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US Coronavirus State Of Emergency: Everything You Need To Know

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Mary Margaret Olohan on March 13, 2020

Americans braced for the coronavirus pandemic Friday as President Donald Trump declared a State of Emergency, governors shut down schools and major events, and officials delayed upcoming elections.

Trump declared a national emergency during a Friday press conference in the White House Rose Garden, where he instituted the Stafford Act. His declaration will allow the federal government to aid state and local governments in fighting the coronavirus through up to $50 billion in additional aid, and came only a day after he declared a near total travel ban from Europe to the United States.

The president also said he will “most likely” be tested for the virus following news that Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro is under “medical examination” and has been twice tested for coronavirus. One of Bolsonaro’s tests reportedly came back positive, but the other came back negative.

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham noted Thursday that Trump had not been tested and that he has not exhibited any coronavirus symptoms.

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As of Friday evening, at least nine states ordered all public schools to be closed. Officials in Louisiana, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Ohio, Michigan, Maryland, Kentucky and New Mexico declared over the week that schools in their states will be closed, while some public schools in Washington state, California and Connecticut also temporarily closed down.

Governors announced various declarations to cope with the pandemic. Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott declared a “State of Disaster” Friday, the same day Republican Missouri Gov. Mike Parson declared a “State of Emergency.” South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster is expected to declare a “State of Emergency” at a Friday evening press conference.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer dodged a question Friday morning on whether she would rule out martial law as a response to the coronavirus pandemic Friday after she ordered all schools within the state to shut down.

Louisiana Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin announced Friday that the state will postpone its presidential primary election. Louisiana will push back its election from April 4 to June 20 and delay the municipal election to July 25. It remains unclear whether the other states voting in April, New York, Pennsylvania and Maryland will follow Louisiana’s lead, and Arizona, Florida, Illinois and Ohio plan to move forward with their Tuesday primaries as planned.

National attractions and events continued to shut down throughout Friday. Disney announced that Disney World Florida would shut down Sunday due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Disneyland Paris will also shut down, the Disney Cruise Line will not make any new departures, and Disney announced the suspension of all live-action production projects.

Friday coronavirus-related events came after escalating closures and cancellations across the United States. The NBA, NHL, MLB, and MLS all put games on hold; the popular music festivals, Coachella and Stagecoach, have been postponed for six months; the White House, Congress and the Supreme Court buildings have been closed off to the public; and the Boston Marathon has been postponed.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi promised that the House of Representatives will pass a massive relief package to aid the United States in fighting the pandemic.

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