Here are some significant developments:
- The $2 trillion emergency relief bill passed by the Senate will be voted on Friday by the House, said Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who predicted the measure would receive “strong bipartisan support,” but not unanimous consent. Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), who opposes the bill, said Thursday that he is considering a procedural move that could delay passage of the bill to Saturday or Sunday.
- Deborah Birx, the White House response coordinator, sought to calm frightened Americans Thursday by downplaying the worst-case statistics, while doctors at the hardest hit hospitals warn there are not enough supplies, beds or physicians to handle the surge in patients.
- The USNS Comfort, a Navy hospital ship, will leave Norfolk, Va., for New York City on Saturday — at least three weeks ahead of schedule. The New York City area is the current U.S. epicenter, but the number of confirmed cases is beginning to spike elsewhere, including Louisiana, Michigan and Texas.
- New York is moving at unprecedented speed and scale to distribute tens of thousands of doses of antimalarial drugs to seriously ill patients, spurred by political leaders, including President Trump, to try a treatment that is not yet proved to be effective.
- The Labor Department’s weekly tally of 3.3 million jobless claims shattered the old U.S. record of 695,000, set in 1982. Of the “widespread carnage,” an economist at the University of Illinois at Chicago warned: “It’s going to get worse.”
- During a meeting of the Group of 20 nations, U.N. Secretary General António Guterres reminded the leaders of the exponential spread of the virus, saying the first 100,000 cases were confirmed in the first three months of the outbreak. “The next 100,000 happened in just 12 days,” he said. “The third took four days. The fourth, just one-and-a-half.”
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