Overnight Health Care: US death toll from coronavirus hits 100 | Virus now in all 50 states | Plans for cash assistance gain steam | Trump gets GOP pushback on stimulus | Shortage of critical supplies hamper health providers

Overnight Health Care: US death toll from coronavirus hits 100 | Virus now in all 50 states | Plans for cash assistance gain steam | Trump gets GOP pushback on stimulus | Shortage of critical supplies hamper health providers
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Welcome to Tuesday's Overnight Health Care. 

The death toll from the coronavirus hit 100 in the United States today and now is affecting all 50 states.

In Washington, the debate intensified over the economic response to the outbreak. Trump administration officials said they want to send checks to every American in an effort to try to blunt the worst of the economic fallout, but that almost immediately ran into problems with Senate Republicans.


Meanwhile, frontline health workers are running out of protective supplies, and states are not getting the help they need from the federal government. 


US death toll hits 100

At least 100 people have died from the coronavirus in the U.S., a grim milestone in what is likely to be just the beginning of an epidemic with no end in sight.

About half of those deaths are centered in Washington state, where an outbreak of cases in a nursing home led to rapid spread throughout the state.

In all, there are more than 6,200 cases of the coronavirus in the U.S., according to Johns Hopkins University.

What we don't know: It's unclear how many Americans have the coronavirus because there is no widespread testing in the U.S.


While the Trump administration says it is trying to ramp up testing after a slow start, only 30,000 tests have been conducted so far by the CDC and public health labs.

As a result, experts think it is likely there are thousands of undetected cases of the coronavirus in the U.S.

Read more here.

All 50 states: West Virginia on Tuesday reported its first confirmed case of the novel coronavirus, becoming the last of the 50 states to announce that the disease has spread within its borders.

Read more here.


At the White House...

Cash assistance for Americans gains steam as coronavirus roils economy 

President TrumpDonald TrumpBlinken holds first calls as Biden's secretary of State Senators discussing Trump censure resolution Dobbs: Republicans lost in 2020 because they 'forgot who was the true leader' MORE and lawmakers are embracing the idea of cutting checks to millions of Americans as they scramble to revive the economy. 

Lawmakers are floating a myriad of potential proposals as the growing spread of coronavirus is taking a greater toll on financial markets and grinding key industries like restaurants and airlines to a halt.

Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven MnuchinThe Hill's Morning Report - Biden argues for legislative patience, urgent action amid crisis On The Money: Senate confirms Yellen as first female Treasury secretary | Biden says he's open to tighter income limits for stimulus checks | Administration will look to expedite getting Tubman on bill Senate confirms Yellen as first female Treasury secretary MORE said that he wants to start sending checks out within two weeks, indicating it should be in the third coronavirus package that Congress is currently negotiating. 

Lawmakers say the payments could help Americans, particularly those who lose their job, cover short-term costs. But some Republicans have bristled at the idea, arguing that it won't help stimulate the larger economy because Americans are likely to save the money over concerns about long-term economic stability. 

Read more on the proposal here: Administration eyes checks to Americans amid coronavirus outbreak

And more on the debate with Congress here.



More from the administration:

Poll: 37 percent of Americans trust Trump on coronavirus

Trump touts cooperation with states on coronavirus after criticizing Democratic governors

Mnuchin: Individuals will be able to defer up to $1M in tax payments due to coronavirus

Lawmakers welcome Treasury move to extend tax deadlines

Trump: We are looking to save the maximum number of lives


Trump says he knew coronavirus was a pandemic 'long before' it was declared

Trump acknowledges poor press relationship on coronavirus

Trump: I don't think using the phrase 'Chinese virus' creates a stigma


Trump officials floated a $850B stimulus on Tuesday

The Trump administration will seek approval of a roughly $850 billion emergency stimulus package from Congress in order to ease the economic impact of the coronavirus, a senior administration official confirmed on Tuesday.

The senior administration official stressed that the proposal is a tax proposal, not a spending stimulus as Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerHumanist Report host criticizes 'conservative Democrats:' They 'hold more power' than progressives Bush-, Obama-era officials urge Senate to swiftly confirm Biden's DHS pick OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Court upholds ruling invalidating Dakota Access, but doesn't shut down pipeline | Schumer calls for Biden to declare climate emergency | Biden seeks to bolster consultation with Indian Country MORE (D-N.Y.) is proposing. The development was first reported by The Washington Post, which said that the stimulus package could include a payroll tax cut and is expected to include about $50 billion to help the airline industry specifically.


Read more here.


...But the plan is running into Republican headwinds

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and National Economic Council Director Larry KudlowLarry KudlowMORE ran into Senate Republican opposition on key points of their economic rescue plan Tuesday when they outlined a multi-pronged proposal to keep the country from falling into a severe recession.

Many Republican senators feel frustrated they were largely cut out of negotiations with Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiEverytown urges Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene to resign over newly uncovered remarks Sen. Patrick Leahy returns home after being hospitalized Marjorie Taylor Greene expressed support on Facebook for violence against Democrats MORE (D-Calif.) that resulted in the speedy passage of a House bill estimated to cost more than $100 billion and President Trump says he will sign.

The sticking points: At a lengthy lunch meeting in the Russell Senate Office Building, Republican senators pushed back on two key points: distributing direct cash payments to Americans impacted by the coronavirus crisis and providing tens of billions of dollars in economic assistance to the ailing airline industry.

More on the GOP response here.


More on the economic debate:

GOP lukewarm on talk of airline bailout

Democratic lawmakers call for emissions reductions in airline bailout

Tourism industry estimates 4.6 million travel-related jobs lost due to coronavirus

Democratic lawmakers call for emissions reductions in airline bailout


Over on Wall Street...

The markets rebounded on stimulus promises and Fed actions.

U.S. stock markets rebounded Tuesday after one of their worst drops in history a day earlier, as President Trump and Congress advanced economic stimulus plans and the Federal Reserve took actions to shore up the financial system in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 1,049 points, or 5.2 percent percent, recovering a portion of its nearly 3,000-point drop on Monday, the third worst day in its history.

The index, which peaked at more than 29,500 just last month, briefly hovered below 20,000 in the morning hours, before rebounding to a 21,238 close.

The market jumped after the Federal Reserve announced it would expand its bond-buying efforts to include corporate bonds in an effort to help provide businesses with short-term funding.

Read more here.


Over in Congress...

McConnell wants GOP deal on third coronavirus bill before talks with Dems

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellHumanist Report host criticizes 'conservative Democrats:' They 'hold more power' than progressives Dobbs: Republicans lost in 2020 because they 'forgot who was the true leader' Biden's Cabinet gradually confirmed by Senate MORE (R-Ky.) said Republicans will work out a deal amongst themselves on a third coronavirus funding package before negotiating with Democrats.

McConnell has established three working task forces with Senate Republicans to field ideas and work with the Treasury Department on the upcoming bill, which is expected to touch on workers, small businesses and industries affected by the pandemic.

"These task focus will be working with the Treasury Department and Secretary Mnuchin and his team to see if we can reach a Republican consensus," McConnell said.

"We are trying to reach an agreement among ourselves as to what Senate Republicans and the administration favor doing next," he added.

McConnell declined to say what the three areas for the task forces are, or which GOP senators are involved in them.

Read more here.

Don't forget about the second bill: McConnell on Tuesday also said the upper chamber will pass the House's second coronavirus funding package without changes. That comes despite some vocal GOP opposition to the measure over concerns about its impact on small businesses. The Senate could vote as soon as Tuesday, though McConnell indicated the timeline is still in flux.

Read more here.


More from Capitol Hill:

Pelosi calls for expanding paid leave in next stimulus package

McConnell rejects remote voting

Senators balance coronavirus action with risks to health


On the frontlines of the health response... 

Critical supplies shortage hampers hospitals, health providers

Hospitals and health care providers don't have enough of the critical supplies needed to protect doctors and nurses from the coronavirus, and governors say the Trump administration isn't doing enough to help. Lawmakers in New Jersey, Washington state and Maryland say they have only received a fraction of the protective equipment they requested from a national stockpile of medical supplies managed by the federal government. 

Meanwhile, nurses, doctors and other health care workers all around the country are being told to ration the gear that protects them from the virus, raising questions about the risk posed to those on the front lines of the pandemic.

Main concern: The shortage of so-called personal protective equipment (PPE) could endanger health workers and weaken the coronavirus response in the U.S. Of top concern is the shortage of N95 respirators, which are viewed as more effective at blocking viruses than the looser-fitting surgical masks. 

Read more on the shortage here.


Pentagon steps up response

The Pentagon will give 5 million respirator masks and up to 2,000 deployable ventilators to Health and Human Services (HHS) in response to the coronavirus pandemic, Defense Secretary Mark EsperMark EsperOvernight Defense: Army details new hair and grooming standards | DC National Guard chief says Pentagon restricted his authority before riot | Colorado calls on Biden not to move Space Command New Army hair and grooming standards allow for ponytails, buzz cuts and earrings Trump administration official Norquist sworn in as acting Pentagon chief MORE said on Tuesday.

The caveat, Esper said, is that the ventilators are designed for use by deployed troops, require training to operate and may have single-use limitations.

But the Defense Department is "committed to supporting HHS's requirements in any way we can," he added.

The Pentagon chief -- who on Monday held two meetings with Department of Defense (DOD) senior civilian and military officials and briefed Vice President Pence and HHS Secretary Alex Azar on the support efforts -- said DOD is also opening its 14 certified coronavirus testing labs to test nonmilitary personnel, with two additional labs soon available.

Read more here.


Trump administration announces expanded telemedicine for Medicare users

The Trump administration on Tuesday announced a massive expansion of telehealth benefits for Medicare users, giving the country's older population access to medical care without having to leave their homes during the outbreak of the coronavirus.

Senior citizens are one of the groups most at-risk to have fatal health complications from COVID-19, the other being people with underlying health problems.

Prior to the outbreak of the virus, Medicare users could only access telehealth services for routine "virtual check-ins." Benefits were restricted to seniors living in rural areas who had already sought care through a particular provider.

CMS Administrator Seema Verma said the agency would exercise enforcement discretion on collecting copays so costs will not become a barrier. 

Read more here.


Trump health officials deny US rejected WHO diagnostic test 

Trump administration health officials on Tuesday defended the pace of diagnostic testing for the novel coronavirus while pushing back on criticism that the U.S. rejected a test from the World Health Organization (WHO).

The federal government has been criticized for not at least temporarily using the WHO test until the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) created its own. While officials have acknowledged there are still not enough tests to meet demand, they denied refusing other tests.

"No one ever offered a test that we refused," said Adm. Brett Giroir, assistant secretary for health at the Department of Health and Human Services. "This was a research-grade test that was not approved, not submitted to the FDA [Food and Drug Administration] ... there was a small number that we have greatly surpassed in a very short period of time." 

Read more on the testing here.


Trump administration to help states expand hospital capacity

The Trump administration is exploring ways to quickly expand hospital capacity ahead of what could be a wave of coronavirus patients that would threaten to overwhelm the health care system.

Vice President Pence on Tuesday said the administration will consider every request from governors to quickly deploy "field hospitals" or use the Army Corps of Engineers to convert existing facilities.

"The president has tasked us to evaluate and ... consider every request from governors for either field hospitals, or the Army Corps of Engineers that could retrofit existing buildings," Pence said during a briefing of the administration's coronavirus task force.

Health officials across the country have expressed concern that without action, the coronavirus could overwhelm the nation's health system, similar to what is happening in Italy.

Read more here


On the campaign trail...

DNC urges states not to postpone primaries

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) is asking states not to postpone their primaries amid the coronavirus pandemic, but instead to take measures to make voting more safe and remote when possible.

In a statement, DNC Chairman Tom PerezThomas PerezClinton’s top five vice presidential picks Government social programs: Triumph of hope over evidence Labor’s 'wasteful spending and mismanagement” at Workers’ Comp MORE said that states should begin mailing ballots to all registered voters, and to implement "no-excuse absentee voting" which allows voters to drop their ballots off at pre-approved sites. In addition, Perez said that polling places should expand their hours and days of service to reduce lines and crowds.

The DNC chairman said that postponing elections, as several states have done, is not the right answer.

Read more here.

Backstory: The statement comes amid intense debate around whether states should conduct elections at a time when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued guidance saying that people should avoid crowds to contain the spread of the deadly coronavirus. Three states held primaries on Tuesday: Florida, Illinois and Arizona. But in Ohio, officials postponed the primary. The Hill's Max Greenwood and Amie Parnes earlier today set the scene on a primary day dominated by coronavirus fears.


More coronavirus coverage from The Hill

Obama urges Americans to 'model' behavior on health professionals

NYC tops 800 coronavirus cases

South Carolina becomes latest state to close bars and restaurants

Kansas governor orders schools closed for the rest of the school year

Italy's death toll from coronavirus tops 2,500

EU leaders agree to close external borders

Kevin Durant says he tested positive for coronavirus

Andrew Yang reaching out to the White House on universal basic income

Facebook to give employees $1000 to deal with coronavirus impact

Amazon suspending shipments of nonessential items to warehouses


What we're reading

Republicans, White House gut paid sick leave in coronavirus bill (HuffPost)

Pence asks construction companies to donate masks to hospitals as shortages loom (Washington Post)

Covid-19 hits doctors, nurses and EMTs, threatening health system (Washington Post)

The CDC recommends Americans stay at home -- unless they work for the CDC (ProPublica)

As coronavirus testing gears up, specialized swabs running out (Kaiser Health News)


State by state

Near Trump's Florida home, drive-thru COVID-19 testing gets off to rocky start (Kaiser Health News)

Maryland emissions locations will be drive-thru coronavirus testing sites, transit services to be reduced, Hogan says (Baltimore Sun)

'Butch the Cougar' is early test subject for COVID-19 vaccine (Seattle PI)

Boston-area lawmakers call on Charlie Baker to issue shelter-in-place order by the end of Tuesday (Boston.com)