US House passes relief package for coronavirus COVID-19; Trump says we are close to a vaccine
As coronavirus continues to ravage US leading to death of more than 49,000 people, the US House of Representatives on Thursday passed a coronavirus pandemic relief bill of USD 484 billion that provides funding for small businesses, hospitals, and coronavirus testing.
The measure passed the Democratic-led House by a vote of 388-5, with one member voting present. House members were meeting for the first time in weeks because of the coronavirus pandemic.US President Donald Trump, who backs the measure, said he would probably sign it into law on Thursday evening.
The $484 billion aid bill was the fourth passed to address the coronavirus crisis. It provides funds to small businesses and hospitals struggling with the economic toll of a pandemic that has killed almost 50,000 people in the United States and thrown 26 million out of work, wiping out all the jobs created during the longest employment boom in US history.
Meanwhile, President Trump also favored the safe and phased reopening of the American economy, which has been devastated by the coronavirus pandemic.
Addressing White House Press briefing, Trump said, ''Safe and phased reopening of our economy it's very exciting, but it does not mean that we are letting down our guard at all in any way; on the contrary, continued diligence is an essential part of our strategy to get our country back to work to take our country back.''
He also asserted, ''To keep America gaining momentum, every citizen needs to maintain the vigilance, and we all understand that very well we've gone over it many, many times this includes practicing good hygiene, maintaining social distance, and the voluntary use of face covering.'' adding, ''the data and facts on the ground suggest that the US is making great progress.''
Giving information on COVID-19 cases, Trump said, ''In 23 states, new cases have declined. In the peak week, 40 percent of American counties have also seen a rapid decline in new cases. As many as 46 states report a drop in patients showing coronavirus-like symptoms.'' Trump said that the US is very close to finding a vaccine for COVID-19.
"We have a lot of great, brilliant minds working on this," adding, "Unfortunately we`re not very close to testing because when testing starts it takes a period of time, but we`ll get it done,"he said.
Trump said, "The scientists at Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have released a report offering how the virus reacts to different temperatures, climates and surfaces."