Reuters US Domestic News Summary

Following is a summary of current US domestic news briefs.

U.S. hospitals, patients cancel elective surgery as coronavirus spreads

U.S. hospitals, anticipating a need for beds as more people are diagnosed with coronavirus, are postponing elective surgeries, while some patients, leery of going to a hospital, are canceling appointments themselves. Several hospitals in the hard-hit Seattle area, including EvergreenHealth, have suspended elective procedures like knee replacements for the next 30 days. Emergency surgeries like appendectomies or a broken wrist that needs surgery will continue. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio on Sunday said he would sign an executive order to postpone all elective surgeries at New York City hospitals so doctors and nurses can focus on treating patients infected with the virus.

Washington, D.C., mayor imposes coronavirus curbs on bars, restaurants

Washington, D.C.'s mayor on Monday announced new restrictions on businesses, including tough curbs on bars and restaurants, as part of the U.S. capital's response to the coronavirus outbreak. Mayor Muriel Bowser's order prohibits table seating at bars and restaurants, but allows them sell orders for delivery or pickup. She has also ordered nightclubs, theaters and health clubs to close for at least two weeks starting on Tuesday.

Fear and loathing bloom as American tempers fray in coronavirus crisis

From sidewalk shouting matches to politically fueled online sniping, tempers showed signs of fraying in some U.S. cities as the nation stepped up its response to the coronavirus pandemic. A new fault line appeared in the already-polarized country - between those committed to complying with public health officials urging people to stay home to prevent the spread of disease, and those trying to go about their normal lives outside.

U.S. poll shows growing worries about coronavirus; drop in confidence in government

Sixty percent of Americans are now 'very' or 'somewhat worried' they or a family member will be exposed to the coronavirus, up from 36% in February, while confidence in the government's ability to respond has fallen sharply, a new poll showed. The Gallup poll was conducted on March 2-13, shortly after the first positive case of the fast-spreading virus was reported in the United States, and came as the Trump administration accelerated its response to the pandemic.

Trump and U.S. states escalate campaign to slow coronavirus spread

The White House issued new U.S. coronavirus guidelines on Monday warning Americans to limit social gatherings to 10 or fewer people and urging restaurants, bars and other public venues to close in states where community transmission of the virus exists. But President Donald Trump said he was refraining from ordering sweeping public quarantines or lockdowns for the time being, even as some state and local officials acted to impose their own mandatory restrictions on eateries, movie theaters and other places of leisure in a bid to contain the respiratory virus.

Trump urges U.S. to halt most social activity in virus fight, warns of recession

U.S. President Donald Trump urged Americans on Monday to halt most social activities for 15 days and not congregate in groups larger than 10 people in a newly aggressive effort to reduce the spread of the coronavirus in the United States. Announcing new guidelines from his coronavirus task force, the president said people should avoid discretionary travel and not go to bars, restaurants, food courts or gyms.

Federal prosecutors ordered to probe fraudsters exploiting coronavirus fears

U.S. Attorney General William Barr directed federal prosecutors on Monday to pursue fraudsters seeking to exploit peoples' fears of the coronavirus pandemic by peddling fake cures or masquerading as government officials through phishing email schemes. "The pandemic is dangerous enough without wrongdoers seeking to profit from public panic and this sort of conduct cannot be tolerated," Barr wrote in a memo released late Monday to the country's U.S. Attorneys offices.

U.S. Senate awaits House coronavirus bill, Schumer proposes $750 billion more in emergency spending

Even as the U.S. Senate grappled over what to do with a wide-ranging coronavirus economic stimulus bill passed by the House of Representatives, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer on Monday urged an additional $750 billion to address the crisis. "We will need big, bold, urgent federal action to deal with this crisis," Schumer said in a statement outlining a plan to fund a range of emergency operations, including boosting hospital capacity, expanding jobless benefits, delivering help to small businesses and funding childcare for healthcare workers.

U.S. Senate votes to extend surveillance tools for 77 days

The U.S. Senate agreed on Monday to extend a set of government surveillance tools for 77 days, to allow lawmakers time to consider broader changes to the divisive domestic eavesdropping program. The Senate had been due to begin voting on Monday evening on a bill passed in the House of Representatives last week that would have reauthorized and reformed the program.

Trump press secretary Grisham works from home after brush with coronavirus

Stephanie Grisham, communications adviser to both U.S. President Donald Trump and his wife, Melania, said on Monday she is working from home after a close brush with a Brazilian official who tested positive for the coronavirus. Grisham said she was staying at home for a number of days out of an abundance of caution after having had contact with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro's press secretary, who later tested positive for the virus.