March 25 coronavirus news

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2:42 p.m. ET, March 25, 2020

Does the bill include anything about student loans?

CNN's Phil Mattingly is answering your questions on the Senate stimulus package.

Here's what the bill says about student loans, according to Mattingly:

Federal student loan borrowers would get a reprieve from payments until October and any interest that would have accrued during that period would be waived. 
There are more things in the student loan section of the bill, but admittedly, we're still plugging through its nearly 900 pages, so we don’t have more detail on that front. But the primary feature will be the six month break from payments and interest. 
2:31 p.m. ET, March 25, 2020

At least 11 states have reported more than 100 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday

At least 11 states have reported over 100 new cases of coronavirus on Wednesday, according to updates from each state's Department of Health or state officials.

Here is the breakdown from each of these states:

  1. New York added over 5,000 cases
  2. New Jersey added over 700 cases
  3. Louisiana went up 400 cases
  4. Pennsylvania reported 276 new cases
  5. Texas increased by 259 cases
  6. Florida jumped over 215 cases
  7. Georgia went up 150 cases
  8. Ohio added 140 cases
  9. Indiana gained 112 cases
  10. North Carolina climbed 106 cases
  11. Virginia added 101 cases
2:52 p.m. ET, March 25, 2020

WHO official: "The time to act was actually a month ago" 

WHO
WHO

The world should have responded to the coronavirus pandemic a month or two ago, World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during a news briefing in Geneva today. 

“This virus is public enemy number one," Tedros said.

He added that health officials still believe there are opportunities to fight the virus.

"The time to act was actually a month ago, two months ago. … but we still believe there is opportunity," he said. "This is a second opportunity, which we should not squander and do everything to suppress and control this virus. This is a responsibility for all of us — especially the political leadership is key."

2:44 p.m. ET, March 25, 2020

More than 10,700 National Guard members now activated for US coronavirus response

 Iowa Army National Guard members unload medical supplies on Tuesday, March 24, in Poca, West Virginia.
Iowa Army National Guard members unload medical supplies on Tuesday, March 24, in Poca, West Virginia. Tawny Schmit/Us Army/Planet Pix via ZUMA Wire

There are now more than 10,700 National Guard members activated around the US as part of the coronavirus response.

"Americans should know the National Guard has their backs throughout this crisis. We're in this together, and we'll get through this together," said Gen. Joseph Lengyel, chief of the National Guard Bureau, in a press release.

The National Guard is helping to deliver food to hard-hit communities, supporting local emergency management agencies with response and providing transportation and assessment support to healthcare, among other things during the pandemic.

2:23 p.m. ET, March 25, 2020

County leaders across US bracing for economic fallout

Calling themselves "the ground troops" in the fight against coronavirus, members of the National Association of Counties (NACo) told reporters on a call Wednesday that they are bracing for an enormous economic fallout during the coronavirus outbreak.

Clark County Commission Chairwoman Marilyn Kirkpatrick said that she is anticipating more than a billion dollar loss in her county, which includes Las Vegas, in the coming months as businesses have to close their doors to tourists. 

According to Kirkpatrick, hundreds of thousands of workers have been laid off in recent months as the state scrambles to mitigate the spread of the virus while implementing emergency economic measures.

A number of county leaders pointed to how expensive it is to transition essential government workers to a "work from home" solution.

"Our costs are rising at a time we don't anticipate new revenue coming in until August," Kirkpatrick said. "Economic impact based on tourism is very detrimental and could take us years to recover from."

Even as Congress appears on the brink of passing a $2 trillion dollar stimulus bill, which is expected to dump $150 billion dollars into state coffers, local officials fear it won't be enough.

"The big unknown right now is the lost revenue and the fact it doesn’t appear at first glance to capture lost revenue," said Matthew Chase, executive director of the National Association of Counties.

NACo members also voiced frustration about the lack of federal response and discussed how they are working around the lack of access to testing.

Each leader on the call spoke about their directives to keep people away from one another, otherwise called the "Safer at Home" initiative.

"We can do things ahead of that testing in order to level the curve and not overwhelm health systems," said NACo President Mary Ann Borgeson. "The more we can do to try and prevent people again being in large crowds, public places."

2:17 p.m. ET, March 25, 2020

Is the check based on my 2018 or 2019 tax return?

CNN's Phil Mattingly is answering your questions on the Senate stimulus package.

Under the plan, individuals who earn $75,000 in adjusted gross income or less would get direct payments of $1,200 each. But which tax return is that based on?

If you’ve filed for 2019, that’s what it would based off of. If you haven’t, it would be based off of 2018, Mattingly said.

2:32 p.m. ET, March 25, 2020

WHO warns relaxing restrictions too early could cause a resurgence

WHO
WHO

The World Health Organization is warning that opening schools and businesses too early could cause a resurgence of coronavirus.  

“We understand that these countries are now trying to assess when and how they will be able to ease these measures. The answer depends on what countries do while these population-wide measures are in place," WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.

Speaking on Wednesday, Tedros said, “Asking people to stay at home and shutting down population movement is buying time and reducing the pressure on health systems. But on their own, these measures will not extinguish epidemics.”

“These measures are the best way to suppress and stop transmission, so that when restrictions are lifted, the coronavirus doesn’t resurge. The last thing any country needs is to open schools an businesses, only to be forced to close them again because of a resurgence,” he added.
2:33 p.m. ET, March 25, 2020

British diplomat dies of coronavirus in Budapest

Steve Dick
Steve Dick UK Foreign Office

A British diplomat stationed in Hungary has died of coronavirus, the UK foreign office said on Wednesday.

Steven Dick, 37, was the deputy head of mission for Britain in Budapest. According to the statement, he died on Tuesday after contracting the virus. 

“I am desperately saddened by the news of Steven’s death and my heart goes out to his parents Steven and Carol. Steven was a dedicated diplomat and represented his country with great skill and passion. He will be missed by all those who knew him and worked with him," British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said.
2:09 p.m. ET, March 25, 2020

UK will ramp up coronavirus testing despite "global shortage" in available tests, officials say

 A member of the public is swabbed at a drive through coronavirus testing site set up in a car park on March 12, in Wolverhampton, England.
A member of the public is swabbed at a drive through coronavirus testing site set up in a car park on March 12, in Wolverhampton, England. Christopher Furlong/Getty Images/FILE

While Prime Minister Boris Johnson reaffirmed the government's commitment to increasing the number of coronavirus tests carried out in the UK, Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty warned that the UK does not have "sufficient testing" capabilities to identify coronavirus cases, telling reporters during a news briefing on Wednesday that there is a "global shortage" of available tests. 

"We do not have sufficient testing, and this is a global problem, because every country is wanting this new test...so there is a global shortage," Whitty said during the daily Downing Street news briefing.

"The thing that we would like to do next — which would certainly make a difference, less to the disease, but definitely to the NHS — is being able to test NHS staff and the critical workers who are self-isolating, who currently are not being tested because we do not have sufficient tests," Whitty added.

Speaking alongside the chief medical officer, Prime Minister Boris Johnson asserted that the UK is "massively ramping up" its nationwide testing program, and will continue to increase the number of tests carried out each week. 

"We have done many more tests than most other European countries. The priority should be, and will be, getting those tests to our frontline staff in the NHS, and we are going to that as quickly as we can," Johnson said. 

"The most important thing to enable us to get through it well together, and to come out well together, as I know we can, is for us all to follow the instructions that the government has given: stay at home," the prime minister urged, telling reporters that the country is "coping very well indeed under the most challenging" circumstances.