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A Trump administration request for $250 billion in relief for small businesses stalled in the Senate.

A Trump administration request for quick approval of $250 billion to replenish a new loan program for distressed small businesses stalled in the Senate on Thursday after morning Republicans and Democrats clashed over what should be included.

With Congress in recess and lawmakers scattered around the country, Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, attempted to push through the small business loan funding during a procedural session, a maneuver that would have required all senators to agree.

“Treating this as a normal kind of partisan negotiation could literally cost Americans their jobs,” Mr. McConnell said. “Do not block emergency aid you do not even oppose just because you want something more,” he told Democrats.

But Democrats objected, proposing to double the size of the emergency relief bill by adding $100 billion for hospitals and $150 billion for state and local governments.

“Yes, we know we need more money for this program,” said Senator Chris Van Hollen, Democrat of Maryland. “But for goodness sake, let’s take the opportunity to make some bipartisan fixes to make this program work better.”

Republicans, in turn, blocked the Democrats’ proposal, arguing that the small business program has a more urgent need for funds, and that additional demands for aid could be addressed in future legislation.

“We need to stop turning every conversation into a conversation about everything,” Mr. McConnell said. “We need to patch holes when we see them.”

The dispute is a prelude to what is likely to be a far more complicated and consequential set of negotiations over another sweeping round of government aid that lawmakers expect to consider in the coming weeks. But the interim package appears to face problems of its own, even beyond the Senate.

Without the modifications Democrats are advocating, Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California warned on Wednesday that the administration’s $250 billion request would not pass the House. This latest round of negotiation comes on the heels of the $2 trillion stimulus law enacted late last month, which created the small business loan program. The program, which has been inundated with applications from desperate businesses, has been plagued with problems since its launch earlier this month.

Another 6.6 million people filed for unemployment benefits last week as the coronavirus outbreak continued its devastating march through American businesses and jobs, the Labor Department reported Thursday.

With astonishing swiftness, the pandemic has shut down both longstanding and new businesses, leaving veteran workers and recent hires in nearly every type of industry without a paycheck. In just three weeks, more than 16 million Americans have lost their jobs — more losses than the most recent recession produced over two years.

At the same time, the Federal Reserve on Thursday announced another round of emergency measures to help the economy. The central bank said it would use Treasury Department funds to buy municipal bonds and expand its purchases of corporate bonds. The efforts are aimed at shoring up companies as well as state and local governments whose budgets are straining under the cost of the pandemic.

Across the United States, more and more people cannot pay rent. Food banks are so crowded the National Guard has been called out to stuff boxes. Construction sites sit abandoned, shopping malls are ghost towns and roughly 80 percent of hotel rooms stand empty.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York said that hospitalizations and intubations in the state continued to fall, even as 799 more people died from the virus.

For the second consecutive day, the governor compared the toll of the virus to the attacks of Sept. 11, calling the virus a “silent explosion that ripples through society with the same randomness, the same evil that we saw on 9/11.”

Earlier on Thursday in New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio said that even as New Yorkers would likely remain under heavy restrictions through May, he and city officials have started to envision a return to some normalcy.

Mr. Cuomo said that the ability to rapidly test was necessary to restart the New York’s economy and said that the state and the federal government were working to reach that capacity.

With transmission still widespread, the mayor said he thought the city could as early as mid-May move to the next stage: one with low-level spread of the virus, in which cases could be more easily traced.

“We can say that it’s time to start planning for the next phase very overtly,” Mr. de Blasio said at a news conference.

But New York, the hub of the epidemic in the U.S., is still responding to the outbreak and assessing its spread.

In New York City, the virus is killing black and Lat
ino people at twice the rate that it is killing white people, according to statistics that the city government released this week. The disparity reflected longstanding and persistent economic inequalities and differences in access to health care, Mr. de Blasio said.

“When you’re talking about getting back to normal, we know now that we can get hit by a catastrophic outbreak like this,” Dr. Fauci said. “It can happen again, so we really need to be prepared to respond in a much more vigorous way.”

About 90 percent of hospitalized patients had at least one underlying condition, the C.D.C. finds.

On March 1, there were 88 confirmed cases of the virus in the United States. By month’s end, there were more than 170,000. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has compiled data on people who were hospitalized from the virus during that month to get a clearer demographic picture of infected patients who have required the most serious medical care.

Approximately 90 percent of the 1,482 hospitalized patients included in the study released Wednesday had one or more underlying medical conditions. Older people infected with the virus were more likely to be hospitalized; men were more likely to endure severe cases than women; and black people were hospitalized at a higher rate than whites. The study also found that hospitalization rates for the virus have been significantly higher than for recent outbreaks of influenza.

The numbers reflected trends that were reported from other countries at earlier stages of the outbreak. Of the hospitalized patients in the C.D.C. study, 89.3 percent had underlying medical conditions. The most common of those was hypertension, in 49.7 percent of patients, followed by obesity, chronic metabolic disease (like diabetes), chronic lung disease (like asthma) and cardiovascular disease.

The data, based on hospitalizations from March 1 to 30, was taken from a network of hospitals in parts of 14 states, including New York, Connecticut, California and Ohio. The area studied includes only about 10 percent of the overall population of the United States, but is seen as a representative snapshot of the virus’s spread and the demographic breakdown of patients.

The virus came to New York mainly from Europe, not from Asia, studies show.

California’s decision to ship hundreds of ventilators to other states this week has been met with alarm by some local officials, who expressed concern about a shortage.

Readying the supplies for heavily-hit states like New York and New Jersey, workers packed the equipment in cardboard boxes and wrote messages of support in black marker. “Prayers from the West Coast,” said one message.

“We couldn’t be more proud as a state to be sending those ventilators back east,” said Gov. Gavin Newsom, who said a total of 500 ventilators would be split among Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, New York, Nevada, New Jersey and Washington D.C. He described the shipments as a loan.

But in places like Riverside County, east of Los Angeles, officials expressed concern about a “fragile” supply chain and said hospitals were anxiously preparing for a shortage in ventilators.

The county has been among the hardest hit in the state, with more than 1,100 cases, at least 32 deaths and an outbreak at a nursing home that forced older patients to be evacuated this week, after a beleaguered and sickened staff failed to show up two days in a row.

Officials said this week that the state had denied its request for ventilators, and that a second one was pending.

“We were denied, yet some of the state ventilators went out of the state,” said Karen Spiegel, a member of the board of supervisors.

She said counties often fall last in a hierarchy that prioritizes federal and state governments. “We are the last one down,” she said, “yet we are the first ones working.”

In Santa Clara County, where the need for hospital beds is expected to grow, the health officer issued an order asking everyone in the county to disclose inventories of supplies, including ventilators.

Even as the state gave away some supplies, Mr. Newsom announced one of the highest death tolls in California since the crisis started: 68 people died over the past 24 hours, he said on Wednesday, bringing the state’s total to more than 500.

Officials cautioned that the number of cases had not yet peaked in California, the largest state in the nation, with 40 million residents.

California hospitals collectively have as many as 11,000 ventilators on hand, and the state had separately secured about 8,000 other ventilators, some of which were being refurbished, Mr. Newsom said. “We feel we are adequately resourced for the moment,” he said.

And Mr. Newsom described a broad effort to buy gowns, masks and other equipment. That included a deal to buy 200 million masks a month from factories in Asia, and a plan to spend $1.4 billion on personal protective gear for medical personnel, supermarket workers, employees of the state’s department of motor vehicles and any other “front-line employees walking the streets.”

The scale of the purchase was possible “only in California,” he said, “where our procurement capacity is quite literally second only to the United States itself.”

The virus has killed more people in the Navajo Nation than in the whole of New Mexico.

Attorney General William P. Barr said Wednesday night that the White House should soon reconsider its recommendations that Americans stay at home to combat the coronavirus.

“When this period of time, at the end of April, expires, I think we have to allow people to adapt more than we have, and not just tell people to go home and hide under their bed, but a
llow them to use other ways — social distancing and other means — to protect themselves,” Mr. Barr said in an interview with Fox News host Laura Ingraham.

The White House has asked that all people stay at home this month in order to slow the spread of the coronavirus, which has begun to overwhelm hospital systems and, by some estimates, could result in more than 100,000 deaths.

Mr. Barr called efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus “draconian,” and he echoed President Trump’s assessment that the “cure cannot be worse than the disease.”

Mr. Barr also raised the specter that the government could improperly impose emergency measures to strip citizens of their civil liberties. He said that he was worried that the government would begin to declare “everything an emergency” and then impose “these kinds of sweeping, extraordinary steps.”

The C.D.C. issues new back-to-work guidelines for essential workers.

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Reporting was contributed by Alan Blinder, Eileen Sullivan, Simon Romero, Peter Baker, Jim Rutenberg, David Waldstein, Emily Cochrane, Caitlin Dickerson, Maggie Haberman, Nick Corasaniti, Marc Santora, Brooks Barnes, Dan Barry, Conor Dougherty, Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs, Manny Fernandez, Sheri Fink, Michael Levenson and Carl Zimmer.

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