Trump ponders return to normal life by Easter as death toll climbs

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Image: New York City Hospital Adds New Protocols And Triage To Address Coronavirus
Doctors test hospital staff with flu-like symptoms for coronavirus (COVID-19) in set-up tents to triage possible COVID-19 patients outside before they enter the main Emergency department area at St. Barnabas hospital in the Bronx on March 24, 2020 in New York.Misha Friedman / Getty Images

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The number of coronavirus cases continued to accelerate in the United States on Tuesday, and early Wednesday Senate leaders announced they had reached a deal on a massive $2 trillion spending bill aimed at alleviating the economic impact of the outbreak.

The White House coronavirus coordinator asked people who have recently been in New York, where the death toll continues to climb, to quarantine themselves for 14 days, because they may have been exposed before leaving.

President Donald Trump is pushing for the country to get back to business by April 12, Easter Sunday, when he said he would like to see churches full of people.

And after growing international pressure, Japan and the International Olympic Committee agreed to postpone the 2020 Tokyo games until next year but said they would happen no later than summer 2021.

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How countries around the world are working to flatten the curve

Senate agrees to $2 trillion coronavirus relief bill

WASHINGTON — The White House and Senate leaders reached an agreement early Wednesday on a massive $2 trillion coronavirus spending bill aimed at alleviating the economic impact of the outbreak.

“At last, we have a deal," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced shortly before 2 a.m. Wednesday. "In effect, this is a war-time investment."

Although the full text of the bill is not yet known, lawmakers indicated on Tuesday that the Republican’s initial proposal for direct cash payments would be included.

Read the full story here. 

Brazil president says coronavirus is overblown

RIO DE JANEIRO — President Jair Bolsonaro is sticking with his contention that concern about the new coronavirus is overblown and has accused Brazilian media of trying to stoke nationwide hysteria.

Bolsonaro said in a nationally televised address that the media had seized on the death toll in Italy, which he said is suffering so severely because of its elderly population and colder climate.

“The virus arrived, we are confronting it, and it will pass shortly," he said. "Our lives have to continue, jobs should be maintained.”

Bolsonaro added that certain Brazilian states should abandon their “scorched earth” policy of prohibiting public transport, closing business and schools, and calling for mass confinement at home for their residents.

About 2,200 people in Brazil have been infected so far, with 46 dead.

Trump approves disaster declarations for Louisiana, Iowa

President Donald Trump on Tuesday approved disaster declarations for the states of Iowa and Louisiana, the White House said.

The approvals follow declarations for New York, California and Washington state. Emergency declarations allow federal aid. Those three states have some of the highest number of cases in the country.

Iowa has 124 cases and reported its first death associated with COVID-19 on Tuesday. Louisiana has more than 1,300 cases and 46 deaths, according to its state health department.

Video diaries around the world: What it's like living in quarantine

Key medical glove factories cutting staff 50 percent

Malaysia’s medical glove factories, which make most of the world’s critical hand protection, are operating at half capacity just when they’re most needed, The Associated Press has learned.

Health care workers snap gloves on as the first line of protection against catching COVID-19 from patients, and they’re crucial to protecting patients as well. But medical-grade glove supplies are running low globally, even as more feverish, sweating and coughing patients arrive in hospitals by the day.

Malaysia is by far the world’s largest medical glove supplier, producing as many as three out of four gloves on market. 

The Malaysian government ordered factories to halt all manufacturing starting March 18. Then, one by one, those that make products deemed essential, including medical gloves, have been required to seek exemptions to reopen, but only with half of their workforce to reduce the risk of transmitting the new virus, according to industry reports and insider sources. The government says companies must meet domestic demand before exporting anything. The Malaysian Rubber Glove Manufacturers Association this week is asking for an exception.

New Orleans getting ambulance backup as cases rise

Louisiana is sending a “surge” of ambulance services to areas hard-hit by the coronavirus outbreak, including New Orleans, as officials in the city said a number of EMS workers have been exposed.

Twenty-eight employees of New Orleans Emergency Medical Services are being isolated at home after becoming symptomatic. No one has tested positive for COVID-19, but there are numerous test results pending, the city EMS said. The agency said that of 170 total employees, 94 have been exposed to the virus and meet the parameters for quarantine.

“However, according to CDC guidelines for health care providers, non-symptomatic medics may continue to work as long as they wear a mask and are monitored for fever and other symptoms,” the agency said.

New Orleans has 675 of the state’s more than 1,300 cases reported, according to state and local agencies. There have been 46 deaths in the state, and 26 of those happened in Orleans Parish. 

President Donald Trump on Tuesday approved a disaster declaration for the state.

California couple surprised with virtual 'wedding'

When Daniel Cheung and Jenn Chan had to postpone their March 21 wedding because of shelter-in-place requirements, their friends knew the San Francisco-area couple would be upset. So, rather than wasting the day, they banded together to throw a virtual "wedding." 

"We decided to throw a surprise virtual wedding for them on Zoom video conferencing and invite all of the guests on their guest list," Victor Kao, Cheung's best man, told NBC News. "We all dressed up, had a ceremony with vows, toasts, cake cutting. ... We had people drop off champagne and cake to their house and everything." 

Kao estimated that about 35 people celebrated. Cheung and Chan were both caught off-guard and pleased by their friends' gestures. 

"[I was] surprised and really grateful to see we were able to get together virtually," Chan said. 

The couple postponed their wedding to October 31. 

5 members of Missouri family infected

Five members of a Missouri family have been diagnosed with the coronavirus, including a woman who works at a preschool where several other teachers have also been infected.

Jane Weinhaus, 63, and her St. Louis-area family, including her husband, two adult children and a daughter-in-law, have all tested positive.

Weinhaus, a teacher at Deutsch Early Childhood Center at Congregation Temple Israel in Creve Coeur in St. Louis County, was on a ventilator for more than a week, her son told NBC affiliate KSDK.

Read the full story here