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The House passed another coronavirus relief package Thursday, setting aside nearly $500 billion in loans and grants for businesses, hospitals and testing. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., who argued that the legislation needed to fund states and cities, was the only Democratic member to vote against the legislation.
Ruth’s Chris Steak House, which secured $20 million in loans under a $2 trillion package signed into law last month, joined a growing list of businesses Thursday that have said they would return the money. An online petition demanding the move had recorded more than 250,000 signatures.
Speaking to reporters at the White House, President Donald Trump wondered if an “injection” of disinfectant might keep the virus from “doing a number on the lungs.” Experts called this "irresponsible" and "dangerous."
The likely death toll from the disease rose to more than 15,000 in New York City, where public health officials said they had confirmed 10,290 deaths. Another 5,121 fatalities were identified as “probable” COVID-19 cases.
- MAPS: Confirmed cases in the U.S. and worldwide, confirmed deaths in the U.S. and globally.
- Stay-at-home orders across the country: What each state is doing — or not — amid widespread coronavirus lockdowns.
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Gov. Cuomo releases preliminary estimates from antibody study
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Thursday released preliminary estimates from an antibody study.
The state collected approximately 3,000 antibody samples from 40 locations in 19 counties. Preliminary estimates show a 13.9 percent infection rate, or an estimated 2.7 million people statewide, Cuomo said.
The results were broken down by region, race and age. No one younger than the age of 18 was tested.
"This basically quantifies what we have been seeing anecdotally," Cuomo said.
House expected to pass latest coronavirus bill, send to Trump
The House is expected to pass a nearly $500 billion interim coronavirus bill Thursday that includes more money for the small business loan program, as well as funds for hospitals and testing. President Donald Trump is expected to sign it by the end of the week.
The bill includes more than $320 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program, which quickly ran out of money after it was created by the CARES Act passed late last month. It also provides $60 billion in loans and grants for the Small Business Administration’s disaster relief fund, $75 billion for hospitals and $25 billion for coronavirus testing.
The interim bill does not include additional funding for state and local governments that Democrats wanted and say will be a priority for the next round of legislation, as well as money for election reform, hazard pay for frontline workers and additional funding for the U.S. Postal Service. But Republicans are already raising issues with those priorities.
Photos: Pony at your window
Bill Gates: 'We can’t count' on 'miraculous treatment'
Bill Gates outlined how he understands the coronavirus pandemic and explained what he thinks the world must do to recover from the outbreak in an essay released on Thursday.
Comparing coronavirus to a world war and calling the current moment "Pandemic I," the Microsoft co-founder spoke to the need to raise huge amounts of money to combat the virus. "I think of this as the billions we need to spend so we can save trillions," Gates wrote.
Discussing plans for contact tracing, testing and vaccination, Gates surmised for the world to get back to normal by 2021 and attend big events there would need to be a "miraculous treatment."
"We need a treatment that is 95 percent effective in order for people to feel safe in big public gatherings," he wrote. "Although it is possible...it’s not likely, so we can’t count on it."
Gates said that ultimately leaders at every level will "need to make trade-offs based on the risks and benefits of opening various parts of the economy."
Michigan gov. plans to extend parts of stay-at-home order while likely easing others
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said Thursday that her state’s restrictive stay-at-home order is effectively slowing the rate of coronavirus infections and that she plans to issue an executive order that will extend restrictions while likely permitting some forms of activity.
“It's working. We have flattened our curve, which means we have saved lives,” Whitmer said about her state’s stay-at-home order in an interview on MSNBC’s “Live with Stephanie Ruhle.”
But Michigan is “not out of the woods yet,” she added. The reopening of Michigan’s economy will happen in waves in which officials will measure whether it’s safe to take the next step, she said.
Read more on the story here.
Cornell suspends ACT/SAT admissions testing for next year
Cornell University has become the first Ivy League school to announce it is dropping requirements for fall 2021 applicants to have taken the SAT or ACT, a decision made in the wake of college testing cancellations amid the coronavirus outbreak.
The university said on its website that students who want to enroll at Cornell beginning next August can submit applications without SAT or ACT results. The exemption will be in effect for both early decision and regular decision applicants.
Officials, however, said the exemption is not permanent. The university anticipates "many students who will have had reasonable and uninterrupted opportunities to take the ACT and/or SAT during 2020 administrations will continue to submit results." Cornell added that it will work with applicants "to arrive at a reasonable and well-informed understanding of each applicant's circumstances."
Elizabeth Warren's oldest brother dies from coronavirus
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., said Thursday that her oldest brother died from coronavirus earlier this week.
“My oldest brother, Don Reed, died from coronavirus on Tuesday evening. He joined the Air Force at 19 and spent his career in the military, including five and a half years off and on in combat in Vietnam. He was charming and funny, a natural leader,” the former presidential candidate said, linking to a story from The Boston Globe about her brother’s death.
The Globe identified Warren's brother as Donald Reed Herring and said he died Tuesday at the age of 86 in Norman, Oklahoma, about three weeks after he tested positive for COVID-19. He was the oldest of Warren’s three brothers. The other two, John Herring and David Herring, are still alive, the report said.
'This is a good day,' NYC mayor says of decline in hospitalizations and ICU patients
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio shared a bit of good news Thursday, saying the number of people with the coronavirus admitted to hospitals and the total number in intensive care have both declined.
The mayor said the latest daily report shows 227 new hospital admissions. That is down from 252 on April 20.
The total number of patients currently in intensive-care units has also dropped to 796. De Blasio said that on April 20 more than 800 people were in ICUs.
"This is a good day," he said, adding, "We just have to keep doing what we're doing."
The newest numbers also show 2,519 new confirmed coronavirus cases in the city, the mayor said.
Photo: Stretching in the ICU
Contact tracing proposal by Sen. Warren, Rep. Levin would create 'containment corps'
Citing a lack of a coordinated effort from the White House when it comes to contact tracing, two Congressional Democrats whose states have among the highest cases of the coronavirus in the nation are proposing a "coronavirus containment corps," making up a tracing workforce to assist state and local health departments.
The proposal, shared with NBC News by Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Rep. Andy Levin, D-Mich., would be implemented through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and include the CDC's director submitting a strategy to Congress on hiring, training and deploying people who can help health authorities do contact tracing and with the U.S. Department of Labor providing funding to state and local workforce agencies, which would in turn assist unemployed individuals find jobs as contact tracers and other related roles.