President Donald Trump on Friday signed the $2 trillion economic stimulus bill that the House passed earlier in the day, while the number of coronavirus cases in the U.S. surpassed 100,000.
The legislation signed by Trump and also unanimously passed by the Senate on Wednesday provides relief for workers and businesses devastated by the outbreak.
The United States now has more reported coronavirus cases than any other country, including China, as the number climbed past 100,000, according to NBC News' count.
In the U.K., Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted he tested positive for the coronavirus.
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Trump says NY doesn't need 30,000 ventilators as Cuomo claimed
President Donald Trump on Thursday night questioned New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's claim that his state needs 30,000 ventilators to treat patients hospitalized with the coronavirus.
"I don't believe you need 40,000 or 30,000 ventilators,” Trump said in a phone interview on Fox News with Sean Hannity’s show. “You know, you go into major hospitals sometimes and they'll have two ventilators. Now all of a sudden they're saying, 'Can we order 30,000 ventilators?'"
Earlier this week, Cuomo said that New York needed 30,000 ventilators to help keep patients who've suffered from severe cases of COVID-19 alive.
During the interview, Trump also criticized Michigan's Democratic governor, Gretchen Whitmer, saying that he's having a problem with her.
"I've asked repeatedly and respectfully for help," Whitmer responded on Twitter. "We need it. No more political attacks, just PPEs, ventilators, N95 masks, test kits. You said you stand with Michigan — prove it."
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson tests positive for coronavirus
Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson has tested positive for coronavirus, he announced in a tweet Friday morning.
“Over the last 24 hours I have developed mild symptoms and tested positive for coronavirus,” he wrote, adding that he was “now self isolating.”
He said that he would continue lead his government’s response to the epidemic via video-conference.
The U.K.'s Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock also tested positive on Friday.
Global coronavirus cases top 500,000 as U.S. passes China
The United States is leading the world in the number of coronavirus cases as of Friday with 85,707 people sick, according to tracking by NBC News — a toll that surpasses the caseload in China where the pandemic ignited in December.
The number of deaths has also risen to 1,268, with New York being the worst hit, accounting for 433 of those killed by COVID-19.
France's Macron says he and Trump are preparing coronavirus initiative
French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted late Thursday that he had a "very good discussion" with President Donald Trump, and that they "are preparing with other countries a new strong initiative in the coming days."
The tweet didn't give further details on the initiative.
French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe warned residents Friday that "we are settling in a crisis that will hold." He added that the epidemic will soon hit Paris and the surrounding region.
France's initial 15-day lockdown period is set to end Saturday. Philippe said he would hold a press conference Saturday to announce the country's strategy and plans going forward. The president of the French Hospital Federation warned that some Paris hospitals would soon reach capacity, and called for the transfer of patients to less affected regions.
At least 44 health workers in Italy have died from coronavirus
At least 44 health workers in Italy have died of the coronavirus as of Friday and the number is rising rapidly, according to the Italian Federation of Doctors.
The huge number of infections — now over 80,000 across the country — has overwhelmed hospitals particularly in the region of Lombardy. More than 8,000 people have died in Italy.
Health workers across the country have taken selfies of their faces, bruised from constantly wearing the personal protective equipment they need to protect themselves.
Britons coughing at emergency workers could face jail
Anyone claiming to have coronavirus who deliberately coughs at emergency workers faces being jailed for two years, Britain’s Director of Public Prosecutions Max Hill said on Thursday.
Hill said he was “appalled” there had been reports in recent days of people deliberately coughing in the faces of police, other emergency workers and shop staff by people claiming to have COVID-19 infections. Those responsible could face charges of common assault he said.
On Friday, the London Metropolitan Police Service called on retired officers — as well as those nearing retirement — to consider returning to or staying on the force, as the city tries to cope with the virus outbreak.
The British government announced a three-week lockdown on Monday, as the virus infected more than 11,000 people in the country as of Friday.
Britain claps for health care workers in mass applause
People across the U.K. gathered on their doorsteps and balconies on Thursday night to show their appreciation to the country’s health workers.
From apartment blocks to 10 Downing Street, well-wishers paid tribute to all the staff in the National Health Service. Even the royal family got in on the action, with staff at Windsor Castle coming out to applaud and Prince William's children, George, Charlotte and Louis clapping on a video shared on social media.
Along with the applause, buildings across the country were lit up with blue lights in tribute to those working within the NHS and emergency services. One paramedic team was driving their ambulance down a residential street at the time of the applause, and flashed their lights in appreciation, while in Yeovil Hospital ICU doctors took time to applaud their colleagues.
The British government announced a three-week lockdown on Monday intended to slow the spread of the virus, which has infected more than 11,000 people and killed 578.
Mexican zoo names new baby tiger 'Covid'
The birth of a baby tiger called "Covid" has brought a glimmer of hope to a private zoo in eastern Mexico, even as normal life slows down to contain the deadly coronavirus that inspired his name.
Named by the family that owns the zoo, Bengal tiger Covid was born on March 14 in the city of Cordoba in a small zoo that specializes in rescuing animals from circuses and exotic private collections.
"He's going to have a big impact because the situation right now is difficult for everyone, even for us," Kitzia Rodriguez, daughter of the zoo owner and a vet there, told Reuters. "But I think the birth, in spite of the situation, will help us and gives us hope to carry on, so we can have visitors. Covid was a gift."