STATEWIDE — The United States has surpassed Italy and China and now leads the world in the number of confirmed coronavirus cases, according to a Johns Hopkins tally of global infections.
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Johns Hopkins on Thursday said the U.S. has 82,404 cases of COVID-19, with China at 81,782 and Italy at 80,589.
But according to Thursday numbers by the World Health Organization, the U.S.'s 63,570 infections is third behind China (81,961) and Italy (74,386).
Earlier, the Senate has unanimously passed a $2 trillion stimulus package during the coronavirus pandemic; the measure is one of the largest emergency aid packages in the nation's history.
Within the $2 trillion package there is:
- $250 billion for direct payments to individuals and families
- $350 billion in small business loans
- $250 billion in unemployment insurance benefits
- $500 billion in loans for distressed companies
Charter Communications has temporarily opened its live stream free to the public. You can watch Spectrum News via our live stream on your desktop or laptop without a subscription by visiting our website and clicking “Watch Live” in the upper right. Charter also is temporarily offering free broadband and wifi access for 60 days to families with K-12 or college students. To enroll, call 1-844-488-8395. The company also will open more than half a million wifi hotspots across the country.
So for those eligible for those stimulus checks, they likely will not see the check until May.
If you make less than $75,000 annually, you will get a $1,200 check. If you make more than $99,000, you will not be getting any personal checks.
Senate leaders are still touting this a historic moment of unity. However, the unanimous vote came despite misgivings on both sides about whether it goes too far or not far enough and capped days of difficult negotiations as Washington confronted a national challenge unlike it has ever faced. The 880-page measure is the largest economic relief bill in U.S. history.
It now goes to the House of Representatives for a vote, which will most likely happen on Friday.
President Donald Trump has indicated that he will sign the legislation into law.
In a Thursday coronavirus task force press conference at the White House, Trump said he will release new information about “re-opening” the country next week, including supposed dates, and new guidelines for social distancing, though that decision would be up to the governors and mayors.
Trump has called for Americans to dedicate themselves to social distancing for 15 days, including staying home from work and closing bars and restaurants to help try to stall the spread of the disease.
Yet, he has also said that “our country wasn’t built to be shut down” and vowed not to allow “the cure be worse than the problem” — apparently concerned that the outbreak’s devastating effects on financial markets and employment will harm his chances for reelection later this year.
According to Trump, the National Institutes of Health and the Food and Drug Administration are working to discuss and approve a vaccine and treatment drugs. Dr. Anthony Fauci said there are many vaccines being tried, though he noted testing will take a long time and may only help in “recycling” of coronavirus next season.
“The LameStream Media is the dominant force in trying to get me to keep our Country closed as long as possible in the hope that it will be detrimental to my election success,” Trump tweeted Wednesday.
The LameStream Media is the dominant force in trying to get me to keep our Country closed as long as possible in the hope that it will be detrimental to my election success. The real people want to get back to work ASAP. We will be stronger than ever before!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 25, 2020
However, governors across the nation rejected Trump’s new accelerated timeline for reopening the U.S. economy, as they continued to impose more restrictions on travel and public life in an attempt to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
The dismissal of Trump’s mid-April timeframe for a national reopening came from Republicans and Democrats, from leaders struggling to manage hot spots of the outbreak and those still bracing for the worst. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, the head of the National Governors Association and a Republican, called the messaging confusing since most leaders are still focused on enforcing the restrictions, not easing them. He accused the White House of running on a schedule made of some “imaginary clock.”
While Florida’s Gov. Ron DeSantis has not issued a stay-at-home order for the state, other Florida leaders have issued a similar directive for towns and counties, such as Orange and Osceola counties — which starts Thursday night at 11 p.m. — and a Pinellas County "safer at home" directive was issued Wednesday.
On Thursday, the Emergency Policy Board of Hillsborough County voted in favor of a "Safer at Home" directive to help curb the spread of COVID-19.
Pinellas County implemented a similar measure on Wednesday.
Trump on Wednesday approved DeSantis' request for the state of Florida to be declared a major disaster, opening the door to more federal assistance as the state and nation grapple with an unprecedented health and economic crisis caused by the coronavirus.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.