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Restrictions on daily life grow as U.S. death toll climbs

Here are the latest updates from around the world.
A traveler talks with a security officer at Washington Union Station, a major transportation hub in the nation's capital, on March 16, 2020.
A traveler talks with a security officer at Washington Union Station, a major transportation hub in the nation's capital, on March 16, 2020.J. Scott Applewhite / AP

The Dow Jones plunged nearly 3,000 points as U.S. states and major cities are following European nations and capitals in shutting down schools, bars and theaters to try and delay the spread of coronavirus.

California officials announced a complete lockdown of the Bay Area, including San Francisco, that requires people to stay home except for essential needs, and the governor of Ohio is recommending postponing the state's primary elections originally scheduled for Tuesday.

New York, Los Angeles and Washington state have all announced public buildings will be shut temporarily, amid fears that the number of cases will continue to grow beyond the confirmed 4,000. The National Security Council stressed Sunday night that there is no U.S.-wide shutdown or national quarantine.

A long list of European nations that have enacted severe countrywide lockdowns, including France, Spain, Denmark, Netherlands and the Republic of Ireland. Italy, the worst affected European country, has recorded more than 1,800 coronavirus-related deaths so far and expects some 90,000 infections by the end of April.

The U.S. death toll climbed to at least 85, with 25 of those deaths associated with the Life Care Center in Kirkland, Washington.

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San Francisco police ready to enforce health orders

837d ago / 6:42 AM UTC

Beverly Hills’ iconic Rodeo Drive closed to shoppers

837d ago / 6:12 AM UTC

Beverly Hill’s iconic Rodeo Drive and the rest of the city’s “non-essential” retail stores are being ordered closed for most business to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

The City Council approved an ordinance that says non-essential retail businesses “shall be closed except for pick up, delivery and certain transactions by appointment.”

Also closed are bars and nightclubs that don’t serve food, and restaurants are restricted from serving food to be eaten on premises. Gyms and movies theaters are closed. 

Nordstrom to temporarily close all stores

837d ago / 5:44 AM UTC

Nordstrom will close all of its stores for two weeks starting Tuesday for the health and safety of customers and employees, the retailer said Monday.

Its websites will remain open for business. Employees will receive pay and benefits. “We realize the impact a closure can have on our store employees, and this is not a decision we made lightly,” Nordstrom said.

Nordstrom has 117 full-line stores in the U.S. and Canada, and also has 250 Nordstrom Rack stores among other businesses, according to its website.

Several other companies, including Apple, have also announced temporary closures. Cosmetics and beauty chain Sephora also on Monday announced it would close all stores in the United States and Canada starting at 5 p.m. Tuesday and lasting until April 3.

Companies offer help with missed payments, disconnections

837d ago / 5:09 AM UTC

Some of the largest companies are waiving late fees, forgiving missed payments and expanding services as the threat of economic hardship looms along with the coronavirus outbreak in the United States.

More than 100 municipal water and utility companies across 34 states said they won't shut off water service for late payments, and utility companies from Duke Energy in North Carolina to regional utility companies in California have all suspended shut-offs for nonpayment as the virus continues to disrupt daily life.

Credit card companies said they are offering relief programs, and a group of broadband and telecommunications companies has pledged to postpone termination of services for the next 60 days for customers unable to pay their bills.

Read the full story here.

New York Times staffer tests positive

837d ago / 4:59 AM UTC

An employee at The New York Times has tested positive for the coronavirus illness COVID-19, the newspaper’s publisher and executive editor said in a note to staff.

“The staff member has not been hospitalized and is in self-quarantine, recovering at home. The individual was last in the office on Thursday, March 5,” publisher A.G. Sulzberger and executive editor Dean Baquet wrote in the note.

The employee was not identified. “We have informed all the individuals who were in close proximity to this colleague. We’ve been in contact with each and asked them to monitor their health and self-quarantine,” they wrote, adding that having the vast majority of staff work from home is in everyone’s best interest.

Asian shares bounce after Wall Street dive

837d ago / 4:57 AM UTC

BANGKOK — Shares reversed early losses in Asia on Tuesday after the U.S. stock market plunged to its worst day in more than three decades and huge swaths of many economies came to a standstill as businesses and travel shut down due to the virus outbreak.

Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 reversed early losses to gain 0.7 percent while the Hang Seng in Hong Kong jumped 0.9 percent. Shares also rose in Thailand and Australia, but fell in other regional markets.

Monday’s 12 percent drop for the S&P 500, its worst day in more than 30 years, came as voices from Wall Street to the White House said the coronavirus may be dragging the economy into a recession.

The rebound in Asia followed news that the Trump administration plans strong support for airlines stricken by the outbreak and is pushing the Senate to enact a massive stimulus package to alleviate losses for businesses and individuals affected by the outbreak, which has infected more than 182,000 people worldwide, 4,600 in the United States.

Texas's first death was elderly patient

837d ago / 4:51 AM UTC

A Texas hospital district said Monday that a patient in his 90s who died Sunday tested positive for the coronavirus illness COVID-19. It appears to be the state's first death linked to the disease.

The Matagorda County Hospital District said the death was its second positive case, and that the state “launched an extensive investigation into this second positive case.” There have been at least 86 deaths linked to the illness in the United States, according to an NBC News count.

There were 57 coronavirus cases in the state as of noon Monday, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services’ website.

Miami mayor with coronavirus shares video diary to reduce fear

837d ago / 4:36 AM UTC

California governor halts evictions and foreclosures

837d ago / 4:14 AM UTC

California Gov. Gavin Newsom halted evictions and foreclosures statewide Monday in an executive order aimed at protecting businesses and residents from the coronavirus’ economic impact.

The order also protects Californians from utility shutoffs. Newsom tasked the state’s utility regulator with making sure electric, gas, water, internet and phone service remain functional if a customer’s payment is late.

“People shouldn’t lose or be forced out of their home because of the spread of COVID-19,” Newsom said in a statement.

The protections will remain in effect through May 31.

In a briefing, Newsom said that 392 people in the state have tested positive for the disease — an increase of 57 people from Sunday. Six people have died, he said.

Los Angeles sheriff releasing inmates, urging fewer arrests

837d ago / 4:10 AM UTC

The Los Angeles County sheriff said Monday that his department had reduced the number of inmates in his custody by about 600, in part by granting early release, amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Police departments are also being asked to cite and release offenders when possible, and that average daily arrests have dropped by around 300 a day to 60 a day.

Sheriff Alex Villanueva said that inmate populations are vulnerable and the moves are designed to help protect them. There have been no confirmed cases among inmates, but 35 are in isolation housing or quarantine, he said.

Read the full story here.

Health metrics expert: U.S. likely headed for nationwide quarantine

837d ago / 4:07 AM UTC

S. Carolina's first death brings U.S. toll to 85

837d ago / 3:40 AM UTC

South Carolina’s health department on Thursday announced the state’s first death related to the coronavirus illness COVID-19, an elderly resident of a nursing home.

“DHEC is working with the facility to identify all contacts and is providing guidance about infection control measures to prevent spread,” South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control said in a statement.

Coronavirus cases have been reported in 49 of the 50 U.S. states and Washington, D.C., as well as Puerto Rico, according to an NBC count of reports. West Virginia has reported no cases. As of Monday night, there have been 4,424 including 85 deaths across the U.S., according to that count, which includes presumptive positive and confirmed cases, people who have recovered and those repatriated from outside the country.

Staffing firm sees 'unprecedented' demand for nurses

and

837d ago / 3:05 AM UTC

A New York City-based staffing firm is looking to hire thousands of nurses and other hospital staff amid “unprecedented” demand across the country, the company’s president, Michael Fazio, told NBC News.

Fazio said Prime Staffing NYC, which operates in 15 states, has seen a 95 percent increase in job openings for nurses in the last two weeks — and he’s trying to hire 750 for the New York tri-state region alone.

“More nurses are needed in this crisis time,” he said. “We’re trying to take care of nurses, to protect them and their families so that they and their families feel comfortable going to work and providing  care.”

The company is offering incentives like car service with screened drivers, paid childcare, sealed, prepared meals and access to a private lab for testing.

Such perks are cutting into the company’s margins “significantly,” Fazio said, but he believes they’re necessary to get nurses “the care they deserve” and to “keep the system running.”

Ohio polls will remain closed amid 'emergency,' governor says

837d ago / 2:58 AM UTC

Ohio's Democratic primary election was thrust into chaos Monday night as Gov. Mike DeWine said the state would not open polls Tuesday because of the coronavirus outbreak after a judge declined to postpone the contest until June.

"During this time when we face an unprecedented public health crisis, to conduct an election tomorrow would force poll workers and voters to place themselves at an unacceptable health risk of contracting coronavirus," DeWine said in a statement posted to Twitter.

He said Ohio Department of Health Director Amy Acton would "order the polls closed as a health emergency. While the polls will be closed tomorrow, Secretary of State @FrankLaRose will seek a remedy through the courts to extend voting options so that every voter who wants to vote will be granted that opportunity."

Read the full story here.

837d ago / 2:53 AM UTC

Dental association wants 3-week delay on elective procedures

and

837d ago / 2:47 AM UTC

The American Dental Association said Monday that all elective procedures should be delayed three weeks to help alleviate the burden on emergency rooms.

In a statement, the group called on its 163,000 members to focus on emergency patients who might otherwise visit a hospital ER.

The association said the move is necessary to help combat the “unprecedented” circumstances posed by COVID-19.  

Italy's motorways empty with nation under coronavirus lockdown

837d ago / 2:36 AM UTC

'There’s a need for speed' on relief bills, Senate Republicans say

and

837d ago / 2:32 AM UTC

Senate Republicans left their impromptu meeting with Treasury Secretary Mnuchin, Acting OMB Director Russ Vought and White House Economic Advisor Larry Kudlow considering not only the House-passed coronavirus relief package but potentially two more "phases" of relief bills.

On Tuesday, Mnuchin will come back to have lunch with Senate Republicans and is expected to “bring them paper,” according to Sen. Marco Rubio, on the cost and details of the third phase of the bill.

Senators floated around numerous ideas during the meeting, including Senator Romney’s proposal to give every American adult $1,000. 

“We’re very interested in recommendations and ideas that will help affected industries, affected businesses, and affected Americans and we’re going to continue to talk to people pretty robustly about those ideas,” White House advisor Eric Ueland said. “There’s a need for speed. We can’t sit around and twiddle thumbs and wait. ... We have to act fast.”

Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson out of Australian hospital

837d ago / 1:20 AM UTC

Tom Hanks and wife Rita Wilson are no longer hospitalized as the couple has moved to self-quarantine at their Australia home after testing positive for coronavirus.

Hanks, 63, announced that he and his wife were experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, the disease associated with coronavirus, on his social media Wednesday. But both actors are now out of the hospital and quarantined at home, according to the two-time Oscar winner's son, Chet Hanks.

"So quick update on my folks, they're out of the hospital," Chet Hanks said on Instagram Monday. "They're still self-quarantined, obviously, but they're feeling a lot better."

Read the full story here.

837d ago / 1:07 AM UTC

Penguins explore Chicago aquarium while it's closed for coronavirus

837d ago / 12:40 AM UTC

"Social distancing" might be frustrating for humans, but for two penguins at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago it meant a chance to break free and explore. 

Edward and Annie, two bonded rockhopper penguins, were recorded by staff walking around the Shedd Aquarium on Monday while it remained closed to the public. The curious birds are scheduled to begin their nesting season next week, according to the aquarium's Facebook page. 

"While this may be a strange time for us, these days are relatively normal for the penguins and other animals at Shedd," the post said.

Shedd Aquarium promised to post more adventures from its animals while it remains closed during the coronavirus outbreak.

U.S. death toll jumps to 81

837d ago / 12:25 AM UTC

The number of reported U.S. deaths related to coronavirus jumped to 81 on Monday night, an increase of 10 within the span of a few hours. 

Washington state reported 6 more deaths, and Virginia, New York, Louisiana and California each reported one death.

Read the full story here.

Facebook, Google and other tech giants vow solidarity to fight fraud and misinformation

837d ago / 12:11 AM UTC

Seven of the biggest names in technology joined together in a statement vowing to work together closely on their response to the coronavirus pandemic. 

"We're helping millions of people stay connected while also jointly combating fraud and misinformation about the virus, elevating authoritative content on our platforms, and sharing critical updates in coordination with government healthcare agencies around the world," the companies said. 

Joining the statement were tech firms that typically are heated competitors: Facebook, Google, Google-owned YouTube, Microsoft, Microsoft-owned LinkedIn, Reddit and Twitter. They said they were inviting other companies to join them. 

Washington state may call on dentists to donate personal protective gear

837d ago / 11:57 PM UTC

With increasingly dire shortages of personal protective equipment like masks and gowns in Washington state hospitals, medical professionals are raising the possibility of asking dentists to scale back non-critical procedures and donate their extra protective gear.

“You can get the dentists out of the supply chain,” said Cassie Sauer, CEO of the Washington State Hospitals Association. “No one should be getting their teeth cleaned.”  

Sauer says her group is working with the state department of health on a possible mandate for dentists to stop non-critical procedures and donate their extra gear.

Even in states where the need is not as dire, hospitals are looking to other medical facilities for supplies.“There are other fields that use [protective equipment] that may be an untapped resource,” said Kerry McKean Kelly, of the New Jersey Hospital Association.

The American Dental Association did not respond directly to a question about dentists donating protective gear, but it released a statement Monday asking dentists nationwide to “postpone elective procedures for the next three weeks.”

837d ago / 11:56 PM UTC

"Jeopardy!" and "Wheel of Fortune" will suspend production as concerns regarding the spread of coronavirus continue to grow. 

"The health and well-being of our contestants, staff, and crew are our top priority, and we will continue to monitor the situation as it develops," the "Jeopardy!" Twitter account said Monday. 

It's unclear when production will continue.

"Jeopardy!" host Alex Trebek is currently battling stage 4 pancreatic cancer and finished his first round of chemotherapy in August. 

San Francisco residents ordered to stay home in effort to slow spread of coronavirus

837d ago / 11:39 PM UTC

Teachers and families brace for massive experiment in online education

837d ago / 11:38 PM UTC

Teachers at Washington state's Northshore school district spent the past week figuring out how to teach students to do science experiments at their kitchen tables, or jumping jacks in their home basements instead of gym class.

After the area saw some of the nation's first confirmed coronavirus infections, Northshore teachers learned two weeks ago that — ready or not — they'd have to lead the way on what's likely to become the largest experiment in online instruction this country has seen.

"It's been a tremendous lift," said Tim Brittell, the president of the Northshore Education Association, the district's teachers union.

Read the full story here.

837d ago / 11:36 PM UTC

False coronavirus rumors surge in 'hidden viral' text messages

837d ago / 11:34 PM UTC

The various false text messages forwarded to many Americans on Sunday and Monday all started a little differently before making the same debunked claim: Martial law is coming.

Martial law is not coming. U.S. politicians on Monday sought to remove any doubt and publicly debunked the rumors. But the messages proved hard to stop or even trace, because they were shared in texts, often forwarded by people who meant well.

With social media networks like Facebook and Twitter cracking down on the spread of dangerous misinformation in the face of the pandemic, misleading information and false claims have moved to what experts are calling a literal “game of telephone” in text-messaging apps.

Read the full story here.

837d ago / 11:05 PM UTC

NASCAR postponing races until at least May

837d ago / 10:53 PM UTC

NASCAR announced Monday that it would be postponing all its races until at least the beginning of May in order to abide by government guidelines designed to prevent the spread of coronavirus. 

"We intend to hold all 36 races this season, with future rescheduling soon to be determined as we continue to monitor the situation closely with public health officials and medical experts," the racing league said in a statement. 

NASCAR joins other major leagues, including the MLB, NHL and NBA, in suspending sports seasons as the world combats the pandemic. The NFL is not currently in its regular season, but did announced Monday it was canceling its Las Vegas draft event amid the outbreak. 

Scientists invite the public to 'donate' computing power to fight coronavirus

837d ago / 10:48 PM UTC

Members of the public are downloading software to donate some of their computers' processing power to researchers seeking to understand and fight the coronavirus.

Folding@home and Rosetta@home are both distributed computing projects that divide up large data tasks that would otherwise require expensive supercomputers into smaller pieces that can be processed on personal computers at home. 

Folding@home, launched by Stanford University in 2000, uses the idle resources from thousands of computers globally to simulate the way proteins fold, one of the most complicated processes in biology. Understanding protein folding is key to understanding diseases and identifying treatments.

Until now, Folding@home has been used to study diseases including cancer, Parkinson’s, influenza and Huntington’s. Now it’s simulating the viral proteins of coronavirus in an effort to guide the development of treatments. Rosetta@home, from the University of Washington, is a second distributed computing project analyzing the structures of proteins in an effort to identify treatments. The project has already uncovered the workings of some key proteins to help guide the design of novel vaccines and antiviral drugs.

McDonald's is closing dining areas at company-owned restaurants

837d ago / 10:26 PM UTC

McDonald’s said Monday that it is closing seating areas and playgrounds in an effort to stem the spread of coronavirus.

In a statement, the company said the closures will go into effect Monday night. Drive through and take-out orders will still be available. Self-service kiosk areas will also be closed, the company said.

The shutdown applies to McDonald’s USA-owned restaurants, the statement said. It wasn’t immediately clear where those restaurants are or how many are company owned. McDonald's did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The statement pushed franchise owners to “focus on the needs of their local communities and make safe and caring decisions. Franchisees are strongly encouraged to adopt similar operations procedures while keeping the needs of their people and communities at the center of their decisions.”

Kristofer Hivju, Tormund on "Game of Thrones," announces he has coronavirus

837d ago / 10:21 PM UTC

Kristofer Hivju, the actor who played fan favorite Tormund Giantsbane on HBO's "Game of Thrones," announced on Instagram he has tested positive for coronavirus.

"Sorry to say that I, today, have tested positive for COVID19, Corona virus," Hivju wrote as he's quarantined in Norway. "My familiy and I are self-isolating at home for as long as it takes. We are in good health - I only have mild symptoms of a cold."

"Together we can fight this virus and avert a crisis at our hospitals. Please take care of each other, keep your distance, and stay healthy!" 

Coronavirus upends justice system as states close courts and halt trials

837d ago / 10:19 PM UTC

Across the country, attempts to slow the spread of the deadly coronavirus have thrown the criminal justice system into disarray as officials try to limit large courthouse gatherings, including juries, while also making sure that people accused of crimes aren't deprived of their due-process rights.

Concerns about the outbreak seem to have hit a tipping point, with 27 states under orders to stop jury trials or restrict the number of people who can come to court, according to data collected by the National Center for State Courts as of Monday afternoon. Some federal courts, including districts in New York and Washington, have also postponed trials.

"The only time we've heard of anything vaguely like this was after 9/11 or a hurricane, but that was only for a few days," said Bill Raftery, a spokesman for the center.

Read the full story here.

837d ago / 10:14 PM UTC

SoulCycle, Equinox to close locations worldwide as fitness studios face coronavirus

837d ago / 10:03 PM UTC

SoulCycle, a beloved fitness studio known for its cult-like following, announced Monday it would be closing its studios across the globe until the end of April as the world attempts to stop the spread of coronavirus. 

"Never did we imagine a day where we’d have to close the doors to 99 studios and countless riders who turn to SoulCycle for a safe space," the company said in a statement. "But what makes Soul so special is not our studios—it’s our people." 

Equinox, a fitness chain known for its luxury amenities, also announced on Monday it would be closing all locations until further notice. 

The decisions by industry giants SoulCycle and Equinox comes after similar announcements from other notable fitness studios such as Barry's Bootcamp, Flywheel Sports and Rumble. 

Intensive care in Rome

837d ago / 9:38 PM UTC
Image: ITALY-HEALTH-VIRUS
Medical workers wheel a patient under intensive care into the newly built Columbus Covid 2 temporary hospital, built to fight the new coronavirus infection, on Monday at the Gemelli hospital in Rome.Andreas Solaro / AFP - Getty Images

Amazon hiring 100,000 people to help with coronavirus demand

837d ago / 9:37 PM UTC

Amazon announced Monday that it was opening 100,000 full and part-time positions as delivery demands increase and people begin to limit their movements to slow the spread of coronavirus. 

"We also know many people have been economically impacted as jobs in areas like hospitality, restaurants, and travel are lost or furloughed as part of this crisis," Amazon said. "We want those people to know we welcome them on our teams until things return to normal and their past employer is able to bring them back."

In addition to the new roles, Amazon will be increasing its hourly pay across the globe through April, the company said in a press release. Amazon said the temporary pay bump was an effort to recognize "our employees who are playing an essential role for people" during the pandemic. 

'SNL' suspends production

837d ago / 9:32 PM UTC

The "Saturday Night Live" episode slated for March 28 will not air and the show has halted production until further notice, a NBCUniversal spokesperson said Monday.

"The safety of our employees continue to be our top priority. We will monitor the situation closely and make decisions about future shows on an ongoing basis as further information develops," the spokesperson said. The March 28 episode was set to be hosted by actor John Krasinski and musical guest Dua Lipa.

NBCUniversal is the parent company of NBC News. 

France goes on lockdown, President Macron says nation is 'at war' with coronavirus

837d ago / 9:19 PM UTC
Image: FRANCE-HEALTH-VIRUS-POLITICS-MEASURES
Children watch French President Emmanuel Macron during a televised address to the nation on the coronavirus outbreak on March 16, 2020.Damien Meyer / AFP - Getty Images

PARIS — French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday ordered stringent restrictions on people's movement that would last at least two weeks to slow the spread of the coronavirus and said the army would be drafted in to help move the sick to hospitals.

France had already shut down restaurants and bars, closed schools and put ski resorts off limits, but Macron said measures unprecedented in peacetime were needed as the number of infected people doubled every three days and deaths spiraled higher.

In a somber address to the nation, the president said that from Tuesday midday people should stay at home and only go out for essential activities. Anyone flouting the restrictions would be punished.

"I know what I am asking of you is unprecedented but circumstances demand it. We are at war," Macron said. Macron also said he was postponing the second round of local elections on Sunday and was suspending the government's reform agenda, starting with his overhaul of the pension system.

U.S. airlines seek more than $50 billion in government help as coronavirus roils business

837d ago / 8:57 PM UTC

U.S. airlines are seeking government assistance of more than $50 billion, including a mix of direct aid and loan guarantees, as the industry reels from the coronavirus outbreak, a lobbying group that represents 10 U.S. passenger and cargo airlines said Monday.

The aid, if received, would be the industry’s first bailout since the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and the largest ever. It is also the clearest sign yet of the financial damage coronavirus and the draconian measures governments are taking to stop it are having on American businesses.

Read the full story here.

Schumer proposes $750 billion coronavirus package

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837d ago / 8:42 PM UTC

Senate Minority Leader Schumer, D-N.Y., said Monday he'll introduce a proposal for coronavirus legislation that would provide “at least $750 billion to wage war against COVID-19."

 “We will need big, bold, immediate federal action to deal with this crisis,” Schumer said on the Senate floor. “The proposal will get money directly into the hands of families that need it most, and among other priorities, include federal funding to address hospital and treatment capacity issues, expand unemployment insurance and increase Medicaid funding."

The measures would also include funding emergency child care, help for schools with remote learning and mortgage and student loan protections, Schumer said. 

Schumer's statement comes as the Senate awaits other emergency coronavirus legislation from the House

The first coronavirus legislation was an $8.3 billion package signed into law on March 6.

As coronavirus spreads, immunocompromised young people spread the word about safety using #HighRiskCovid19

837d ago / 8:32 PM UTC

As a self-described extrovert, Evelyn Lebel says she finds social distancing difficult. But as a 27-year-old woman with Alpha-1 antitryspin deficiency, a genetic disorder that can result in lung and liver complications, she knows self-quarantine is necessary.

Yet even as bars, schools, places of worship and other seemingly formidable establishments like Broadway have closed down in the past few days amid the spread of coronavirus, some young people ignored warnings to "flatten the curve" — instead opting to gather with friends in crowded locales for boozy brunch as if it were any other weekend.

As posts deriding these young people as "selfish" began populating online, so has a trending movement #HighRiskCovid19, whereby their immunocompromised peers, like Lebel, are sharing their stories in an attempt to bring greater awareness to those under 60 years old with ailments that make them more vulnerable to coronavirus.

Read more here.

Some states have seen a 'phenomenal increase' in coronavirus tests — but U.S. still lags far behind

837d ago / 8:28 PM UTC

Some states have seen a desperately needed increase in their bandwidth to test for the coronavirus in recent days — but the United States' testing capacity still lags far behind other nations.

"We have had a phenomenal increase in testing," New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday at a press conference where he announced there were 950 cases of the virus statewide, the highest of any state in the country.

When the outbreak first came to New York, the state set a target goal of running 1,000 tests a day. By the end of this week, the state expects to be able to perform 7,000 tests per day — an "exponential increase of what we have done," Cuomo said. Along with the uptick in tests, Americans should expect to see a rise in confirmed cases, he added.

Read more here.

NYC mayor orders officials to seek facilities for medical use

837d ago / 8:28 PM UTC

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said he’s ordered his team to “identify all facilities that can be utilized for medical use.”

He reiterated that 80 percent of people with the coronavirus won’t need to be hospitalized but said, “we will need massive medical capacity at a level this city has never seen before.”

Dow slides 3,000 points in worst day since 1987

837d ago / 8:10 PM UTC

Wall Street had a grisly start to the week, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average sliding by 3,000 points to end the day at 20,186, just a few hundred points above where it was when President Donald Trump took office in 2017.

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq were down by around 12 percent by Monday's closing bell. It was the worst day ever for the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index, and the worst points drop since 1987 for the S&P.

The massive sell-off came despite emergency action from the Federal Reserve on Sunday to shore up the economy by infusing markets and Main Street with easier access to cash.

The Dow closed at 19,732 on Jan. 19, 2017, the day before Trump was sworn in. 

CDC worker tests positive

837d ago / 8:05 PM UTC

An employee of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has tested positive for the coronavirus.

The CDC confirmed the case Monday, and said the patient is in good condition and is "isolated to prevent spread of infection to others."

The staff member had not been directly involved with the response to the coronavirus, and had not been at work since March 6, the CDC said. It's not clear how the employee became infected.

Social distancing at the drive-thru

837d ago / 8:03 PM UTC
Drive Thru Coronavirus Testing Area Opens At Carroll Hospital in Westminster, Maryland
Stephanie Barkert uses a cell phone to communicate with a driver before testing him for the coronavirus at a drive-thru station in the hospital's parking garage on Monday in Westminster, Maryland. Not open to the general public, the station was set up to take samples from people who had spoken with their doctors and received explicit direction to get a test for the coronavirus. Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

Coronavirus vaccine test opens with 1st doses

837d ago / 7:58 PM UTC

SEATTLE — U.S. researchers gave the first shot to the first person in a test of an experimental coronavirus vaccine Monday — leading off a worldwide hunt for protection even as the pandemic surges.

Image:
A pharmacist gives Jennifer Haller the first shot in the first-stage safety study clinical trial of a potential vaccine for COVID-19 on Monday at the Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute in Seattle.Ted S. Warren / AP

With a careful jab in a healthy volunteer’s arm, scientists at the Kaiser Permanente Washington Research Institute in Seattle begin an anxiously awaited first-stage study of a potential COVID-19 vaccine developed in record time after the new virus exploded from China and fanned across the globe.

Read more about the vaccine trial.

Pennsylvania shuts down all non-essential businesses

837d ago / 7:53 PM UTC

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf announced Monday that he would order all non-essential businesses and services across the state to shut down as part of the effort to slow the spread of coronavirus. 

"This isn't a decision I take lightly at all," Wolf told reporters. "It's one that I'm making because medical experts believe it is the only way to prevent our hospitals from being overwhelmed by patients." 

Wolf's order does not apply to municipal services such as trash collection or businesses deemed essential, such as grocery stores and pharmacies.

"For example, if you need to go to the pharmacy, go to the pharmacy,” Wolf said. “But don’t stop at several other stores or places on the way in and make contact with a dozen other people.”

837d ago / 7:45 PM UTC

Trump advises Americans to avoid restaurants, schools in strongest coronavirus guidelines yet

837d ago / 7:41 PM UTC

President Donald Trump said Monday his administration's coronavirus task force updated its guidelines amid the coronavirus outbreak. 

He said the administration recommends all Americans, including young and healthy, should homeschool children, avoid gatherings of 10 or more people, stop discretionary travel and avoid bars and restaurants. 

"It’s important for the young and healthy people to understand that while they may experience mild symptoms, they can easily spread this virus and they will spread it indeed, putting countless others in harm's way," he said.

The administration later clarified the guidelines are in effect for 15 days and may change after that time. 

A day earlier, many states made similar guidelines mandatory. 

Universal to stream newly released movies

837d ago / 7:39 PM UTC

Universal Pictures has said it will stream some newly released movies and one upcoming title, as many people are staying home and scores of movie theaters are closed due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Universal, owned by NBCUniversal, which is the parent company of NBC News, confirmed it will let customers watch “Trolls World Tour” on demand through a range of services including Apple, Amazon, Google and Fandango, among others. The movie is scheduled to open in theaters on April 10. 

The movies that are currently on theatrical release, including “The Hunt,” “The Invisible Man,” and “Emma,” will cost $19.99 and will be available for a 48-hour rental period. Until now, theaters have been strict about keeping a 90-day period before movies are released for home viewing.  

Disney released "Frozen 2" on its streaming service, Disney+, on Sunday — three months earlier than scheduled.

Indiana records first coronavirus death, U.S. death toll at 71

837d ago / 7:37 PM UTC

The state of Indiana has recorded its first coronavirus-related death on Monday, according to the state's health department. 

An adult over the age of 60 died Monday morning at a Community Health Network hospital after being hospitalized with COVID-19, the disease associated with coronavirus. The unidentified patient had an underlying medical condition, though the health department did not say what that was.

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb encouraged state residents to stay home and follow the precautionary measures laid out by the state. 

“A family today is suffering the ultimate loss due to COVID-19, and this sadly underscores how severe the virus can be — especially for some high-risk Hoosiers," Holcomb said on Monday. 

The death of the Indiana patient brings the U.S. death toll to 71. 

Baseball season pushed back eight weeks, per CDC guidance

837d ago / 7:31 PM UTC

Major League Baseball said Monday that the start of its season will be pushed back eight weeks, citing guidance from the CDC.

Ohio governor recommends state push back in-person primary voting until June

837d ago / 7:17 PM UTC

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said Monday that he is recommending that in-person primary voting be pushed back until June amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Ohio's primary is set to take place Tuesday, as are contests in Illinois, Arizona and Florida.

"It is my recommendation that we postpone in-person voting until June 2, 2020," DeWine tweeted. "We cannot tell people to stay inside, but also tell them to go out and vote."

"I'm making this recommendation because we must also look out for our poll workers," he continued. "I believe when we look back on this, we'll be happy we did this. The votes that have already been cast will still be counted - and this recommendation would allow others to vote in the future."

San Francisco to require people to stay home except for 'essential needs'

837d ago / 7:10 PM UTC

San Francisco will prohibit anyone from leaving their homes except for essential needs beginning at midnight Monday night, Mayor London Breed said.

“Necessary government functions & essential stores will remain open,” Breed said in a tweet. “These steps are based on the advice of public health experts to slow the spread of #COVID19.” 

The restriction is among the most extreme measures taken nationwide in response to the pandemic and echoes similar measures in European and Asian cities. San Francisco officials were planning a briefing at 1 p.m. PT, Breed said. 

“The most important thing you can do is remain home as much as possible. There is no need to rush out for food or supplies, as these stores will remain open,” she added. “We'll meet this challenge and we'll get through it together.” 

Similar orders will apply in six Bay Area counties covering 6.7 million people, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

837d ago / 7:02 PM UTC

Nearly 1,700 members of the National Guard mobilized in 16 states

837d ago / 6:59 PM UTC

As of Monday morning, more than 670 Air and Army National Guard have been activated in 15 states, up from 400 in six states as of Friday morning. The vast majority of those activated are in Maryland (1,000) and New York (516).

All 50 states have declared emergencies - any state that has declared an emergency has the authority to call up the National Guard.

Most of the National Guard troops are currently assigned to disinfecting/cleaning of public areas, providing transport for health-care workers, providing support at drive-through testing facilities, collecting and delivering samples and delivering food and supplies.

More than 145 members of the Colorado National Guard who are trained in biological hazards have been activated to help out at drive-through testing facilities throughout the state. On Monday, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan activated 1,000 members of his state’s National Guard. Eight West Virginia National Guard experts in chemical and biological response and civil support are training state first responders from West Virginia and Kentucky on how to mitigate coronavirus exposure.

Trump, Cuomo spar over coronavirus response

837d ago / 6:56 PM UTC

After a Monday morning press conference in which New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo pleaded for the federal government to increasingly help states battle the coronavirus outbreak, President Donald Trump tweeted that he should "do more."

"Just had a very good tele-conference with Nation’s Governors," Trump wrote. "Went very well. Cuomo of New York has to "do more."

Cuomo quickly fired back on Twitter. 

"I have to do more? No — YOU have to do something! You’re supposed to be the President," he said.

Trump's remarks came after Cuomo called on the federal government to help build emergency hospital space and to provide states with uniform guidelines for shutdowns, like Cuomo announced Monday for restaurants, bars, gyms, movie theaters and casinos.

837d ago / 6:50 PM UTC

Billie Eilish urges young fans to stay home

837d ago / 6:29 PM UTC

Grammy Award-winning singer Billie Eilish is urging her younger fans to stay inside amid the coronavirus outbreak, saying the situation is “not a joke” and needs to be taken seriously.

In an Instagram story posted Monday afternoon, Eilish — who had to postpone several of her world tour dates because of the outbreak — said she feels that some younger people who haven’t seen the effect of the coronavirus with their own eyes are less likely to heed warnings to stay home and socially isolate.

“I’ve seen a lot of young people out in the world, like, all over the place going to the club or going to the beach or like just going out or hanging out and it’s really irresponsible,” Eilish, 18, said.

She added that at first, when she learned of COVID-19, she didn’t care about the virus, thinking she was young and “immune” but said she now understands the severity.   

“I did not realize it’s not about me … it’s not about you. It’s about if you do happen to get it or you're near somebody who gets it and you don’t even get it, you can transfer it to someone who is much more weak,” Eilish said. “Don’t panic, but don’t be an idiot.”

Idris Elba says on Twitter that he tested positive

838d ago / 6:24 PM UTC

"Luther" actor Idris Elba said in a tweet Monday that he has tested positive for COVID-19.

"I have no symptoms so far but have been isolated since I found out about my possible exposure to the virus," Elba said in the tweet. "Stay home people and be pragmatic. I will keep you updated on how I’m doing."

Stop nonessential social contact, U.K. PM tells Britons

838d ago / 6:01 PM UTC

Brits need to stop nonessential social contact and avoid clubs, pubs, theaters and all unnecessary travel as the coronavirus outbreak accelerates, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Monday.

"Now is the time for everyone to stop nonessential contact with others and to stop all unnecessary travel," Johnson said at a news conference from Downing Street.

He said anyone with symptoms of the coronavirus should isolate themselves along with their entire household for 14 days. Working at home, he said, should begin in earnest. "We need people to start working from home where they possibly can," Johnson said. 

"It looks as though we are now approaching the fast growth part of the upward curve, and without drastic action cases could double every five or six days," Johnson said.

Canada closing its borders to noncitizens

838d ago / 5:59 PM UTC

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Monday that Canada will be closing its borders to noncitizens.

Trudeau said there will be exceptions for air crews, diplomats, immediate family members of Canadian citizens and, notably, U.S. citizens. Trudeau implied the U.S. citizens exception could change, and said the order does not apply to permanent residents of Canada.

Canada has 339 reported cases of the coronavirus as of Monday, and one reported death.

Trudeau's announcement comes after many European nations enacted similar policies over the weekend to stem the spread of the virus. 

Lone GOP congressman delays House coronavirus relief bill from moving to Senate

and

838d ago / 5:58 PM UTC

WASHINGTON — Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, is holding up the House-passed coronavirus relief bill and preventing it from being delivered to the Senate for a vote.

The House was expected to make technical corrections Monday to the bipartisan measure, passed by the House early Saturday, but Gohmert is insisting on reading them, a Democratic leadership aide confirmed to NBC News on Monday.

The technical corrections package has not yet been finalized and the House wants to pass it by unanimous consent because the House is on recess this week.

If one member stands in opposition, the House can’t send the bill to the Senate without bringing the entire House back from their districts to Washington for a vote. The Senate is currently in session this week, but schedules have been fluid because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Read more here.

Italy announces nearly 28,000 coronavirus cases, 2,158 dead

838d ago / 5:47 PM UTC
Undertakers carry a coffin out of a hearse on March 16, 2020 at the Monumental cemetery of Bergamo, Italy, as burials of coronavirus victims are conducted approximately every half hour.
Undertakers carry a coffin Monday at the cemetery in Bergamo, Italy, as burials of coronavirus victims are conducted approximately every half hour.Piero Cruciatti / AFP via Getty Images

The total number of coronavirus cases in Italy rose to 27,980 Monday, including the dead and recovered, the country's Civil Protection Department chief, Angelo Borrelli, said. 

The number had risen by more than 3,000 from the day before, Borrelli said. Nearly 350 more people had died, bringing the total number of dead to 2,158. 

More than 400 people had recovered from COVID-19, bringing the total number of recovered to 2,749. 

Just over 23,000 remain infected, and more than 11,000 are hospitalized. Nearly 2,000 of those hospitalized are in intensive care, while about 10,000 are isolated at home. 

Nearly. 138,000 people in the country have been tested for coronavirus. Much of Italy remains on lockdown in an effort to limit the spread of the virus.

The Department of Civil Protection released a map to show where cases have been confirmed

The scene in Wuhan

838d ago / 5:18 PM UTC
Image: Medical staff wave goodbye to a patient who recovered from coronavirus at the Red Cross Hospital in Wuhan, China, on March 16, 2020.
Medical staff wave goodbye to a patient who recovered from coronavirus at the Red Cross Hospital in Wuhan, China, on Monday.AFP - Getty Images

'Nighthawks' in the time of coronavirus

838d ago / 5:07 PM UTC

With many bars and restaurants shut down, an edited version of Edward Hopper's famous painting "Nighthawks" has been making the rounds.

The original version of the edited picture can be found here.

Roche says it will work with FDA to test rheumatoid arthritis drug for use on coronavirus patients

838d ago / 5:06 PM UTC

Doctors in China have used an anti-inflammation drug to curb the effects of the coronavirus on critical patients, and now the maker of the drug says it is talking to the Food and Drug Administration about clinical trials.

Tocilizumab, sold under the name Actemra and made by the Swiss pharmaceutical firm Roche, is a prescription medicine used to treat adults with moderate to severe active rheumatoid arthritis, as well as certain types of juvenile arthritis.

Chinese doctors have used Tocilizumab to prevent an overreaction of the immune system that has led to organ failure and death in coronavirus patients. An initial clinical trial in China used Actemra in 20 severe COVID-19 cases. Nineteen of the patients were discharged from the hospital within two weeks and one got better, according to China’s National Health Commission. The drug has now been approved for use in China, but has not yet been approved in the United States.

Karsten Kleine, a spokesperson for Roche, told NBC News that the drug company “is in active discussions with the FDA, as well as government bodies and institutions around the world, to initiate clinical trials that evaluate the safety and efficacy of Actemra (tocilizumab) for the treatment of severely ill COVID-19 patients.”

Amid crisis, NYC mayor commutes to the gym

and

838d ago / 5:05 PM UTC

Mayor Bill de Blasio may be telling his fellow New Yorkers to treat the coronavirus pandemic “like wartime,” but that’s not stopping him from hitting the gym.

The mayor — whose long, daily motorcade commute from his official Upper East Side mansion to his Park Slope YMCA has been criticized as wasteful — was spotted by reporters at his Brooklyn gymnasium on Monday morning, defying city advice for New Yorkers to act as if they’ve been exposed.

“The mayor wanted to visit a place that keeps him grounded one last time,” a spokesman said afterwards, according to the New York Post. “That doesn’t change the fact that he is working around the clock to ensure the safety of New Yorkers.”

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered gymnasiums closed by 8 p.m. Monday. Asked about the mayor’s gym choice, the governor said: "He can be in the gym this morning. You can be in the gym this afternoon. You can be in the gym this evening” — just not after 8 pm.

School lunches for delivery

838d ago / 4:57 PM UTC
Image:
Cafeteria workers fill buses to distribute grab and go lunches from Conte Community School in Pittsfield, Mass., on Monday. The lunches provide a good meal for children while schools are closed due to coronavirus.Ben Garver / The Berkshire Eagle via AP

 

Wall Street has a grisly morning after rate cut fails to calm markets

838d ago / 4:51 PM UTC

Wall Street had a grisly start to the week, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average sliding by 2,800 points at session lows in Monday's morning trading.

The massive sell-off came despite emergency action from the Federal Reserve on Sunday to shore up the economy by infusing markets and Main Street with easier access to cash.

The week's trading halted before it even started, with the S&P 500 triggering a "limit down" threshold in premarket activity. Within seconds of the opening bell, the S&P 500 fell again, by 7 percent, triggering a circuit breaker that halted all trading on the exchange floor for 15 minutes.

When trading resumed, all three major averages extended their losses, with the Dow settling with a decline of around 1,800 points by midday.

Maryland to close bars, restaurants, movie theaters, gyms

838d ago / 4:47 PM UTC

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced the closure of all bars, restaurants, movie theaters, and gyms across the state, while allowing drive-through, takeout and delivery services to continue. Social gatherings of more than 50 people in close proximity at all locations will also be prohibited. The order is effective at 5 p.m. ET.

Hogan issued another executive order prohibiting eviction of any tenant during the state of emergency, as well as prohibiting utility services — including electric, gas, internet, and phone companies — from shutting off for any residential customers or charging them any late fees. 

Afternoon roundup of coronavirus coverage

838d ago / 4:43 PM UTC

Why do we touch strangers so much? A history of the handshake offers clues. [National Geographic]

What if you can't avoid the hospital as COVID-19 spreads? [Wired]

Foot traffic has fallen sharply in cities with big coronavirus outbreaks [The Economist]

Locked down in Beijing, I watched China beat back the coronavirus [The Washington Post]

GOP senator says Trump should 'step back' from response messaging

and

838d ago / 4:41 PM UTC

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said she would like President Donald Trump to "step back" and appoint a public health official to be the spokesman for the federal government's response to the coronavirus outbreak. 

“My suggestion would be Dr. Anthony Fauci, who has been around for decades and is such a well-regarded infectious disease specialist," Collins told reporters in the state capital in remarks first reported by the Portland Press Herald on Friday. Collins' spokeswoman Annie Clark confirmed her remarks to NBC News on Monday.

Collins said that the federal government is making progress in dealing with the outbreak but she "isn't satisfied with the response." 

“I think that the messaging at the federal level has been inconsistent, and when you are dealing with a  novel virus like this, it’s very important that health professionals be out front and that there be a consistent message," she said, the newspaper reported. 

Romney to propose giving every U.S. adult $1,000

838d ago / 4:23 PM UTC

Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, said Monday that he will propose a provision that would give every U.S. adult a $1,000 check in any additional coronavirus relief measure that Congress considers.

"Every American adult should immediately receive $1,000 to help ensure families and workers can meet their short-term obligations and increase spending in the economy," his office said in a press release. "Congress took similar action during the 2001 and 2008 recessions. While expansions of paid leave, unemployment insurance, and SNAP benefits are crucial, the check will help fill the gaps for Americans that may not quickly navigate different government options."

Romney also called for providing federal loans to small businesses for short-term obligations, factoring unexpected housing, travel and other costs related to the outbreak into Pell Grant awards, and allowing deferment of student loans to recent graduates affected by the crisis.

Romney called on the Senate to "swiftly pass" the House-passed aid package this week. The Senate has not yet scheduled a vote on that measure.

E.U. considers 30-day restriction on nonessential travel to region

838d ago / 4:17 PM UTC

The head of the European Commission has proposed a 30-day restriction on nonessential travel to the region.

Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, one of the two most powerful European Union institutions, said in a recorded announcement that she has brought a restriction proposal to European heads of state.

"As I have just informed our G-7 partners, I propose to the heads of state and government to introduce temporary restriction on nonessential travel to the European Union," she said. 

The restriction would be in place for 30 days, with the possibility of an extension. Long-term E.U. residents, family members of E.U. nationals, diplomats, people transporting goods, people commuting for work and people helping deal with the coronavirus outbreak would be exempt.

No seating at Starbucks

838d ago / 3:57 PM UTC
Chairs are stacked in a Starbucks coffee shop
Chairs are stacked in a Starbucks coffee shop that remained open for customers purchasing for take-away on Monday in New York City. New York leaders took a series of unprecedented steps Sunday to slow the spread of the coronavirus, including canceling schools and extinguishing most nightlife in the city.John Minchillo / AP

NFL draft to proceed next month, but public events canceled

838d ago / 3:50 PM UTC

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced that teams' selection of players will be televised and proceed as scheduled April 23-25. However, public NFL draft events will be cancelled.

The league will continue exploring options for how the process will unfold and will provide information as it becomes available, Goodell said.

“The decision reflects our foremost priority — the health and safety of all fans and citizens,” Goodell said.  He added that he looks forward to “evaluating opportunities for other major NFL events in Las Vegas in the future, including the Super Bowl.”

Cuomo mobilizing National Guard to find buildings to convert to emergency hospitals, calls for federal help

838d ago / 3:40 PM UTC

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Monday that he is mobilizing the N.Y. National Guard to seek out facilities that can be converted into emergency hospital space in anticipation that the curve of new infections will almost certainly not be flattened enough to prevent the state's hospital systems from being overwhelmed.

Cuomo called on the federal government, specifically the Army Corps of Engineers, to build such emergency facilities, saying they have the greatest capability to quickly expand the total number of beds throughout the country. And Cuomo said that all elective surgeries scheduled in the state could be postponed.

Austrian Airlines to suspend operations

838d ago / 3:29 PM UTC

Austrian Airlines will temporarily suspend scheduled flights starting Thursday as the result of entry restrictions imposed by many countries amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The airline said the last flight will land in Vienna on March 19. Until then, flights will bring back as many passengers and crews home as possible, the company added. 

Cuomo announces drive-through testing sites, waiving park fees

838d ago / 3:22 PM UTC

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced drive-through coronavirus testing sites on Long Island, Staten Island and in Rockland County, among other measures he's taking to combat the outbreak. 

Cuomo also said at a Monday press conference that he's waiving all state park fees so that people are more encouraged to spend time outside in less densely packed areas.

In addition, Cuomo announced that at least 50 percent of state and local government employees must now work from home, and he said private businesses in the state should conduct the same practice when possible.

838d ago / 3:18 PM UTC

Eerie quiet at D.C. travel hub

838d ago / 3:15 PM UTC
The Main Hall of Washington's Union Station, a major transportation hub in the nation's capital, is mainly empty on Monday morning.
The Main Hall of Washington's Union Station, a major transportation hub in the nation's capital, is mainly empty on Monday morning. Patrick Semansky / AP

838d ago / 3:12 PM UTC
We apologize, this video has expired.

VA records one death from coronavirus, 25 positive test results

838d ago / 3:12 PM UTC

The Department of Veterans Affairs says it has administered more than 100 tests for COVID-19, and recorded four positive results, 21 presumptive positive results and one death.

The death occurred on March 14 in the Portland, Oregon, VA system. The four confirmed cases are in Palo Alto, California; Southern Nevada; Denver and Maine. Two of the patients are home quarantined and two are inpatients.

The 21 presumptive positive cases, meaning positive pending Centers for Disease Control confirmation, are in New Orleans, Denver, Portland (Oregon), Washington State, Atlanta, Fresno, Sioux Falls, San Francisco, New York City, Tucson, Vermont, Cleveland and New York’s Hudson Valley.

The VA urges “any Veteran with symptoms such as fever, cough or shortness of breath [to] immediately contact their local VA facility. VA urges Veterans to call before visiting – you can find contact information for your closest VA facility.”

838d ago / 3:10 PM UTC

838d ago / 2:54 PM UTC

Supreme Court announces it will delay oral arguments

838d ago / 2:50 PM UTC

The Supreme Court said Monday that it will delay oral arguments in light of the coronavirus outbreak. That means the justices will not be in the courtroom to resume hearing oral arguments next week.

Among the high-profile cases on the schedule was the March 31 argument on President Donald Trump's efforts to shield his tax returns and other financial documents from Congress and a New York prosecutor.

N.Y., N.J. and Connecticut announce widespread closures Monday night to combat coronavirus

838d ago / 2:48 PM UTC

Govs. Andrew Cuomo of New York, Phil Murphy of New Jersey and Ned Lamont of Connecticut announced in a conference call that starting Monday night at 8 p.m., all restaurants, bars, movie theaters, gyms and casinos will be ordered closed, while no events of more than 50 people will be permitted in their states.

Bars and restaurants will still be able to provide takeout and delivery services after the 8 p.m. closure.

Cuomo told reporters on the call that they felt it necessary to agree "to a common set of rules that will pertain in all of our states" so that people wouldn't "even think about going to a neighboring state because there's going to be a different set of conditions."

Speaking at a press conference with reporters, Cuomo called on the federal government to create national guidelines so that different states aren't each doing their own measures, saying that creates the appearance that the country is in "chaos" and "out of control."

Norwegian airline temporarily lays off 7,300 staff

838d ago / 2:46 PM UTC

A European airline plans to temporarily lay off more than 7,000 staffers as the coronavirus continues to wreak havoc on the aviation industry.

The airline, Norwegian, said in a statement Monday that around 90 percent of its workforce would be laid off for an unspecified amount of time as the majority of its flights are grounded. The airline operates mainly out of the United Kingdom and carried 6 million passengers from there last year.

“What our industry is now facing is unprecedented and critical as we are approaching a scenario where most of our airplanes will be temporarily grounded,” CEO Jacob Schram said.

“It is indeed with a heavy heart we have to temporarily lay off more than 7,300 of our colleagues, but we unfortunately have no choice. However, I want to emphasize that this is temporary, because when the world returns to normalcy my goal is to keep as many of our dedicated colleagues as possible,” Schram added.

838d ago / 2:45 PM UTC

The scene in Italy

838d ago / 2:30 PM UTC
Hospital personnel look out the window of the Gemelli hospital where coronavirus patients are being treated in Rome on Monday. 
Italy on Sunday reported its biggest day-to-day increase in infections — 3,590 more cases in a 24-hour period — for a total of almost 24,747. And 368 more deaths brought its toll to 1,809, more than a quarter of the global death toll.
Hospital personnel look out the window of the Gemelli hospital where coronavirus patients are being treated in Rome on Monday. Italy on Sunday reported its biggest day-to-day increase in infections — 3,590 more cases in a 24-hour period — for a total of almost 24,747. And 368 more deaths brought its toll to 1,809, more than a quarter of the global death toll.Cecilia Fabiano / AP

Italy to spend $28 billion on coronavirus measures

838d ago / 2:27 PM UTC

Italy's government announced Monday its plans to spend 25 billion euros ($28 billion) to tackle a growing coronavirus epidemic.

The money will allow the hiring of more doctors and nurses and provide legal and economic incentives for businesses producing medical devices.

It will also be used to boost the country's economy by placing a moratorium on both businesses and personal mortgage repayments, deferring tax and bill payments and providing economic support for all workers facing temporary layoffs.

“We were the first country to put in place 25 billion euros in support of our economic system," Italy's Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said after the injection of funding was announced Monday. "This is a powerful package. We don’t think we can fight this flood with rags."

The hardest-hit country in Europe, Italy has nearly 25,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 1,809 deaths. 

White House cancels Easter Egg Roll amid coronavirus fears

838d ago / 2:19 PM UTC

The White House has canceled its annual Easter Egg Roll as a precaution against the coronavirus, first lady Melania Trump's office announced Monday. 

“The health and safety of all Americans must be the first priority, especially right now,” the first lady said in a statement. “I deeply regret this cancelation, but we need to make difficult decisions in the short term to ensure a healthy country for the long term. During this time, I encourage everyone to listen to state and local officials, and follow CDC guidelines in order to help protect the health and well-being of everyone.”

The annual event, which officially dates back to the administration of President Rutherford B. Hayes in 1878, was scheduled to take place on April 13.  

Dow now trading at same level as it was when President Trump took office

838d ago / 2:18 PM UTC

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is now trading at almost the same level as it was when President Donald Trump took office.

After a brutal week for all three major averages, the Dow plunged again just minutes into Monday's trading session, falling 10 percent to around 20,600. When Trump was sworn in on Jan. 20, 2017, the Dow was at around 20,000 points.

838d ago / 2:18 PM UTC

Checking temperatures at the White House

838d ago / 2:01 PM UTC
White House Continues To Check Temperatures Of Press Members In Response To Coronavirus Spread
Workers from the White House Physician's Office check the body temperatures of people entering the White House with a forehead temperature scanner on Monday. The White House is now routinely checking the temperatures of people who may be in close contact with President Donald Trump or Vice President Mike Pence. Win McNamee / Getty Images

Wall Street plunges again, despite unprecedented crisis response package from Fed

838d ago / 1:55 PM UTC

Wall Street plunged again on Monday, despite emergency action from the Federal Reserve over the weekend to shore up the economy by infusing markets and Main Street with easier access to cash.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average sank by 2,200 points at the opening bell, with the S&P 500 falling by 7 percent, triggering a circuit breaker that halted all trading on the exchange floor for 15 minutes. The tech-heavy Nasdaq fell by around 6 percent. When trading resumed, all three major averages extended their losses.

The chaos came just over 12 hours after the Fed unleashed a series of crisis response measures, slashing rates to almost zero on Sunday night, injecting cash into Treasurys, and announcing coordinated efforts with central banks across the world to ensure liquidity as the coronavirus pandemic takes a hold on the global economy.

How Native American tribes are bracing for the coronavirus

838d ago / 1:45 PM UTC
Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez, center.
Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez, center, meets with other Navajo Nation officials to discuss the coronavirus crisis.Navajo Nation

The normal sound of students shuffling through the hall has been replaced by silence this week at Marty Indian School, a kindergarten to grade 12 facility on the Yankton Sioux Tribe's reservation in South Dakota.

It comes after an Indian Health Service patient in Charles Mix County, where the school and reservation are, tested positive last week for COVID-19, health officials said.

Leaders of Native American tribes across the country acknowledge that it's only a matter of time before they may be thrown into a similar situation as the Yankton Sioux, and have begun banning forms of travel and declaring a state of emergency.

Read more here.

Grocery delivery app downloads surge

838d ago / 1:28 PM UTC

Grocery delivery apps are seeing a major uptick in downloads as people turn to alternative ways to stock their pantries. Instacart, Walmart Grocery and Shipt have set records for downloads in each of the past three days, according to data from app tracking firm Apptopia

"Comparing average daily downloads in February to yesterday's (Sunday, March 15), Instacart, Walmart Grocery and Shipt have seen surges of 218%, 160%, and 124% respectively," Adam Blacker, Apptopia's vice president of insights, wrote in a blog post.

Notably, food delivery apps are not seeing a similar spike. 

"Even with the promise of non-contact delivery from these providers, people are starting to understand that consistently ordering delivery is both expensive and, quite frankly, not as safe as cooking meals within your own home," Blacker wrote.

Opinion: America's sports blackout may be just beginning

838d ago / 1:27 PM UTC
Utah Jazz v Portland Trail Blazers
Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz tested positive for COVID-19 on March 11, 2020Abbie Parr / Getty Images

The leagues and the executives of the sports world have done their best to stay calm and let us know that they will be back soon. But if you'll forgive the fatalism here, I do not believe them. I think we are in for many, many more weekends like this one, something that's even more clear in the wake of the CDC's recommendation Sunday night for no events with more than 50 people for the next eight weeks.

Read the full opinion piece here.

De Blasio warns outbreak could bring something like another Great Depression

838d ago / 1:21 PM UTC

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio warned Monday that the coronavirus outbreak could result in something as bad as the Great Depression.

"We have the historical playbook, and this, if you want to know what this whole thing is going to play out as, one part the Great Recession we went through a few years ago, one part the Great Depression, one part the 1918 flu epidemic," he said in an interview on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," saying those are three models to use in considering how to manage the outbreak.

De Blasio said it's going to take "massive direct relief to Americans" to replace lost paychecks because of the crisis.

"We're going to have to recreate economic capacity," he said. "If you don't have money, you can't pay the rent, you can't buy food, you can't buy medicine. So, we have to understand this as a pure war footing, right down to rationing if you need it."

A Barcelona supermarket shows how Spain is getting used to the new social distance

838d ago / 1:17 PM UTC
Spain To Impose Nationwide Lockdown To Combat The Coronavirus
People keep their distance as they wait their turn at a supermarket in Barcelona, Spain, Monday.David Ramos / Getty Images

Connecticut couple spends 67th anniversary separated after nursing home visits banned

838d ago / 1:12 PM UTC

Bob Shellard held a sign outside his wife's nursing home in Stafford Springs, CT, on Saturday that read "I've loved you 67 years and still do. Happy Anniversary."

The couple had to celebrate their 67th anniversary on Saturday separated by a window because the governor temporarily banned nursing home visits due to coronavirus.

Bob used to visit his wife, Nancy, at the nursing home everyday before the new rules went into place, and told NBC Connecticut they haven't spent a single one of their 66 previous anniversaries apart.

"It makes me feel bad because I want her down with me and I know she can't be," Bob said of Nancy.

Nancy waved blew kisses to Bob from her window, according to the local affiliate.

The couple got married in their early-20s and have four children together.

"I can only hope that I have half as much as what they have shared over the years," their daughter Laura Mikolajczak said.

'Disaster waiting to happen': Cuomo warns 'major crisis' at hospitals could be weeks away

838d ago / 12:52 PM UTC

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo warned Monday that he needs the U.S. military to step in and help expand hospital capacity because otherwise "this is a disaster waiting to happen." 

Cuomo said in an interview on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" that he needs the Army Corps of Engineers to retrofit old building and dorms to create more intensive care units beds; about 80 percent of New York's hospital ICU beds are already occupied, he said. 

"My priority is turning to the hospital system, because that's where we're going to have a major crisis, and it's weeks away," said Cuomo, who added that he plans to announce additional measures Monday.

In a separate interview on "Morning Joe" after Cuomo, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio agreed that the military must get involved to create emergency ICUs all over the country. "If we don't have those medical facilities, if we don't have those ventilators and those supplies, you're going to be losing thousands and thousands of lives that could have been saved," he said. 

Another prominent political figure dies of coronavirus in Iran: state media

838d ago / 12:26 PM UTC

Iran's state media reported Monday another senior political figure has died of coronavirus.

Isna news agency said Grand Ayatollah Hashem Bathaie Golpayegani has died of COVID-19, the disease the virus causes, Sunday night. He was a member of the Assembly of Experts, a body tasked with choosing the country's supreme leader.

Iran has been one of the global hotspots of the coronavirus pandemic, with nearly 15,000 cases and 853 deaths. The virus has sickened and killed several members of the country's political elite.

Paris is quiet as France shuts down to curb coronavirus

838d ago / 12:17 PM UTC
Image: Public transport remains quiet in Paris
Public transport was quiet in Paris on Sunday as France shut shops, restaurants and entertainment facilities with its 67 million people told to stay at home. Veronique de Viguerie / Getty Images

Arnold Schwarzenegger encourages people to stay at home 'as much as possible'

838d ago / 12:09 PM UTC

Brothers donate 17,700 hoarded bottles of hand sanitizer after officials open probe

838d ago / 12:09 PM UTC

Matt and Noah Colvin went viral after a New York Times article detailed a 1,300 mile trip they took around their home state of Tennessee and neighboring Kentucky to buy 17,700 bottles of hand sanitizer and thousands of packages of antibacterial wipes to sell them on Amazon for between $8 and $70.

The brothers were dragged on social media for hoarding the products necessary to fight the coronavirus, and the Tennessee Attorney General's Office opened a price gouging investigation.

Colvin stopped selling the in-demand antibacterial supplies at a markup after Amazon got wise to COVID-19-related price gouging and moved to stop it. Over the weekend, he wrote on his seller's page that he would be donating his remaining stock "to a local church and first responders."

A reporter with NBC affiliate WRCB was on the scene of one of the Colvins' at least three storage areas filled with the crucial goods as they were collected Sunday. 

Read the full story here.

'TODAY' staffer tests positive for coronavirus

838d ago / 11:57 AM UTC

A "TODAY" employee working at 30 Rockefeller Plaza has tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, NBC News announced Monday.

"Last night we learned a colleague of ours on the Third Hour of 'TODAY' has tested positive for COVID-19, the novel coronavirus," Savannah Guthrie, an anchor of the show, said. "So, out of an abundance of caution, Craig [Melvin] and Al [Roker] have taken the morning off."

The employee is experiencing mild symptoms and receiving medical care, according to an email sent from NBC News President Noah Oppenheim.

"As you know, we have been preparing for this possibility and are taking all necessary steps to ensure the health and safety of our teams," Oppenheim wrote in the email.

NBC News has identified employees in close contact with the affected employee and has asked them to self-isolate. The entire staff of the 9 a.m. editorial team was asked to work from home on Monday, according to Oppenheim's note.

"We are just trying to play exactly by the rules," Hoda Kotb, another anchor of the show, said on air. "We hope and wish they come back soon."

'Very frustrating': Impeachment attorney Daniel Goldman explains coronavirus testing ordeal

838d ago / 11:54 AM UTC

Attorney Daniel Goldman, who was counsel to House Democrats during the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump, said Monday that it was "very difficult" and "very frustrating" to try to get tested for the coronavirus. 

Goldman revealed Sunday on Twitter that his test returned positive and said in an interview on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" that he had what felt like a "medium-strength flu" for three days. He went to both urgent care and a New York hospital, both of which said they couldn't do anything for him. 

"I had not been in contact with anyone who I knew to be positive for coronavirus, and now, basically, that meant I could not get tested," said Goldman, a former MSNBC legal analyst.

Other tests, for the flu and a full viral panel, came back negative, Goldman said, and he decided to drive from New York to Connecticut last Friday to get tested for the coronavirus at a curbside clinic. After he tested positive, his wife and children had to get tested over the weekend and are awaiting the results.

Goldman said he suspected that he contracted the virus during a trip to London the previous weekend and said he did not take the threat of the illness seriously.

"I didn't take it seriously enough, but everybody really needs to take this seriously," he said. "Anybody can get it anywhere. Whatever we hear about the limited number of cases, we just don't know. There's way insufficient testing to know how many people have it."

Petition demands U.K. schools and colleges closure

838d ago / 11:45 AM UTC

An online petition to close public schools and colleges in the U.K. to help stop the spread of the coronavirus epidemic gained nearly 600,000 signatures as of Monday morning.

The petition calls on the British government close schools and colleges in the coming weeks or as soon as possible to prevent further spread.

Unlike other European nations that have already entered nationwide lockdowns, shutting down places of mass gatherings to curb the spread of the virus, the U.K. government has yet to shut down educational institutions, bars, restaurants and shops.

It’s expected to provide an update on its next steps Monday afternoon. So far, 1,391 cases of coronavirus have been identified in the U.K., including 35 deaths. 

Moscow builds temporary hospital for coronavirus patients

838d ago / 11:35 AM UTC

A temporary hospital to be used for coronavirus patients is being constructed near Moscow.

In a post on messenger app Telegram, officials with Moscow’s Coronavirus Crisis Response Center shared a video showing the construction of the hospital that the post says will have room for 500 patients. 

The video published on March 16 claims to have been taken during the second day of construction.

The hospital is being constructed along a highway leading out of the city to supplement two existing facilities that have been designated to treat coronavirus cases in Moscow.

Russia has recorded 63 coronavirus cases as of Sunday.

Wuhan doctors warn Western counterparts over COVID-19

838d ago / 11:07 AM UTC

838d ago / 11:01 AM UTC

European airline Ryanair to ground majority of fleet

838d ago / 10:58 AM UTC

Ryanair, the massive Irish budget airline, announced on Monday it will ground the majority of its fleet across Europe over the next seven to 10 days due to coronavirus.

The airline said in a stock market announcement Monday it expects to reduce its seat capacity by up to 80 percent in April and May, and a "full grounding" of its fleet is possible.

"At the Ryanair Group Airlines, we are doing everything we can to meet the challenge posed by the Covid-19 outbreak, which has over the last week caused extraordinary and unprecedented travel restrictions to be imposed by National Governments, in many cases with minimal or zero notice," CEO Michael O'Leary said in a statement.

The company cited flight bans of varying degrees enacted in the past week in Italy, France, Morocco, Spain, Denmark, and other countries as part of the reason for its decision. Poland and Norway banned all international flights over the weekend, while others have banned flights from highly infected countries.

Italy expects more than 90,000 people to get sick with coronavirus by end of April

and

838d ago / 10:36 AM UTC
Image: An empty Saint Mark's square in Venice on Sunday with an unprecedented lock down across of all Italy imposed to slow the outbreak of coronavirus
An empty Saint Mark's square in Venice on Sunday. Dylan Martinez / Reuters

The Italian government anticipates more than 90,000 people to get sick with coronavirus by the end of April.

It estimates 360,000 will be quarantined, adding that March 18 could be the peak of the contagion.

“We are facing a never known emergency since the end of Second World War," Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said in an interview to Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera Monday.

“Scientists are telling us that we have not peaked yet, these weeks are the most important and we need  to urge caution. We must never lower our guard," Conte added. 

As of Sunday, Italy, the hardest-hit country in Europe, has confirmed 24,747 cases of coronavirus.

More than 1,800 people have died of the virus, the most outside mainland China, where the virus is believed to have originated. 

838d ago / 10:25 AM UTC

Germany imposes border controls over coronavirus

and

838d ago / 10:16 AM UTC

Germany has reintroduced border controls with France, Austria, Switzerland, Luxembourg and Denmark Monday, only allowing goods and cross-border commuters through, to curb the spread of coronavirus. 

The country is facing an aggressive progression of the illness, Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said Sunday, adding that the virus was progressing “rapidly and aggressively” and that “we must assume that the peak of this development has not yet been reached.”

Germany has confirmed more than 4,800 cases and 12 deaths. 

Australian casinos turn off half of poker machines in “social distancing” measure

838d ago / 9:45 AM UTC

Australia’s two biggest casino companies said they would shut off half their poker machines to force gamblers to engage in “social distancing” and slow the spread of the coronavirus as concerns about their future revenue sent shares tumbling.

The measures show the pressure on the tourism sector to keep operating amid a widespread shutdown of entertainment and sporting events as authorities limit public gatherings to curtail the spread of the illness.

Melbourne-based Crown Resorts and Sydney rival Star Entertainment Group said they would keep gamblers apart by switching off every second electronic machine, and restrict the number of players at gambling tables.

Crown said its “social distancing policy” was approved by the chief health officer of Victoria state, while Star said its measures were in line with Federal Government policy.

Pope Francis walks through empty Rome, prays for pandemic to end

838d ago / 9:10 AM UTC
Image: Pope Francis walks in a deserted Rome to pray at two shrines for the end of the coronavirus pandemic, in Rome
Pope Francis walks in a deserted Rome to pray at two shrines for the end of the coronavirus pandemic on Sunday. Vatican Media / Reuters

Pope Francis left the Vatican to walk over to the Basilica of Saint Mary Major in Rome on Sunday through empty streets as Italy remained under strict quarantine to ward off a growing coronavirus outbreak. 

The Holy See said the Pope prayed for the Virgin Mary, then walked along one of Rome’s main streets to the Church of San Marcello al Corso, near the Spanish Steps, where he prayed for the pandemic to end. 

The church contains a crucifix which was carried around Rome during a procession to invoke the end of the great plague in 1522, the Holy See said. 

A Vatican picture showed the pope and a small security detail walking on an empty Via del Corso, which is usually packed with shoppers and people taking strolls on Sunday.

All Papal Easter services in April will be held without the faithful attending due to coronavirus. 

838d ago / 9:07 AM UTC

National Security Council says 'no national lockdown'

838d ago / 4:15 AM UTC

Peace Corps suspends global operations

838d ago / 3:38 AM UTC

L.A. mayor on restaurants, bars and gyms

838d ago / 3:31 AM UTC

Washington governor orders restaurants takeout, delivery only

838d ago / 2:55 AM UTC

Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee said Sunday that he will temporarily limit restaurants to take-out and delivery services and close entertainment venues and recreational facilities across the state.

The emergency proclamation, which aims to stem the spread of coronavirus, will go into effect Monday, he said.

Inslee also prohibited gatherings with more than 50 people unless they’ve met social distancing and public health guidelines.

“These are very difficult decisions, but hours count here and very strong measures are necessary to slow the spread of the disease,” Inslee said. “I know there will be significant economic impacts to all our communities and we are looking at steps to help address those challenges.”

NYC mayor Bill de Blasio to close theaters, limit restaurants to takeout

838d ago / 2:10 AM UTC

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on Sunday ordered the temporary closing of movie theaters, nightclubs and concert venues.

In an executive order that will go into effect on Tuesday morning, de Blasio also said restaurants, bars and cafes will be limited to takeout orders and deliveries.

“The virus can spread rapidly through the close interactions New Yorkers have in restaurants, bars and places where we sit close together,” de Blasio said. “We have to break that cycle.”