Coronavirus live updates: US death toll tops 20,000, Governors call for $500 billion more in aid

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 All times below are in Eastern time. This blog will be updated throughout the day as the news breaks. 

  • Global cases: More than 1,760,000
  • Global deaths: At least 107,000
  • US cases: More than 519,400
  • US deaths: At least 20,000

The data above was compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

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7 pm: Check your balance: Coronavirus stimulus money starts to flow into bank accounts

Americans are starting to receive their cash payments via direct deposits, part of the $2 trillion bill passed by Congress to stimulate the economy after the decline caused by the pandemic.

″#IRS deposited the first Economic Impact Payments into taxpayers’ bank accounts today. We know many people are anxious to get their payments; we’ll continue issuing them as fast as we can,” the IRS tweeted on Saturday.

Numerous Twitter users also posted on Saturday that they had received a deposit. —NBC News

6:30 pm: JPMorgan Chase to raise mortgage borrowing standards as economic outlook darkens

JPMorgan Chase, the country’s largest lender by assets, is raising borrowing standards this week for most new home loans as the bank moves to mitigate lending risk stemming from the novel coronavirus disruption.

From Tuesday, customers applying for a new mortgage will need a credit score of at least 700, and will be required to make a down payment equal to 20% of the home’s value.

The change highlights how banks are quickly shifting gears to respond to the darkening U.S. economic outlook and stress in the housing market, after measures to contain the virus put 16 million people out of work and plunged the country into recession

6:15 pm: Macy’s taps Lazard to bolster finances as coronavirus saps sales, sources say

Macy’s has hired investment bank Lazard to explore options for bolstering its finances after the department store operator lost most of its revenue as it shut down all its stores as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, people familiar with the matter said.

The move by Macy’s, the largest U.S. department store operator by sales, is a sign of the severity of the crisis facing brick-and-mortar retailers, which were already struggling with the shift to online shopping. The pandemic has forced store closures and widespread furloughs of employees as state after state issued shelter-in-place orders in efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus, which causes the COVID-19 respiratory illness.

5:50 pm: WHO is investigating reports of recovered Covid-19 patients testing positive again

The World Health Organization (WHO) said it was looking into reports of some Covid-19 patients testing positive again after initially testing negative for the disease while being considered for discharge.

South Korean officials on Friday reported 91 patients thought cleared of the new coronavirus had tested positive again. Jeong Eun-kyeong, director of the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told a briefing that the virus may have been “reactivated” rather than the patients being re-infected.

The Geneva-based WHO, asked about the report from Seoul, told Reuters in a brief statement: “We are aware of these reports of individuals who have tested negative for COVID-19 using PCR (polymerase chain reaction) testing and then after some days testing positive again.

“We are closely liaising with our clinical experts and working hard to get more information on those individual cases. It is important to make sure that when samples are collected for testing on suspected patients, procedures are followed properly,” it said.

According to the WHO’s guidelines on clinical management, a patient can be discharged from hospital after two consecutive negative results in a clinically recovered patient at least 24 hours apart, it added

5:35 pm: Brazil deficit jumps to 7% of GDP as coronavirus deaths mount
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Brazil’s 2020 deficit is approaching 500 billion reais ($96 billion), or 7% of gross domestic product, even before a state aid proposal of up to 222 billion reais to tackle coronavirus is factored in, the economy ministry said on Saturday.

In 2019, the deficit was 61 billion reais, or 0.9% of GDP, the ministry said.

“It is important that any new fiscal impact be discussed carefully to avoid an excessive growth of the primary deficit and public debt of the public sector beyond what is strictly necessary to reduce the economic and social impacts of the coronavirus crisis,” the ministry said in a statement.

Brazil is the worst-hit country in Latin America by the coronavirus outbreak. On Saturday, Brazil’s health ministry said 1,124 people had died as a result of the outbreak, with 20,727 confirmed cases

5:20 pm: New Orleans archbishop takes to sky for coronavirus blessing
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The archbishop of New Orleans sprinkled holy water from a World War II-era biplane high above the city in an unusual Good Friday blessing for those affected by the coronavirus.

The open-air plane carried Archbishop Gregory Aymond, 70, from the Lakefront Airport to Kenner, to Gretna, to the French Quarter over 25 minutes, The Times-Picayune/New Orleans Advocate reported.

Aymond prayed for protection and healing and sprinkled holy water that came from the Jordan River, where Jesus was baptized.

Aymond recently recovered from the virus himself and said he asked God to offer grace in particular to health care workers, first responders and city leaders.

The archdiocese has canceled all Masses indefinitely due to social distancing requirements. Louisiana has seen encouraging signs this week in its fight against the virus outbreak. The rate of new hospitalizations has slowed, and the number of Covid-19 patients on ventilators has decreased.

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