The White House and Senate leaders of both parties have agreed on unprecedented emergency legislation to rush sweeping aid totaling some $2 trillion to businesses, workers and a health care system slammed by the coronavirus pandemic.
There are almost 440,000 cases of coronavirus reported across 196 countries, according to a Reuters tally Wednesday. Almost 19,000 deaths are linked to the virus.
In Spain, the death toll shot up by more than 700 for a total of over 3,400, eclipsing the number of fatalities in China, where the outbreak began. Spain is now second only to Italy, which is nearing 7,000, in the number of dead.
Italy reported over 5,000 infections in the past day, and total infections are now almost 70,000. Italy will overtake China's case load of 81,000 within days if the rate of infection continues at this pace.
Meanwhile, India's 1.3 billion people joined the global lockdown, and Prince Charles has tested positive for the new coronavirus.
WHAT'S HAPPENING TODAY:
— Trains carrying factory employees back to work after two months in locked-down cities rolled out of Hubei province, the center of China’s virus outbreak, as the government began lifting the last of the controls that confined tens of millions of people to their homes.
— A “cacophony of coughing” in packed emergency rooms. Beds squeezed in wherever there is space. Overworked, sleep-deprived doctors and nurses rationed to one face mask a day and wracked by worry about a dwindling number of available ventilators. Such is the reality inside New York City’s hospitals, which have become the war-zone-like epicenter of the nation’s coronavirus crisis.
— Despite what you may have read in a text message or on social media, there are currently no plans for a national quarantine, let alone martial law. Rumors of a military-enforced national lockdown have been debunked repeatedly by state and federal authorities who say their recurrence shows just how persistent false claims can be during an emergency, and why it’s vital to find reliable sources of information.
— For most Americans, the idea of a shared national sacrifice is an abstraction. It's a memory passed on from a grandparent or through a book or movie. Will America step up as it enters what one historian calls “a new moment”?
—Even as the country has largely hunkered down, some powerful people in Washington have defied preventative measures aimed at curbing the spread of the contagious coronavirus.
Here is a look at how the virus continues to spread across the globe:
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