Pres. Trump gives a COVID-19 update

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President Donald Trump speaks as Vice President Mike Pence, left, and FEMA Administrator Peter Gaynor look on, during a coronavirus task force briefing at the White House, Sunday, March 22, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

WASHINGTON (AP) – President Donald Trump is giving an update on the U.S. response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The press conference comes as Congressional and White House officials say they’re closing out final details of unprecedented legislation to rush sweeping aid to businesses and workers facing ruin from the coronavirus pandemic.

Negotiators appear almost done with a nearly $2 trillion deal after days of pressure, unusual partisanship in a crisis, and intense haggling over the fine print.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says the big steps are needed to deal with what he calls “the most serious threat to Americans’ health in over a century and quite likely the greatest risk to America’s jobs and prosperity” since the Great Depression.

President Donald Trump says he is hoping the United States will be reopened by Easter as he weighs how to relax nationwide social-distancing guidelines to put some workers back on the job during the coronavirus outbreak.

Trump’s comments contradict the warnings of public health officials on the direction of the crisis, with many calling for stricter – not looser – restrictions on public interactions.

Trump says he is already looking toward easing the advisories that have sidelined workers, shuttered schools and led to a widespread economic slowdown. 

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