President Trump briefs reporters on the U.S. response to the novel coronavirus on Tuesday, alongside members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force.
The U.S. now leads the world in confirmed coronavirus cases. At least 140,494 people in the U.S. had been infected with COVID-19 as of Monday afternoon, and more than 2,000 had died, according to the CDC. A number of states have issued stay-at-home orders in an effort to keep people at home and prevent the virus’ rampant spread.
Last week, the president signed a $2.2 trillion economic stimulus bill to provide relief to the millions of Americans affected by the economic downturn caused by the virus outbreak. The bill will provide direct one-time cash payments to most Americans, expand unemployment benefits and provide temporary funding for small businesses to cover payroll for their employees.
While President Trump originally said he hoped the nation could resume its normal activities by Easter, he recently extended social distancing guidelines through the end of April.
States have sounded the alarm to the Trump administration in recent weeks about a shortage of personal protective equipment for workers, and an inadequate supply of ventilators, which can play a vital role in helping those with severe symptoms of COVID-19 to breathe. President Trump invoked the Defense Production Act on Friday to require General Motors to produce thousands of ventilators to address the crisis. GM had already entered a partnership with Ventec Life Systems to do so.
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