AP PA Headlines 3/19/20
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania has reported its first death from the new coronavirus. The state Department of Health identified the victim as an adult from Northampton County and said the person was treated at a hospital. No other details were released Wednesday. State officials announced a nearly 40% jump in the number of confirmed cases. Gov. Tom Wolf is imploring Pennsylvania residents to stay home, calling it a matter of life or death. His administration, meanwhile, promised a crackdown on bars and restaurants that fail to adhere to Wolf’s order to stop serving food and drink on-site.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Applications for jobless benefits are surging in some states as coronavirus concerns shake the U.S. economy. The sharp increase comes as governments have ordered millions of workers, students and shoppers to stay home as a precaution against spreading the virus that causes the COVID-19 disease. In some states, the demand for help may outstrip the ability to pay claims. The U.S. Labor Department says 21 states began the year with unemployment insurance fund balances below the levels recommended to stay solvent in a recession. States are expected to get some help from the federal government.
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Penn State University is canceling in-person classes for the rest of the spring semester, citing the coronavirus pandemic. Penn State enrolls about 100,000 students at some 20 campuses throughout the state. It previously planned to resume live classroom instruction on April 6 but said it needed to take more dramatic action “based on on evolving federal guidance and statewide mitigation plans” around the coronavirus pandemic. State officials announced a 40% jump in the number of confirmed cases Wednesday, along with surging gun sales and unemployment claims. The state Department of Labor and Industry said unemployment compensation claims exceeded 70,000 on Tuesday alone after hitting 50,000 on Monday.
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NEW YORK (AP) — Faced with a lengthy shutdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, movie theaters are requesting relief from the U.S. government. The National Association of Theater Owners, the trade group that represents most of the industry’s cinemas, said Wednesday that it’s asking for immediate relief measures for its chains and its 150,000 employees. The theaters are requesting loan guarantees for exhibitors, tax benefits for employees and funds to compensate for lost ticket sales and concessions. NATO said the movie theater industry is “uniquely vulnerable” to the crisis.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — First lady Melania Trump and top infectious disease specialist Anthony Fauci will take part in public service messages aimed at informing Americans about the coronavirus. The White House says Wednesday it’s joining with major media companies, digital platforms and the Ad Council to share “accurate and timely information directly to the American people.” The public service campaign will direct people to coronavirus.gov, which includes centralized, updated information on the crisis. NBCUniversal, ViacomCBS and Walt Disney Television are among the companies that are taking part in the effort to inform Americans about how to protect themselves and others from the coronavirus.
NEW YORK (AP) — Fox News Channel’s Tucker Carlson says he felt a moral obligation to meet with President Donald Trump to warn him about the seriousness of coronavirus. He told Vanity Fair that while he didn’t feel it was his role, his wife convinced him to request the meeting, which took place March 7. Two nights later, Carlson issued a blunt warning on Fox about the coming pandemic. It speaks to both Fox News’ influence with the president and his supporters that a cable news host was able to request and receive a meeting with him.
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump has invoked rarely used emergency powers to marshal critical medical supplies against the coronavirus pandemic. Trump has also signed an aid package, approved earlier Wednesday by the Senate, that will guarantee sick leave to workers who fall ill.
Trump’s authority under the 70-year-old Defense Production Act gives the government more power to steer production by private companies and try to overcome shortages in masks, ventilators and other supplies. The Canada-U.S. border, the world’s longest, was effectively closed, save for commerce and essential travel. Meanwhile, the administration is pushing its plan to send relief checks to millions of Americans.
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — President Donald Trump on Wednesday moved to invoke a federal law that allows the government to marshal the private sector to deal with the coronavirus epidemic, as the economic damage mounted with word that Detroit’s Big Three automakers agreed to shut down all their factories to protect workers.
On a day of head-spinning developments, stocks tumbled again on Wall Street. More borders slammed shut across Europe and North America, with the U.S. and Canada agreeing to close their shared boundary to all but essential travel. And the Trump administration pressed Congress to swiftly pass a potentially $1 trillion rescue package to prop up the economy and speed relief checks to Americans in a matter of weeks.
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Conservative Republican legislators in Kansas are moving to limit Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly’s power to address the coronavirus pandemic. Their move Wednesday was a response to an order from her closing the state’s K-12 schools for the rest of the spring semester. They included language from GOP conservatives in a resolution that would extend a state of emergency declared by Kelly last week to prevent her from invoking a state law giving the governor broad powers to act to protect the state’s population. Conservatives said Kelly’s order to close schools was an overreaction. The measure also would prohibit her from confiscating guns. Kelly hasn’t suggested taking such action.
NEW YORK (AP) – Two 20-something New Yorkers have amassed an army of volunteers to deliver food and medicine to the most vulnerable in the coronavirus outbreak. In 72 hours, Liam Elkind and Simone Policano went from a casual Facebook plea for volunteers to 1,300 shoppers of all ages. Elkind, a 20-year-old junior at Yale, says the project called Invisible Hands may soon be extended to London and cities around the U.S. The idea isn’t just shopping and delivering. They deliver and pause in safe spaces, such as apartment building hallways, to offer comfort and much-needed human interaction…
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