The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

House passes $484 billion coronavirus aid package as U.S. jobless figures soar

Rep. Donna Shalala (D-Fla.), a member of the commission tasked with overseeing coronavirus aid, responded April 23 to a newly-passed coronavirus relief bill. (Video: The Washington Post)
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The House on Thursday passed a $484 billion aid package to replenish a small-business loan program that was overwhelmed with demand. Trump has said he will sign the bill, which also includes funding for hospitals and a new coronavirus testing program.

Meanwhile, the official death toll from the coronavirus outbreak in the United States is closing in on 50,000, with the number of total reported cases approaching 862,000. In addition, more than 26 million Americans have filed for unemployment benefits since the outbreak began to paralyze the economy — a figure that grew by 4.4 million last week, according to jobless figures released Thursday.

Here are some significant developments:

  • Vaccine expert Rick Bright is filing a whistleblower complaint, his attorneys said Thursday. Bright said he was ousted as director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority because he resisted efforts to join President Trump in pushing hydroxychloroquine as a potential covid-19 cure.
  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) was criticized by governors from both major parties for suggesting that states hit hard by the outbreak should be allowed to seek bankruptcy protections rather than be given a federal bailout. “This is really one of the dumb ideas of all time,” New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) said.
  • More than 4.4 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week, according to the Labor Department, a signal the tidal wave of job losses continues to grow during the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Donald Reed Herring, the oldest brother of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), died of covid-19 in Oklahoma, Warren said Thursday. He was 86.
  • Millions of Americans are still waiting for their first unemployment check. The growing national backlog, according to a Post analysis, has proved particularly problematic in Florida — where fewer than 7 percent of applicants have received aid.
  • The NFL draft began Thursday night with general managers and coaches from the 32 teams and dozens of draft-eligible players participating remotely, many from their living room couches. Commissioner Roger Goodell asked viewers to participate in a moment of silence for victims of covid-19. Harry Connick Jr. then performed the national anthem from his home.

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