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House passes $484B relief package, Trump wonders about 'injection' of disinfectant

Here are the latest coronavirus updates from around the world.
COVID-19 Testing Begins in Historic Black Neighborhoods in Altamonte Springs, US
Health workers test people in cars for COVID-19 at a mobile testing site at the Apostolic Church of Christ in Altamonte Springs, Fla. on April 21, 2020.Paul Hennessy / Barcroft Media via Getty Images

This live coverage has ended. Continue reading April 24 for coronavirus news.

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.

Here's what to know about the coronavirus, plus a timeline of the most critical moments:

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Trump suggests 'injection' of disinfectant to beat coronavirus and 'clean' the lungs

 

President Donald Trump suggested the possibility of an “injection” of disinfectant into a person infected with coronavirus as a coronavirus deterrent at the White House daily briefing on Thursday.

Trump made the remark after Bill Bryan, a Department of Homeland Security official who leads the department's Science and Technology division gave a presentation on research his team has conducted that shows the virus does not live as long in warmer and more humid temperatures. Bryan said, “the virus dies quickest in sunlight.”

"I see the disinfectant that knocks it out in a minute, one minute. And is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside or almost a cleaning," the president said during the briefing, speaking to his health officials. "As you see it gets in the lungs, it does a tremendous number on the lungs, so it would be interesting to check that."

Later asked to clarify, Bryan said this is not the kind of work he does in his lab, before Trump jumped in and added, “maybe it works, maybe it doesn’t work.”

Read the full story here.

House gives final passage to $484 billion coronavirus relief bill

WASHINGTON — The House passed a nearly $500 billion interim coronavirus bill on Thursday that includes additional money for the small-business loan program, as well as for hospitals and testing, making way for the legislation to become law by the end of the week.

The bill includes more than $320 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program created by the CARES Act, which was passed late last month. The program, which quickly ran out of money because of heavy demand, provides forgivable loans to small businesses that keep their employees on the payroll.

About $60 billion of the additional PPP funding would be set aside for businesses that do not have established banking relationships, such as rural and minority-owned companies. Expanding access to the aid was a priority for Democrats who worried that some businesses were being shut out of the fund.

Read the full story here. 

Coronavirus infections jump among L.A. County's 60,000 homeless

On Thursday authorities said they had counted more than 100 cases of COVID-19 among Los Angeles County's estimated homeless population of 60,000, with one of the biggest outbreaks hitting dozens of people staying at L.A.'s largest and oldest homeless shelter, the Union Rescue Mission on Skid Row.

Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said cases had risen dramatically this week and there were at least eight ongoing investigations at shelters around the county. 

Efforts to test the county's homeless people have been limited because of testing restrictions and challenges, and more than half of homeless patients who have been tested and tested positive were asymptomatic.

California has now given the green light to test asymptomatic patients, and local health officials hope they can more quickly test the homeless population and isolate and quarantine infected individuals.

New York City coronavirus death toll crosses 15,000 with probable cases

Omar Rodriguez organizes bodies in the Gerard Neufeld funeral home in Queens, N.Y., on April 22, 2020.Spencer Platt / Getty Images

More than 15,000 New York City residents have likely died from complications brought on by coronavirus, in another grim milestone announced by health officials on  Thursday. 

There have been 10,290 confirmed deaths connected to the coronavirus pandemic in the five boroughs and at least another 5,121 fatalities have been labeled as probable COVID-19 cases, the city's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene reported as of 1:30 p.m. ET. 

Bill Gates: Vaccine is 'most likely solution' to pandemic

BIll Gates, Microsoft co-founder turned philanthropist, talks about fighting the coronavirus pandemic.

Bronx rapper Fred the Godson dies of coronavirus at 35

Fred The Godson.Johnny Nunez / WireImage

Frederick Thomas, best known as his rap alias Fred the Godson, has died from coronavirus-related complications. He was 35.

The Bronx rapper revealed his diagnosis on April 6 via social media, sharing a picture of himself on a ventilator in the hospital.

Read the full story here. 

Nearly 5,000 U.S. long-term care facilities have coronavirus cases, nearly 11,000 deaths

There are 4,820 nursing homes and other long-term care facilities with coronavirus cases in the U.S. and 10,982 residents have died, according to data from state agencies collected by NBC News.

The number of deaths is an undercount since some high-population states with known COVID-19 outbreaks, like California, Michigan and Ohio, are still not reporting total fatalities. 

The federal government is still not collecting or reporting this data. The latest from a CDC spokesperson to NBC News in an email yesterday was that the agency would be in a position to share data on nursing home outbreaks and deaths “potentially within the next week.”

A spokesperson for the long-term care industry told NBC News the industry is ready to provide information on the number of facilities with cases and the number of deaths to the federal government.

Facing furor, Ruth's Chris high-end steak chain returns $20 million small business loan

A Ruth's Chris restaurant in Washington, on April 20, 2020.Andrew Harrer / Bloomberg via Getty Images

Ruth's Chris Steak House will return the $20 million coronavirus small business loan it procured from the government's $350 billion Paycheck Protection Program, the company announced Thursday.

The PPP was designed to throw a financial lifeline to the millions of small businesses who have seen revenues plunge due to social distancing lockdowns — but the hastily conceived program left thousands of applicants high and dry, after funds were snapped up in less than two weeks.

Read the full story here. 

'Saturday Night Live' to do new stay-at-home episode this week

Abortion resumes in Texas following executive order

Texas will allow patients to get an abortion again after Gov. Greg Abbott’s new executive order eased restrictions on some surgical procedures, including abortion. 

The order allows a health care facility to operate if it can set aside 25 percent of its capacity for COVID-19 patients and will not need to request PPE from governmental sources for the duration of the pandemic.

The Center for Reproductive Rights and Planned Parenthood both confirmed on Thursday that abortion providers in Texas had resumed services. 

In March, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the Center for Reproductive Rights and the Lawyering Project sued Texas after the state pushed to ban abortions because of the coronavirus outbreak.