The U.S. Senate's $2 trillion coronavirus relief package includes more than $30 billion for education, with more than $14 billion for colleges and universities and at least $13.5 billion for the nation's K-12 schools.

Updated at 3:45 p.m.

China will close its borders to foreigners starting on Saturday, March 28, in a dramatic step to try to stop the coronavirus coming in from abroad.

The move is the latest in a string of tough steps by the Chinese government to combat the virus, which first appeared in the city of Wuhan late last year and has spread widely since.

In a first for Europe, 20 critically ill coronavirus patients were evacuated aboard a fully medicalized, high-speed train.

The patients were transferred from the hard-hit eastern region of France, where hospitals are operating at overcapacity, to the western Loire Valley, where facilities still have plenty of beds.

Over a thousand people in the U.S. have died from COVID-19, and over a third of those deaths have taken place in New York. Nearly half the confirmed cases in the United States are in New York.

Provided / Hoosiers By The Numbers

Nearly 3.3 million Americans filed to receive unemployment benefits last week, the most ever in one week according to the Department of Labor. That number includes almost 54,000 Hoosiers, as many businesses temporarily shut down due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Lauren Chapman / IPB News

An industrial company will be the deciding factor in how well — and how fast — some East Chicago arsenic and lead contamination gets cleaned up. 

Brandon Smith / IPB News

Indiana could move to a vote-by-mail-only primary election this year if the COVID-19 pandemic doesn’t improve in time.

Lauren Chapman / IPB News

Indiana officials are still optimistic the state’s economy will bounce back from the effects of the novel coronavirus.

Updated 3/26/2020 5:09 pm

Ventilators are among the most important equipment hospitals need to treat a surge of COVID-19 patients. Companies such as General Motors are gearing up emergency production of the machines, which take over the labor of breathing for a patient with a serious case of the virus. 

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

NOEL KING, HOST:

The U.S. government has charged Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro with drug trafficking. Attorney General Bill Barr announced the charges earlier this morning. Here he is.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

NOEL KING, HOST:

I want to bring in David Wessel now. He's the director of the Hutchins Center at the Brookings Institution, and he wrote a book called "In FED We Trust" about the Great Recession. David, good morning.

DAVID WESSEL: Good morning.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

NOEL KING, HOST:

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

NOEL KING, HOST:

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

NOEL KING, HOST:

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

NOEL KING, HOST:

What are you wearing? And how has that changed since the coronavirus outbreak, since you started social distancing and maybe working from home? Are you in your pajamas? And is that OK?

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

NOEL KING, HOST:

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

google

Two junior region basketball stars were honored yesterday.  We'll tell you who they are on today's sports (you know what I really like about these two players?  They both are guards but they will still rebound.  Way to go, guys).  Plus we will continue our conversation with former Bowman hoopster DeJuan Marrero.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

State officials in Maryland announced that as a result of the continued spread of the coronavirus, schools will remain closed for an additional four weeks, as the number of confirmed cases statewide has topped 400, including four COVID-19-related deaths.

Gov. Larry Hogan said Wednesday that a significant number of the state's confirmed cases, which stands at 423 as of Wednesday, are people in their 40s. In one case, an infant contracted the disease.

Deadline Extension: With so many schools closed because of COVID-19, the NPR Student Podcast Challenge has pushed its deadline back to May 1, 2020.

The Senate coronavirus relief bill now under consideration would give states $400 million to protect upcoming elections against the pandemic threat. The money, far less than the $4 billion some Democrats had wanted, would allow states to expand mail-in and early voting, as well as online voter registration. The money could also be used to help secure in-person voting sites.

The Sheetz convenience store chain is giving hourly pay raises of $3 to roughly 17,000 workers in its stores, the company announced Wednesday in response to the coronavirus crisis. It's one of the most aggressive moves yet by companies that are boosting pay to retain, attract and motivate employees.

The widescale raise is retroactive to March 13 and will be in effect through April 23.

Prisoners affiliated with the Taliban will soon be released from Afghan lockups, in a move that's likely to kick off peace talks between Afghanistan and the Islamist insurgent group. On Wednesday, a pair of Taliban spokesmen and a U.S. official confirmed the prisoner release — a key condition in the peace framework between the militants and the U.S. announced about a month ago.

In a surprising turnabout, drugmaker Gilead Sciences asked the Food and Drug administration on Wednesday to rescind orphan status for remdesivir, the company's experimental coronavirus treatment.

Russian President Vladimir Putin says that because of the coronavirus pandemic, he is delaying a constitutional referendum that could allow him to stay in power until 2036. The vote had been scheduled for April 22.

"You know that this is a very serious matter for me," Putin said in a speech on Wednesday. "However...our absolute priority is the health, life and safety of the people. This is why I believe the vote should be postponed."

Medical device manufacturers are asking the Trump administration to step in and centralize the distribution of ventilators, life-saving devices that are in desperately short supply because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Pages