President Donald Trump signed a nearly $500 billion interim coronavirus bill into law Friday that includes more money for the small-business loan program, hospitals and testing.
The bill includes more than $320 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program, or PPP, created by the CARES Act, which was passed late last month and provides forgivable loans to small businesses that keep their employees on the payroll.
Meanwhile, experts ripped Trump's idea of injecting disinfectant as a possible treatment for coronavirus infections. But during the ceremony, Trump walked back his comments from Thursday, saying he was being “sarcastic.”
The new legislation comes as the death toll in the U.S. topped 50,000 on Friday, according to NBC News' tally. The global recorded death toll has passed 190,000, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
- 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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White House: Media 'irresponsibly' took Trump's disinfectant comments 'out of context'
The White House claimed Friday morning that the media was mischaracterizing Trump's comments suggesting exploring disinfectants as a possible treatment for coronavirus infections
"President Trump has repeatedly said that Americans should consult with medical doctors regarding coronavirus treatment, a point that he emphasized again during yesterday’s briefing," White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said in a statement. "Leave it to the media to irresponsibly take President Trump out of context and run with negative headlines."
Trump's comments at his daily news briefing on Thursday came after a Homeland Security official mentioned the ability of disinfectants like bleach to kill the coronavirus on surfaces.
"And then I see the disinfectant where it 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?" Trump said. "Because, you see, it gets on the lungs, and it does a tremendous number on the lungs. So it'd be interesting to check that. So that you're going to have to use medical doctors, but it sounds — it sounds interesting to me."
Photo: Hospital dance in Lebanon
See more compelling photos in the Week in Pictures as people all over the world grapple with the coronavirus pandemic.
FDA warns against using hydroxychloroquine for coronavirus outside of hospital
The Food and Drug Administration on Friday cautioned against prescribing hydroxychloroquine to COVID-19 patients outside of hospital settings or clinical trials. The drug, an antimalarial, was repeatedly touted by President Donald Trump as a possible treatment for the coronavirus.
"The FDA is aware of reports of serious heart rhythm problems in patients with COVID-19 treated with hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine, often in combination with azithromycin," the FDA wrote on its website.
"We are also aware of increased use of these medicines through outpatient prescriptions. Therefore, we would like to remind health care professionals and patients of the known risks associated with both hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine," the FDA said.
Facebook ads, conspiracy theorists pushed bleach consumption and UV ray cures
Unfounded and harmful coronavirus treatments — including those that were floated by President Donald Trump — continue to spread online, evading efforts to crack down on misinformation.
Prisoners in Germany to produce face masks
The southern German state of Bavaria announced on Friday that it will involve prisoners in the production of face masks in an effort to continue in curbing the coronavirus.
Officials bought 65 modern high-speed sewing machines on short notice and redesigned existing workplaces in the correctional facilities for mask production, the Bavarian Justice ministry said in a press release.
The plan for the prisoners — who will sew rubber strands onto mask blanks — will create 1.6 million masks per year, the ministry said. Germany is the fifth-worst-hit country in the world, with more than 150,000 reported cases as of Friday.
Photo: Social distancing during Friday prayer
The EPA is reminding people to use disinfectant only on surfaces
The Environmental Protection Agency is reminding people to only use disinfectant on surfaces.
The agency issued the update shortly before President Donald Trump suggested Thursday that it might be helpful to inject disinfectant to combat the coronavirus.
The EPA says, “Never apply the product to yourself or others. Do not ingest disinfectant products.”
The warning comes after Trump said at his daily press briefing on Thursday, "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? As you see, it gets in the lungs, it does a tremendous number on the lungs, so it would be interesting to check that."
Bill Gates: Vaccine could come sooner than later, but 'it's going to be awhile before things go back to normal'
Bill Gates, who has been warning for years of a global disease outbreak, said that while many countries have coordinated testing on a national level during the coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. has not, and access to tests is "chaotic."
But Gates also said in his interview with Savannah Guthrie that aired on the "TODAY" show Friday that he has recently seen evidence that a hoped-for timeline of 18 to 24 months for a coronavirus vaccine may come to pass. "The best scientists [are] working hard on this," Gates said. "In fact, in the last few weeks I've seen signs that we may get to the optimistic side of that time projection" for a vaccine.
Still, he said, "it's going to be awhile before things go back to normal."
"Many countries decided that at the national level, they would orchestrate the testing" for the virus, he said. "That hasn't happened in the United States. It might not happen. But, you know, the access to tests is just, you know, chaotic."
Outbreak in two of the oldest orthodox monasteries in Ukraine
Two of the oldest orthodox monasteries in Ukraine have reported virus outbreaks, as the country announced it had surpassed 7,500 cases on Friday.
Earlier this week, the Pochayiv Lavra monastery — which is a major center for pilgrimage and has about 600 priests and monks living inside — was closed for quarantine. The town of Pochayiv itself has also been locked down due to worshippers praying in the 500-year-old monastery last Sunday on the Orthodox Easter, local police reported.
There are currently 44 confirmed cases in the monastery, the city’s mayor said on local TV. Ukraine’s Ministry of Health, however, suspects the outbreak is much larger but cannot confirm due to a lack of cooperation from the abbot.
Earlier in the month, a 1,000-year-old monastery complex in the country’s capital of Kyiv was also locked down after 150 people were infected. While the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra monastery had initially criticized the government’s quarantine measures and urged people to continue going to church, it is now holding services behind closed doors.
Cases surge to a record high in the Indian state of Maharashtra
Health authorities said Friday that Maharashtra recorded 778 new cases on Thursday, and 1,680 total cases across the country. This brings the total in India — which has been under lockdown since March 24 — to 22,930 as of Friday. This marked its biggest single-day jump since April 19, a day before India relaxed some lockdown restrictions in a bid to help employ some of the millions of migrant workers who fled cities for their homes villages.
Fearing rampant spread of the disease in the city’s crowded slums, officials in India’s financial capital of Mumbai — the state capital of Maharashtra — are developing a plan to administer doses of the Donald Trump-backed anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine as a prophylactic against COVID-19.