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Coronavirus updates: Senate, White House reach deal on $2 trillion stimulus plan

Here are the latest updates from around the world.

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With roughly a third of the world under some form of lockdown, the White House and Senate leaders reached agreement on a landmark $2 trillion stimulus package to combat the economic impact of coronavirus.

The White House coronavirus coordinator asked people who have recently been in New York, where the death toll continues to climb, to quarantine themselves for 14 days, because they may have been exposed before leaving.

President Donald Trump is pushing for the country to get back to business by April 12, Easter Sunday, when he said he would like to see churches full of people. The World Health Organization, meanwhile, has warned that the U.S. could become the pandemic's new epicenter.

And as the number of cases in the U.K. reached 8,000 on Wednesday, Prince Charles, heir to the British throne, was confirmed to have tested positive for coronavirus.

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CORRECTION (March 25, 2020, 12:45 p.m. ET): An earlier version of the headline on this article misstated the status of the federal stimulus plan. The White House and Senate leaders have reached a deal, but the Senate has not yet passed the stimulus plan.

Live Blog

Over 100 hospital employees in Boston test positive across 3 medical centers

More than 100 employees between three different Boston-area hospitals have tested positive for coronavirus, according to NBC Boston Wednesday. 

Brigham and Women's Hospital reported at least 45 employees have been diagnosed with COVID-19, the disease associated with coronavirus. Boston Medical Center said 15 of its employees have tested positive.

Massachusetts General Hospital, one of the top facilities in the country, said Wednesday that 41 of its staff members have tested positive as well. The hospital said in a statement to NBC Boston that "it is believed that the vast majority of these individuals did not contract the virus at work."

Read the full story here.

Cardi B says celebrities are causing confusion about the coronavirus

Cardi B at the Tom Ford SS19 Show at the Park Avenue Armory during New York Fashion Week on Sept. 5, 2018Brent N. Clarke / Invision/AP file

Rapper Cardi B says celebrities who have publicly disclosed that they have tested positive for the coronavirus without having any symptoms are confusing the general public.

In a more than 4-minute-long video posted Tuesday to her Instagram account, the Bronx rapper said "45," referring to President Donald Trump, has advised people not to get tested for COVID-19, the disease associated with the coronavirus, if they do not have symptoms.

"But if a celebrity is saying, 'Hey, listen. I don't have no symptoms. I'm feeling good. I'm feeling healthy. I don't feel like nothing, but I went and got tested and I'm positive for the coronavirus,' that cause confusion," she said in the expletive-laden video during which she wears a mask. The video has been viewed more than 15 million times.

Read the full story here. 

Small businesses take desperate measures to get through pandemic

The new stimulus package includes hundreds of billions of dollars for small businesses, but is it enough? GoFundMe has launched a “Small Business Relief Initiative,” and many workers are having to get creative to survive.

As Florida coronavirus cases surge, spring breakers express regret

A group of spring break revelers pose for a photograph on the beach, on March 17, 2020, in Pompano Beach, Fla.Julio Cortez / AP

The clip went viral. “If I get corona, I get corona. At the end of the day, I’m not gonna let it stop me from partying,” Brady Sluder, a spring breaker in Miami, said last week.

Now, as the United States is at about 55,000 cases of the coronavirus, including more than 780 deaths, and is on track to become the new epicenter of the pandemic, he has revised his message: “Don’t be arrogant and think you’re invincible like myself.”

On Monday, Sluder posted a lengthy apology on his Instagramfirst reported by the Cincinnati Enquirer, in which he said he “wasn’t aware of the severity of my actions.”

Read the full story here. 

Airbnb hosts can get small business loans through federal relief bill

Airbnb hosts will be eligible to receive small business loans and unemployment insurance through the coronavirus relief bill. 

"We are deeply appreciative of bipartisan Senate and House leadership for recognizing there is a new sector of the workforce who depend on Airbnb for their monthly economic needs,” said Chris Lehane, Airbnb’s vice president of policy and communications.

The bill, as it is currently written, requires eligible borrowers to show that they need the loan because of the uncertainty of the economic crisis caused by the virus. The loan can only be used to maintain payroll, leases and utility payments.

Missouri man arrested for licking items at Walmart to mock coronavirus fears

Cody Pfister.Warren Police

A 26-year-old Missouri man seen in a social media video licking items at a Walmart to mock fears of the coronavirus pandemic was arrested and charged with terrorist threats.

Cody Lee Pfister posted a video of himself licking deodorants at the Warrenton store on March 11, according to court documents. As he wiped his tongue across the packages he asked, "Who's scared of coronavirus," according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Read the full story here. 

Trump declares disasters for states including New York, California and Texas

President Trump announced he has approved major emergency declarations for New York, California, Washington, Iowa, Louisiana, Texas and Florida. He also referred to the Defense Production Act as a "great negotiating tool" to inspire companies to manufacture crucial medical supplies.

Photo: Long line for testing in New York

People wait in line Wednesday to get tested for COVID-19 at Elmhurst Hospital Center in New York.John Minchillo / AP

Rep. Katie Porter self-quarantines with fever, awaiting coronavirus test results

U.S. Rep. Katie Porter, D-Calif., announced Wednesday she's suffering from a 100-degree temperature and has been tested for coronavirus.

The freshman lawmaker is awaiting the results.

Porter won election in 2018 in the 45th Congressional District in Orange County, once a fortress for conservatives and the Republican Party. Now all six of the country's congressional seats are held by Democrats. 

The congresswoman's sister, Austin-based Dr. Emily Porter, recently posted a video explaining why it's so important so stay indoors and stay away from other people. 

 

Gov. Cuomo's office says Senate coronavirus bill is 'gross political manipulation'

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the $2 trillion stimulus bill negotiated by the Senate is "terrible," and his office argues it's because New Yorkers will be stuck with a bigger bill than other states.

"The gross political manipulation is obvious," said Dani Lever, Cuomo's communication director. The coronavirus crisis could blow a hole in the state's budget as big as $15 billion, Cuomo told reporters Wednesday. And only a fraction of that amount is going to be reimbursed to the state by the Senate bill, Lever said. 

"Based on initial reports, New York State government gets approximately $3.1 billion. As a percent of our total state budget — 1.9% — it is the second lowest amount in the nation. Literally 48 states get a higher percentage in funding than New York State," Lever said in a statement after Cuomo's remarks. 

He pointed to states with less COVID-19 cases — and more Republican voters — as evidence. 

"This is despite the fact that New York State is incurring the greatest costs as we have the highest number of cases in the country.  New York State has 30 times the number of cases as Texas's 1,031," Lever said.  "For example, Wyoming, which only has 40 confirmed COVID-19 cases, is getting 17.1 percent of their budget as a payment from the federal government."