(NBC News) Social distancing is working to slow the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.
The government’s top infectious disease experts now predict fewer people will die from COVID-19 than earlier believed.
“We’re going to see a downturn, and it looks more like the 60,000 than 100-200,000,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases said Thursday.
Meanwhile, unemployment claims continue to rise.
The Senate is set to vote to add $250 billion to the Paycheck Protection Program, loans for small businesses to pay workers laid off due to the coronavirus.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says “The PPP is where the lights are already flashing red” because it’s running out of money.
Billions have been requested, but very little paid. Lenders fear they’ll be left holding the bag if the loan isn’t processed properly or if it turns out to be fraudulent, and some banks are requiring pre-existing relationships to hand out the loans.
Democrats want a quarter of the money set aside for small businesses that don’t have that.
“We cannot solidify the inequality to access to capital that exists in our economy at a time when we are addressing the coronavirus crisis,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says.
The loans are an early down payment on a second stimulus that both sides say they want to lessen the blow COVID-19 is having on the economy.
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