Watch Friday’s daily briefing from President Trump

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Stocks drop as coronavirus crunches the job market, economy

NEW YORK (AP) – Stocks fell Friday following the latest grim reading of the coronavirus outbreak’s economic toll. The government reported that more than 700,000 jobs were lost last month, as businesses across the country shut down. Economists expect that far worse data is on the way. Some investors sold to get out of stocks ahead of the weekend, when even more bad news could arrive on the outbreak, as has become the routine in recent Fridays. The market’s losses accelerated after New York announced its biggest daily jump yet in deaths. The S&P 500 fell 1.5% to cap its third down week in the last four.

AP-US-VIRUS-OUTBREAK-SUPREME-COURT

High court postpones April arguments because of coronavirus

The Supreme Court says it will postpone arguments scheduled for April because of the coronavirus pandemic, but isn’t ruling out hearing some arguments within months. Friday’s announcement means a total of 20 arguments scheduled for March and April have now been postponed. That includes fights over subpoenas for President Donald Trump’s financial records. The court says it will consider rescheduling some cases before the end of the term “if circumstances permit in light of public health and safety guidance at the time.”

VIRUS OUTBREAK-CONGRESS

McConnell: Health care tops list for next virus aid bill

WASHINGTON (AP) – Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says health care must be at the “top of the list” in the next coronavirus rescue package. In an interview Friday with The Associated Press, the Republican leader said he wants Congress to focus on correcting any shortcomings in the just-passed $2.2 trillion aid bill and rely on health care experts for solutions to “wipe out” the virus. The GOP leader’s remarks, alongside comments from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, signal a potential new opening for Congress to work together to fight the pandemic. Pelosi said Friday the next coronavirus aid bill should build on the bipartisan relief bills that Congress has passed so far, rather than broader Democratic agenda items.

AP-US-MED-VIRUS-OUTBREAK-KEEPING-COVERAGE

Insurance marketplaces offer help with coronavirus job cuts

More than a million people could swamp the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance marketplaces in the coming months as employers lay off staff during the coronavirus pandemic. The insurance markets are a backbone of the Obama-era law President Donald Trump tried to demolish after entering office. But they are now seen as a key option to help protect people from devastating medical bills while they search for another job and new coverage. Nearly 10 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits in the final two weeks of March, far exceeding the figure for any corresponding period on record.

AP-US-KENNEDY-TOWNSEND-MISSING-RELATIVES

Search underway for Kennedy Townsend’s daughter, grandson

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) – Authorities are searching for the daughter and a grandson of former Maryland Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend after a canoe they were paddling in the Chesapeake Bay didn’t return to shore. Gov. Larry Hogan on Friday identified the missing relatives as Maeve Kennedy Townsend McKean and McKean’s 8-year-old son, Gideon Joseph Kennedy McKean. Hogan said at a news conference that he spoke with Kathleen Kennedy-Townsend about her missing relatives. Kennedy Townsend served two terms as Maryland’s lieutenant governor. She is the eldest daughter of the late U.S. Attorney General and U.S. Sen. Robert F. Kennedy.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-NEW YORK

Cuomo orders shift in ventilators to overwhelmed hospitals

NEW YORK (AP) – New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he will issue and order for ventilators be redeployed to overwhelmed hospitals from other places amid an alarming increase in COVID-19-related deaths. New York state tallied its biggest daily jump yet in deaths_ up 562 to 2,935. Almost 15,000 people were hospitalized. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is calling for a national enlistment program for doctors and nurses to handle an expected surge in coronavirus cases in New York and other places around the country.

AP-US-VIRUS-OUTBREAK-WISCONSIN-ELECTION

Wisconsin GOP says election should go on as scheduled

MADISON, Wis. (AP) – Wisconsin Republicans are brushing off Democratic Gov. Tony Evers’ call for a special session to push back Tuesday’s election and shift to mail-only. Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald say the election should continue as scheduled. A number of other states have delayed their spring elections to protect voters and poll workers from the coronavirus, but Evers and Republicans haven’t been able to reach a consensus on any changes to Tuesday’s election in Wisconsin. Criticism has been mounting for them to postpone the contest. Evers on Friday called a special legislative session on Saturday for changes that would allow the election to be done exclusively by absentee ballot.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-CRUISE SHIPS

Florida finally takes cruise passengers, some on stretchers

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) – Passengers from an ill-fated cruise are finally touching dry land for the first time in weeks. They are disembarking in Fort Lauderdale Friday following the removal of 14 critically ill people, who were wheeled off to Florida hospitals bracing for an onslaught of coronavirus patients. The exodus from the Zaandaam and Rotterdam will be followed by the Coral Princess, which arrives Saturday. Buses began taking passengers to the airport where they boarded chartered flights home without going through the terminal. Hundreds of crew members will remain on dozens of cruise ships docked or waiting around Florida.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-BLOOD FROM THE RECOVERED

Coronavirus survivor: ‘In my blood, there may be answers’

NEW YORK (AP) – Hospitals are starting to line up survivors of the new coronavirus to donate some blood, so doctors can use it to treat the sick. Blood plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients carries immune system antibodies that fight the virus, and early donors are happy to try to help. It’s experimental, but the century-old treatment has helped fight other diseases in the past including the 1918 flu pandemic. The Food and Drug Administration Friday announced a national study to help more hospitals try the approach and sign up more people. Researchers will track whether the experimental therapy really works.

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