Reuters US Domestic News Summary

Following is a summary of current US domestic news briefs.

U.S. officials talk down coronavirus market panic, tout economic strength

Senior officials in President Donald Trump's administration on Sunday tried to calm market panic that the coronavirus could cause a global recession, saying the U.S. public had over-reacted and that stocks would rebound due to the American economy's underlying strength. The S&P 500 index dropped 11.5% last week as the virus accelerated beyond China's borders, the worst weekly drop since the 2008 global financial crisis. Roughly $4 trillion has been wiped off the value of U.S. stocks.

U.S. investigating whistleblower allegations; vows to keep federal workers safe

The U.S. government on Sunday said it was investigating complaints that federal workers were not given proper protective gear and training before greeting U.S. citizens evacuated from a cruise ship that had 691 people infected with the new coronavirus. U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar told CBS's "Face the Nation" he was personally involved in the probe, and the government was determined to make sure its workers were kept safe.

Joe Biden got his South Carolina comeback. Will it be enough?

Joe Biden got the win in South Carolina he desperately needed. The former vice president's decisive victory on Saturday, his first in the Democratic nominating contests for the Nov. 3 election, allows him to more credibly claim that he is the leading alternative to front-runner Bernie Sanders.

Washington state nursing home on lockdown after two cases of coronavirus found; two other cases confirmed

A nursing home near Seattle is locked down after a resident and a worker were found to have the coronavirus, officials at the home said, and two other cases in the area were confirmed on Sunday. Officials with King County Public Health said the two latest cases involved men in their 60s with underlying medical issues. Both were listed in critical condition, one at Valley Medical Center, and the other at Virginia Mason Medical Center.

Sanders raised $46.5 million in February, Warren $29 million, Biden $18 million

Democratic U.S. presidential front-runner Bernie Sanders raised $46.5 million in February, his campaign said on Sunday, and will launch new television ad buys in nine states with primaries later this month after this week's Super Tuesday contests. The announcement came the day after former Vice President Joe Biden scored a decisive victory over Sanders in South Carolina. That was the fourth nominating contest in the state-by-state Democratic race to pick a challenger to Republican President Donald Trump in the Nov. 3 election.

Buttigieg to drop out of Democratic nomination race day after big Biden win

Former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg was preparing to drop out of the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, an aide said on Sunday, the day after fellow moderate Joe Biden won a big victory in South Carolina. The move shook up the Democratic contest to pick a candidate to take on Republican President Donald Trump in November's election and came two days before the 14-state Super Tuesday nominating contests that will offer the biggest electoral prize so far.

Abortion rights face stern new test at conservative U.S. Supreme Court

The U.S. Supreme Court this week gets its first chance to consider new curbs on abortion rights with President Donald Trump's two conservative appointees on the bench as it examines the legality of a Louisiana law that could force two of the state's three clinics that perform the procedure to shut down. The court, with a 5-4 conservative majority, is scheduled on Wednesday to hear arguments in an appeal by Shreveport-based abortion provider Hope Medical Group for Women seeking to invalidate the law. Chief Justice John Roberts may be pivotal in deciding the outcome, with Trump's appointees Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch also in the spotlight.

U.S. judge rules naming official to temporarily head immigration agency unlawful

A U.S. judge on Sunday ruled the Trump administration did not act lawfully when it named a former Virginia attorney general as the acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and invalidated some new asylum directives. U.S. District Judge Randolph Moss in Washington ruled Ken Cuccinelli's appointment violated a 1998 law governing how vacancies in senior government positions may be filled until the U.S. Senate confirms a new permanent choice.

Environmentalist Tom Steyer ends 2020 Democratic presidential bid

Billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer, a fierce critic of President Donald Trump who had pushed early for his impeachment, abandoned his bid for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination on Saturday after trailing in third place in the South Carolina primary, a campaign source told Reuters. Steyer, who poured hundreds of millions of dollars of his own money into his quest, dropped out of the race on the day of his strongest showing yet in a 2020 Democratic nominating contest. Even so, he finished far behind winner Joe Biden and second-place finisher Bernie Sanders.

U.S. ramps up preparations for coronavirus as conferences, flights canceled

The United States will start screening travelers for coronavirus and ramp up production of masks and test kits as the government scrambles to reassure Americans while the disease spreads and businesses cancel conferences and flights. Trump administration officials on Sunday tried to calm market panic that the coronavirus could cause a global recession, saying the public had over-reacted and that stocks would bounce back due to the underlying strength of the U.S. economy.