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Trump signs $8.3 billion emergency coronavirus funding bill

President Donald J. Trump tours the viral pathogenesis laboratory Tuesday, March 3, 2020, at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)
March 06, 2020

President Donald Trump signed an $8.3 billion coronavirus aid package on Friday.

The Senate had passed the measure in a 96-1 vote on Thursday, and the House passed it in a 415-2 vote on Wednesday.

Trump was planning on signing the bill while visiting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Ga., but the White House revealed Friday that his trip was cancelled because he “does not want to interfere with the CDC’s mission to protect the health and welfare of their people and the agency,” the Associated Press reported.

The bill is more than three times the amount of funding requested by Trump last week. Lawmakers from both parties immediately insisted more funding was necessary.

“I asked for two-and-a-half, and I got 8.3,” Trump said during the signing on Friday. “I’ll take it.”

“It’s an unforeseen problem that came out of nowhere, and we’re taking care of it,” he added.

The signing took place at the White House shortly before Trump departed for Nashville, Tenn. to visit the aftermath of deadly tornadoes that killed two dozen people earlier this week.

The funding will be used for escalating vaccine development and providing resources to hospitals

As of Friday morning, 14 deaths from coronavirus have occurred in the U.S. Of the 14, 11 were elderly residents of the Life Care long term care facility in King County, Wash., where dozens more staff and residents have been showing symptoms.

A man in his 50s unrelated to the nursing home also died in King County. A 71-year-old man in California with underlying health issues was reported dead on Thursday.

The virus has sparked panic among Americans, who are emptying retailers’ shelves of hand sanitizer and alcohol, and other items like water and toilet paper.

According to John Hopkins’ latest tracking data on Friday morning, 100,347 coronavirus cases have been confirmed worldwide, of which 80,573 are in mainland China. In the U.S., 233 coronavirus cases have been confirmed.

Comparatively, the CDC estimates that flu in the U.S. causes “between 9 million – 45 million illnesses, between 140,000 – 810,000 hospitalizations and between 12,000 – 61,000 deaths annually since 2010.”