The US Senate was poised to pass a massive relief package today for Americans and businesses ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic as New York hospitals braced for a wave of virus patients.
The United States, with over 55,000 confirmed cases, has the third-highest number globally, behind China and Italy, and about half of them are in New York, the epicenter of the US outbreak.
"We still have the trajectory going up," said New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, adding that about 12% of the people who test positive require hospitalisation.
Mr Cuomo said health officials anticipate about 120,000 coronavirus cases coming into New York's hospitals and hospital capacity is only 50,000 beds.
The current figure is around 30,000, he added, with 285 deaths.
He said the evidence suggests that the strict stay-at-home orders in New York and social distancing measures have slowed the rate of hospitalisations.
Just over half the US population is now under stay-at-home orders as the authorities around the country seek to stem the spread of the virus.
Wall Street stocks jumped in early trading as the markets awaited a vote on the $2 trillion package hammered out by congressional leaders to boost the US economy.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 2.6% at 21,244.77 points, the broad-based S&P 500 gained 1.4% to 2,482.04 and the tech-rich Nasdaq rose 1.0% to 7,489.38.
Yesterday, the Dow soared 11.4%, notching its biggest one-day percentage gain since 1933.
After an acrimonious partisan debate, Republicans and Democrats in the Senate reached agreement overnight on the biggest economic stimulus plan in US history.
The $2 trillion package of measures is designed to support families and businesses that are struggling because of the coronavirus outbreak.
"At last, we have a deal," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said, citing the massive "wartime level of investment into our nation".
"We have a bipartisan agreement on the largest rescue package in American history," top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer said shortly after Mr McConnell spoke.
"So many people are being put out of work through no fault of their own. They don't know what their future is going to be like, how are they going to pay the bills," Mr Schumer added.
"Well, we come to their rescue."
There have been more than 50,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the US alone, with at least 677 deaths.
The Senate and House of Representatives still need to pass the legislation before sending it to President Donald Trump for his signature.
President Trump has said he would like to see restrictions lifted and businesses reopened by Easter.
With the numbers of deaths and cases of the coronavirus continuing to rise in the US, the World Health Organization is warning that it could become the new global epicentre of the virus.
Despite this, President Trump has said he can see light at the end of the tunnel and that he hopes restrictions could be lifted and businesses reopened by Easter in under three weeks' time.
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However, officials in New York State have warn that they are running dangerously low on medical supplies.
Mr Cuomo said the expected need for hospital beds in New York state at the peak of the outbreak has spiralled to 140,000, nearly three times what are available.
The @senatemajldr Mitch McConnell says the $2 trillion economic stimulus plan will be passed by the senate later today. @rtenews https://t.co/m2H5SblS9c https://t.co/jnvqnzdLdU— Brian O'Donovan (@BrianOD_News) March 25, 2020
The rescue package will put cash directly into the hands of Americans hard hit by the crisis.
It will provide grants to small businesses and hundreds of billions of dollars in loans for larger corporations including airlines, and expands unemployment benefits.
It will also inject some $130 billion into what Mr Schumer called "a Marshall Plan for hospitals" and health care infrastructure, referring to the huge American aid program to rebuild Europe after World War II.
With viral outbreaks spreading coast to coast, hospitals have been in dire need of equipment such as protective gear, intensive care beds and ventilators.
US stocks had already surged last night on expectations of an agreement, while this morning Japan's Nikkei closed up 8% after the stimulus deal was reached.
Additional Reporting Brian O'Donovan