Reuters US Domestic News Summary

Following is a summary of current US domestic news briefs.

U.S. could announce southern border restrictions to curb coronavirus: sources

The United States could announce restrictions on travel across the U.S.-Mexico border as soon as Friday to slow the spread of coronavirus, limiting crossings to essential travel, two officials briefed on the matter said. The sources said the restrictions would be similar to those the United States and Canada have agreed to adopt on the northern U.S. border.

Don't travel abroad, U.S. urges Americans amid coronavirus pandemic

The United States warned Americans not to travel abroad because of the coronavirus pandemic and recommended that citizens outside the country come home immediately, as health authorities on Thursday scrambled to step up testing for the disease. The fast-spreading respiratory illness has shattered most patterns of American life: shuttering schools and businesses, prompting millions to work from home, forcing many out of jobs and severely curtailing travel.

U.S. Senate leader introduces emergency coronavirus bill, sets bipartisan talks

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell introduced emergency legislation to stem the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic on Thursday, and Republicans and Democrats agreed to meet Friday to seek an agreement. The $1 trillion-plus package will include direct financial help for Americans, relief for small businesses and their employees, steps to stabilize the economy, and new support for healthcare professionals and coronavirus patients, McConnell said.

Washington state reports eight new coronavirus deaths

Washington state on Thursday reported eight more deaths from the coronavirus pandemic, bringing the death toll there to 74, the most of any U.S. state. The majority of those deaths have come in the Seattle area, clustered around a long-term nursing care facility in the suburb of Kirkland where the respiratory illness first surfaced in the United States.

Trump presses FDA to fast-track potential coronavirus drugs

U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday called on U.S. health regulators to expedite potential therapies aimed at treating COVID-19 amid the fast-spreading coronavirus outbreak, saying it could lead to a breakthrough while a vaccine is still under development. Trump, speaking at a news conference, pointed to efforts on Gilead Sciences Inc's experimental antiviral drug Remdesivir and the generic antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine, saying he had called on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to streamline its regulatory approval process.

'Tens of thousands' of National Guard troops could be used to assist with coronavirus

Tens of thousands of U.S. National Guard troops could be activated to help U.S. states deal with the fast-spreading coronavirus outbreak, the head of the U.S. National Guard said on Thursday. The National Guard, part of the reserve component of the U.S. Armed Forces, has already been called up in 27 states, including New York, to assist with cleaning public spaces and to deliver food to homes.

Skateboarders roam, restaurateurs fret as coronavirus fears clear New York after dark

It still looked like New York City, but wasn't quite. It was not odd to see teenaged boys in hoodies burring their skateboards in Brooklyn's Fort Greene Park, while joggers and dog-walkers milled about as the sun set on a mild March evening. But it was jarring to notice many of them sporting blue surgical masks, some finishing the look with latex gloves, as if they had come straight from the operating theater.

U.S. jobless claims could top record 1.5 million next week: economists

A wave of layoffs at restaurants, bars and hotels, as efforts to contain the coronavirus pandemic bring much of everyday American life to a halt, could drive new applications for U.S. unemployment benefits to a record 1.5 million or more next week, economists warned on Thursday. New jobless claims already hit a two-and-a-half year high of 281,000 last week, jumping by 70,000 from the week before, the Labor Department said on Thursday. It was the biggest weekly increase since 2012 and officials laid the blame on the coronavirus, which a Reuters tally shows has infected nearly 9,500 across the country, killing at least 115.

America's cleaners: fighting on the coronavirus front line

It's been roughly two weeks since Amazon encouraged most employees at its Seattle headquarters to work remotely after one tested positive for coronavirus. Since then, Ismahan Ali and other janitors who clean the tech giant's offices say they have been getting paid to work overtime to wipe down stairwells, conference rooms and other high-traffic areas.

California asks Trump to deploy U.S. Navy hospital ship 'immediately'

California's governor on Thursday asked President Donald Trump to send a U.S. Navy hospital ship to the port of Los Angeles "immediately" as the state braces for an expected surge in the number of coronavirus cases over the next eight weeks. Trump said earlier this week the Navy hospital ships Mercy and Comfort would be pressed into service, one on each coast, as healthcare systems become badly strained during the pandemic.