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.”

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Australian government to pump $1bn into health and family violence services as coronavirus spreads

Telehealth, mental health and national domestic violence initiative to receive major boosts as economic effects of Covid-19 intensify

The Morrison government will expand funding for telehealth, domestic violence support and mental health services, as well as boosting the emergency relief delivered through charities and community organisations, as the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Australia passes 3,600 and the national death toll stands at 14.

The government will announce on Sunday morning that it is allocating more than $1bn to a range of support services, including $669m to expand Medicare-subsidised telehealth services and $150m under the national domestic violence initiative. The government says there has been a surge in the number of Google searches looking for support services for domestic violence during the pandemic.

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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."

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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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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Joe Biden takes big step towards Democratic nomination with crucial primary wins – live

Voters go to the polls in Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Michigan, Idaho and Washington state with the Vermont senator needing a boost

The Guardian’s Tom Perkins reports from a Sanders watch party in Michigan:

As results came in and showed Joe Biden’s lead widening beyond reach, Bernie Sanders’ Michigan campaign coordinator, Michael Fasullo, addressed supporters and volunteers, characterizing the night as “difficult” and “frustrating,” while underscoring what the progressive cause is up against.

“This work is not easy. If it was something that’s in the bag, then we would’ve had Medicare For All and a Green New Deal a long time ago,” Fasullo said.

Former presidential candidate Andrew Yang just endorsed Joe Biden while speaking live on CNN.

“The math says Joe is our prohibitive nominee,” said Yang, who joined CNN as a commentator after dropping out of the race last month.

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Melbourne professor quits after health department pressures her over data breach

Vanessa Teague reported on a dataset of Medicare and PBS payments that was supposed to be anonymous but wasn’t

A prominent university professor has quit after the health department pressured her university to stop her speaking out about the Medicare and PBS history of over 2.5 million Australians being re-identifiable online due to a government bungle.

In 2016, Vanessa Teague, a cryptographer from the University of Melbourne, and two of her colleagues reported on a dataset, published on an open government data website by the federal government, of 2.5m Australians’ Medicare and PBS payment history dating back to 1984 that had supposedly been de-identified so people were anonymous.

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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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US supreme court to hear Affordable Care Act appeal that could cast doubt on law

Lower court’s ruling that individual mandate was unconstitutional to be reviewed after 19 Democratic states appealed the decision

US supreme court to hear third Affordable Care Act challenge

The US supreme court has announced it will hear a case on whether a part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is unconstitutional. A decision is not expected until after the 2020 election.

In December, a federal appeals court ruled that the ACA’s individual mandate, which requires every American to have health insurance, was unconstitutional. The ruling cast doubt upon the rest of the law, which is known colloquially as Obamacare.

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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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