GOP SENATORS INTRODUCE CORONAVIRUS AID PACKAGE… Senate Republicans last night introduced a $1 trillion coronavirus-relief package. The plan includes cash payments of up to $1,200 for individuals and $2,400 couples, with the sum increasing by $500 for each child for taxpayers beneath a certain income threshold. It would also extend the tax filing deadline from April 15 to July 15, allowing corporations to delay estimated tax payments until Oct. 15 and employers and self-employed people to delay payroll taxes.
U.S. IMPLEMENTS TRAVEL ADVISORY… The State Department implemented a Level Four travel advisory yesterday in advising all U.S. citizens abroad to return home unless they are prepared to remain in place “for an indefinite period.” The advisory also urged citizens in the U.S. to avoid all international travel due to the global impact of the coronavirus. The advisory follows last week’s ban on incoming travel from 30 countries.
NATIONAL COUNTERTERRORIST CENTER OFFICIALS REMOVED… Acting National Counterterrorism Center director Russell Travers and his acting deputy, Peter Hall, were fired Wednesday night, according to a report in yesterday’s Washington Post. Travers had been on the job since last year and reportedly opposed plans to make personnel cuts at the center. Hours before, President Trump announced his intention to nominate Pentagon special operations and counterterrorism official Christopher Miller as the full-time NCTC director.
TULSI GABBARD ENDS PRESIDENTIAL BID… Hawaiian congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard announced yesterday that she is suspending her Democratic presidential campaign and endorses Joe Biden as the party’s nominee. Gabbard said Biden is the best candidate to take on Trump. She said she will now direct her time to fighting the coronavirus.
UNEMPLOYMENT FILINGS SPIKE… Figures released yesterday by the Labor Department reveal that filings for unemployment benefits spiked last week and have reached a two-year high. The Labor Department reported that claims rose by 70,000 to 281,000 last week as workers have been laid off amid the coronavirus pandemic. The filings were the most since September 2017.
CONAN O’BRIEN PLANS RETURN… Conan O’Brien is planning his return to the air. On March, he will resume releasing new episodes of his late-night talk show. O’Brien’s staff will remain at home, and the show will be cobbled together with O’Brien on an iPhone and guests via Skype. Other late-night talk-show hosts have adopted drastic measures as well. Jimmy Fallon has produced 10-minute “At Home” shows while Jimmy Kimmel and David Spade have delivered monologues from their homes. On Monday, Stephen Colbert delivered a 10-minute monologue from his bathtub.
DANIEL DAE KIM TESTS POSITIVE FOR CORONAVIRUS… Daniel Dae Kim is the latest Hollywood star to be diagnosed with coronavirus. The 51-year-old Korean-American actor posted on social media that he became symptomatic at home in Hawaii after spending several weeks in New York shooting the TV show “New Amsterdam.” Kim says his condition is “not 100 percent” but “close.”
NBA NEWS… The coronavirus continues to make its way through the NBA. Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart revealed yesterday that he has tested positive while two unidentified Los Angeles Lakers players also announced positive tests. The Denver Nuggets announced that an unnamed member of the organization has been diagnosed with the virus.
MLB NEWS… The Boston Red Sox announced yesterday that starting pitcher Chris Sale will undergo Tommy John surgery. Sale decided to undergo the procedure now out of fear that delaying it could have caused him to miss significant time in the 2021 season. The 30-year-old Sale didn’t pitch after experiencing elbow soreness last August. He went 6-11 with a 4.40 ERA in 25 starts on the season.
NFL NEWS… New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton yesterday became the first person connected to the NFL to have reported catching the coronavirus. The 56-year-old Payton said he didn’t feel great this past Sunday and took a test Monday. He said he came forward with his diagnosis in an effort to get people to take the situation seriously.
NFL PLAYER TRACKER (source: ESPN)
The Arizona Cardinals have signed linebacker De’Vondre Campbell to a one-year deal.
The Carolina Panthers have signed wide receiver Keith Kirkwood to a one-year deal.
The Cincinnati Bengals have agreed to terms with cornerback Mackensie Alexander on a one-year contract. The Cincinnati Bengals plan to sign cornerback Torry McTyer to a one-year deal.
The Cleveland Browns have signed cornerback Kevin Johnson and defensive tackle Andrew Billings to one-year contracts.
The Denver Broncos are waiving former Super Bowl MVP quarterback Joe Flacco after a failed physical.
The Los Angeles Rams have released running back Todd Gurley and linebacker Clay Matthews.
The Miami Dolphins have re-signed safety Adrian Colbert to a one-year deal.
The Minnesota Vikings have re-signed kicker Dan Bailey.
The New England Patriots have signed guard Joe Thuney to a franchise tender.
The New York Giants have signed quarterback Colt McCoy to a one-year deal.
The Philadelphia Eagles have sent a 2020 third-round pick and 2020 fifth-round pick to the Detroit Lions in exchange for cornerback Darius Slay.
The Washington Redskins are planning to sign tight end Logan Thomas.