White House coronavirus task force holds Wednesday briefing

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WASHINGTON (WCMH) — President Donald Trump’s coronavirus task force held a briefing Wednesday evening to discuss the latest efforts to deal with COVID-19 coronavirus in the country.

According to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, there are now more than 62,000 cases of COVID-19 reported in the U.S., with 869 total deaths.

Trump started the briefing touting the importance of social distancing.

“The more lives we can save, the sooner we can eventually get people back to work, back to school and back to normal,” said Trump.

Trump said disaster declarations are now approved for New York, California, Washington, Iowa, Louisiana, Texas and Florida.

Congress is poised to approve a $2 billion pandemic response measure that includes sending checks directly to people across the country impacted by the coronavirus crisis.

Agreement on the measure was announced early Wednesday morning.

As it stands, the bill gives a one-time, $1,200 payment to most Americans making less than $75,000. It also increases unemployment benefits by $600 a week for up to four months. There’s $367 billion for small business loans and $500 billion in loans for major companies, like airlines.

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