The coronavirus pandemic is threatening the lives of millions of Americans, including two members of Congress, and it's wreaking havoc on the economy. The government is now taking massive action even as there's been a surprising twist for victims of the virus.
Capitol Hill is not immune to COVID-19. Out of the thousands of US patients with the virus, two are members of Congress. Florida Rep. Mario Diaz Balart, 58, and Utah Rep. Ben McAdams, 45, released statements Wednesday night saying they've tested positive.
And now there's a troubling report out from the Centers for Disease Control saying 38 percent of patients known to be hospitalized in the US are younger – between 20 and 54 years old. And 12 percent of intensive care patients are between 20 and 44.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institutes of Health's Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said, "We're asking the young people to help us with this mitigation strategy by staying out of the bars, staying out of the restaurants, really trying to distance yourself."
GET YOUR FREE FACTSHEET
Coronavirus: What You Need to Know
This comes as President Trump signed a coronavirus aid package Wednesday night, providing free testing and two-week paid sick leave for full-time workers who come down with the virus. "We are all in this together, and we will come through together. It's the invisible enemy," he said.
The next step in the president's economic plan is to put money straight into the hands of the American people. Trump is pushing Congress to approve a trillion-dollar-plus economic recovery package. It could include $500 billion in direct payments to Americans, $300 billion for small businesses, and $50 billion for the hard-hit airline industry.
But will it all be enough? Economist Stephen Moore tells CBN News the economy will recover. "We’ve lived through these crises before," Moore said, saying there could be a short recession but "then the economy will boom out."
Meanwhile, a federal government plan to combat COVID-19 warns of a worst-case scenario in which the pandemic could possibly "last 18 months or longer." It also predicts widespread shortages that would strain the nation's health care system.
Trump said America is at war with the disease, saying, "I view it as, in a sense, a wartime president."
The president has now invoked a wartime law, the Defense Production Act, allowing him to direct American industries to produce critically needed medical equipment and protective gear.
The shut-down has been taking a big toll on investors who fear a recession. Stocks tumbled again on Wednesday, and oil dropped below $21 per barrel for the first time since 2002. In the latest round of shutdowns: the largest owner of shopping malls in the nation, the Simon Property Group, is closing the doors of all its malls and retail properties. Ford, General Motors and Chrysler-Fiat are also closing all of their factories in the US, Canada, and Mexico, sending 150,000 workers home.
Christian leaders continue to issue calls to prayer. "These issues are bigger than we can handle ourselves, we need divine direction and divine intervention," said Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council.
Meanwhile, some hope and the good news are coming in from Wuhan, China, the initial epicenter of the virus. Chinese authorities, said Thursday, that the city and its surrounding provinces had no new cases to report for the first time in many weeks.
FOR CBN NEWS CONTINUING COVERAGE ON COVID-19, CLICK HERE.