Coronavirus updates: House passes economic relief bill, Trump says ‘mostly likely’ to get tested

One day after President Donald Trump declared the coronavirus pandemic to be a national emergency, millions of Americans were grappling with a new normal.

More than a hundred universities have transitioned to online-only classes, and several states and large urban school districts are shutting down all K-12 schools as part of a sweeping attempt to contain the spread of the virus.

The NBA, MLS and NHL have suspended their seasons. The AMC and Regal theater chains are cutting their seating capacity in half. Some Starbucks stores in the U.S. and Canada may become drive-thru only. And hundreds of employees have transitioned to working from home.

Meanwhile, at least 47 people have died in the U.S., where there have been more than 2,100 confirmed cases of the virus. Worldwide, cases were nearing 150,000 on Saturday with more than 5,500 deaths. 

Here’s the latest on the coronavirus outbreak:

House approves Trump-backed deal on economic relief

The House overwhelmingly passed legislation to provide economic relief to Americans affected by coronavirus after President Donald Trump said Friday he would support the sweeping measure.

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act was adopted 363-40 with every Democrat and most Republicans voting in favor of the measure. The vote was conducted shortly after midnight Friday following two days of around-the-clock negotiations between Democratic leaders and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.

The legislation would ensure sick leave for affected workers and include money for testing for Americans, including the uninsured. Trump and lawmakers have been under pressure to ease fears over the spread of the deadly coronavirus, which has halted many parts of public life, forced the closure of schools and pummeled financial markets.

The bill now heads to the Senate for an expected vote Monday.

– John Fritze and Ledyard King

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Trump says he’s likely to be tested being exposed 

Trump said Friday he will “most likely” be tested for the novel coronavirus, as questions swirled about why he, his top aides and his family weren’t doing more to protect themselves and others after repeated exposure to COVID-19.

Trump has now had multiple direct and indirect contacts with people who have tested positive for the pandemic virus.

He spent time last weekend at his private club in Florida with at least three people who have now tested positive. The Brazilian Embassy in Washington announced late Friday that the country’s chargé d’affaires, Nestor Forster, tested positive after sitting at Trump’s dinner table. So, too, have a top aide to Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and an individual who attended a fundraiser Sunday with Trump, according to two Republican officials who spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity in order to discuss private health matters.

In addition to his direct exposure, Trump has also had repeated contact with lawmakers who chose to isolate themselves after being exposed to people who later tested positive. That included Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, who traveled aboard Air Force One with the president Monday and found out about the positive test mid-flight; South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, who was working from home after spending time at Mar-a-Lago and attending his own meeting with Peter Dutton, Australia’s Minister for Home Affairs; and Florida Sen. Rick Scott, who also interacted with the Brazilian delegation.

People who are exposed to the virus don’t show symptoms immediately; there is an incubation period of anywhere from two to 14 days.  Read more here. 

More on coronavirus:

  • What does the coronavirus do to your body?Check out this visual guide of the infection, symptoms and the effects of the virus inside the body.
  • US hospitals will run out of beds if coronavirus cases spike. A USA TODAY analysis shows there could be six seriously ill patients for every existing hospital bed. No state is prepared. Read more here.
  • On the lighter side: Here are some coronavirus TikToks and memes to get you through the panic.

Spain to declare state of emergency; Italy closes playgrounds

Spain prepared to declare a state of emergency Saturday and Italy shut down public playgrounds parks, as European countries fashioned different polices to try to combat the spread of the coronavirus.

Spain’s Cabinet met to declare a two-week state of emergency as coronavirus cases soared to over 4,000 infections. The measure would allow the government to limit free movement, confiscate goods and take over control of industries and private facilities, including private hospitals. 

Madrid, which has around half the infections, and northeastern Catalonia awoke to shuttered bars and restaurants and other non-essential commercial outlets as ordered by regional authorities.

Mayors of many Italian cities, including Rome and Milan, decided to close public playgrounds and parks. Under a government decree issued earlier in the week, people had been allowed in parks as long as they kept at least a distance of 3 feet between each other.

Elsewhere, Denmark and Poland became the latest countries to shut their borders to most travelers.

– Associated Press

You asked, we’re answering: Specific answers to readers’ coronavirus questions

NAACP to host emergency town hall how virus is affecting communities of color

The NAACP plans to host an Emergency Tele Town Hall on the coronavirus to discuss its impact on communities of color to ensure that policies “justly address the health, economic and social needs of all people.” 

The town hall is scheduled for Sunday at 8 p.m. ET.

“Because of the racial and economic inequalities embedded within our country’s infrastructure, the effects of the coronavirus are likely to be compounded in black and brown communities,” the civil rights and human rights organization said in a statement.

Derrick Johnson, president and CEO, decried what he said were “so many within this nation that are disenfranchised from receiving adequate and affordable care due to socio-economic circumstances.”

“This virus will have dire consequences on so many, but specifically African Americans, which suffer from higher rates of chronic illness,” he said.

The organization drew up what it said were 10 impacts of the virus outbreak on communities of color. Among the areas of concern are “racism and stigmatization” particularly toward Asian and Asian American population. The list also included a warning that “quarantine policies and practices are unfolding with a risk to human and civil rights,” particularly for immigrants.

‘Now it’s real’: Long lines, bare shelves at stores around the country

With shelves in many stores picked bare, the coronavirus is spurring panicked shoppers to stock up on products ranging from cleansing wipes to peanut butter as they prepare to hunker down in the midst of the growing pandemic.

Shoppers at a Walmart in Gardena, California, were greeted by a notice saying they couldn’t buy more than two packages of toilet paper, hand sanitizer or cleaning wipes, only to discover that by 9:30 a.m., they were already too late. At a Coscto in Lawndale, California, shoppers had to wait an hour for two cases of bottled water, the most water they were able to buy. 

“Before it was a scare,” Chiquita Thursby said. “Now it’s real.” Read more here.

– Charisse Jones and Kelly Tyko

Cleaning wipes are selling out. Here’s where you can still get them.

Trump pledges to speed up testing by bringing together leaders from Walmart, CVS, LabCorp

Executives from Walmart, Target, CVS, Walgreens, LabCorp, Quest Diagnostics, Roche Diagnostics and other companies began working with the White House on Friday to help expedite testing for the quick spreading virus.

Trump said the collaboration will help more tests into affected communities including with drive-thru facilities in parking lots. By early next week, a half million additional tests will be available and 5 million tests within a month, Trump said.

Demand has outpaced testing as sick people across the country complain they’ve been denied screenings, even as the death toll from the pandemic mounts. Concern is deepening over a shortage of tests and supplies of the products and chemicals needed to run them. Read more here.

– Jessica Guynn

Map: Which states have coronavirus cases?

There have been more than 2,170 cases of coronavirus in the U.S., with at least 47 deaths, according to a dashboard run by Johns Hopkins University. The majority of the deaths have been in Washington state, while California, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, New Jersey and South Dakota have all reported deaths. At least 12 people have recovered in the country. 

Here’s a look at which U.S. states have reported cases of COVID-19:

Cruise lines suspend operations 

Major cruise lines including Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, and MSC will suspend sailing operations to and from U.S. ports for 30 days due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Cruise Lines International Association announced Friday.

Viking and Disney cruises announced similar measures Thursday, before the major cruise association.

The suspension will take effect at midnight Friday. CLIA said it will focused on the “safe and smooth return” of those currently at sea on ships.

At least 30 cruise ships at sea list port destinations in the US this week, according to a USA TODAY analysis. That means upward of 100,000 people – 70% of them passengers – could look to come ashore at a range of U.S. ports.  Read more here.

— Curtis Tate and Bryan Alexander

More on the outbreak of COVID-19:

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