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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This live coverage has ended. Continue reading April 25 for coronavirus news.
Facebook launches video-calling feature that could compete with Zoom
Facebook on Friday announced a new video-calling feature designed to give isolated users another way to keep in touch with friends and family.
The free feature will allow Facebook and Messenger users to create group video calls of up to 50 people. By contrast, Messenger video calls are limited to eight people.
Messenger Rooms’ 50-person limit will not be immediately available, however.
Las Vegas mayor: Desert heat could curb coronavirus
Southern Nevada's extreme summer heart could be key to curbing coronavirus, Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman said Friday, insisting her city should be at the "forefront of America's 'reopening.'"
"Although it has not been clearly determined as to the effect that extreme warmth will have on the virus, it is assumed that it shall deter its ferocity," she said in a statement. "We certainly are looking forward to having out desert heat provide that required substantiation. Our hot summer coupled with our unique economy compel us to be at the forefront of America's 'reopening.'"
The mercury regularly tops 100 degrees throughout June, July and August in Las Vegas.
Flour in high demand at grocery stores as baking becomes new obsession
Supermarkets across the U.S. have been packing their own flour to feed the need of Americans suddenly obsessed with baking.
Regular five-pound packages of flour have been in short supply, so some stores - with access to massive 50-pound sacks usually sold to industrial-sized bakeries - have been packaging their own consumer-sized bags for customers, who have been making cookies and cakes to pass the time trapped indoors.
For example, national chain Albertsons has given the OK for stores to portion out flour from their own supply that's normally used for in-house bakery items.
"It's a supply-and-demand issue that we're adapting to," Albertsons spokesman Andrew Whelan said in a statement Friday.
Driver wearing N95 mask passes out, crashes, police say
A driver wearing an N95 mask appeared to have passed out behind the wheel and crashed, police in Lincoln Park, New Jersey, said Friday.
The crash was reported Thursday, according to the Lincoln Park Police Department. The 49-year-old woman was hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries, said Lt. John Clements.
"The crash is believed to have resulted from the driver wearing an N95 mask for several hours and subsequently passing out behind the wheel due to insufficient oxygen intake/excessive carbon dioxide intake," the department said in its initial statement.
Clements said, "She was in the car in excess of three hours wearing the mask."
After "overwhelming response" Friday to the incident, the department said it did not know with "100% certainty" the mask was the main contributing factor. The driver was not being tested for alcohol or drugs, Clements added, because officers at the scene had no reason to believe she was under the influence.
The department said it's not necessary to wear masks in an enclosed vehicle on the road.
Blue Angels, Air Force Thunderbirds to perform flyovers to honor frontline workers
Keep your eye on the sky in coming weeks as the Navy Blue Angels and Air Force Thunderbirds are planning a series of flyovers to honor health care and essential workers fighting on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The salute to the nation, called "America Strong," will appear over areas hardest hit by coronavirus, according to a joint statement from the U.S. Navy and Air Force.
The list of cities and corresponding dates have not been announced yet.
“We’re excited to fly over cities across America as our way of saying thanks to the healthcare workers, first responders, and all the people who selflessly run into the breach working to keep America strong,” said Gen. Dave Goldfein, chief of staff of the Air Force, and Adm. Michael Gilday, chief of Naval operations. “This is also our way of showing that we are all in this together and that America’s spirit will prevail.”
Coast Guard releases video of oil tankers lined up off coast
The U.S. Coast Guard late Thursday released video of oil tankers lined up off the Southern California coast, ocean traffic apparently caused by an oversupply of fuel and a lack of demand as residents stay home.
The Coast Guard noted an "increased presence" of oil tankers -- 27 of them recorded Thursday -- headed to the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, collectively the busiest container destination in the Western Hemisphere.
"Coast Guard watchstanders, in partnership with the Marine Exchange of Southern California, are closely monitoring each anchorage to manage the increased number of tank vessels we're seeing off the California coast," Coast Guard Cmdr. Marshall Newberry said in the statement.
Oil prices started the week at less-than-zero pricing but domestic crude rebounded to $16.94 a barrel Friday. Global demand has decreased by about 30 percent as a result of the pandemic. Now oil producers appear to be running out of places to store their crude.
Amazon workers stage 'sick out' rally to push for warehouse changes
Hundreds of Amazon tech and fulfillment center employees called out sick Friday, rallying virtually to protest what they say are unsafe and unethical working conditions for the more than 800,000 people the company employs around the world.
The "sick out" was organized through an all-day livestream broadcast on YouTube and Facebook Live. The event kicked off with speeches from recently fired Amazon workers, followed by two warehouse workers in Poland who said their working conditions have also been unsafe during the pandemic. The writers and activists Bill McKibbon and Naomi Klein joined the event.
Friday’s protest was spearheaded by Amazon Employees for Climate Justice, a group of Amazon tech workers formed in 2018 to pressure their employer to commit to reducing its fossil fuel emissions. For the “sick out,” the group asked tech workers at the company to take a day off to signal their support for warehouse workers.
Traveler says flight from Miami was packed with people not wearing masks
A New York woman traveling home from Miami said she was surprised her flight was packed and that a lot of travelers weren't wearing face masks.
Angie Wong, 42, said she boarded an American Airlines flight Wednesday morning at Miami International Airport headed for LaGuardia Airport in New York. She and her children have spent the past few weeks quarantining in Florida with her husband, but Wong had to return home for an urgent matter.
She said that when she checked in at the airport, she was told there would be empty rows on the plane for passengers to space out a bit. But when she got on, she said the first 10 rows had a few empty seats and the rest, including where she was seated, was "packed, packed, packed."
Cape Cod Baseball League shuttered for 2020 season
The Cape Cod Baseball League, a famed training ground for future professional players, canceled its 2020 season because of the coronavirus pandemic, officials announced Friday.
The league said it "would be impossible to guarantee the safety of players, coaches, umpires, host families, volunteers and fans during this unprecedented health crisis."
Every summer, the 10-team Massachusetts league invites the nation's best college players to compete with wood bats, providing scouts a key glimpse at their pro potential. Opening day had been set for June 13.
UC San Francisco sends doctors, nurses to aid Navajo Nation
With 1,360 positive cases, the rate of coronavirus infection on the Navajo Nation is worse than in 48 states, behind only New York and New Jersey. But now some help is on the way.
Seven doctors and 14 nurses from the University of California San Francisco healthcare system traveled to hospitals in Chinle, Arizona, and Gallup and Shiprock, New Mexico, where many Navajo patients are being treated. The volunteer health care workers are being dispatched as part of a UCSF initiative called HEAL, committed to helping rural communities in need.
“We have volunteers right now on the Navajo nation that are helping relieve some of the doctors and nurses that have been working around the clock to help the Navajo Nation," said Jonathan Nez, president of the Navajo Nation.
Also, this week the Navajo Nation joined 10 other tribes in a lawsuit against the federal government over $8 billion in coronavirus relief funds that were allocated to Native American tribes. The money has been tied up as the tribes and the government argue over whether Alaska Native corporations should be eligible for the money.