WASHINGTON/NEW YORK (Reuters) – The Trump administration pressed on Tuesday for enactment of a $1 trillion stimulus package, possibly to include $1,000 direct payments to individual Americans, to blunt the economic pain from a coronavirus outbreak that has killed over 100 people in the country.
With cases of the respiratory illness reported in all 50 states and the total number of known U.S. infections surging past 6,400, millions of Americans hunkered down at home instead of commuting to work or going to school.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said he was weighing whether to order the city’s 8.5 million residents to “shelter in place” at home, as state and local officials escalated “social distancing” policies by closing schools, restaurants and theaters to curb the spread of the virus.
“It’s a very, very difficult decision,” de Blasio said. “We’ve never been here before.” The state’s governor, Andrew Cuomo, told CNN he did not think it would work.
About 6.7 million people in the San Francisco Bay area have already been ordered to stay home for all but the most crucial outings until April 7. Eateries, bars, gyms and other “non-essential” businesses were shut down, but marijuana dispensaries were allowed to stay open as cannabis was deemed an “essential medicine” by health authorities.