Politics

Watch live: Coronavirus task force holds briefing as latest relief package passes House

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Members of the coronavirus task force are expected to hold a press briefing Thursday as additional economic relief legislation moves through the House.

The $484 billion package will replenish a small business aid program that ran dry, provide funding for hospitals and expand testing. President Donald Trump is expected to sign it into law.

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

Claims for unemployment benefits are surging, with Michigan, Pennsylvania and Georgia among the states with the most concentrated spikes in jobless claims since mid-March, when employers began mass layoffs.

Meanwhile, the coronavirus continues to spread in some of the hardest-hit states. An estimated 13.9% of the New Yorkers have likely had Covid-19, according to preliminary results of coronavirus antibody testing released by Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Thursday.

And despite efforts to curb the virus, the World Health Organization said the pandemic will be a long-term problem, 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 2.6 million confirmed cases worldwide and over 183,820 deaths so far, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. There are at least 842,600 cases in the United States and at least 46,785 deaths, according to the latest tallies.

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