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Trump declares virus emergency

President Trump addresses the press at a news conference declaring a National State of Emergency concerning the coronavirus, Photo Date: 3/13/2020

President Donald Trump on Friday declared the coronavirus pandemic a national emergency to free up money and resources to fight the outbreak.

Posted: Mar 13, 2020 10:56 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump on Friday declared the coronavirus pandemic a national emergency to free up money and resources to fight the outbreak, and then threw his support behind an aid package from Congress that is on track to provide direct relief to Americans.

From the Rose Garden, Trump said, “I am officially declaring a national emergency," unleashing as much as $50 billion for state and local governments to respond to the crisis.

Trump also announced a range of executive actions, including a new public-private partnership to expand coronavirus testing capabilities with drive-through locations, as Washington tries to subdue the new virus whose spread is roiling markets, shuttering institutions and disrupting the lives of everyday Americans.

But he denied any responsibility for delays in making testing available as his administration has come under criticism for being too slow to respond.

Trump said, “I don't take responsibility at all" for the slow rollout of testing.

As the House prepared to vote late Friday, Pelosi trumpeted the hard-fought package that will provide free testing, sick pay for workers, enhanced unemployment benefits and bolstered food programs.

“We did what we said we were going to do: Put families first,” said Pelosi, flanked by Democratic lawmakers, including many freshmen.

Trump's tweet of approval instilled fresh energy in the package, all but ensuring that wary Republicans would join with a robust vote.

“I fully support H.R. 6201: Families First CoronaVirus Response Act,” Trump wrote.

“I encourage all Republicans and Democrats to come together and VOTE YES!” He added, “Look forward to signing the final Bill, ASAP!"

The crush of late-day activity capped a tumultuous week in Washington as the fast-moving virus left ordinary Americans suddenly navigating self-quarantines, school closures and a changed way of life.

The White House was under enormous pressure, dealing with the crisis on multiple fronts as it encroached ever closer on the president.

Trump has been known to flout public health advice — eagerly shaking hands during the more than hour-long afternoon event — but acknowledged he “most likely” will be tested now after having been in contact with several officials who have tested positive for the virus. “Fairly soon,” he said.

Still, Trump said officials don't want people taking the test unless they have certain symptoms. "We don't want people without symptoms to go and do that test," Trump said, adding, “It's totally unnecessary."

Additionally, Trump took a number of other actions to bolster energy markets, ease the financial burden for Americans with student loans and give medical professionals additional “flexibility” in treating patients during the public health crisis.

“Through a very collective action and shared sacrifice, national determination, we will overcome the threat of the virus,” Trump said.
Central to the aid package from Congress, which builds on an emergency $8.3 billion measure approved last week, is the free testing, sick pay and family leave provisions.

Providing sick pay for workers is a crucial element of federal efforts to stop the rapid spread of the infection. Officials warn that the nation's healthcare system could quickly become overwhelmed with gravely sick patients, as suddenly happened in Italy, one of the countries hardest hit by the virus.

The ability to ensure paychecks will keep flowing — for people self-quarantining or caring for others — can help assure Americans they will not fall into financial hardship. There is also three months of paid family and medical leave. Small and mid-sized employers will be reimbursed through tax credits.

Pelosi negotiated the deal with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in days of around-the-clock negotiations with cross-town phone calls, even as Trump was speaking at the White House.

Hopes for swift passage stalled as talks dragged and Trump dismissed it during as "not doing enough." Republicans were reluctant to come on board without his backing, according to a person unauthorized to discuss the talks and granted anonymity.

Ahead of Trump's new conference, Pelosi delivered her own statement from the speaker's balcony at the Capitol, imploring Trump's party to “put families first” by backing the effort to provide Americans with relief.

Voting in the Senate is not yet set, with senators out of town for the weekend, scheduled to return Monday.

Both Pelosi and Mnuchin promised a third coronavirus package will follow soon, with more aggressive steps to boost the U.S. economy, which economists fear has already slipped into recession.

The financial markets closed on an upswing after one of the worst nosedives since the 1987 downturn.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.

The vast majority of people recover. According to the World Health Organization, people with mild illness recover in about two weeks, while those with more severe illness may take three to six weeks to be over it.

Trump said he was gratified that Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro tested negative for the virus, after the pair sat next to each other for an extended period of time last weekend at Trump's Mar-a-Lago club. A senior aide to Bolsonaro tested positive.

Trump's daughter, Ivanka Trump, worked from home Friday after meeting with Australian Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton, now in isolation at a hospital after testing positive for the coronavirus. White House spokesman Judd Deere said she was evaluated by the White House Medical Unit.

Attorney General William Barr, who also met with the Australian official, was staying home Friday, though he “felt great and wasn't showing any symptoms,” according to his spokeswoman Kerri Kupec.

Several lawmakers, including some close to Trump, have also been exposed to people who tested positive for the virus, and are self-isolating.

Among them are Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham and Rick Scott, who were at Trump’s club on the weekend. Graham announced Friday that he also met with the Australian official who has now tested positive. And GOP Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, who had previously isolated himself after a potential exposure at a conservative conference in Washington, said Friday he met with a Spanish official and is now self-quarantining.

Hospitals welcomed Trump’s emergency declaration, which they and lawmakers in Congress had been requesting. It allows the Health and Human Services Department to temporarily waive certain federal rules that can make it harder for hospitals and other health care facilities to respond to an emergency.

The American Medical Association said the emergency declaration would help ensure America's health care system has sufficient resources to properly respond to the ongoing outbreak.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, infectious disease chief at the National Institutes of Health, said more tests would be available over the next week, but warned, “We still have a long way to go.”

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 473413

Reported Deaths: 9214
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison32339474
Hinds30703575
DeSoto29814346
Jackson23263336
Rankin21111358
Lee14600217
Madison14043265
Jones13165218
Forrest12953233
Lauderdale11418297
Lowndes10249175
Lamar10048128
Pearl River8737209
Lafayette8078136
Hancock7324111
Washington6837147
Oktibbeha6820118
Neshoba6404201
Monroe6372158
Warren6326161
Pontotoc610393
Panola6071124
Bolivar6016143
Marshall5972118
Union564086
Pike5491133
Lincoln5232130
Alcorn520888
George457868
Scott451993
Leflore4401140
Prentiss437276
Itawamba436198
Tippah436180
Simpson4268111
Copiah425586
Wayne424863
Tate4234100
Adams4219114
Yazoo415886
Sunflower4088104
Covington407391
Marion4032100
Leake393185
Coahoma388198
Newton364474
Grenada3517101
Stone345657
Tishomingo324888
Attala321185
Jasper310262
Winston300391
Clay288273
Chickasaw282164
Clarke277487
Calhoun259739
Holmes259485
Smith243947
Yalobusha216747
Tallahatchie215649
Walthall205557
Greene204045
Lawrence203831
Perry196453
Amite193751
Webster191941
Noxubee174538
Montgomery169853
Jefferson Davis165541
Carroll159937
Tunica148434
Benton139433
Kemper137439
Claiborne125634
Choctaw124925
Humphreys123337
Franklin115227
Quitman101825
Wilkinson99835
Jefferson86632
Sharkey62120
Issaquena1916
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 768301

Reported Deaths: 13209
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1093481727
Mobile699891179
Madison48418589
Baldwin35707452
Shelby35193291
Tuscaloosa33029512
Montgomery32582664
Lee21908204
Calhoun20140377
Morgan19351318
Etowah18583433
Marshall17272259
Houston16139353
St. Clair14956276
Limestone14129180
Cullman14069235
Elmore14010245
Lauderdale13128272
Talladega12399215
DeKalb11890229
Walker10231312
Autauga9493127
Blount9418149
Jackson9115136
Coffee8646161
Colbert8324169
Dale8284159
Escambia6456106
Tallapoosa6394168
Covington6313157
Chilton6243133
Russell591654
Franklin563597
Chambers5240132
Marion4628115
Dallas4626178
Clarke451471
Pike450091
Geneva4252106
Winston407987
Lawrence4046102
Bibb396177
Barbour338968
Marengo320981
Monroe311547
Butler309783
Pickens298769
Randolph294055
Henry293856
Hale286081
Cherokee279850
Fayette272271
Washington243545
Crenshaw232265
Clay221561
Macon214454
Cleburne209748
Lamar187839
Conecuh177139
Lowndes169056
Coosa163631
Wilcox154335
Bullock147142
Perry134235
Sumter123335
Greene119241
Choctaw72325
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Columbus
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Oxford
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Occasional areas of rain and some scattered thunderstorms will be in store for most of the weekend. However, good news by later sections of next week, as cooler and drier air will work its way into our weather forecast.
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