Coronavirus Updates: US Death Toll Tops 1,000; Senate Passes $2 Trillion Rescue Bill

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The U.S. is now more than a week into an unprecedented effort to encourage all Americans to drastically scale back their public activities in an attempt to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

The orders closing schools, restaurants and businesses have largely come from a patchwork of local and state governments — with areas hit hardest imposing the most restrictions, while other communities are still weighing tighter rules.

Meanwhile, the White House and Senate leaders of both political parties reached an agreement on a $2 trillion measure to rush aid to businesses, workers and a health care system slammed by the coronavirus pandemic.

Worldwide, more than 472,000 people have been infected and more than 21,000 have died from the virus that first emerged in central China late last year.

Here's the latest developments in the coronavirus crisis in the U.S.:

US Death Toll Passes 1,000

The number of deaths as a result of COVID-19 has surpassed 1,000 in the United States, NBC News reported. New York has more deaths than any other state with 334. Washington state has 134 and California has 67.

The U.S. has a total of 68,133 cases of coronavirus with New York reporting nearly 33,000 of those cases.

Senate Passes $2 Trillion Virus Relief Package

The Senate late Wednesday in a bipartisan vote passed an unparalleled $2 trillion economic rescue package steering aid to businesses, workers and health care systems engulfed by the coronavirus pandemic.

The 880-page measure is the largest economic relief bill in U.S. history, and, after days of delay and a last-minute scramble, the chamber at long last unveiled its final version.

The package would give direct payments to most Americans, expand unemployment benefits and provide a $367 billion program for small businesses to keep making payroll while workers are forced to stay home.

One of the last issues closed concerned $500 billion for guaranteed, subsidized loans to larger industries, including a fight over how generous to be with the airlines. Hospitals would get significant help as well.

Colorado Issues Statewide Stay-at-Home Order

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis is issuing a statewide stay-at-home order in an attempt to stem the rapid spread of the coronavirus.

Polis said he is taking this “extreme measure,” effective Thursday until April 11 because restrictions taken to date haven't done enough to reduce the spread of the virus. People should only leave home when they absolutely must, he said, for grocery shopping, to seek medical care or to care for dependents. Polis' order comes after six Colorado counties issued stay-at-home orders affecting nearly 3 million people.

More than 1,086 people in Colorado have tested positive for the virus and at least 20 people have died.

Pentagon Halts Movement of US troops, Defense Department Civilians Overseas

The Pentagon has halted for 60 days the movement of US troops and Defense Department civilians overseas as a further measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The stoppage is expected to affect about 90,000 troops scheduled to deploy abroad or to return from abroad over the next two months.

Some exceptions are allowed, and the order by Defense Secretary Mark Esper will not stop the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan as called for in last month’s deal with the Taliban.

NBC4 Washington investigative reporter Scott MacFarlane sat down with Secretary Robert Wilkie to discuss what the Department of Veteran Affairs medical centers are doing to prepare for COVID-19 patients. Here is the extended interview.

Goodell Orders All 32 NFL Team Facilities to Close

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has instructed the 32 teams to close their facilities to all but a select few employees by 6 p.m. Wednesday.

In a memo to the teams, Goodell said the restrictions meant as a safeguard against the new coronavirus will be in force until at least April 8. Then the league will re-evaluate, using advice from medical experts and health authorities. The few exceptions include trainers and doctors treating players, security and technology personnel.

The NFL has gotten some pushback for not postponing the draft scheduled for April 23-25 while the rest of the sports world is largely shut down. The league is developing a new format because it has scrapped the public events set for Las Vegas.

Everyone is wondering how much they will get from the federal government when the $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill is complete. Here's a basic guideline of what you can expect using items we found while stuck home with our kids.

Gov. Cuomo: 'Terrible' Stimulus Bill Is 'Drop in the Bucket' for NY

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday the $2 trillion federal stimulus bill would be "terrible" for the state of New York, which faces an accelerating rate of infection that doubles case count every few days and an economic shortfall worsened by each day of response to the crisis, NBC New York reports.

The economic rescue bill, which still needs a vote in the Senate before it can get cleared in the House for President Donald Trump's signature, would give New York $3.8 billion, a "drop in the bucket" compared with the up to $15 billion Cuomo says the state needs for the crisis.

"We have 15 times the problem of the next state. Every state will have a different apex with this virus. New York is first," Cuomo said

Schumer: Businesses Controlled by Trump Family, Members of Congress Barred From Bailout Money

Businesses controlled by members of Congress and top administration officials — including President Donald Trump and his immediate family members — are not eligible for federal assistance as part of the coronavirus stimulus package, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said in a letter to Democratic lawmakers summarizing the bill.

Schumer said the Senate bill agreed upon early Wednesday morning will include a provision to "prohibit businesses controlled by the president, vice president, members of Congress, and heads of executive departments from receiving loans or investments from Treasury programs," NBC News reports.

The New York Democrat immediately sent out a roster of negotiating wins for transit systems, hospital, and cash-hungry state governments that were cemented after Democrats blocked the measure in votes held Sunday and Monday to maneuver for such gains.

In an interview Wednesday on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," the New York senator told host Joe Scarborough that the provision was needed because if the president or lawmakers "get a financial interest then they’ll make policy decisions leaning and bending in that direction."

"I’ve always believed ... that those who make the laws shouldn’t directly benefit monetarily from those laws," Schumer said "We’ve tried to get better and better and better at that, and this is just another example. It’s not aimed just at Donald Trump, but at anyone in high office."

DOJ: Intentionally Spreading Coronavirus Can Result in Terrorism Charges

The Department of Justice notified federal prosecutors nationwide that anyone threatening or attempting to spread the coronavirus can be charged under federal terrorism statutes, NBC News reports.

Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen said in a memo sent late Tuesday to U.S. attorneys and federal law enforcement agencies that prosecutors and investigators could come across cases of “purposeful exposure and infection of others with COVID-19.”

"Because coronavirus appears to meet the statutory definition of a 'biological agent'...such acts potentially could implicate the Nation's terrorism-related-statues," the memo says. "Threats or attempts to use COVID-19 as a weapon against Americans will not be tolerated."

Alaska to Mandate Self-Quarantine for Anyone Flying to the State

Starting Wednesday, anyone flying to Alaska from another state or nation will have to self-quarantine for 14 days immediately after arriving.

Everyone arriving in Alaska must fill out a form saying where they will self-quarantine, which will be their next destination after the airport.

Residents will likely quarantine at their homes, but travelers or workers will quarantine in a hotel room or other rented lodging for 14 days, or their entire stay if it's shorter. Failure to follow the guidelines could result in a fine of $25,000 and a year in jail.

The move follows similar restrictions for travelers ordered by governors in Hawaii and Florida.

Hawaii Gov. David Ige issued an emergency proclamation requiring travelers who come to the islands to stay in quarantine for 14 days after they arrive. Officials said they expect most tourists simply won't come after hearing about the new rule, which takes effect Thursday.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis also issued an executive order requiring anyone flying to Florida from New York, New Jersey or Connecticut to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival. That mandate took effect Tuesday. 

Prince Charles Tests Positive for Coronavirus

Prince Charles, the heir to the British throne, has tested positive for the new coronavirus.

The prince's Clarence House office says the 71-year-old is showing mild symptoms of COVID-19 and is self-isolating at a royal estate in Scotland.

It says his wife Camilla has tested negative.

The palace says Charles "has been displaying mild symptoms but otherwise remains in good health and has been working from home throughout the last few days as usual."

Britain's Prince Charles became the latest public figure to test positive for the coronavirus.

Congressional Leaders, White House Reach Deal on $2 Trillion Rescue Package

The White House and Senate leaders of both U.S. political parties have struck an agreement on a sweeping $2 trillion measure to aid workers, businesses and a health care system strained by the rapidly spreading coronavirus outbreak.

Top White House aide Eric Ueland announced the agreement in a Capitol hallway shortly after midnight. The agreement comes after days of often intense haggling and mounting pressure and still needs to be finalized in detailed legislative language.

The unprecedented economic rescue package would give direct payments to most Americans, expand unemployment benefits and provide a $367 billion program for small businesses to keep making payroll while workers are forced to stay home.

The Associate Press/NBC
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