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Can $8 billion in emergency spending help the U.S. curb novel coronavirus?

On Friday, President Trump signed a bipartisan, $8 billion emergency spending package to fund the U.S. government response to novel coronavirus. Still, concerns remain over how quickly health officials are able to conduct tests for the illness. Meanwhile, the number of novel coronavirus cases across the globe is approaching 100,000, according to the World Health Organization. Amna Nawaz reports.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    The coronavirus outbreak has claimed a 15th life in the United States. The announcement came today in Washington state, where now 14 of the deaths have occurred.

    Meanwhile, an emergency federal funding bill became law.

    Amna Nawaz begins our coverage.

  • President Donald Trump:

    I asked for $2.5. And I got $8 billion. And I will take it.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    The $8 billion coronavirus bill, now law. President Trump signed the bipartisan emergency spending package at the White House this morning, alongside Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar.

    The spending measure includes more than $3 billion for the National Institute of Health for vaccine and treatment research. It also allocates more than $2 billion to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, for preparedness and response.

    This afternoon, the president flew to Atlanta to visit the CDC, the agency at the heart of the country's response to the outbreak.

  • President Donald Trump:

    The testing has been amazing, actually, what they have been able to produce in such a short period of time.

    Anything that needs a test gets a test. We — they're there. They have the tests. And the tests are beautiful.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    But testing kits are still being distributed and in some states won't be delivered until early next week. The CDC has been criticized for its failure to quickly provide enough kits.

    The Atlantic reported today that local officials are only able to test several thousand people a day. It also found that, after checking with all 50 states, only 1, 895 people had been tested for the coronavirus in the United States, that as the viral outbreak spreads across the U.S., including to Pennsylvania and Indiana, which announced its first cases today.

    Meanwhile, in Texas, the South by Southwest Festival, an annual gathering of more than 100,000 music, tech and culture fans, was canceled by Austin city officials.

    The University of Washington, in the state grappling with one of the country's most serious outbreaks, today canceled all in-person classes through the end of its winter quarter in late March.

    Globally, meanwhile, a grim milestone. The World Health Organization confirmed there are now almost 100,000 coronavirus cases worldwide. Health officials said it's a critical moment.

  • Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove:

    It all depends on the actions that we take now. The situation could get worse, the situation could get better. We need to prepare for different situations.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    In Japan, school closures have forced families to adjust; 49-year-old Koji Ishii is making it work, lucky to be able to work from home.

  • Koji Ishii (through translator):

    It's not just me. Some of my colleagues are also concerned about watching their children. It's good my company allows work from home, but, at first, I didn't know how to look after my son all day.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    According to the United Nations, his son is just one of the now 300 million students out of school around the world, due to fears and concerns over the coronavirus.

    For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm Amna Nawaz.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Late today, Vice President Pence said that 21 people aboard the Grand Princess cruise ship have tested positive for the coronavirus. The ship has been holding off the coast of California.

    The vice president said the ship will be brought to a noncommercial port this weekend. More passengers will be tested and some people will be quarantined.

    We will focus on the concerns over quarantine measures after the news summary.

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