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.
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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.
12,000 Airbnb hosts open up homes for coronavirus responders
Airbnb announced a global initiative that will allow hosts to open up their homes to healthcare workers, first responders and others on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic.
By Thursday afternoon, the same day the company announced the initiative, 12,000 hosts had agreed to offer their homes, CEO Brian Chesky tweeted.
The company said the goal is to give 100,000 responders around the world a safe and clean place to stay and Airbnb will waive all fees for stays arranged through the initiative.
The initiative builds on two pilot programs already in place in Italy and France which offers free accommodations to doctors, nurses and other responders helping in the fight against the coronavirus. Airbnb hosts who participate have to abide by "new cleanliness protocols based on recommendations from medical experts," Airbnb said.
Update: 12,000 hosts have now opened up their homes to COVID-19 responders. Thank you, hosts.
USS Theodore Roosevelt diverted to Guam; 5,000 aboard to be tested
The Navy says an outbreak of coronavirus aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt in the Pacific has forced it to divert to Guam, where all 5,000 aboard will undergo testing.
The aircraft carrier remains "operationally capable," according to the acting secretary of the Navy, Thomas Modly. "Sailors flown off the ship are doing fine, none required hospitalization — mild aches and pains, sore throats," Modly said Thursday at a Pentagon news briefing, adding they were "in quarantine now on Guam."
Other officials said the number of infected sailors has risen sharply — from initial reports of three to "dozens" as of Thursday. The carrier is the first U.S. Navy ship to have a reported an outbreak while at sea. About 800 test kits are aboard and more were being delivered, Modly said.
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Why New Orleans is quickly becoming a coronavirus epicenter in the U.S.
New Orleans is on track to become a coronavirus epicenter.
The state's rich cultural history that prizes large social gatherings, coupled with its higher than average rates of obesity and chronic disease, put its population at particular risk.
Dow closes with gain of 1,300 points as American jobless skyrockets
Wall Street rallied for the third straight day Thursday, with investors showing renewed confidence in the economy despite record-breaking unemployment claims as business activity grinds to a halt nationwide.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended the day with a gain of just over 1,300 points, or almost 6.5 percent. The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq closed higher, up by around 6 percent each.
Traders remain optimistic that Congress will pass the $2 trillion coronavirus relief package that will give a boost to businesses ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic and provide support to unemployed Americans.
Trump tells governors he is setting new coronavirus social distancing guidelines
President Donald Trump told America's governors in a letter on Thursday that his administration will soon set new social distancing guidelines as the coronavirus pandemic worsens.
Trump said in the letter that new coronavirus testing capabilities would allow his administration to identify "high-risk, medium risk and low-risk" counties. And these new guidelines will assist governors and other officials to decide on "maintaining, increasing or relaxing social distancing and other mitigation measures they have put in place."
The president said by doing "robust surveillance testing," officials will be able to "monitor the spread of the virus throughout the country."
Public health experts have said easing restrictions too soon could overburden hospitals and lead to more deaths and economic damage related to the virus.
Kylie Jenner donates $1 million to buy hospital masks and medical gear
Kylie Jenner is donating $1 million to help with the shortage of hospital masks, face shields and other protective gear.
The reality star's doctor, Thaïs Aliabadi, said in an Instagram post on Wednesday that the donation will help buy "hundreds of thousands" of supplies for first responders during the coronavirus pandemic.
"Too many masks at hospitals are disappearing before making their way onto the faces of our front line heroes," she wrote. "I have never felt more blessed to be a doctor, as helping our brave ER and ICU workers feels just as gratifying as helping my own patients. From the bottom of our hearts, THANK YOU @kyliejenner."
Aliabadi, who delivered Jenner's daughter, Stormi, said the donation will most likely "help save many precious lives."
The $2 trillion coronavirus aid package provides up to $1,200 per person up to certain income thresholds, with an extra $500 per child in order to offer relief for families affected by the coronavirus pandemic and to support the economy.
Italian mayor prepares pre-recorded drone audio messages to warn citizens
The mayor of a city in southern Italy is going to use drones to keep an eye on all the villages in his province. Cateno De Luca, the 48-year-old mayor of Messina, Italy, announced on his Facebook page.
“My voice will say ‘where the f--- are you going’?” De Luca said in a video full of expletives.
It’s not the first time that the mayor gained attention with his colorful remarks. Another video showing Italian public officials yelling at people to stay at home garnered over 5 million views on Twitter.
Italy has been under national quarantine since March 9, with a total of 8,165 certified deaths. Over 80,000 people tested positive since the start of the pandemic.