Coronavirus Live Updates: Infections Soar in New York as Congress Reaches $2 Trillion Aid Deal


The White House and Congress struck a deal in the predawn hours to deliver $2 trillion in government relief to a nation increasingly under lockdown, watching nervously as the twin threats of disease and economic ruin grow more dire.

Reached after midnight, the stimulus deal was the product of a marathon set of negotiations among Senate Republicans, Democrats and the White House that had stalled as Democrats insisted on stronger worker protections and oversight of a $500 billion fund to bail out distressed businesses.

The country has asked NATO for assistance as it struggles to get the epidemic under control.

France, under lockdown for a week, has been increasingly aggressive in penalizing those who violate social distancing rules, issuing more than 100,000 fines.

In London, the military was helping convert the sprawling Excel convention center in London into the 4,000-bed “N.H.S. Nightingale Hospital.”

A similar effort was underway in New York City, where the 1.8-million-square-foot Jacob K. Javits Convention Center — which was scheduled to hold an expo for exotic flowers this week — looked more like a front-line military depot as workers rushed to transform the complex to handle an imminent surge of patients.

Governor Cuomo said that with cases doubling every three days in New York City alone, as many as 140,000 people might need urgent care in the next few weeks.

And the state was still in dire need of critical equipment, particularly the ventilators needed to keep critically ill patients alive long enough for them to fight off the virus. The Trump administration promised to send 4,000 from the national stockpile, but Governor Cuomo said the state needed tens of thousands more.

More than 200 people have already died statewide, and there was broad agreement that the worst of the crisis would play out over the next few weeks.

Against this backdrop, Mr. Trump’s push to ease restrictions so soon seemed out of touch with the scale of the crisis both in the country and around the world.

When asked how he came up with April 12 as a target date, Mr. Trump did not cite any scientific evidence.

“I just thought it was a beautiful time,” he said.

Wall Street was set for a volatile day Wednesday as investors started sizing up a $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package to shore up the American economy.

With New York and California already instituting strict measures to stem the spread of the coronavirus, and doctors in Washington State dealing with the bleak reality that they may have to decide which patients to prioritize for care, the United States has begun to grapple with several major outbreaks nationwide at once.

In New York, the epicenter of the crisis in the country, cases exceeded 25,000 statewide by Tuesday, and in California, at least 2,500 cases had been confirmed, with those numbers expected to rise significantly in the coming days.

But even as the crisis escalated, the response to the pandemic has remained widely inconsistent. President Trump said on Tuesday that a national lockdown had never been under consideration and that he “would love to have the country opened up” by Easter, a goal that health experts have called far too quick.

Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas continued to resist calls to issue a statewide order to force millions to stay at home, but he did urge Texans to avoid going out.

A regulatory patchwork has unfolded in recent days in Texas — which has 700 confirmed infections and 11 deaths — with restrictions, curfews and stay-at-home orders that vary from county to county.

As states and local authorities grapple for adequate responses, the virus continues to claim more victims.

A 17-year-old California boy whose death was linked to the coronavirus on Tuesday may be one of the youngest victims of the outbreak in the United States, if the cause is confirmed by the C.D.C. Gov. Gavin Newsom of California said that half of the 2,102 people who had tested positive for the virus in his state were aged 18 to 49.

In Georgia, a 12-year-old girl who has Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, was placed on a ventilator this week. And in Kentucky, a person who went to a “coronavirus party” attended by young adults has tested positive, Gov. Andy Beshear said.

President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, a country so far largely spared the ravages of the coronavirus, has been warned that “situation is becoming serious” and that the number of sick Russians is “much bigger” than official figures indicate.

At a briefing at the president’s country residence near Moscow, Sergei Sobyanin, the mayor of the Russian capital, told Mr. Putin that many of those returning from countries with major outbreaks had not been tested and were simply sheltering at home.

Russia on Wednesday reported a sharp jump in confirmed cases, to 658. And while the figure is low compared with much of Western Europe and the United States, the 163 new infections on Wednesday constituted the largest one-day increase yet, suggesting that Russia could be following the same path.

Mr. Sobyanin has taken the lead in trying to control the spread of the coronavirus as the head of Russia’s largest city — imposing mandatory self-isolation and other sweeping restrictions long before the rest of the country. From Thursday, all residents of Moscow over 65 will be forbidden from leaving their homes.

Mr. Sobyanin told Mr. Putin that other large cities now needed to follow the capital’s example.

The Kremlin worries that if Russia cannot escape the infection trajectory seen in other countries it will have to cancel or at least postpone two events of great personal and political significance for Mr. Putin: a referendum on April 22 on constitutional changes allowing him to stay in power until 2036, and a military parade on May 9 for the 75th anniversary of the Red Army’s victory over Nazi Germany.

California, Colorado, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington and the District of Columbia have opened enrollment under the Affordable Care Act to allow laid-off workers to get subsidized health insurance, and the Trump administration, which has been gunning to repeal the law, is considering opening the federal exchange to new customers.

Reporting and research were contributed by Mark Landler, Emily Cochrane, Andrew Higgins, Marc Santora, Megan Specia, Raphael Minder, Ed O’Loughlin, Trip Gabriel, Iliana Magra, Jeffrey Gettleman, Zolan Kanno-Youngs, Haley Willis, Robin Stein, Natalie Reneau, Drew Jordan, Matt Phillips, Noam Scheiber, Mike Isaac and Sheera Frenkel.



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