(Reuters) – Here’s what you need to know about the coronavirus right now:
The $2-trillion shot in the arm
Prospects look to be gaining for passage of a $2 trillion coronavirus economic stimulus package through the U.S. Senate later on Tuesday. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is due to return to Capitol for more talks and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer sounded an optimistic note. “That’s the expectation, that we will finish it tomorrow and hopefully vote on it tomorrow,” Schumer told reporters on Monday.
Republicans, Democrats and top aides of President Donald Trump have negotiated for days over the package, which would be the third and largest passed to address the crisis if it is backed by both the Senate and Democratic-majority House of Representatives. Add that to the Fed’s offer on Monday to buy unlimited amounts of assets and the question is whether investors will finally judge that the economic fall-out is being contained.
Back to business?
Compare and contrast the following two messages:
On the one hand, President Donald Trump says he is considering how to reopen the U.S. economy when a 15-day shutdown ends next week, declaring: “We are not going to let it turn into a long-lasting financial problem.”
On the other, the World Health Organization said on Tuesday it was now seeing a “very large acceleration” in coronavirus infections in the United States which had the potential of becoming the new epicenter.
“We are now seeing a very large acceleration in cases in the U.S. So it does have that potential,” WHO spokeswoman Margaret Harris told reporters on Tuesday.
An Olympic challenge
Now the athletes themselves are joining the chorus of calls for the Tokyo Olympics to be postponed. Over three-quarters of track and field athletes surveyed by the Athletics Association want the Tokyo Olympic Games delayed because their training has been affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
Twice Olympic triple jump champion Christian Taylor, who is also the founder of the Athletics Association, said 78% of athletes want the July 24-Aug. 9 Games to be pushed back, while 22% believe it should be canceled altogether.
Taylor, who won gold at the London 2012 Games and Rio 2016 Games, is one of many athletes unable to train due to government protocols on social distancing and facilities being closed.
“I’m not jumping at all. There is no sandpit for me, I have not put on jump spikes for two weeks,” said Taylor.
Confirmed coronavirus cases exceeded 377,000 across 194 countries and territories as of 0200 GMT on Tuesday, according to a Reuters tally, with over 16,500 deaths linked to the virus.
Almost 40,000 cases and over 1,800 deaths were reported in the past day. It took exactly 30 days for the first 40,000 cases to be reported, and then 15 days for the second 40,000.
Of the top 10 countries by case numbers, Italy has reported the highest fatality rate, at around 10%, which is reflective of its older population. The fatality rate globally is around 4.3%.
While new infections remain low in China, the country has seen a noticeable rebound in cases over the past week, largely among people returning to the country. On Tuesday it reported 78 new cases, roughly double the number reported on Monday, as restrictions ease.
(For an interactive graphic tracking the global spread, open https://tmsnrt.rs/3aIRuz7 in an external browser.)
(Compiled by Mark John and Karishma Singh; Editing by Gareth Jones)