TRUMP SIGNS CORONAVIRUS RELIEF PACKAGE… President Trump last night signed an emergency coronavirus relief package into law. The Senate overwhelmingly approved the measure earlier in the day after the House passed it last week. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act provides free coronavirus testing to Americans along with two weeks of paid sick leave and expanded family leave. In addition, the legislation also increases federal funds for Medicaid and food security programs. The package is expected to cost taxpayers $104 billion, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation. The U.S. has more than 9,300 coronavirus cases and the death toll has risen to 150, according to estimates released last night.
MARKETS BACK IN DECLINE… The deep sell-off on Wall Street over fears about the coronavirus continued yesterday, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average effectively wiped out the gains it made under since President Trump’s inauguration. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell nearly 11 percent before partly recovering to end down 6.3 percent. The S&P 500 dropped 5.2 percent. Also yesterday, the New York Stock Exchange said it would temporarily close its trading floor and move online.
FOOD SUPPLY INTACT… U.S. Food and Drug Administration officials yesterday offered assurance that America’s food supply will remain safe and uninterrupted during the coronavirus pandemic. The Federal Emergency Management Agency will work to ensure food still can be adequately moved across the country, officials announced. The FDA emphasized that there is no evidence that the coronavirus can be transmitted through food or food packaging and there is no need to recall foods should there be an incidence of an employee along the supply chain becoming sick.
SALT LAKE CITY SHOOK BY QUAKE… A strong, magnitude-5.7 earthquake that struck the Salt Lake City area yesterday morning shook buildings, prompted the closure of the airport and cut power to about 50,000 customers. The quake struck at 7:14 a.m and was centered about 15 miles east of Salt Lake City. It was the strongest to hit the city since 1992.
BILL WELDS ENDS PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN… Former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld announced yesterday that he is dropping out of the 2020 Republican presidential primary. The announcement follows President Trump coming out of Tuesday’s primary elections in Florida, Arizona and Illinois with enough delegates to become the presumptive nominee. Weld had positioned himself as a moderate in launching his presidential run last April.
MOVIE THEATERS SEEK FEDERAL AID… The trade group that represents most of the industry’s cinemas announced yesterday that it will request financial relief from the federal government amid the coronavirus. The National Association of Theater Owners says it will seek loan guarantees for exhibitors, tax benefits for employees and funds to compensate for lost ticket sales and concessions. The organization called the movie theater industry “uniquely vulnerable” to the crisis and needs help to survive a near-total shutdown that could last months.
WEINSTEIN MOVED TO PRISON… Movie producer and Miramax co-founder Harvey Weinstein was transferred to a maximum-security prison on his 68th yesterday as he begins his 23-year sentence on rape and sexual assault convictions. Weinstein arrived at Wende Correctional Facility outside of Buffalo, New York, following medical treatment and recovery at Rikers Island. He was convicted last month of first-degree criminal sex act and third-degree rape. He faces additional charges in Los Angeles.
SILVER PONDERS NBA’S FUTURE… NBA commissioner Adam Silver said during an interview on ESPN’s SportsCenter last night that he isn’t ready to think the league will have to cancel its season. He acknowledged that the situation could lead to a complete reshaping of the NBA calendar. For now, Silver said, the league’s 30 teams are considering several options in planning an eventual return to play. The return could include charity competition aside from regular play that would give millions of fans stuck at home something to watch.
NFL PLAYER TRACKER (source: ESPN)
The Arizona Cardinals have agreed to terms with former Detroit Lions linebacker Devon Kennard on a three-year deal.
The Atlanta Falcons have agreed to terms with pass rusher Dante Fowler Jr. on a three-year deal.
The Baltimore Ravens have re-signed punter Sam Koch punter to a two-year contract but officially declined the option on defensive back Brandon Carr, who had started every game since entering the league as Kansas City’s fifth-round pick in 2008.
The Carolina Panthers have released strong safety Eric Reid.
The Cleveland Browns have agreed to terms with safety Karl Joseph and linebacker B.J. Goodson.
The Cincinnati Bengals have released cornerback B.W. Webb.
The Dallas Cowboys are bringing back cornerback Anthony Brown on a three-year deal.
The Denver Broncos have acquired defensive tackle Jurrell Casey from the Tennessee Titans in exchange for a seventh-round draft pick. Casey, who has missed only four regular-season games in his nine seasons with Tennessee, finished tied for second on the Titans in sacks last season, with five.
The Detroit Lions have agreed to two-year contracts with cornerback Desmond Trufant and defensive tackle Danny Shelton. The Lions also traded for Patriots safety Duron Harmon but terms were not announced.
The Houston Texans have re-signed cornerback Vernon Hargreaves to a one-year contract just a month after releasing him.
The Jacksonville Jaguars have traded quarterback Nick Foles to the Chicago Bears for the Bears’ compensatory fourth-round pick. The Bears will inherit the final three years of Foles’ current contract. The Jaguars will take on a dead cap charge of $18.75 million for 2020. The Jaguars have also reached agreement on a three-year deal with former Arizona Cardinals defensive lineman Rodney Gunter.
The Las Vegas Raiders have agreed to terms with cornerback Eli Apple.
The Los Angeles Chargers have signed former Denver Broncos cornerback Chris Harris Jr. and agreed to a two-year contract with defensive tackle Linval Joseph.
Los Angeles Rams have re-signed offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth to a three-year contract and signed defensive end Leonard Floyd to a one-year contract.
The Miami Dolphins have signed interior offensive lineman Ted Karras to a one-year deal.
The New England Patriots have agreed to a two-year contract with free-agent defensive tackle Beau Allen.
The New York Giants are not exercising the 2020 option in safety Antoine Bethea’s contract.
The New York Jets have signed offensive tackle George Fant to a three-year deal and re-signed slot cornerback Brian Poole to a one-year contract.
The Seattle Seahawks have agreed to undisclosed terms to bring back defensive end Bruce Irvin and re-signed defensive end Bruce Irvin. The Seahawks also signed offensive tackles Brandon Shell and Cedric Ogbuehi to two- and one-year contracts, respectively.
The Washington Redskins and defensive end Nate Orchard have reached agreement on a one-year deal. The Redskins have signed safety Sean Davis to a one-year deal.