TORONTO (AP) — The United States’ caseload of coronavirus infections surged to the most in the world and its capital reported more infections as Italy shut most of its industry and masses of Indian day laborers received food rations after a lockdown put them out of work. Increases in the number of cases have been expected as testing becomes more available. The U.S. passed China with more than 85,000 cases, and Italy also exceeded 80,000, the three countries accounting for almost half of the world’s infections from the new virus. Most of China’s patients have recovered, while places where the virus arrived later are now dealing with overwhelmed hospitals and converting public spaces for treating the sick.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Washington is about to deliver massive, unprecedented legislation to speed help to individuals and businesses as the coronavirus pandemic takes a devastating toll on the U.S. economy and a health care system straining to keep up. The House is set to pass the sprawling, $2.2 trillion measure on Friday morning after an extraordinary 96-0 Senate vote late Wednesday. President Donald Trump is eager to sign it into law. The relief can hardly come soon enough. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell says the economy “may well be in recession” already and the government has reported a 3.3 million burst of weekly jobless claims, more than four times the previous record.
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump wants to determine which parts of the country are the safest. He says federal officials are developing guidelines to rate counties by risk of virus spread. Trump wants to begin easing nationwide guidelines meant to stem the coronavirus outbreak. In a letter Thursday to the nation’s governors, Trump says the new guidelines are meant to enable state and local leaders to make “decisions about maintaining, increasing, or relaxing social distancing and other measures they have put in place.” States would still have authority to set restrictions. Trump says he will visit Norfolk, Virginia, on Saturday to see off the USNS Comfort, the 1,000-bed hospital ship heading to New York.
JOHANNESBURG (AP) — South Africa has announced its first two deaths from the coronavirus as the country’s cases rise above 1,000 and a three-week lockdown begins. South Africa has the most virus cases in Africa, where the total is now above 3,200. South Africa’s military is in the streets helping to enforce measures. Security forces with megaphones screamed at people still on the streets shortly after midnight in downtown Johannesburg, the country’s commercial hub. Homeless people scattered, lost. Concerns are high about water supply and social distancing in crowded, low-income townships. The economy is already in recession and many worry about losing their jobs.
UNDATED (AP) — China’s Xinhua News Agency says President Xi Jinping called U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday and told him that China stands ready to provide support to the U.S. in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The news agency reports President Xi suggested the two countries work together to control their epidemics. The U.S. and China were in the midst of a trade war and sharpening conflicts over intellectual property, human rights, Taiwan and Beijing’s policies in Hong Kong and the South China Sea before the virus outbreak.
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