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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DHS warns health care facilities to guard against possible attacks
In a Friday bulletin to the health-care community, the Department of Homeland Security warned hospitals to be on the alert for potential attacks during the coronavirus outbreak.
“Terrorists and other violent extremists may attempt to exploit the situation or vulnerable individuals may be triggered by stressors to commit disruptive or violent acts targeted at the healthcare community<" said the bulletin. "This is particularly concerning as Healthcare and Public Health Sector continuity-of-operation is paramount to the national response to the pandemic."
Dr. Birx goes viral for reaction to Trump's 'injection' comments
Dr. Deborah Birx is getting her close-up.
Birx, the Trump administration's coronavirus coordinator, was caught on camera in the White House briefing room looking dejected as President Donald Trump floated the idea of light treatments to combat the coronavirus.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo says polls will be open for June primary
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said polls will be open for the June 23 primary, but residents will have the option of voting absentee.
"There's only two options: Either people go to the polls or people vote by absentee. There's no other way to do it," he said at a news conference on Friday. "We're saying you have both options."
The governor said all New Yorkers will receive postage-paid applications for an absentee ballot in case they choose not to go to the polls.
Smithfield Foods sued over working conditions in Missouri during coronavirus
Smithfield Foods Inc., the world's largest pork processor, has been accused in a lawsuit of failing to adequately protect workers at a Missouri plant who have been forced to work "shoulder to shoulder" during the coronavirus pandemic.
The lawsuit filed Thursday in Missouri federal court claims Smithfield has created a "public nuisance" by providing inadequate protective equipment to workers at the plant in the town of Milan, refusing to give them time to wash their hands and discouraging workers who are ill from taking sick leave.
Workers have also been disciplined for covering their mouths while coughing or sneezing, because it could cause them to miss pieces of meat coming down the processing line, according to the complaint.
Norway's transport minister cuts ceremonial ribbon via video conference
Norway's Minister for Transport Knut Arild Hareide celebrated the completion of a construction project on Wednesday by cutting the ceremonial ribbon via video conference.
Speaking from his office in Oslo over 200 miles away, Hareide ate a slice of celebratory cake before cutting a ribbon that he had taped to his wall to officially open the country's long-awaited Ryfast sub-sea tunnel system.
NYC mayor calls for rent freeze, longer eviction moratorium
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Friday, a week before many are due to pay rent on the first of the month, that further steps need to be taken to relieve New Yorkers from the financial burden of paying their landlords during and after the coronavirus crisis.
"We need to make sure that every New Yorker can stay in their home during this crisis," de Blasio said during his daily briefing. "We need to keep a roof over everyone’s head."
The mayor called for a rent freeze and state approval to allow tenants to pay their rents with their security deposits, which he has been advocating for in past weeks. He also said he wants state approval to allow tenants who have to miss rent to repay over the span of a year, and for the eviction moratorium to be extended 60 days beyond the end of the crisis.
On March 20, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a 90-day eviction moratorium for residential and commercial tenants.
U.S. deaths tied to COVID-19 top 50,000, according to NBC News tally
The number of deaths in the United States tied to COVID-19 topped 50,000 early Friday, according to a tally compiled by NBC News.
Meanwhile, the total number of cases in the U.S. neared 90,000.
Trump approved of Georgia Gov. Kemp's plan to reopen early before the president bashed it
President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence repeatedly told Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp that they approved of his aggressive plan to allow businesses to reopen, just a day before Trump pulled an about-face and publicly bashed the plan, according to two administration officials.
The green light from Pence and Trump came in separate private conversations with the Republican governor both before Kemp announced his plan to ease coronavirus restrictions and after it was unveiled on Monday, the officials said. Trump’s sudden shift came only after top health advisers reviewed the plan more closely and persuaded the president that Kemp was risking further spread of the virus by moving too quickly.
“I told the governor of Georgia Brian Kemp that I disagree strongly with his decision to open certain facilities,” Trump said Wednesday, just a day after telling reporters that he trusted Kemp’s judgment. “He knows what’s he’s doing.”
On Thursday, he was even harder on the governor: “I wasn’t happy with Brian Kemp, I wasn’t at all happy.”
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."