(BBC) US President Donald Trump has said he hopes the US will shake off coronavirus by Easter, even as New York’s governor sounded the alarm that the illness is spreading faster than “a bullet train”.
The president told a White House news briefing reopening the US early next month would be “a beautiful timeline”.
Hours later, the Senate agreed a $2 trillion (£1.7tn) economic rescue plan with the White House.
The deal will be passed later on Wednesday by the Senate.
“At last, we have a deal,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said, citing the massive “wartime level of investment into our nation”.
The package includes tax rebates, loans, money for hospitals and rescue packages for businesses.
The House of Representatives still needs to pass the legislation before it is sent to Mr Trump for his signature.
The US has recorded almost 55,000 cases and nearly 800 deaths from coronavirus.
Globally there have been more than 420,000 cases confirmed and approaching 19,000 deaths.
What did President Trump say?
On Tuesday, he told Fox News he hoped the country could get back to normal by Easter, which is on the weekend of 12 April.
Mr Trump, a Republican, said: “We’re going to be opening relatively soon… I would love to have the country opened up and just raring to go by Easter.”
He added in a subsequent interview: “Easter is a very special day for me… and you’ll have packed churches all over our country.”
Mr Trump also warned that unless the country reopened for business it could suffer “a massive recession or depression”.
The president said: “You’re going to lose people. You’re going to have suicides by the thousands. You’re going to have all sorts of things happen. You’re going to have instability.”