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President Donald Trump is expected to offer an update on Monday about the continuing U.S. response to the new coronavirus, or COVID-19, alongside the White House Task force.
Watch the president’s remarks live in the player above
More than 33,000 people in the U.S. have now been infected with the virus, and more than 400 had died as of Monday afternoon, according to the CDC. A number of states have taken measures to shut down most businesses in order to keep people at home and prevent the virus’ rampant spread.
Lawmakers are still working to negotiate a nearly $2 trillion economic rescue package for Americans impacted by the sudden virus-related financial downturn. The proposed bill, which had not yet passed a key procedural vote in the Senate as of Monday afternoon, would provide loans for small businesses to retain workers, expand unemployment benefits and allot for one-time checks intended to provide direct economic relief to Americans. Democrats have stalled passage of the bill, arguing it’s too lenient on corporations and does not focus enough on helping the U.S. workers and health care providers most affected by the virus outbreak.
The president has repeatedly rebuffed criticism that his administration was slow to respond to the outbreak in the U.S. On Sunday he called out Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker and other state leaders on Twitter, writing that they “shouldn’t be blaming the Federal Government for their own shortcomings.” Pritzker, who announced a shelter-in-place order for Illinois over the weekend, had criticized the administration’s response on CNN, saying it pitted states against one another for supplies and resources.
While the president has stated in recent press briefings that he recognizes the severity of the virus outbreak, he indicated on Monday that he does not want to suspend public activity in the U.S. beyond a period of 15 days, despite the fact that many public health officials have indicated it may be necessary: “We cannot let the cure be worse than the problem itself,” Trump tweeted. “At the end of the 15-day period, we will make a decision as to which way we want to go.”
Courtney Vinopal is a general assignment reporter at the PBS NewsHour.
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