White House Expected To Provide Updates On Coronavirus Response

Updated at 9:20 a.m. ET

The White House coronavirus task force is scheduled Tuesday to give a briefing at 11:30 a.m. ET in which officials are expected to provide an update on new testing sites and other issues related to the response to the outbreak. The briefing was originally scheduled for 10:30 a.m.

The impact of the outbreak has ground the U.S. economy to a near standstill. In a bid to boost growth, the White House is asking Congress for $850 billion in tax cuts, according to a person familiar with the plan.

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The briefing comes a day after the White House recommended new guidelines to slow the spread of the coronavirus over the next 15 days, urging older Americans to stay home and asking all residents to avoid crowds of more 10 people and stop discretionary travel and eating out.

President Trump, who said the spread of the novel coronavirus may not be contained until July or August, said, “whatever it takes, we’re doing it.”

Meanwhile, dozens of state and local officials are issuing sweeping orders closing school for millions of children, shutting down bars and restaurants and so-called social distancing measures, like mandating that residents stay indoors and work from home.

The coronavirus pandemic has now infected more than 181,000 around the world. In the U.S., there have so far been more than 4,600 confirmed cases.

With federal officials this week ramping up testing nationwide, public health experts say the prevalence of the virus in the U.S. is expected to get worse before it gets better, since testing in the country has until now been sparse.

In Congress, the House sent late Monday a bill to address paid sick leave and testing to the Senate, which is expected to vote on the measure this week. Earlier this month, Congress passed a roughly $8 billion package to address the response effort.

Additionally, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer proposed $750 billion to raise funding for unemployment insurance, coronavirus treatment and emergency childcare assistance. This spending measure is separate from the tax cuts the White House is seeking from Congress.

Stocks have been battered during the crisis despite by efforts by central bankers to assuage investors. On Tuesday, Dow futures were up slightly, a day after they slid to one of their worst sessions ever, falling nearly 3,000 points. This despite the Federal Reserve taking emergency action late Sunday in cutting interest rates to nearly zero, a move not taken since the 2008 financial crisis.

Trump has spent weeks downplaying the virus and dismissing the suggestion that the U.S. economy is heading toward a dramatic slowdown, but on Monday, he conceded a recession could be on the horizon.

“Well, it may be,” Trump said.

Yet the president also suggested the American economy would quickly rebound after the worst of the coronavirus has passed.

“I think there’s a tremendous pent-up demand both in terms of the stock market and in terms of the economy,” Trump said. “And once this goes away, once it goes through and we’re done with it, I think you’re going to see a tremendous surge.”

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