5 things you need to know now
5 things you need to know now
  • Trump signs $2.2 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill

  • Trump invokes Defense Protection Act to mandate GM's ventilation production

  • New York City on track to become global coronavirus epicenter

  • Instacart shoppers plan strike to demand coronavirus protections

  • Stocks take sharp fall to end volatile week

President Trump on Friday signed into law a $2.2 trillion emergency spending bill intended to help the economy recover from the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. The historic stimulus bill was passed in the House just hours earlier, after members of Congress were forced to return to Washington D.C. to overrule an objection by Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), whose opposition to a unanimous voice vote required the House to form a 216-member quorum. The bill authorizes the Treasury Department to send Americans $1,200 payments, and provides billions in small business loans. It also expands unemployment benefits and sends additional funding to hospitals in COVID-19 hotspots. There are now 100,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S.; Congress has scrambled to contain the economic fallout.

Source: CNN, The Washington Post

President Trump on Friday invoked the Defense Protection Act to force General Motors to produce ventilators to aid in the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. Trump utilized certain provisions of the DPA, first used as a wartime measure, last week, but since many companies immediately shifted their usual manufacturing to medical supply production, he didn't feel a need to invoke the part of the Act that can compel any company to produce supplies. Trump noted negotiations with GM had been ongoing, but said GM was "wasting time" at a critical point in the response effort, so the government will now "require General Motors to accept, perform, and prioritize federal contracts for ventilators." COVID-19 hotspots have reported ventilator shortages, and the shortage is expected to become more dire.

Source: The Washington Post

New York City appears poised to become the hardest hit city in the world by coronavirus. The U.S. surpassed all other countries in total cases of COVID-19 on Friday, and New York leads that count with more than 25,000 cases and 365 deaths. That massive total has quickly overwhelmed the city's hospitals, and while its makeshift 1,000-bed facility in the Javits Center is ready to open, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) is calling on President Trump to allow the city to create 4,000 more. Mayor Bill de Blasio said he expects the city to run out of resources to fight the virus and treat patients by April 5, and suggested "half of all New Yorkers" or more may contract the disease.

Source: Vox , The New York Times

Shoppers for the grocery delivery service Instacart will stop accepting orders starting Monday to demand better protections amid the COVID-19 pandemic. They're seeking additional "hazard pay" for every delivery, paid protections such as hand sanitizer and gloves, and expanded sick leave. "It's so scary to be in a grocery store right now," said Instacart shopper and strike organizer Vanessa Bain. "While Instacart's corporate employees are working from home, Instacart's [gig workers] are working on the frontlines," she said. "The health and safety of our entire community ... is our first priority," said an Instacart spokesperson. The company offered additional benefits to workers on Friday, adding 30 more days to its 14-day sick leave for those quarantined or sick from COVID-19, but only for those who've tested positive for the disease.

Source: Vice News, The Washington Post

The Dow Jones Industrial Average sank 915 points at closing on Friday, marking the end of a volatile week as the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic continued to ripple through the economy and Congress rushed to pass a historic emergency spending bill to soften the blow and aid Americans who logged a record 3.3 million unemployment claims last week. The S&P 500 dropped 3.4 percent, and the Nasdaq Composite slid 3.7 percent. The plunge came after a strong three-day streak of gains, as investors looked ahead to a bill that could reinvigorate the economy. Markets have yo-yoed wildly over the past several weeks, and further volatility is expected.

Source: CNBC
Start every morning with all you need to know
Delivered to your inbox