The Senate overwhelmingly passed a massive stimulus package late Wednesday night aimed at softening the economic blow of the coronavirus pandemic for American workers and businesses. The bill includes billions of dollars in credit for struggling industries, a boost to unemployment insurance and direct cash payments to Americans.
The fate of the bill now rests with the House, which will not vote until Friday, according to House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md.
The U.S. reached a grim milestone as the number of deaths linked to the coronavirus passed 1,000 in the country, according to a count of reports of cases and deaths by NBC News. Globally, the death toll topped 20,000, with nearly half a million reported cases.
Meanwhile at the U.N., the Trump administration is pushing the Security Council to call attention to the Chinese origins of the coronavirus, four diplomats posted to the United Nations told NBC News, triggering a stalemate as the global body seeks to cobble together a response to the pandemic.
Coronavirus burger makes the menu of Hanoi restaurant
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6d ago / 11:55 AM UTC
G-20 leaders to meet remotely to tackle coronavirus challenges
Leaders from the Group of 20 major economies will take part in a video call on Thursday to address the coronavirus pandemic and its economic impact, as global infections neared half a million with more than 21,000 dead.
G-20 finance ministers and central bankers agreed this week to develop an "action plan" to respond to the outbreak — which the International Monetary Fund expects will trigger a global recession — but they otherwise offered few details.
World Health Organization Director General Tedros Ghebreyesus will also address the leaders to seek support for ramping up funding and production of personal protection equipment for health workers amid a worldwide shortage.
This year's G-20 chair, King Salman of Saudi Arabia, called for the extraordinary virtual summit. He tweeted overnight that its goal was "to unite efforts towards a global response."
As the world confronts the COVID-19 pandemic and the challenges to healthcare systems and the global economy, we convene this extraordinary G20 summit to unite efforts towards a global response. May God spare humanity from all harm.
Isobel van Hagen , Hernan Muñoz Ratto and Andy Eckardt
6d ago / 11:40 AM UTC
Spanish artists collaborate as lockdown is extended
Spanish musicians wear pajamas, sit in the bathtub, entertain their kids and dance with their pets in a light-hearted video for “Quédate En Tu Casa,” or "Stay in Your House," posted Wednesday. The new song was created by 17 Spanish artists all in their respective homes.
The song was created as the anthem for the #yomequedoencasafestival (I’m Staying Home Festival) — a series of performances via Instagram Live that has run for the last two weekends, and will continue this coming weekend.
Pompeo's use of term 'Wuhan virus' shows 'evil intention,' China says
China accused Secretary of State Mike Pompeo of having an "extreme evil intention" after he used the term "Wuhan virus" in relation to the coronavirus pandemic.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said on Thursday that the continued use of the phrase was "slandering China's efforts to combat the disease" and was an attempt to jeopardize international collaboration to fight the virus.
"This American politician insists on defaming China against the international consensus," he said in a press briefing. "This is an attempt with extreme evil intention to divert domestic attention and putting the blame on others."
President Donald Trump has repeatedly accused Beijing of concealing early knowledge of the virus but has since tweeted that he would no longer call it the "Chinese virus."
The US is back on track as U.S. President @realDonaldTrump stopped using the "Chinese virus". #coronavirus has no borders. We hope that the US will work together with China and the world when facing the challenges of the epidemic and maintain global public health security.
The institution's online count showed there have been at least 474,000 confirmed cases around the world, with more than 115,000 people recovering.
While China still has the most confirmed cases — more than 81,000 — it's reported local transmissions have slowed rapidly. Italy is the second most affected country, with the United States close behind, according to the university's data.
The numbers from the World Health Organisation are slightly behind the university's count, with 18,589 deaths as of Wednesday evening.
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6d ago / 10:21 AM UTC
London's quiet streets give workers a chance to repaint iconic Abbey Road crossing
America's working poor face a pandemic without any aid
Every six months Penny Wingard’s doctor in Charlotte, North Carolina, checks her white blood cell count even though she can’t afford the tests. After a brutal round of chemotherapy for stage 2 breast cancer in 2014 left her with chemical burns, Wingard has a compromised immune system and no health insurance.
When she lost that coverage, more medical issues followed: She had a brain aneurysm and then the chemo caused Wingard, 56, to go temporarily blind before she underwent cornea surgery. Her medical debt through all this has ballooned to more than $25,000 — an amount she has no hope of ever paying off as a part-time Lyft driver.
Wingard is just one of nearly 30 million people in the United States living without insurance, and the stress of being hospitalized because of the pandemic is immense.
Iran bans intercity travel amid fears of second wave of virus
Iran banned intercity a day after a government spokesman warned that the country might face a second coronavirus outbreak.
Officials have complained that many Iranians ignored appeals to stay at home and cancel travel plans for the Persian New Year holidays that began on March 20.
"Those who have traveled for the Iranian New Year holidays should immediately return to their cities without making any stop in the cities on their way back home," said Hossein Zolfaghari, a member of Iran's national headquarters for fighting the coronavirus.
Iran is the worst hit country in the Middle East and the outbreak there has killed 2,234 people. There were 29,406 reported cases as of Thursday.