jarun011/iStock(NEW YORK) — A pandemic of the novel coronavirus has now killed nearly 19,000 people around the world.
There are more than 425,000 diagnosed cases of the new respiratory virus, known officially as COVID-19, spanning every continent except Antartica, according to data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. The disease has gained a foothold in Europe and North America since the first cases were detected in China back in December.
With more than 55,000 diagnosed cases, the United States has the third-highest national total behind Italy and China. The virus has rapidly spread across every U.S. state as well as Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico, killing at least 802 people.
More than one-fifth of the world’s population has been ordered or urged to stay at home as part of efforts to contain the virus.
Here’s how the news is developing Wednesday. All times Eastern:
5:39 a.m.: Netherlands reports spike in deaths
The Netherlands has reported a 30% jump in fatalities from the novel coronavirus.
The densely populated European country saw the number of deaths rise by 63 to 276, according to Tuesday’s update from the Netherlands National Institute for Public Health and the Environment. The deceased victims range in age between 55 and 97 years old.
Meanwhile, the national tally of confirmed COVID-19 cases increased by 17% to 5,560.
3:04 a.m.: U.S. death toll tops 800
More than 800 people in the United States have now died from the novel coronavirus.
The U.S. death toll topped 800 early Wednesday morning, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Systems Science.
At least 192 of those fatalities have occurred in New York City, the U.S. epicenter of the pandemic.
2:58 a.m.: Senators and White House clinch deal on stimulus package
After a marathon of closed-door meetings on Capitol Hill, Senate leaders and White House officials clinched a bipartisan deal early Wednesday on a massive stimulus package to save the national economy from the detrimental impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell described the legislation as “a wartime level of investment in our nation.”
“At last, we have a deal,” McConnell told reporters. “We’re going to pass this legislation later today.”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called the deal “an outstanding agreement.”
“Help is on the way,” Schumer told reporters. “Big help and quick help.”
When asked if U.S. President Donald Trump will sign the legislation, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told reporters resoundingly, “absolutely.”
“Spoken to the president many times today,” Mnuchin added, “he’s very pleased with this legislation and the impact that this is going to have.”
Negotiators from the Senate and the White House have been meeting for the past five days, working to reach a bipartisan agreement on the sweeping measure that will deliver government aid to American families, hospitals and businesses reeling from the virus outbreak and the resulting economic fallout. At roughly $2 trillion, it’s the largest economic stimulus package in modern American history.
At least 23 states have enacted policies to close nonessential businesses in an effort to slow the spread of novel coronavirus on U.S. soil.
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