The US Senate agreed on a $2 trillion stimulus deal. If it passes a final vote in the House of Representatives on Friday, it would provide $350 billion for small-business loans, $250 billion for unemployment aid, and at least $100 billion for hospitals. Stocks rallied at the prospect. But is it going to be enough?

Not to be outdone, Canada passed a relief deal worth C$107 billion ($75 billion). The package will ensure C$2,000 a month for people who have lost their jobs, not been paid, or are quarantined/helping the sick.

One New York hospital saw 13 Covid-19 deaths in a single day. A doctor at Elmhurst, a public hospital in Queens, called the situation “apocalyptic.” Protective equipment for staff and beds for sick patients are in short supply across New York, the worst-hit area of the US so far.

The UN is asking for $2 billion to help conflict zones tackle the pandemic. During the past week, Syria, Libya, and Gaza all reported their first Covid-19 cases. The United Nations makes it clear that if the disease is not controlled in these places, it will affect all of us.

A missing FBI agent is now presumed dead. Robert Levinson disappeared in Iran 13 years ago while on an unauthorized CIA trip to gather intelligence on the nuclear program. On Wednesday, Levinson’s family said it had seen evidence from the US State Department suggesting he had died a while back.

Scientists are at work on an immunity test. Finding out who’s had the coronavirus and is no longer susceptible will help answer big public health questions, and information from the “serologic” tests could help with treatment and even a vaccine.

Global regulators are divided over at-home tests. Authorities in the US and the UK have suggested that at-home tests carry the risk of inaccurate results—and have offered shifting guidance on what level of autonomy in testing is appropriate.

And anyway, the US lacks supplies. Every stage of the testing process demands a new set of highly-specialized items—each of which adds a potential bottleneck incapacity.



This piece was written by Wayne Dupree on March 26, 2020. It originally appeared in and is used by permission.

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