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Morning virus brief: Republicans hit 'pause' on new aid; jobless claims reach 36 million; and more

Morning virus brief: Republicans hit 'pause' on new aid; jobless claims reach 36 million; and more

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Businesses are going belly up, tens of millions have been laid off and, by some measures, the U.S. seems headed for another Great Depression. But Republicans surveying the wreckage aren't ready for another round of coronavirus aid, instead urging a “pause.”

It’s a position based on a confluence of factors. Polls show GOP voters think the government is already doing enough. Republicans on Capitol Hill are divided over the best approach. Billions approved by Congress have yet to be spent. And it’s also unclear what President Donald Trump wants to do next, if anything, to juice the economy — his payroll tax cut idea hasn't gained any traction on Capitol Hill.

For these and other reasons, GOP leaders see an unfolding crisis that does not yet cry out for further action. Read the full story here:

Here's an update on all developments. Scroll or swipe further for in-depth coverage.

  • Nearly 3 million laid-off workers applied for U.S. unemployment benefits last week as the viral outbreak led more companies to slash jobs even though most states have begun to let some businesses reopen under certain restrictions. Roughly 36 million people have now filed for jobless aid in the two months since the coronavirus started to cause business closures.
  • A top U.S. immunologist who says he lost his government job because he warned the Trump administration to prepare for the coronavirus pandemic will testify today before the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Dr. Rick Bright is prepared to tell Congress that America faces its “darkest winter in modern history” unless leaders act decisively to prevent a rebound of the coronavirus.
  • President Donald Trump called on governors across the nation Wednesday to work to reopen schools that were closed because of the coronavirus, pointedly taking issue with Dr. Anthony Fauci's caution against moving too quickly in sending students back to class.
  • Worldwide, the virus has infected more than 4.3 million people and killed some 297,000. Experts say the actual numbers are likely far higher.
  • The pandemic will cost the insurance industry over $200 billion, according to Lloyds of London, who estimated that its own payouts are now on a par with the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks or the combined impact of hurricanes Harvey, Maria and Irma in 2017.
  • The Wisconsin Supreme Court has struck down Gov. Tony Evers’ stay-at-home restrictions. The ruling means the state is essentially reopened ahead of the May 26 expiration date of Evers’ order, lifting caps on the size of gatherings, allowing people to travel as they please and allowing shuttered businesses to reopen.
  • Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, who by many accounts has helped stem the state’s outbreak and avoided the full-blown disasters seen elsewhere, is struggling to fight against a Republican revolt over his stay-at-home orders and business shutdowns.
  • The European Commission has suspended the delivery of 10 million Chinese masks it purchased for health workers after two countries complained about the poor quality of the batches they received.
  • Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced Thursday the lifting of a coronavirus state of emergency ahead of schedule in most of the country except for eight high-risk areas.
  • The European Medicines Agency predicted that there could be licensed drugs to treat the new coronavirus in the next few months and that a vaccine might even be approved in early 2021, in a “best-case scenario.”

For more summaries and full reports, please select from the articles below. Scroll further for a self-care tips during isolation, interactive maps and more.


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