Coronavirus government response updates: Klobuchar's husband tests positive for COVID-19
(WASHINGTON) -- The novel coronavirus pandemic is spreading around the globe and in the United States, reaching some 3,500 cases domestically and nearly 500 deaths.
The federal government has been rolling out its response to the virus and efforts to stem the tide as well as to stimulate the economy, which has taken a severe hit.
Here is how developments unfolded on Monday.
Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar announces her husband has tested positive for COVID-19
Minnesota senator and former presidential candidate Amy Klobuchar has announced in a statement that her husband has tested positive for COVID-19.
"He is exhausted and sick but a very strong and resilient person," she wrote. "I love my husband so very much and not being able to be there at the hospital by his side is one of the hardest things about this disease."
Klobuchar said they have not seen either other for 14 days, so she is not taking a test or self-quarantining.
Trump appears to signal his 15-day guidelines may not be worth the economic impact
Eight days into the White House's 15-day guidelines to slow the spread of the coronavirus, President Donald Trump appears to signal that the measures taken to flatten the curve -- and possibly extending them -- could be worse than the virus itself.
The president tweeted around midnight in all caps: "WE CANNOT LET THE CURE BE WORSE THAN THE PROBLEM ITSELF. AT THE END OF THE 15 DAY PERIOD, WE WILL MAKE A DECISION AS TO WHICH WAY WE WANT TO GO!”
While public health experts hail the effectiveness of the guidelines at slowing the spread of the disease, some conservatives argue that the economic impacts of COVID-19 have become too severe.
The president fired off a number of retweets Monday morning supporting the idea that the economic costs of extending the strict social distancing guidance beyond the fifteen-day period could outweigh the public health benefit of continuing.
Surgeon General Jerome Adams, meanwhile, said on NBC: "I want America to understand -- this week, it's going to get bad. And we really need to come together as a nation ... So we really, really need everyone to stay at home.”
Over the weekend, the president provided little indication of what he plans to do at the end of the fifteen-day period when questioned about it at two press briefings.
He said on Sunday, “I hope we won't have to” extend the guidance but that “It is possible” he will.
On Saturday, he would only say, “We have to see what the result is” at the end of the fifteen days: “We want to flatten that out and we're going to see what the result is.”
State of the stimulus package: Negotiations still underway, senator tests positive for COVID-19
Lawmakers and Trump administration officials were unable to come to an agreement Sunday night on the nearly $2 trillion stimulus package meant to serve as a lifeline for Americans and businesses as the coronavirus continues to hold the economy in a virtual standstill.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin previously set Monday as the deadline to have "phase three" passed and on the president’s desk -- but negotiations stalled out after Democrats voted unanimously Sunday night against starting debate on the Senate floor -- sending leadership back to the drawing board.
Democrats say the legislation doesn't do enough for small businesses while giving Mnuchin a "slush fund" with little oversight, while Republicans argue urgency in its passing which includes a measure to send $1200 relief checks directly to some Americans.
As negotiations continue Monday morning, so does the risk of the virus spreading across Capitol Hill. Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul became the first Senator to announce he tested positive for COVID-19 Sunday, after he interacted with several lawmakers and used the Senate gym in the last week.
Paul's announcement prompted Utah Sens. Mitt Romney and Mike Lee to self-quarantine, bringing the number of sidelined senators to five and the balance in the Senate to a near even split: 48 GOP -- 47 Democrats.
Trump says Japan PM will guide U.S. on its 2020 Olympics decision
While Japan now weighs the possibility of postponing the summer Olympic games, President Trump this morning tweets that the U.S. "will be guided by the wishes of Prime Minister Abe."
The president's tweet comes after Canada announced they will not be sending athletes to the games this summer and after Australia told its athletes to “prepare for a Tokyo Olympic Games in the northern summer of 2021.”
Trump, by contrast, is deferring to the Prime Minister of Japan to make a decision about what's best for the U.S. team.
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