As first stimulus check looms, lawmakers working towards next round of relief

Coronavirus

As the U.S. nears 17,000 coronavirus deaths, our team in Washington, D.C. is examining the issues that likely won’t be featured tonight during primetime cable news — including what’s being done to get additional financial relief to Americans and small businesses. You can watch their original reporting in the video above.

A staggering 16.8 million Americans have been thrown onto the unemployment rolls in just three weeks, underscoring the terrifying speed with which the coronavirus outbreak has brought world economies to a near standstill.

Meanwhile, a spike in deaths in Britain and New York and surges of reported new infections in Japan and India’s congested cities make it clear that the struggle is far from over.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been moved out of intensive care, where he was treated for three days with COVID-19, his office said Thursday.

Here are some of the top stories related to the coronavirus pandemic:

WHAT’S HAPPENING TODAY:

— The coronavirus pandemic will push the global economy into the deepest recession since the Great Depression, with the world’s poorest countries suffering the most, the head of the International Monetary Fund said Thursday.

— About a half billion people could be pushed into poverty as a result of the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic unless richer countries take “urgent action” to help developing nations, a leading aid organization warned Thursday. Oxfam has urged richer countries to step up their efforts to help the developing world or risk setting back the fight against poverty by a decade and by as much as 30 years in some areas, including Africa and the Middle East.

— African officials objected Thursday to the global jostling to obtain medical equipment to combat the coronavirus, warning that if COVID-19 is left to spread on the continent the world will remain at risk. Equipment in Africa is scarce. The World Health Organization says fewer than 5,000 intensive care unit beds are available across 43 of the continent’s 54 countries.

— The U.S. Strategic National Stockpile’s supply of N95 respirators, surgical masks, face shields, gowns and other essential items desperately needed to protect front-line medical workers treating coronavirus patients is nearly depleted. Documents show that about 90% of all the personal protective equipment in the stockpile has been distributed to state and local governments, with the remaining 10% held back for federal workers.

— The number of Americans getting on airplanes has sunk to a level not seen in more than 60 years as people shelter in their homes to avoid catching or spreading the new coronavirus. One analyst estimated that air travel demand won’t return to pre-outbreak levels until the middle of next year under the best outcome, and it’s likely to be later.

— At the holiest time of year for Christians, churches are wrestling with how to hold services amid the coronavirus outbreak, and in some cases, that has set up showdowns with local governments over restrictions that forbid large gatherings.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report)

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