” said Kentaro Iwata, professor of infectious diseases at Kobe University in Japan, during a conference call. “Hosting the Olympic Games requires two conditions; one, control COVID-19 in Japan, and control COVID-19 everywhere. ”

Toshiro Muto, CEO of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, also didn’t seem optimistic. “I don’t think anyone can say whether it will be possible to get it under control by next July or not,” said Muto. “We are certainly unable to give you a clear answer. “

– Christine Brennan

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