President Donald Trump said Thursday that federal officials are developing guidelines to rate counties by risk of virus spread, as he aims to begin to ease nationwide guidelines meant to stem the coronavirus outbreak.
In a letter to the nation's governors, Trump said the new guidelines are meant to enable state and local leaders to make “decisions about maintaining, increasing, or relaxing social distancing and other measures they have put in place.” States and municipalities would still retain authority to set whatever restrictions deem necessary.
He has been trying for days to determine how to contain the economic fallout of the guidelines issued by his administration as well as local leaders to slow the tide of infections. “Every day that we stay out it gets harder to bring it back very quickly," Trump said during a Thursday press conference.
That comes as U.S. deaths from the pandemic have now topped 1,000, in another grim milestone for a global outbreak that is taking lives and wreaking havoc on economies and established routines of life. Worldwide, the death toll climbed past 23,000.
But nearly 3.3 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week — almost five times the previous record set in 1982 — amid a widespread shutdown caused by the virus. Layoffs are sure to accelerate as the U.S. economy sinks into a recession with revenue collapsing at restaurants, hotels, movie theaters, gyms and airlines.
Among other developments today:
- Stocks surged again on Wall Street even as the massive scale of the downturn slamming the economy becomes more apparent. The S&P 500 index is now up 17% since Monday. But 3,283,000 Americans filed unemployment claims as the pandemic shuttered businesses.
- More than a third of U.S. deaths were in New York. Dr. Anthony Fauci says other states need to start preparing now to take on outbreaks of this scale.
- Texas Roadhouse CEO Kent Taylor is giving up his salary and bonus for the year to pay the steakhouse chain's front-line employees during the virus pandemic.
- A British company behind a 10-minute coronavirus antibody test, which will cost about a $1, has begun sending prototypes to laboratories for validation, which could be a game-changer in the fight against the pandemic.
- While much of daily life has ground to a halt to reduce the spread of the coronavirus, the Trump administration is resisting calls from judges and attorneys to stop in-person hearings and shutter all immigration courts.
- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Congress will give final approval Friday to the $2.2 trillion economic rescue bill, a vote that would cap Congress’ tumultuous effort to rush the relief to a nation battered by the coronavirus.
For more summaries and full reports, please select from the articles below. Scroll further for helpful tips, a guide to coping, maps tracking virus spread, and live updates from verified social media accounts.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate fever and cough. It can cause more severe illness including pneumonia for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems.
The vast majority of people recover from the new virus. According to the World Health Organization, people with mild illness recover in about two weeks, while those with more severe illness may take three to six weeks to recover.
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