The White House and Senate leaders of both parties announced an agreement early Wednesday on unprecedented emergency legislation to rush sweeping aid to businesses, workers and a health care system slammed by the coronavirus pandemic.
The urgently needed pandemic response measure is the largest economic rescue measure in history and is intended as a weeks- or months-long patch for an economy spiraling into recession and a nation facing a potentially ghastly toll.
The unprecedented economic rescue package would give direct payments to most Americans, expand unemployment benefits and provide a $367 billion program for small businesses to keep making payroll while workers are forced to stay home.
One of the last issues to close concerned $500 billion for guaranteed, subsidized loans to larger industries, including a fight over how generous to be with the airlines. Hospitals would get significant help as well.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough.
But the virus is highly contagious and can be spread by those with no visible symptoms.
For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness including pneumonia.
The coronavirus pandemic has infected more than 428,000 people and killed over 19,000.
More than 109,000 people have recovered so far, mostly in China.
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