The number of coronavirus cases continued to accelerate in the United States on Tuesday, and early Wednesday Senate leaders announced they had reached a deal on a massive $2 trillion spending bill aimed at alleviating the economic impact of the outbreak.
The White House coronavirus coordinator asked people who have recently been in New York, where the death toll continues to climb, to quarantine themselves for 14 days, because they may have been exposed before leaving.
President Donald Trump is pushing for the country to get back to business by April 12, Easter Sunday, when he said he would like to see churches full of people.
And after growing international pressure, Japan and the International Olympic Committee agreed to postpone the 2020 Tokyo games until next year but said they would happen no later than summer 2021.
- Here's what to know about the coronavirus, plus a timeline of the most critical moments.
- MAPS: Where cases have been confirmed in the U.S. and worldwide.
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This live coverage has ended. Continue reading March 25 Coronavirus news.
Person in Kentucky who attended 'coronavirus party' tests positive
A person in Kentucky who recently attended a "coronavirus party" has now tested positive for the virus, Gov. Andy Beshear said.
Beshear at press conference on Tuesday chided Kentuckians who are not taking the pandemic seriously.
"We have a positive coronavirus case today from someone who attended a coronavirus party," Beshear told reporters. "Anyone who goes to something like this may think they are indestructible, but it is someone else's loved one that they are going to hurt."
"We are battling for the health and even the lives of our parents and our grandparents," Beshear warned. "Don't be so callous as to intentionally go to something and expose yourself to something that can kill other people. We ought to be much better than that."
As of Tuesday evening, at least 163 people have tested positive and four people have died from coronavirus in Kentucky.
Florida customers angered by Home Depot social distancing rules
NCAA denies shutting down Clemson quarterback's coronavirus fundraiser
The NCAA denied shutting down a fundraiser started by Clemson University’s star quarterback for families affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
Trevor Lawrence started a GoFundMe for families with his girlfriend Marissa Mowry, who plays soccer at Anderson University, and raised more than $2,500 before it was shut down. Mowry said on her Instagram page Monday that the couple was forced to take down the crowdfunding page and would be donating the money to Meals on Wheels and No Kid Hungry.
“Unfortunately, Trevor can not be a part of this because of compliance and some rules, so he can’t help out anymore,” Mowry said.
White House: Leaving New York? Quarantine for 14 days.
The White House asked people who have been in New York recently to quarantine themselves for 14 days if they leave the state, which has become an epicenter of the pandemic in the U.S.
"To everyone who has left New York over the last few days,” said Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus coordinator. “You may have been exposed before you left New York. Like Gov. DeSantis put out today, everyone who is in New York should be self-quarantining for the next 14 days."
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis ordered visitors from the tri-state area to self-isolate for two weeks. Birx said if people left a few days ago, they should start the quarantine clock from the point they left the city.
“It’s a very serious situation,” added Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert.
Fauci said that 1 in 1000 New Yorkers are infected with the virus and that isolation was required to prevent seeding the rest of the country with outbreaks of the virus.
"What we’re seeing now is that understandably, people want to get out of New York. They’re going to Florida, they’re going to Long Island, they’re going to a different place," he said.
Los Angeles County sheriff urges social distancing at strip clubs
Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said Tuesday that, during the coronavirus pandemic, too many businesses are still not keeping customers and employees at a safe distance from each other — such as at strip clubs.
"From the law enforcement operation, we've received complaints from particular businesses who have not been adhering to the social distancing" orders from the state and county, Villanueva told reporters.
"Chief among them have been gun shops, nightclubs, bars and strip clubs. So we've fanned out. We're making sure that all these businesses are complying."
The sheriff has ordered gun shops to be closed because they're not an essential service.
Photo: Serbian field hospital in fair hall
VA nearly doubles number of tests administered in a day, invites retired medical workers to return
The Department of Veterans Affairs has administered over 2,726 tests for coronavirus nationwide, a jump of 1,202 tests from the number reported just the day before, the VA announced Tuesday.
Of the tests administered, 296 have been positive. The highest concentration of positive cases is in the New Orleans region of Louisiana, where the Louisiana Veterans Health Care System has seen 63 positive cases.
The agency is also now waiving a section of federal law about retired VA workers to make it easier to rehire retired VA health care workers as facilities work to increase staffing during the coronavirus pandemic.
Americans stock up on Campbell's pantry staples
Campbell Soup Company said that demand for its products increased dramatically this month, as Americans stocked up on staples during the coronavirus pandemic.
According to a new filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the company reported soup sales rose 59.3 percent in the last four weeks, ending March 15, compared to a year ago. Pepperidge Farm Goldfish crackers increased 22.7 percent while Prego pasta sauce sales rose by 52.9 percent.
The New Jersey-based company also said that its "meals and beverages" segment saw more sales in a week than for the entire month of March last year. Weekly case orders rose by 366 percent for the week ending March 21. The company said its plant in Richmond, Utah, made more than two million pounds of Goldfish and cookies in the week through March 21.
Fact checker Snopes says it's overwhelmed by coronavirus misinformation
Fact-checking website Snopes told readers that the “magnitude of misinformation spreading in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic is overwhelming our small team,” and is demanding social media companies Facebook and Google “do more right now to shut down misinformation on their platforms.”
The site said it is scaling back routine content production to focus on coronavirus stories that can provide a “significant impact.” The shift comes weeks after the World Health Organization said that unreliable information circulating on the web is contributing to an “infodemic” worldwide.
“Facebook and Google are absolutely failing their users and the fact checking industry isn't really doing anything about it despite having so much leverage,” Snopes vice president of operations Vinny Green said.
Over 1,000 claims about coronavirus on Google have received fact checks from the company’s verified fact checking network since January.
D.C. mayor announces the district will close all nonessential businesses
ICE detainee tests positive for coronavirus
An immigrant detained at a New Jersey facility operated by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has tested positive for COVID-19, the agency said Tuesday, marking the first coronavirus case of an ICE detainee.
The agency said in a statement the individual has been “quarantined and is receiving care" and intake at the Bergen County facility is temporarily suspended
NBC News has previously reported extensive problems with the quality of health care in ICE detention facilities, including the deaths of 24 detainees since the start of the Trump administration.
Earlier Tuesday, the ACLU filed three lawsuits against ICE demanding that vulnerable inmates be released from three different detention centers.
Biden on Trump's Easter timeline: 'Let's be realistic'
Joe Biden on Tuesday dismissed President Donald Trump’s desire to have the country back to business by Easter Sunday — even as the coronavirus pandemic worsens — as unrealistic and “bizarre.”
“I would like to open up the government tomorrow if it were possible,” Biden told MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace on “Deadline: White House." “Let’s be realistic.”
“This curve is going up and up and up because we did not act when we should have acted," Biden said. “It just seems, to me, bizarre.”
Public health experts and local and state leaders have cautioned against easing coronavirus restrictions too early, saying it could put an enormous strain on hospitals and lead to even more deaths and economic damage.
Minor, under the age of 18, dies of coronavirus in Los Angeles County
Another four people have died in Los Angeles County from coronavirus, including a minor, according to Los Angeles County Public Health Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer.
“Tragically, one the people who died was a person under the age of 18," Ferrer said. "A devastating reminder that COVID-19 infects people of all ages."
Ferrer did not expand on the patient's age or whether they had any underlying conditions, but a press release from the department said the minor was a resident of the city of Lancaster.
Los Angeles County has seen a total of 11 deaths due to COVID-19, the disease associated with the coronavirus. The county has a total of 662 positive cases, including more than 250 that were confirmed in the last two days.
Why science matters in finding coronavirus treatments
In Nebraska, researchers are studying whether an experimental drug, remdesivir, can treat COVID-19, the illness that results from coronavirus infection. In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Monday that the state would begin trials looking at the drug combination hydroxychloroquine and Zithromax.
All told, more than 100 clinical trials of dozens of potential treatments have already begun in multiple countries.
Watch people crowd London subways, despite calls for social distancing
Apple may re-open some stores in April — but not necessarily in the U.S.
Apple may start to reopen some of its retail stores in the first half of April, according to a person at the company who is familiar with the matter but was not authorized to speak publicly.
Re-opening stores will depend on the state of the coronavirus pandemic at that time and will not necessarily include U.S. stores, the person said.
The iPhone maker announced earlier this month that it was closing all retail stores outside of China due to the global spread of the coronavirus. It had initially planned to start reopening stores on March 27.
FDA will allow doctors to treat coronavirus patients with blood from survivors
The Food and Drug Administration will allow doctors across the country to begin using plasma donated by coronavirus survivors to treat patients who are critically ill with the virus, under new emergency protocols approved Tuesday.
The treatment, known as convalescent plasma, dates back centuries and was used during the flu pandemic of 1918.
“Just based on its track record with a number of other viruses, I think it has a very good chance of working,” Dr. Jeffrey Henderson, of the Washington University School of Medicine, said.
Dow ends the day up 2,000 points as $2T stimulus bill takes shape
Wall Street roared back on Tuesday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average surging by over 2,000 points for its biggest daily points gain ever.
It was a strong day for all three major averages, with the Dow ending the day up by more than 11 percent. The S&P 500 rallied by over 9 percent, while the Nasdaq notched up gains of just over 8 percent.
Trader optimism was focused on the $2 trillion stimulus bill, which lawmakers from both sides of the aisle say is close to approval.
ACLU sues ICE over detention of immigrants vulnerable to coronavirus
The ACLU filed three lawsuits against Immigration and Customs Enforcement Tuesday demanding that the law enforcement agency release immigrant detainees in Pennsylvania, Maryland and California who are vulnerable to COVID-19.
In Maryland, the ACLU cited a pregnant detainee who was diagnosed with tuberculosis in February 2020 as being at risk. “ICE’s needless detention of immigrants has always been cruel and excessive, but today, it also recklessly endangers their lives,” said Sirine Shebaya, executive director of the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild.
An ICE spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment about the lawsuits but the ICE website says vulnerable detainees “are housed separately." ICE says on its site that if a detainee developed coronavirus symptoms the person would be put into a “single medical housing room” “depending on available space.”
The agency says it has no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in ICE detention facilities. The agency owns or operates 900 facilities housing an average of 42,000 detainees per day as of 2018.
'Wonder Woman' sequel and 'In The Heights' postponed
The superhero sequel "Wonder Woman 1984" and the musical adaptation "In The Heights" have joined the growing list of movie releases to be pushed back due to coronavirus.
Warner Bros. released a statement Tuesday announcing that the anticipated "Wonder Woman" follow-up will be moved back to August instead of June, while the screen version of Lin-Manuel Miranda's "In The Heights" will be postponed indefinitely.
Warner Bros. Pictures Group Chairman Toby Emmerich said that pushing the release of "Wonder Woman" would allow fans to enjoy the film on the big screen. "We hope the world will be in a safer and healthier place by then," Emmerich said.
Miranda addressed the "In The Heights" delay on Twitter, saying the cast and crew had "the best summer of our lives" filming in the Washington Heights area of New York City. "When we can safely gather again, flags in hand, we will be there, enjoying this movie in theaters," Miranda said. "We'll have the premiere uptown. The best summer of our lives, together."
Celebrated playwright Terrence McNally dies from coronavirus complications
The award-winning playwright Terrence McNally died at the Sarasota Memorial Hospital in Florida from complications due to coronavirus Tuesday, according to his publicist. He was 81.
McNally, who was a lung cancer survivor with chronic COPD, was frequently described as the "bard of American theater" and was known for writing "Kiss of the Spider Woman," "Ragtime" and a number of farcical plays throughout his sixty-year career.
He is survived by his husband, Tom Kirdahy, and his brother, Peter McNally.
Photo: Livestreaming funerals in Vienna
Judge slaps down Michael Cohen's coronavirus-based bid to get out of prison
Michael Cohen’s effort to have his sentence reduced or to serve the balance of his sentence in home confinement has been tossed by the judge overseeing his case.
The former personal lawyer to President Donald Trump is currently serving a three-year sentence in federal prison after pleading guilty to several crimes in late 2018, including making secret payments to women who claimed they had affairs with Trump and lying to Congress about the president's business dealings with Russia.
“Apparently searching for a new argument to justify a modification of his sentence to home confinement, Cohen now raises the specter of COVID-19,” Judge William Pauley III wrote in a court order denying Cohen's reduction requests.
"Ten months into his prison term, it’s time that Cohen accept the consequences of his criminal convictions for serious crimes that had far reaching institutional harms.”
Los Angeles County gun shops drew a barrage of buyers before lockdown
Los Angeles County residents rushed to gun stores as the coronavirus spread across the U.S. last week, forming long lines in a fit of panic-buying, a top law enforcement official told NBC News.
Sheriff Alex Villanueva says the gun buying bonanza came just before a stay-at-home order was put in place. Gun shops, like other nonessential businesses, are now closed across the county.
"You can't shoot a virus," Villanueva told NBC News. “But if we ever get to the point of a foreign invasion or zombie apocalypse, I’ll make sure they are open.”
Transit systems in free fall beg for federal help over coronavirus
The nation's public transit systems are asking for federal help as ridership plummets because of the coronavirus pandemic.
As more and more states and major urban centers call upon residents to work from home and shelter in place to slow the spread of the virus, public transit systems around the country are taking a major hit, with declines in ridership of up to 90 percent.
In New York, an epicenter of the outbreak in the United States, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority has seen a 60 percent decline in ridership on its subways, while in San Francisco, where residents have been ordered to stay home, the Bay Area Rapid Transit system has seen a decline of almost 90 percent and is losing millions per week, forcing it to reduce service times.
The steep drops in riders, plus the added costs of safety measures such as disinfecting subway cars and cleaning the stations, could have catastrophic financial consequences for public transit systems even after the crisis is over.
Read the full story here.
Coronavirus cases surpass 50,000 in the U.S.
The number of coronavirus cases in the United States has now risen to more than 50,000. New York has the biggest number of cases by far, at over 25,000. That's largely due to increased testing for the virus.
California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, New Jersey and Washington have all reported more than 1,000 cases each.
Nationwide, 637 people have died from the coronavirus.
Liberty University's Jerry Falwell Jr. welcomes students back
More than 1,100 students returned Monday following spring break, according to Scott Lamb, a spokesman for the university in Lynchburg. Falwell Jr. said he met with many of them.
At least one professor at the university has criticized the move, writing in an op-ed that "Falwell's lack of concern" about the pandemic puts faculty, staff and others in the city of Lynchburg at risk. In addition, an online petition seeks Falwell's removal over his alleged failure to take COVID-19 seriously.
Trump says he wants to ease coronavirus restrictions by April 12
President Donald Trump on Tuesday said he wants to have the country getting back to business by the Easter holiday, April 12, saying the country isn’t built to sustain a longterm shutdown.
Public health experts and local and state leaders have cautioned against easing restrictions too early, saying it could put an enormous strain on hospitals and lead to even more deaths and economic damage.
A White House official clarified that the president views Easter as a date by which the economy is speeding again, meaning the loosening of restrictions would happen even sooner.
Grassroots team launches website to get protective equipment to health care workers
A newly launched website “Get Us PPE” aims to unite medical workers, engineers, marketers, and manufacturers to get frontline healthcare workers the necessary protection they need to stay safe and take care of coronavirus patients.
Over the last couple weeks, hundreds of health care workers across the country have been flooding social media with disturbing accounts of shortages of basic equipment like masks, gowns and hand sanitizer.
Many have responded to their calls offering to donate supplies, sew masks, or retool their factories. Until Tuesday, these real-time donations efforts were decentralized, but now a “passionate grassroots team” from across the country has unified the effort into one website getusppe.org. More than 566 hospitals have already asked for supplies and the number is growing, organizers told NBC News.
Greta Thunberg self-isolates after experiencing coronavirus-like symptoms
Thunberg and her dad experienced coronavirus-like symptoms after traveling in Central Europe and are now isolating themselves for 2 weeks in a separate apartment, the climate activist said in an Instagram post Tuesday.
Last week, Sweden's Public Health Agency stopped testing all possible cases and advised that anyone who experienced symptoms to stay at home and practice social distancing.
Thunberg reported that she did not get tested for coronavirus, but has since fully recovered.
"Follow the advice from experts and your local authorities and #StayAtHome to slow the spread of the virus," she said. "And remember to always take care of each other and help those in need.#COVID #flattenthecurve"
Poland unleashes vodka on the virus
The Polish government has deployed a weapon in the fight against the coronavirus: confiscated black market vodka.
Known locally as “bimber,” some 500,000 liters of the high-powered liquid will be used as a disinfectant, the National Office of the Public Prosecutor said. It's worth noting, however, that vodka is generally not considered an effective killer of microbes.
Vodka was invented in Poland, and the authorities crack down routinely on the hundreds of illegal distilleries operating in the countryside.
Photo: Auto plant workers in Wuhan return to jobs
Harvard president and his wife test positive for coronavirus
Harvard President Larry Bacow and his wife Adele tested positive for the coronavirus, he announced in a statement on Tuesday.
Bacow said they have been completely limiting their contact with others since March 14. Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker announced on Monday a stay-at-home advisory for the state's 7 million residents.
UK reports highest daily deaths, surging over 25% in total number
The number of coronavirus deaths in the UK has risen by 87 in the past 24 hours, according to the country's Department of Health.
There are now 422 patients who have died from coronavirus and 8,077 confirmed cases.
On Monday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson imposed a 3-week national lockdown in order to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Introducing our new project: Coronavirus Confessions
Dow surges by 1,700 points as hopes rise that economic stimulus bill will pass
Wall Street soared on Tuesday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average surging by 1,700 points as lawmakers appeared to be closing in on the $2 trillion stimulus package.
The measure would reportedly include $350 billion for small businesses and $240 billion in relief for health care, including $75 billion that would be allocated to hospitals directly; $11 billion for the development of vaccines, treatments and other preparedness needs; and $4.5 billion for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Unemployment insurance benefits included in the bill would give recipients 100 percent of their salary.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up by 1,773 points by midday, or more than 9 percent. The S&P 500 was up almost by around 8.25 percent, with the Nasdaq up by almost 7 percent. Traders have pinned their hopes on the government's fiscal stimulus plan after emergency crisis action from the Federal Reserve failed to soothe markets.
Lady Gaga delays sixth studio album, citing coronavirus
Lady Gaga announced Tuesday that she would delay the release of her sixth studio album "Chromatica." In a post on Twitter and Instagram, the Oscar- and Grammy-winning singer wrote that she didn't feel right releasing an album "with all that is going on during this global pandemic."
"It is important to me that the attention is on getting essential medical equipment to healthcare professionals, making sure kids who depend on public schools for meals get the assistance they need, and that we help those who will be financially impacted by this pandemic," Gaga wrote.
The singer had already postponed a dozen dates of her Las Vegas residency "Enigma," and revealed in the post that she had planned a surprise set for Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, which was also postponed.
Gaga assured her fans, despite the delay, that the album is still coming: "I hope you can see that when the album does come out, I want us to be able to dance together, sweat together, hug and kiss each other, and make it the most bombastic celebration of all time. And until that time comes, LET'S ALL STAY HOME!"
Steep fines face those who defy coronavirus lockdowns, curfews around the world
As millions of people are locked down in their homes around the world, governments are hoping steep fines will also help to stop those who are breaking quarantine rules.
In Saudi Arabia, where a nationwide curfew has been enacted for three weeks starting Monday, violators will be fined 10,000 Saudi riyal ($2,777), which will be doubled for a second violation, the country's interior ministry said. A third violation will earn the offender a jail sentence of up to 20 days.
Italy, which is experiencing the worst coronavirus outbreak in Europe with 6,077 deaths so far, is considering raising the fines for violation of the nationwide lockdown to 3,000 euros ($3,246), the country's Corriere della Sera newspaper reported. The current fine stands at 206 euros ($222).
Meanwhile, in Israel, which is on partial lockdown, police are fining those breaking the quarantine 5,000 shekels ($1,365). Israel has had 1,656 confirmed coronavirus cases and one death so far.
And in France, where 860 people died of the virus, sanctions for not respecting restricted movement started at just 38 euros ($41) when they began last week, but French Prime Minister Philippe Edouard said Monday night the fines will go up to as high as 1,500 euros ($1,618) for repeat offenders.
New York governor highlights 'dramatic increase' in infection rate
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday his state has seen a "dramatic increase" in the rate of coronavirus infections, saying the "troubling and astronomical numbers" of people getting infected are higher than initially projected.
"The apex is higher than we thought and the apex is sooner than we thought," Cuomo said, adding that cases could peak in as soon as 14 to 20 days. "It is clear that we must dramatically increase the hospital capacity."
India's prime minister orders nationwide lockdown
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has ordered a lockdown of the country starting at midnight local time.
The lockdown across the country of some 1.3 billion people will last for 21 days, according to The Associated Press.
Photo: The staggering toll in northern Italy
Dow soars by 1,300 points on hopes economic stimulus bill will finally pass
Wall Street rallied Tuesday on hopes lawmakers are nearing a deal on the $2 trillion stimulus package to help American workers and businesses survive the coronavirus outbreak.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average surged by 1,300 points, after hitting its 5 percent "limit up" threshold in premarket trading. The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq both notched up gains of around 5 percent at the opening bell.
"I think we're very hopeful that this can be closed out tomorrow," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told reporters late Monday on Capitol Hill after emerging from negotiations with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.
France enters two-month state of emergency
France will be under a state of health emergency for two months, the French government announced Tuesday.
The new emergency law, passed by the Senate and the Parliament last week, gives the government special powers to enforce the lockdown, which first began two weeks ago.
Local officials will determine in each city if a curfew is necessary, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said. Health officials said France has confirmed 19,856 cases of coronavirus, more than 2,000 of which are in intensive care, and 860 have died.
The tighter measures rolled out Monday night by Philippe allow residents to leave their homes for only one hour to do only essential tasks, and for physical exercise within 0.6 miles of their residence. They will also need to mark the time they leave home on a special form they need to carry when venturing outside.
Tokyo 2020 Olympics postponed
The Tokyo 2020 Olympics have been postponed, Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced Tuesday.
Abe said Japan and the International Olympic Committee came to an agreement during a phone call with the head of the IOC, Thomas Bach, following growing calls for the games to be delayed or canceled because of the concerns around coronavirus pandemic.
The Japanese leader said they have agreed that the games would not be canceled and will be held by the summer of 2021, his office said on Twitter.
The Olympics was set to run from July 24 through Aug. 9, and the Paralympics from Aug. 25 to Sept. 6.