Politics

Watch live: Coronavirus task force holds briefing as WHO officials warn world leaders of a long pandemic

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Members of the coronavirus task force are expected to hold a press briefing Wednesday as some states prepare to slowly reopen their economies.

Georgia is set to allow small businesses including gyms and hair salons to open Friday, despite health concerns.

The Senate on Tuesday struck a bipartisan deal to replenish a small business relief program that ran out of funds last week. The $484 billion package also includes money for hospitals and testing that Democrats demanded. The House is expected to vote on the bill Thursday.

But state and local governments reeling from lost tax revenues are warning of a wave of layoffs and pay cuts after getting left out of the package.

To provide some relief to New York, which has the most confirmed cases in the country, billionaire and former New York City mayor Mike Bloomberg, will help the state develop and implement an aggressive testing and tracing program aimed at containing the virus, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Wednesday.

Still, the World Health Organization said the pandemic will be a long-term problem for global leaders as cases level off or decline in some countries, peak in others and resurge in areas where it appeared to be under control.

"Make no mistake, we have a long way to go. This virus will be with us for a long time," WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.

Task force members include Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; Vice President Mike Pence; Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar; Dr. Deborah Birx, White House Coronavirus response coordinator; and Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, among others.

The outbreak has spread to dozens of countries globally, with more than 2.5 million confirmed cases worldwide and over 179,778 deaths so far, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. There are at least 825,300 cases in the United States and at least 45,075 deaths, according to the latest tallies.

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