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President Donald Trump holds a press briefing on Thursday as his rival, presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden, calls for a nationwide mask mandate in order to combat the raging coronavirus pandemic.
“Every single American should be wearing a mask when they’re outside for the next three months at a minimum,” Biden said at a press appearance in Wilmington, Delaware. “Every governor should mandate mandatory mask wearing, the estimates by the experts are that it will save over 40,000 lives in the next three months. Forty thousand lives, if people act responsibly.”
Meanwhile, the latest coronavirus relief bill remains stalled in Congress.
Over the weekend Trump signed four executive orders that extend unemployment benefits, provide a payroll tax holiday, defer student loan payments through 2020 and extend federal eviction protections. It’s unclear how or if those efforts will work.
White House officials, including Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and lawmakers have been in talks all week about restarting negotiations. But conversations between them have yielded no results. Democrats and the Trump administration are “miles apart,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Wednesday.
As both parties gear up for their respective conventions, an agreement on legislation, let alone passage of a bill, looks weeks away. The House left Washington for all of August pending a deal on pandemic aid. The Senate typically leaves town for the weekend after its Thursday session.
The coronavirus outbreak has spread worldwide, with more than 20.6 million confirmed cases and over 750,400 deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. has had more than 5.2 million cases and at least 166,100 deaths, according to the latest tallies, more than any other country.
— CNBC’s Jacob Pramuk contributed to this report.