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March 26, 2020

The Senate unanimously passed a $2.2 trillion stimulus package late Wednesday that aims to provide economic relief to businesses and individuals during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

The measure expands unemployment benefits, gives $100 billion to hospitals dealing with coronavirus, provides $350 billion in federally guaranteed loans to small businesses, and sends direct payments of $1,200 to Americans earning up to $75,000.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said the measure is "historic because it is meant to match a historic crisis. Our health care system is not prepared to care for the sick. Our workers are without work. Our businesses cannot do business. Our factories lie idle. The gears of the American economy have ground to a halt."

The House is expected to vote on the legislation — the largest economic relief bill in U.S. history — on Friday. Catherine Garcia

March 19, 2020

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) issued a statewide stay-at-home order Thursday night, effective at midnight, in an attempt to slow down the spread of the coronavirus.

California is home to 40 million people. As of Thursday evening, 958 people have tested positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus in the state and 19 have died.

"This is a moment where we need some straight talk and we need to tell people the truth," Newsom said. "We need to bend the curve in the state of California. In order to do that we need to recognize reality."

Californians will still be allowed to go to the grocery store, pick up to-go food orders, and take walks outside, as long as they practice social distancing and stay at least six feet away from one another, Newsom said.

The coronavirus pandemic "requires us to adjust our thinking and adjust our activities," Newsom added, and he is "confident that the people of the state of California will abide by it to do the right thing. They'll meet this moment, they'll step up as they have over the course of the last number of weeks to protect their families and to protect the broader community." He urged people to use their "common sense," and said if the state is "going to be criticized, let's be criticized for doing the right thing." Catherine Garcia

March 19, 2020

President Trump has decided to cancel the in-person meeting of G7 leaders scheduled for June at Camp David, and will instead hold a video conference, the White House announced Thursday.

The Camp David meeting was canceled "in order for each country to focus all of its resources on responding to the health and economic challenges" of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, White House Deputy Press Secretary Judd Deere said. He added that the leaders have been notified of the change of plans, and will hold video teleconferences in April and May. Catherine Garcia

March 16, 2020

After a judge ruled on Monday evening that Ohio's Tuesday primary could not be postponed until June 2, the state's director of health, Dr. Amy Acton, declared a health emergency in order to keep the polls from opening.

"During this time when we face an unprecedented public health crisis, to conduct an election tomorrow would force poll workers and voters to place themselves at an unacceptable health risk of contracting coronavirus," Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) tweeted.

A lawsuit was filed by voters who wanted to delay the primary until June 2, hoping the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic would be over by then. DeWine supported their efforts, but Judge Richard Frye ruled that it would be a "terrible precedent" for him to postpone a primary right before it was set to begin.

Following Frye's ruling, DeWine and Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose released a statement saying it "simply isn't possible to hold an election tomorrow that will be considered legitimate by Ohioans" and voters "mustn't be forced to choose between their health and exercising their constitutional rights." There are 50 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ohio. Catherine Garcia

March 16, 2020

A judge on Monday evening ruled Ohio cannot move its Tuesday primary to June 2, but Gov. Mike DeWine (R) and Secretary of State Frank LaRose (R) released a statement in response saying it "simply isn't possible to hold an election tomorrow that will be considered legitimate by Ohioans."

Earlier Monday, DeWine said amid the coronavirus pandemic, the state "can't tell people it's in their best interest to stay home and at the same time tell people to go vote." He recommended postponing in-person voting until June 2, and supported a lawsuit filed to delay voting.

Judge Richard Frye ruled that it would be a "terrible precedent" for him to rewrite election code just hours before the polls open, The Columbus Dispatch reports. He also shot down the state's assertion that it will be safer to vote in a few months, as there is "no medical evidence" to suggest the pandemic will be over by the proposed new primary date of June 2. "To the contrary," Frye said, "it's my understanding from the briefings we've seen in the national media that it may be months before we get to a point of stability or a peak of the virus and its transmission rates."

DeWine and LaRose released a joint statement after Frye made his ruling, saying the "only thing more important than a free and fair election is the health and safety of Ohioans." Health officials have advised against holding large gatherings of 50 or more people, and voters "mustn't be forced to choose between their health and exercising their constitutional rights," DeWine and LaRose said. It is not known if DeWine and LaRose could be held in contempt of court, the Columbus Dispatch reports

Florida, Illinois, and Arizona are scheduled to hold primaries on Tuesday, with officials in those states saying there are no plans to cancel.

This is a developing story, and has been updated throughout. Catherine Garcia

March 12, 2020

U.S. airstrikes are now underway in Iraq, in response to a rocket attack on Wednesday that left two American troops at Camp Taji dead, U.S. officials said.

Camp Taji is a military base north of Baghdad that is used for training. Wednesday's attack also killed one British service member. U.S. officials told The New York Times the airstrikes are targeting facilities believed to store the types of rockets used in the attack.

Earlier Thursday, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said the United States "will not tolerate attacks against our people, our interests, or our allies." Esper and Army Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said it was believed the attack was carried out by Iranian-backed fighters. "You don't get to shoot at our bases and kill and wound Americans and get away with it," Esper said. Catherine Garcia

March 11, 2020

The NBA is suspending its season until further notice, after a member of the Utah Jazz tested positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus.

The Jazz game against the Oklahoma City Thunder was postponed Wednesday night just prior to tipoff. In a statement, the NBA said it will "use this hiatus to determine next steps for moving forward in regard to the coronavirus pandemic." Before the season was suspended, the NBA and its owners were discussing whether to still hold games, just without fans in attendance. Catherine Garcia

March 11, 2020

In an address to the nation Wednesday night from the Oval Office, President Trump said because of the coronavirus pandemic, he is suspending all travel from Europe to the United States for 30 days, with the restrictions not applying to the United Kingdom.

The action will go into effect Friday at midnight. Trump did not say why the UK, which has 460 confirmed cases of the COVID-19 coronavirus, is exempt.

Trump praised the U.S. government's response to the coronavirus epidemic, calling it the "most aggressive and comprehensive effort to confront a foreign virus in modern history," and criticized the European Union, saying it "failed to take the same precautions and restrict travel from China and other hotspots. As a result, a large number of new clusters in the United States were seeded by travelers from Europe." There are more than 1,200 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the U.S., with the death toll rising to 38 on Wednesday. Catherine Garcia

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