New York: The US administration Tuesday pressed for enactment of a $1 trillion stimulus package, possibly to include $1,000 direct payments to individual Americans, to blunt the economic pain from a coronavirus outbreak that has killed over 100 people in the country.
With cases of the respiratory illness reported in all 50 states and the total number of known U.S. infections surging past 6,400, millions of Americans hunkered down at home instead of commuting to work or going to school.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said he was weighing whether to order the city’s 8.5 million residents to “shelter in place” at home, as state and local officials escalated “social distancing” policies by closing schools, restaurants and theatres to curb the spread of the virus. “It’s a very, very difficult decision,” de Blasio said. “We’ve never been here before.” The state’s governor, Andrew Cuomo, told CNN he did not think it would work.
About 6.7 million people in the San Francisco Bay area have already been ordered to stay home for all but the most crucial outings until April 7. Eateries, bars, gyms and other “non-essential” businesses were shut down, but marijuana dispensaries were allowed to stay open as cannabis was deemed an “essential medicine” by health authorities.
“It’s like living in a ‘Twilight Zone,’” said Rowan Oake, 36, during a jog through San Francisco’s Presidio Park. “You can feel the anxiety in the air.” Kentucky and Illinois recorded their first coronavirus deaths, driving the nationwide toll to at least 108. Authorities said 22 people had been infected at a nursing home in suburban Chicago.
In Washington State, where 52 people have died, many at a suburban Seattle long-term care facility, Governor Jay Inslee signed legislation approving $200 million for homeless aid and other measures to fight the virus. California’s governor signed off on $1 billion, and Georgia’s governor approved $100 million.
In New Jersey, Governor Phil Murphy closed indoor shopping malls while a record number of unemployment applications crashed state computer systems. The nation’s largest indoor shopping centre, Minnesota’s Mall of America, said it would close.
Kansas shuttered schools through the end of the academic year. In California, where nearly all public schools have closed in recent days, Governor Gavin Newsom said he expected few if any of the state’s 6.1 million students would return to their classrooms before summer. (Source: Reuters)
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