Washington: President Donald Trump has approved major disaster declarations on public health for many US states, including worst-hit New York, as the total number of confirmed cases in the country crossed 65,000 mark and more than 1,000 people have died due to the deadly coronavirus.
According to the Johns Hopkins coronavirus tracker, the number of deaths caused by the novel coronavirus in the US rose to 1,031 with 68,572 confirmed cases. The United States has the third highest number of confirmed cases behind China and Italy.
In addition to declaring a national emergency, President Trump has approved major disaster declarations for New York, California, Washington, Iowa, Louisiana, North Carolina, Texas and Florida.
This is probably for the first time in recent memory that over half a dozen states have been approved for major disaster declarations on public health.
Condition continues to deteriorate in New York City, which has emerged as the epicenter of the COVID-19 in the US.
By Tuesday, the number of confirmed cases crossed 30,000 and at least 285 people died. New York was followed by neighbouring New Jersey with 4,402 cases and 62 fatalities. California, with nearly 3,000 cases and 65 deaths is under lockdown.
The State of Washington, which reported the first coronavirus death in the US, has 2,588 confirmed cases and 130 fatalities, followed by Michigan with 2,588 cases and 43 fatalities.
Other major States with more than 1,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases are Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, Louisiana, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Texas and Colorado.
Trump told reporters at the White House that he is doing everything in his power to help New York city pull through this challenge.
It is really by far our biggest problem maybe it will be, maybe it won’t be, but there is a lot of good, capable people working on it with us and our teams are working very well with the state representatives, he said.
Trump said that the administration is also doing some very large COVID-19 testings throughout the country. More than 100 million Americans are living under lockdown situation, which is having a devastating impact on the country’s economy.
The US Senate and the White House have agreed on a massive USD 2.2 trillion stimulus package.
Among other things, the Senate bill includes USD 350 billion in job retention loans for small businesses with loan forgiveness available for businesses that continue paying their workers.
It includes USD 300 billion in direct cash payments for every American citizen earning less than USD 99,000 per year. That would be USD 3400 very quickly for the typical family of four, he added.
The bill has up to USD 250 billion in expanded unemployment benefits. The average worker who’s lost his or her job will receive 100 percent of their salary for up to four full months, he said.
Unlike normal unemployment benefits, independent contractors and the self-employed will be eligible so you have independent contractors and self-employed people will be eligible for this, he said.
According to the Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin, his department will have USD 500 billion that they can use to work with the Federal Reserve for emergency programs that will create up to an additional USD 4 trillion if needed to support American business and American workers in an unprecedented way.
We have been anticipating three months. Hopefully we won’t need this for three months. Hopefully this war will be won quicker, but we expect that this is a significant amount of money if needed to cover the economy, Mnuchin said in response to a question.
We’re going to take care of the American worker and we’re going to take care of these companies that fuelled this country and make the country great. It’s not their fault, Trump said.
Responding to a question, Trump said that he would like to open up the economy as soon as possible.
I think there are certain people that would like it not to open so quickly. There are certain people who would like it to do financially poorly because they think that would be very good as far as defeating me at the polls and I don’t know if that is so but I do think it is so that a lot of–that there are people in your profession that would like that to happen. I think it is very clear,” he said. PTI LKJ
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