TOP OF THE HOUR:
—Trump extends stay-at-home guidelines for another 30 days.
—Britain on emergency footing for first time since WWII.
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is extending federal guidelines recommending people stay home and away from one another for another 30 days as the coronavirus continues to spread across the country.
Trump made the announcement during a Rose Garden briefing. The guidelines, originally tagged as “15 days to slow the spread” had been set to expire Monday.
Trump had said last week he hoped to have the country “re-opened” by Easter. But public health experts sounded the alarm, saying a rollback would speed transmission, making the situation worse.
The federal guidelines recommend that older people and those with preexisting conditions stay home and away from other people, and also recommend that all Americans avoid social gatherings, work from home and steer clear of bars and restaurants.
Trump says Congress should re-convene if some Americans don't get their coronavirus stimulus money because of antiquated state computer systems that aren't equipped to quickly handle the volume of federal money being sent to workers.
He says he wanted the money to be distributed by the federal government, but his opponents wanted it distributed through existing state unemployment systems.
Trump told reporters at Sunday's White House briefing on the virus that if Americans don't get their money quickly, he's going to call for Congress to reconvene or find other ways to distribute the money.
He says the federal government is equipped to quickly distribute money from the mammoth, $2.2 trillion stimulus package to shore up the U.S. economy.
Additionally, Trump says two health insurers are waiving patient payments for coronavirus treatment.
Both Cigna and Humana won’t require many of their customers to make copayments or other forms of cost sharing for COVID-19 care. Health care providers would be reimbursed at the insurers’ in-network rates or Medicare rates.
Cigna said the waived payments would begin Monday and continue through May 31.
The moves could save those patients thousands of dollars, depending on their coverage and how much health care they’ve used so far this year, for treatment for the coronavirus. They come after Aetna last week announced payment waivers for patients for hospital stays tied to the coronavirus.
Many insurers have previously waived patient costs for testing or doctor visits and telemedicine to encourage people with coronavirus symptoms to get help.