March 25 coronavirus news

By Helen Regan, Joshua Berlinger, Adam Renton, Ivana Kottasová and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 9:34 p.m. ET, March 25, 2020
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4:41 p.m. ET, March 25, 2020

Will full-time college students qualify for stimulus checks?

Your questions, answered

CNN's Phil Mattingly is answering your questions on the Senate stimulus package. There's not a clear answer on if college students will qualify for stimulus checks. Here's why, according to Mattingly:

Depends – and I’m not trying to dodge here, but everyone’s circumstances are different, so I don’t want to generalize. Say an individual is claimed as dependent by their parents, then that’s an automatic no. Say you live on your own, are not claimed as a dependent and had a summer job, then yes. 
4:42 p.m. ET, March 25, 2020

Colorado Hospital Association raises concerns over ICU bed capacity

From CNN's Caroline Kenny

The Colorado Hospital Association is warning that without social distancing, hospitals across the state may not be able to meet the demand for ICU beds.

“It is possible that the current ICU bed capacity will not be sufficient to care for the number of patients that we anticipate Colorado hospitals will need to treat. That is why it is imperative that Coloradans follow all social distancing recommendations, in addition to the many efforts by Colorado hospitals and health systems to expand their current capacity and capabilities. The more we can extend the spread of this virus over multiple weeks or months, the better our hospital system can manage the needs our communities will face," CHA spokesperson Julie Lonborg said. 

Lonborg points to a 2018 count of ICU beds across the state that shows Colorado has 973 ICU beds and 10,293 total hospital beds, but warns, “it should be understood that the 2018 numbers reported in this spreadsheet are the baseline, not the current level of ICU and CCU beds in the state, which will now be higher.”

As it confronts the initial surge of Covid-19 patients, Lonborg said that CHA is currently assessing the number of ventilators across the state.

“So when we know that number, we will have to ask: do we have a model to help us understand what the need may be so we have enough? And if we don’t have enough, how far off are we?” Lonborg said.

4:38 p.m. ET, March 25, 2020

Will retired seniors also get stimulus checks? 

Your questions, answered

CNN's Phil Mattingly is answering your questions on the Senate stimulus package. Many of you asked if retired seniors will get stimulus checks. Here's what Mattingly said:

So long as they are not listed as a dependent for someone else (and fall within the income thresholds), yes they will. 
4:47 p.m. ET, March 25, 2020

Coronavirus cases in California climb to more than 2,500

From CNN's Cheri Mossburg

A man crosses Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles, California, on March 25.
A man crosses Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles, California, on March 25. Mario Tama/Getty Images

The number of cases in California is climbing steadily and now stands at 2,535, with 53 deaths, according to Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Of these positive cases, over half those infected are between the ages of 18 and 49 and 37 are under the age of 18.

The governor is urging people to abide by stay-at-home orders, imploring the public that “half way is no way.”

“We can defeat this virus, but we can’t defeat it unless we commit to fulfilling our individual obligations and our collective responsibilities to meet this moment. The stay home order is real,” Newsom said. “Don’t think for a second that we’re a day or two away from lifting that order, we’re not even a week or two away.”

4:31 p.m. ET, March 25, 2020

House GOP leader opposed to unanimous consent for $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus

From CNN's Haley Byrd 

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said he does not support passing the phase three coronavirus stimulus bill via unanimous consent.

McCarthy split with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has said repeatedly that she hopes to pass the package by unanimous consent — a move that would keep members from having to return to Washington during the pandemic.

Any one member can block a unanimous consent request.

“I don’t believe we should pass a $2 trillion package by unanimous consent,” McCarthy said Wednesday, indicating he supports the idea of passing it by voice vote instead. “I don’t think this can pass on unanimous consent."

A voice vote would involve debate on the floor and would also not require most members to return to the Capitol, unless a member requested a recorded roll call vote.

“I think that achieves our goal by not slowing the process down, but giving us time to read the bill and making sure that it gets through,” McCarthy said of passing the measure by voice vote. “I want to make sure we review it, but do not slow it down, and be able to move this to the President’s desk as soon as possible.”

McCarthy also said he agrees with the group of GOP senators who have taken issue with the bill’s handling of unemployment insurance.

“Yes, that’s a problem,” McCarthy said. “This is not a time, when all of America is trying to come together, that someone should benefit and get a higher payment than they’re actually earning while they’re working, by taking money from a taxpayer to pay it.”

4:22 p.m. ET, March 25, 2020

Firearm background checks have spiked in Florida

From CNN’s Rosa Flores and Sara Weisfeldt

As the coronavirus pandemic grows, Floridians have been rushing to gun shops.

Last Friday alone 13,192 background checks were conducted, compared to 2,646 background checks the same day last year — representing ​an increase of nearly 400% (398.56%) year-on-year, ​according to data provided to CNN by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

In the last week alone, the number of background checks also surged. Last Friday, 13,192 background checks were conducted, compared to 5,783 background checks the previous Friday, which represents an increase of 128% week-on-week.

FDLE tracks the number of background checks through its Firearm Purchase Program and does not track the number of guns sold. Currently in Florida, background checks are not required for the purchase of ammunition.

4:16 p.m. ET, March 25, 2020

Deadline to get a REAL ID pushed back at least a year due to coronavirus

From CNN's Geneva Sands

The deadline to obtain a REAL ID, federally mandated identification that will be needed for passengers to board aircraft, will be extended until at least September 2021 — a year past the current deadline, according to a draft version of the Senate stimulus bill obtained by CNN.

Before the coronavirus pandemic swept across the US, states were preparing to issue residents "REAL ID-compliant" driver's licenses or identification by the October 1 deadline.

Some context: As of last month, only about 35% of US IDs complied with the REAL ID Act, a post-9/11 law that establishes security standards for licenses. Once in effect, travelers flying commercially in the US will need to have a REAL ID, which is marked by a star on the top of the card.

Even before the outbreak, it was unlikely that all states would meet the deadline. Last month, acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf told lawmakers that the prospect of all states being able to issue their constituents a REAL ID by October 2020 was "probably fairly small."

The Department of Homeland Security, which is responsible for the identification program, is evaluating options regarding the new deadline, a department official told CNN.

4:37 p.m. ET, March 25, 2020

White House economic adviser predicts large unemployment numbers Thursday

From CNN's Betsy Klein 

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow talks with reporters at the White House on Tuesday, March 24.
White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow talks with reporters at the White House on Tuesday, March 24. Evan Vucci/AP

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow predicted, as expected, significant increases in unemployment numbers ahead of Thursday’s jobs report.

“It’s going to be a very large increase in the weekly unemployment,” he said, adding that he was not at liberty to say what the numbers will be.

“That’ll come out at 8:30 a.m. tomorrow but it’s going to be a very big increase. Everybody in the market knows that,” he said during an appearance on Fox News.

He said the House will pass the stimulus bill: “Yes the House will. They’re on board.”

Kudlow went on to explain how the package will add up to “$6 trillion” through the Federal Reserve.

“Well this whole package is $2 trillion in direct assistance and on top of that, we are giving the Federal Reserve the resources to put up as much as $4 trillion to stabilize financial markets and back up loan guarantees and help some distressed industries. This is all on a short-term basis, cause this is going to be weeks and months, not years. So when you add the two together, you’re looking at $6 trillion package," he said.

4:15 p.m. ET, March 25, 2020

There are now at least 63,000 cases of coronavirus in the US

There are at least 63,109 cases of novel coronavirus in the United States, according to CNN Health’s tally of cases that are detected and tested in the United States through US public health systems.

At least 877 people have died. 

The total includes cases from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and other US territories, as well as all repatriated cases.