Reuters US Domestic News Summary

Following is a summary of current US domestic news briefs.

Georgia delays presidential nominating election due to coronavirus

Georgia elections officials have delayed the state's presidential primary set for March 24 until May 19 because of the coronavirus, the state's top election official said Saturday. Georgia is the second state to delay its election as public gatherings shut down across the United States in an effort to slow the pandemic's march.

U.S. hospitals say coronavirus school closures add to staffing pressure

U.S. hospitals, gearing up for a large surge in patients as the new coronavirus spreads throughout the country, are reaching out to temporary staff agencies and exploring other ways to maintain workforce levels as school closures add to pressure on doctors and nurses. "The biggest issue right now is we need to plan for a logarithmic increase in patient numbers," Dr. Jason Persoff, assistant director of emergency preparedness at UCHealth, Colorado's largest health system. "We are learning a lot from what happened in Washington state and in Italy ... there are a lot of issues with childcare."

U.S. airlines prepare new flight cuts after new UK, Ireland restrictions

Delta Air Lines plans to scale back more flights after the United States expanded travel restrictions to Britain and Ireland, it said, and Southwest Airlines was moving toward its first flight cuts as the spreading coronavirus saps demand. Southwest, one of the few U.S. airlines still flying a full schedule, said on Saturday it was "seriously considering" cutting flights in the short term.

White House checks temperatures of journalists ahead of Pence briefing

Signaling a new stage in prevention measures to protect U.S. leaders from the coronavirus, the White House on Saturday instituted a new policy of checking the temperatures of journalists in the White House briefing room. The checks, conducted by a member of the White House physician's office with a thermometer on journalists' foreheads, took place ahead of a briefing expected by Vice President Mike Pence to reporters.

Trump takes coronavirus test, extends travel ban to Britain, Ireland

President Donald Trump said on Saturday he had taken a coronavirus test but that his temperature was "totally normal," as he extended a travel ban to Britain and Ireland to try to slow the spread of a pandemic that has shut down much of the daily routine of American life. After White House officials took the unprecedented step of checking the temperatures of journalists entering the briefing room, Trump told reporters he took a test for the virus on Friday night and that he expects the results in "a day or two days." He met with a Brazilian delegation last week, at least one member of which has since tested positive.

Like the flu? Trump's coronavirus messaging confuses public, pandemic researchers say

The coronavirus is not as bad as the seasonal flu. President Donald Trump is not worried about having had direct exposure to the virus. The United States is in far better shape than other countries. Those are some of the messages from Trump to the American public in recent days

Pelosi and Mnuchin continue talks on economic aid to offset coronavirus hit

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin spoke on Friday morning, Pelosi's spokesman said, as negotiations continued over an economic relief package to help offset economic shocks from the coronavirus. Pelosi and Mnuchin, who is handling negotiations for President Donald Trump's Republican administration, are seeking to come to an agreement on an aid package as the outbreak continues to grow in the United States.

Quarantined cruise ship passengers: 'We're being told next to nothing'

Laura and Don Davis, two former passengers of a coronavirus-stricken ocean liner now quarantined on a California military base, have little to do to pass the time but watch TV, play cards and - they add half-jokingly - avoid arguments. But more frustrating to the Modesto, California-based couple than the boredom, the stagnant indoor air, the lack of clean towels or their missing luggage has been what they describe as an almost complete lack of communication from their caretakers.

No milk, no bleach: Americans awake to coronavirus panic buying

In Union, New Jersey, a Target opened at 8 a.m. and had sold out of its full stock of milk and bottled water five minutes later. In Austin, Texas, some gas station pumps ran dry. Not a bottle of bleach could be found at a Home Depot in Fairfax, Virginia. As dawn broke across the United States on Saturday, thousands of shoppers lined up outside supermarkets and grocery stores before they opened, eager for a chance to buy essentials that have flown off shelves as the country hunkers down to slow the spread of coronavirus.

Democrat Biden tacks left, backs Warren bankruptcy plan with student loan relief

Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden has endorsed former rival Elizabeth Warren's plan to reform consumer bankruptcy laws including allowing relief of student loan debt, incorporating proposals by the party's progressive wing into the moderate frontrunner's campaign. "I've endorsed Elizabeth Warren's bankruptcy proposal, which ... allows for student debt to be relieved in bankruptcy and provides for a whole range of other issues," Biden said in a digital town hall in Illinois on Friday.