U.S. surpasses 100,000 cases as Trump signs $2 trillion stimulus package

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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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Plaintiffs, including NRA, sue to block gun store closures

Plaintiffs, including the National Rifle Association, sought in Los Angeles federal court Friday to block the local sheriff from shutting down gun stores.

The civil suit names as defendants L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva and California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who on March 19 ordered most business to close. The sheriff announced he would shutter gun stores, then paused over legal concerns, and finally announced Thursday that he would move forward with closing down firearms retailers.

Gun stores were not named by the state as "essential" businesses that would be exempt from Newsom's closures, but the governor said he would leave it up to sheriffs across the state to decide. 

The lawsuit, citing the Second Amendment right to bear arms, argues the government may not engage in "deprivation of constitutional liberties during a time of crisis."

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Teen whose death may be linked to coronavirus was denied care for not having health insurance, mayor says

A teenager in Lancaster, California, who may have died from the coronavirus last week, was turned away from an urgent care because he did not have health insurance, the city's mayor said.

In a video posted to YouTube on Wednesday, Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris said the 17-year-old had been sick for a few days and had no previous health conditions.

"The Friday before he died, he was healthy. He was socializing with his friends," Parris said. "By Wednesday, he was dead." Parris said the teen went to an urgent care March 18.

"He did not have insurance, so they did not treat him," Parris said, adding the boy was sent to a hospital.

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Trump invokes Defense Production Act to force GM to make ventilators

President Donald Trump invoked the sparsely used Defense Production Act on Friday to order the Department of Health and Human Services to compel General Motors to manufacturer ventilators after he sharply criticized the company for slow-walking production.

"Our negotiations with GM regarding its ability to supply ventilators have been productive, but our fight against the virus is too urgent to allow the give-and-take of the contracting process to continue to run its normal course," Trump said in a statement. "GM was wasting time. Today’s action will help ensure the quick production of ventilators that will save American lives."

 

Trump, in a tweet on Friday, excoriated General Motors and its CEO, Mary Barra, for not moving quickly enough to produce needed ventilators amid the coronavirus pandemic and wanting “top dollar” for the contract.

Trump himself has been criticized for not quickly invoking his authority to use the act as the nation's hospitals and health care facilities are in dire need of critical medical supplies for workers. He announced he would use the act this month, but did not invoke it until Friday.

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North Carolina residents ordered to stay home

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper on Friday ordered the state's 10 million-plus residents to stay at home, starting next week, unless they're performing or seeking essential services.

Exempt workers and services include takeout restaurants, grocery stores, medical providers, hotels and transportation employees, according to the governor, whose order takes effect Monday.

Places of  worship are allowed to remain open but are still subject to a "mass gathering ban" and cannot "have more than 10 people assembled," according to Cooper.

U.S. cases surpass 100,000

More than 100,000 coronavirus cases have been reported in the U.S., the most in the world, according to NBC News data.

The hardest hit states are New York, New Jersey and California.

There have been more than 1,500 deaths. 

Gun groups sue over sheriff's order to close gun stores in LA County

Gun groups have gone to court, seeking to stop an order to close gun stores issued by the sheriff of Los Angeles County. Gun stores were deemed non-essential businesses, requiring them to close under the LA County stay-at-home order, according to the sheriff's order on March 26.

The suit, brought by Adam Brady, Daemion Garr and several 2nd Amendment advocates including the National Rifle Association, was filed in federal court in Los Angeles on Friday, seeking an injunction against LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva, Governor Gavin Newsom and other government officials in connection with the order, saying it violates the "fundamental rights of law-abiding Californians."

It cited a slew of federal and state regulations on gun stores protecting the rights of gun owners, arguing such a closure is particularly ill advised in a crisis. The 30-page filing argued it was illegal to "use a public health crisis as political cover to impose bans and restrictions on rights they do not like."

The sheriff' later clarified the order, stating that while gun stores must close to the general public, licensed firearm retailers are permitted to sell ammunition to security guard companies.

An Empire State tribute to first responders

The Empire State Building is putting on a light show, backed by the vocals of Alicia Keys, to honor first responders who are working tirelessly through the coronavirus pandemic.

At 9 p.m. EST on Friday, lights will pour on to the iconic building to the vocals of Keys' inspirational hit,  "Empire State of Mind."

The show, set to repeat Saturday and again next Monday through Thursday, will be carried on the Empire State Building's Facebook page.

Photo: Indian workers pack buses to return home after lockdown

Migrant daily wage laborers crowd a bus as they travel to their respective hometowns following a lockdown amid concern over spread of coronavirus in New Delhi, India, on Friday. The measures that went into effect Wednesday, the largest of their kind in the world, risk heaping further hardship on the quarter of the population who live below the poverty line and the 1.8 million who are homeless.Manish Swarup / AP

St. Patrick's Day party linked to six positive tests in Kentucky

A half-dozen positive coronavirus cases sprouted from a single St. Patrick's Day party in Kentucky that went on even after a big local parade had been canceled, health officials said Friday.

Those cases were traced to a St. Patrick's Day party on March 17, three days after the Lexington St. Patrick’s Parade and Festival had been canceled in an attempt to limit the pandemic's spread.

Organizers of that party had only intended to have nine guests but more showed up.

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