Wednesday's Mini-Report, 3.18.20

Today's edition of quick hits.
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By Steve Benen

Today's edition of quick hits:

* The vote was 90 to 8: "The Senate cleared a multibillion-dollar aid package Wednesday afternoon to help those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic by providing paid sick leave, free diagnostic testing and expanded food aid."

* White House: "President Donald Trump said Wednesday he is invoking the Defense Production Act to mobilize U.S. private production capacity to combat the coronavirus outbreak. Trump also said his administration is 'suspending all foreclosures and evictions until the end of April' to help those affected by the virus."

* Stock market: "Wall Street took yet another hammering on Wednesday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average closing with a loss of just over 1,300 points, or 6 percent, as investors continue to flee financial markets."

* Unlike the European travel restrictions, we actually coordinated with our ally on this one: "President Donald Trump announced Wednesday that the U.S. and Canada had agreed to close their border to all 'nonessential traffic' because of the spread of the coronavirus. Trump indicated in his announcement on Twitter that it will not affect trade between the two countries but did not offer any additional details."

* An important problem: "Dozens of health-care workers have fallen ill with covid-19, and more are quarantined after exposure to the virus, an expected but worrisome development as the U.S. health system girds for an anticipated surge in infections."

* The Census Bureau announced today "that it was suspending until April 1 the field operations involved in the 2020 decennial census, citing the need 'protect the health and safety of the American public, Census Bureau employees, and everyone going through the hiring process for temporary census taker positions.'"

* As if conditions weren't already difficult: "A 5.7-magnitude earthquake struck near Salt Lake City at 7:09 a.m. local time Wednesday, its epicenter located about four miles west-southwest of Salt Lake City International Airport. Heavy shaking was felt far and wide across north-central Utah west of the Wasatch mountains."

See you tomorrow.