Coronavirus US live: Biden doubts Democratic convention can happen in July

Banks are warning the $350 billion small business loan program may not be ready by Friday as scheduled.

Politico reports:

The lenders complain that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin boxed them in with an unrealistic deadline and that the ground rules they’ve been given for the program, which is intended to deliver rapid aid to a huge number of ailing businesses, could delay the assistance for weeks or longer.

The banks, which will be responsible for processing loan applications and doling out money, are expecting millions of applications from businesses. Some fear a disaster that could dwarf the failed kickoff of the Obamacare enrollment web site in 2013.

Georgia’s governor said he only learned days ago that those with coronavirus who show no symptoms can still spread the virus, an astounding claim from a state leader considering health experts have been warning about asymptomatic transmissions for weeks.

A stunning admission of deadly ignorance from Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, who says he only just learned that asymptomatic people can transmit #Covid19. “[I]ndividuals could have been infecting people before they ever felt bad, but we didn’t know that until the last 24 hours.” pic.twitter.com/T7NZWk2GDR

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Coronavirus US live: Biden says Trump plan to relax physical distancing could be ‘catastrophic’

Here’s a clip of World Health Organization director, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, condemning calls to bypass or lift social distancing restrictions.

WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus strongly warns against lifting social distancing measures too soon.

"The last thing any country needs is to open schools and businesses, only to be forced to close them again because of a resurgence." https://t.co/l7BtEcViAu pic.twitter.com/lsyAFYMbRV

The federal agency in charge of nursing homes nationwide confirmed that 140 have at least one confirmed coronavirus case. But the Washington Post reports the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) are refusing to say which ones.

From the Post:

Citing data from the Centers for Disease Control, the press release tucked the new figure in the seventh paragraph. The release said although “147 is a small fraction of the over 15,000 nursing homes across the country, given the disproportionate effect on our nation’s older population, this is a cause for concern.”

A CDC spokesman, Scott Pauley, told The Post he was “not sure [the list] will be released at this time.”

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Coronavirus US live: stimulus bill fails in Senate as experts urge Trump not to roll back social restrictions

  • What to know about the US bailout
  • Dr Anthony Fauci counters Trump’s claims
  • Trump signals change in strategy that could clash with health experts
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6.36pm GMT

The Washington Post reports on a growing rift in the Trump administration as the president weighs l...

Trump signs coronavirus bill ordering free testing and aid for workers

Measure introduced by Democrats will expand Medicaid and unemployment benefits and mandate paid sick leave for some

  • Coronavirus – latest updates
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Donald Trump has approved legislation that will expand Medicaid and unemployment benefits, mandate paid sick leave and childcare leave for certain employees, and order free coronavirus testing, in an effort to to limit the damage from the pandemic.

The bill, introduced by House ...

Top US health agency hit by cyber-attack amid coronavirus outbreak – live

  • US Health and Human Services Department hacked
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2.33pm GMT

The White House, exercising “an abundance of caution”, announced Monday it had cancelled its annual Easter E...

Trump administration reportedly won’t let states use Medicaid to respond to crisis – live

State and local officials have postponed the Boston Marathon until 14 September over fears of the coronavirus outbreak. The race was originally scheduled for 20 April.

States experiencing dramatic coronavirus outbreaks are unable to use Medicaid more freely to respond to the outbreak by expanding medical care, the Los Angeles Times is reporting.

The White House has tools it can use to assist states looking to bolster their healthcare efforts, but so far, the Trump administration has not made any moves to ease the burden on states.

Months into the current global disease outbreak, the White House and senior federal health officials haven’t taken the necessary steps to give states simple pathways to fully leverage the mammoth safety net program to prevent a wider epidemic.

That’s making it harder for states to quickly sign up poor patients for coverage so they can get necessary testing or treatment if they are exposed to coronavirus.

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‘We need the Wall!’: Trump uses coronavirus to push his own agenda

President uses public health concerns to fuel his argument for travel bans and cuts to interest rates, Medicare and social security

As the threat of the coronavirus in the US grew and markets reeled amid growing uncertainty, Donald Trump on Tuesday promoted one of his signature policy proposals. “We need the Wall more than ever!” he tweeted.

Trump has sought to downplay the severity of the public health crisis. And he has capitalized on the panic and disruption in some American communities to push for many of his longstanding campaign promises, including stricter border security, travel bans, tax cuts and lower interest rates.

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Biden and Sanders cancel rallies over coronavirus concerns – live

  • Sanders and Biden call off Ohio events to heed public warnings
  • Joe Biden aims to cement lead in crucial Democratic primaries
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10.28pm GMT

Asked whether Trump — a self-described germaphobe — would continue to shake hands with people amidst the spread of coronavirus, the vice president said he expects so.

“Well, ...

Super Tuesday: voting under way as Sanders bids to extend lead amid Biden surge – live

My colleague on the west coast, Maanvi Singh, will take on the blog now as Super Tuesday voting - and related drama - continues. Later, Joan Greve in Washington, DC, will helm the blog as the polls begin to close and the results trickle in tonight.

Here’s what’s happened so far today:

The Trump administration is considering using a national disaster program to pay hospitals and doctors for their care of uninsured people infected with the coronavirus.

As concerns rise over costs of treating some of the 27 million Americans without health coverage, the government is looking for news ways to step in, a person familiar with the conversations told the Wall Street Journal. This would certainly be unexpected.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has been in discussions about using that program to pay providers who treat uninsured patients with coronavirus, the person said.

Dr. Robert Kadlec, who is the assistant secretary for preparedness and response at the Department of Health and Human Services, also said Tuesday at a congressional hearing that discussions are being held about using the National Disaster Medical System reimbursement program.

Related: Coronavirus: health experts concerned US hospitals are not prepared

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Pete Buttigieg drops out as crucial Super Tuesday looms – live updates

The news of the Supreme Court taking up an Obamacare case is another reminder of how far apart the presidential candidates remain on the issue of healthcare.

Bernie Sanders has said he wants to create a government-run, single-payer healthcare system, which would eliminate the need for Obamacare.

The Supreme Court has announced it will hear a case on whether a part of Obamacare is unconstiutional.

The justices said they would take up the case in their next term, which begins in October, so a decision is not expected until after the 2020 election.

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