Coronavirus Live Updates: Global Leaders Beg Public to Stay Home; Fed Vows to Buy as Much Debt as Needed

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Senators and senior Trump administration officials were scrambling on Monday to strike a deal on a $1.8 trillion measure to bolster the economy, after Democrats blocked action on the package on Sunday, demanding stronger protections for workers and restrictions for bailed-out businesses.

The vote on Sunday shook markets around the globe and threatened to derail bipartisan talks that had yielded substantial compromises over the outlines of the package, which is emerging as the largest economic stimulus measure in modern history.

“We need this to pass today,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told the Fox Business Network on Monday, just before heading to Capitol Hill to meet with Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York and the minority leader, to try to cement a deal.

Mr. Mnuchin and Mr. Schumer met late into the night on Sunday after the failed vote, but did not come to terms.

At the heart of the impasse is a $425 billion fund created by the bill that the Federal Reserve could leverage for loans to assist broad groups of distressed companies, and an additional $75 billion it would provide for industry-specific loans. Democrats have raised concerns that the funds do not have rules for transparency or enough guardrails to make sure companies do not use the funds to enrich themselves or take government money and lay off workers. They also argue the measure would give Mr. Mnuchin too much discretion to decide which companies receive the funds, calling the proposal a “slush fund” for the administration.

As the legislation is currently written, Mr. Mnuchin would not have to disclose the recipients until six months after the loans were dispersed. Some Democrats also objected to loopholes in the legislation they said could allow Mr. Trump’s real estate empire to take advantage of the federal aid.

The Democratic leader told reporters shortly after midnight that the bill as currently written would give bailouts to major corporations without accountability and that it would not provide enough funding to health care workers on the front lines.

As New York became the center of the coronavirus outbreak in the United States, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said he would issue an emergency order requiring the state’s hospitals to increase their capacities by at least 50 percent.

The order was a mandatory directive from the state, Mr. Cuomo said, adding “I don’t think it’s unreasonable to say try to reach a 100 percent increase but you must reach a 50 percent increase.”

Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York told CNN on Monday that hospitals had only “days” to get critical supplies before doctors will be unable to save the lives of those who might otherwise survive.

The Indian authorities are grounding all domestic flights and putting most of the country, the world’s second most populous, in full lockdown.

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in India remains relatively low — about 400 — but the government wants to lock things down before the virus spikes in the densely populated country. It has steadily tightened restrictions, first ending all international flights and now grounding domestic ones, starting Wednesday at midnight.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi posted an urgent appeal on Twitter on Monday: “Many people are still not taking the lockdown seriously,” he said. “Please, save yourself, save your family, follow the instructions seriously.”

In New Delhi, the capital, the front page of all major newspapers featured a full-page announcement outlining the new restrictions. They reminded residents that the country has a long history of fighting disease, reaching back to the Epidemic Diseases Act of 1897 that was instituted in British-occupied India to combat the bubonic plague. The law has been used to combat outbreaks of swine flu, cholera and malaria.

But nothing on this scale has been tried before, and there was some confusion as to the scope of the new edict. For instance, food stores were supposed to be exempted, but in some neighborhoods the police ordered small grocery stores to close.

India was one of the first nations to essentially shut its borders, canceling visas and denying entry to all but a few foreigners. But the containment measures have been imperfect, and fear has started to spread.

The government, hoping that aggressive and swift action will spare the nation, is offering a clear slogan: “Say No to Panic, Say Yes to Precautions.”

“There are people without rooms, sitting in plastic chairs for more than 30 hours,” Javier García, a union representative, told the newspaper El Mundo.

Hotels and exhibition centers are being converted into field hospitals. The aid organization Doctors Without Borders has set up a 100-bed unit on a university campus in Madrid, and the army is deploying to take patients to hospitals and alleviate the burden on the health sector.

Spain is also racing to cope with a shortage of tests, so the number of infected may be far higher than the reported caseload. Hundreds of thousands of new test kits will be handed out in the coming days, the authorities say, and health professionals will be the first to be tested.

Gov. Charlie Baker of Massachusetts on Monday ordered all nonessential businesses to close for two weeks, beginning Tuesday — though he emphasized that this was not a shelter-at-home order for the state’s nearly seven million residents.

“I do not believe I can or should order U.S. citizens to be confined to their home for days on end,” he said. “It doesn’t make sense from a public health point of view, and it’s not realistic.”

Governors from several states have issued urgent pleas for assistance from the federal government as they brace for an influx of coronavirus patients. At the same time, concerns remain about protecting the public, including older people and those with underlying health conditions.

Washington State, which has already endured a nursing home outbreak linked to 35 deaths, is now dealing with another facility with dozens of infections. The Whatcom County Health Department said on Sunday night it had identified 32 infections, including one death, associated with Shuksan Healthcare Center, a nursing and rehabilitation facility in Bellingham. Officials said that 26 of the infections were residents and six of them were employees.

Local officials said they were pursuing options to help provide additional support for the facility.

State officials have barred visitors to long-term care facilities in the wake of the outbreak at Life Care Center of Kirkland, first identified at the end of February. That site became a symbol in the United States of how deadly the coronavirus can be.

Since then, the coronavirus has hit dozens of sites around the country that cater to older people, including a New Orleans retirement home linked to five deaths and a veterans home in Oregon with more than a dozen confirmed cases.

As public health officials and leaders around the world braced their populations for a struggle that could continue for months, President Trump signaled that measures to slow the spread of the coronavirus could have their limits.

“We cannot let the cure be worse than the problem itself,” he wrote on Twitter. “At the end of the 15 day period, we will make a decision which way we want to go!”

Early last week, the White House released guidelines — effective for 15 days — urging Americans to avoid gatherings of more than 10 people and recommending that people work from home, avoid unnecessary shopping trips and refrain from eating in restaurants.

Many states and cities have since imposed even stricter measures, with one in four people in America now under some form of restricted movement.

The point of locking down entire cities and nations has been to give health care systems time to gear up so they do not find themselves overwhelmed by a surge of patients. And as the number of known cases in the United States crossed 31,700, governors from multiple states warned that they were still not ready.

Mr. Trump said that major disaster declarations were in process for New York, California and Washington — the three states hardest hit by the virus — and that they would not have to pay for deploying National Guard units.

Mr. Trump also said he had directed FEMA to supply four large federal medical stations with 1,000 beds for New York, eight stations with 2,000 beds for California, and seven stations with 1,000 beds for the state of Washington. The stations for New York, to be built in Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in Manhattan, were announced earlier in the day by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.

Many state and local officials have pressed Mr. Trump to use his authority under the Defense Production Act to mobilize industry to manufacture scarce goods. At the news conference on Sunday, Mr. Trump defended his decision not to do so.

“Call a person over in Venezuela,” he said. “Ask them: How did nationalization of their businesses work out? Not too well. The concept of nationalizing our businesses is not a good concept.”

Vincenzo De Luca, the president of the regional government of Campania, issued a threat in a video message to those planning to throw graduation: “We will send the police over, with flamethrowers.”

In some places, fines have been introduced for people who break the rules. In the German states of North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate, people who unnecessarily leave their homes can face fines of up to 25,000 euros, about $26,700.

Alain Thirion, a top security official at France’s interior ministry, told reporters in Paris on Sunday that the police had carried out checks on over 1.7 million people and that over 90,000 of them were in violation of a mandatory lockdown. Repeat offenders could face up to €3,700 in fines and six months in prison, under legislation passed on Sunday by France’s Parliament.

In the interview with Axios, the Chinese ambassador, Mr. Cui, reiterated his criticism of people in the United States who were promoting unproven theories about the virus. “This is the job for the scientists to do, not for diplomats, not for journalists to speculate,” he said. “Because such speculation will help nobody. It’s very harmful.”

But he deflected questions about Mr. Zhao’s remarks, saying it wasn’t his job to explain the view of his colleague.

The fringe theories on the virus’s origins first came to the fore last month when Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas claimed that the deadly coronavirus, which first emerged in Wuhan, was manufactured by the Chinese government. In a February interview on “Face the Nation,” Mr. Cui called such claims “crazy.” He said other rumors asserting that the virus had originated from an American military laboratory were similarly unbelievable.

It is reasonable to feel anxious and worried about the news. Today, we hope to offer you ideas for a small respite.

Reporting and research were contributed by Eileen Sullivan, Katie Robertson, Michael Cooper, Jonah Engel Bromwich, Hari Kumar, Jeffrey Gettleman, Elian Peltier, Raphael Minder, Marc Santora, Megan Specia, Melissa Eddy, Jeanna Smialek, Ian Austen, Mariel Padilla, Thomas Gibbons-Neff, Katie Van Syckle, Jesse McKinley, Emily Cochrane, Jim Tankersley, Jeanna Smialek, Nick Corasaniti, Kate Taylor, Tiffany May and Mike Baker.



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