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Coronavirus update: U.S. death toll rises over 100

As consumers and businesses adapt, regulators are looking for ways to provide relief

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Coronavirus (COVID-19) tally as reported by Johns Hopkins University:

Total U.S. confirmed cases: 7324

Total U.S. deaths: 115

Total global cases: 207,615

Total global deaths: 8,249

Plan for government cash to households

NBC reports it has seen administration documents setting out how it plans to dispense emergency cash to Americans. If approved by Congress, the money would come in two payments, with the first going out April 6 and the second May 18. According to the report, payment amounts will be determined by family size and income. 

Taxpayers must file by April 15

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has clarified earlier statements about postponing federal income tax payments. If you owe money to the IRS, you’ll have an extra 90 days to pay it without interest or penalty.

But Mnuchin says you must file a tax return by the traditional April 15 deadline. As usual, taxpayers may file for a six-month extension to file a return but will have to pay any taxes owed by the regular deadline.

Medical supplies running short

Any surge in U.S. coronavirus cases has yet to arrive, but hospitals across the country are reportedly running out of masks, gowns, and other supplies that are staples of normally functioning health care institutions. 

The Wall Street Journal reports that hospital personnel in hard-hit Washington State are resorting to making their own face shields. An emergency room doctor in New York said he’s reusing his mask from the day before. “We really have no choice,” he told The Journal.

The Defense Department is stepping up its efforts to provide assistance to civilian health care providers. It has supplied as many as five million respirator masks and will deploy its hospital ships, if necessary, to expand treatment facilities.

Restaurants adapt

Some restaurants have been forced to close due to COVID-19. Others are operating at vastly reduced volume with minimal staff. Restaurant Dive reports that outlets that are still open have instituted new policies.

In addition to changes to employee benefits and operations, restaurants that have remained open have instituted social distancing policies and have adopted more aggressive cleaning policies. 

Chipotleannounced Wednesday that it is partnering with Uber Eats to deliver orders and will waive the delivery fee for orders over $10 through the end of March. Orders can be placed using the Uber Eats app and at ubereats.com.

Around the nation

  • New York: Governor Andrew Cuomo says he will not issue a “shelter-in-place” order for New York City, even though Mayor Bill de Blasio has suggested one is coming. But Cuomo said Wednesday that the state has to approve any such order.

  • Washington state: Officials report that the number of cases in the state has gone over 1,000 -- making it the nation’s hardest-hit state. Over half the cases have occurred in King County, in the Seattle area.

  • Kentucky: Even as many offices and shops have closed or scaled back operations, Kentucky’s largest employers have not. Toyota, which operates an assembly plant in Georgetown, is operating a full production line. The state has 25 confirmed cases.

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