Number of coronavirus cases in US continues to rise, with New York badly hit ‘Real people wanted to get back to work as soon as possible,’ says Trump of pandemic
US president Donald Trump accused the media of seeking to close the country “for as long as possible” over the Covid-19 crisis:
US president Donald Trump has accused the media of seeking to close the country “for as long as possible” in order to damage his chances in November’s presidential election.
Tweeting from the White House yesterday, Mr Trump claimed that “real people” wanted to get back to work as soon as possible. “We will be stronger than ever before!” he said, as he described the “lamestream media” as 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”.
His comments follow indications from the president this week that he wants to have the US economy reopened by Easter, on April 12th. They came as the number of coronavirus cases in the United States continued to rise, with New York state continuing to experience the highest instances of infection. The number of cases in the state is now past 30,000, with 285 deaths.
However, governor Andrew Cuomo said there were signs of progress. In Westchester County, which has the highest number of cases, the exponential increase in cases had dramatically slowed, he said.
“That was the hottest cluster in the United States of America. We closed the schools, we closed gatherings, we brought in testing, and we have dramatically slowed the increase,” he said.
Nationwide, an estimated 62,000 people have been diagnosed with Covid-19, while almost 900 deaths have been reported. The World Health Organisation
warned this week that the United States could become the next epicentre of the global health crisis that has led to widespread death and illness in China and Europe.
Amid continuing messaging from the White House that it is hoping to reopen the economy sooner rather than later, the US Senate was poised last night to vote on a historic stimulus package in a bid to shore up an economy buckling under the strain of the coronavirus pandemic.
Though negotiating teams for Democrats and Republicans reached an agreement in the early hours of yesterday morning, an expected vote later in the day was delayed after three Republican senators demanded changes to provisions for unemployment benefits. This prompted Democratic senator Bernie Sanders to threaten to withhold his support over concerns about supports for businesses in the deal.
The $1.8 trillion (¤1.65 trillion) plan contains a range of measures, including billions in direct payments to taxpayers, a $500 billion fund for distressed companies, $29 billion of which will be ringfenced for passenger and cargo airlines, and a four-month expansion in unemployment benefits which can be topped-up by individual states; $150 billion for hospitals is also included. The direct cash payments to Americans will consist of a one-off payment of $1,200 to every adult earning up to $75,000, and an extra $500 per child.
The payments will be phased out for those earning between $75,000 and $150,000 a year, with those earning above that point ineligible for the emergency money.
Speaking on the Senate floor, Republican leader Mitch McConnell described the package as “a wartime level of investment into our nation”.
Even if passed by the Senate, the package will need to be endorsed by the 435-member House of Representatives, before passing to the president for signing.
We will be stronger than ever before” he said
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