New York mayor declares city 'epicenter'

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Image: An Indonesian police officer sprays disinfectant in the Baiturrahman grand mosque, amid concerns of the COVID-19 coronavirus, in Banda Aceh
An Indonesian police officer sprays disinfectant in the Baiturrahman grand mosque, amid concerns of the COVID-19 coronavirus, in Banda Aceh on March 20, 2020.Chaideer Mahyuddin / AFP - Getty Images

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Wall Street took another dive Friday as the Dow Jones Industrial Average sunk by 916 points and saw 18 percent of its value disappear over the course of the week.

The Dow saw all the gains made since President Donald Trump took office erased.

Also in New York City, the suspended presidential campaign of former Mayor Michael Bloomberg told staffers Friday there was a confirmed case of COVID-19 at its Times Square headquarters, a campaign official confirmed to NBC News.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said Friday evening the city has 5,151 coronavirus cases and 29 deaths associated with the virus. "We are now the epicenter of this crisis" in the United States, he said.

In California the number of cases, more than 1,000, has doubled in three days. Los Angeles County, the nation's most populous, reported it now has a total of 292 cases.

There are now more than 250,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus around the world, according to Johns Hopkins University.

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This live coverage has ended. Continue reading March 21 Coronavirus news.

NYC Mayor de Blasio: City to run out of medical supplies in 2-3 weeks

In a Friday morning appearance on MSNBC's Morning Joe, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city is running dangerously low on critical medical supplies amid onslaught of newly confirmed coronavirus cases. 

"We will run out of basic medical supplies because of the intense strain that's being put already on our hospitals by this crisis," de Blasio said. "We literally will not have the things we need to save people's lives."

De Blasio said New York City now has 4,000 confirmed cases and is currently an epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the United States.

The mayor said he has asked the federal government for help procuring ventilators for hospitals and surgical masks for both medical professionals and first responders like police and fire fighters.

"We've been saying it over and over to the federal government," de Blasio said. "Nothing."

Tulips from Amsterdam? Not in an outbreak

Empty racks are seen at flower auctioneer Royal FloraHolland in Aalsmeer, Netherlands on Thursday.Peter Dejong / AP

It is the peak spring season as fields around the Netherlands burst into vibrant colors as tulips and other flowers bloom. But with border restrictions and lockdowns spreading around the globe to fight the pandemic, even the pope will have to go without his usual Easter donation of Dutch flowers this year. He’s not the only one.

"The coronavirus is a disaster for the Dutch flower industry ... 85% of the turnover at our marketplace … is gone,” said Michel van Schie, press officer at Royal FloraHolland — a cooperative of growers that trades some 12 billion plants and flowers each year.

That's a huge hit for the Dutch flower industry, whose exports last year were worth more than 6 billion euros (about $6.5 billion). Instead, some Dutch farmers to give away tulips to health care workers as a token of appreciation for their work.

Wall Street jumps briefly as investors hedge a nervous return to optimism

Wall Street jumped briefly on Friday for the second straight day, with investor confidence slowly returning after massive emergency action from central banks and governments across the world to shore up the global financial system.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose by 130 points at the opening bell, while the S&P 500 was up by just under 1 percent, before both averages began a slow descent.

The Nasdaq outperformed, notching up gains of close to 2 percent after hitting the "limit up" threshold in premarket trading, halting activity. The tech-heavy index is seeing heightened interest, with investors confident the sector can survive any economic downturn.

NBC News employee dies after testing positive for coronavirus

A longtime employee of NBC News died Thursday after testing positive for the coronavirus, NBC News Chairman Andy Lack said in an email to staff.

Larry Edgeworth, who had been working in an equipment room at NBC News' 30 Rockefeller Plaza headquarters in New York, also suffered from other health issues, according to his wife. He had previously spent 25 years at NBC News working as an audio technician, where he was well-known to many network correspondents who traveled with him around the world.

"Many of you were fortunate enough to work with Larry over the years, so you know that he was the guy you wanted by your side no matter where you were," Lack wrote Friday morning.

Morning roundup of coronavirus coverage

The doctor who helped defeat smallpox explains what's coming [Wired]

Why the coronavirus kills far more men than women [The Washington Post]

Fleeing virus for resort homes, some find welcome mat yanked [The Associated Press]

What it's like to be a college senior in the middle of a pandemic

Chelsea Stahl / NBC News; Photos Courtesy of Isabela Espadas Barros Leal

A little over a week ago my classmates and I were huddled in libraries studying for our midterms the way we did every semester. But on the evening of March 8, the night before many of our first exams, an email from Columbia University’s president confirmed what we had previously thought to be just a rumor: The entire university would be moving to online instruction as a result of the growing threat of the coronavirus in New York City.

Read the full essay at NBC News THINK.

NY, NJ, CT, PA govs order closure of barbershops, nail and hair salons

The governors of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania are directing the temporary closure of barbershops, nail and hair salons, and other personal care service businesses amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The order goes into effect on Saturday at 8 p.m. ET.

"All barbershops, hair salons, tattoo or piercing parlors, nail salons, hair removal services, and related personal care services will be closed to members," the governors said in a joint statement, "as these services cannot be provided while maintaining social distance."

Britain's changing of the guard to be postponed

A man watches the changing of the guard ceremony outside Buckingham Palace.Leon Neal / Getty Images

Britain's ceremonial changing of the guard has been postponed until further notice in keeping with the government's guidance to avoid mass gatherings, Buckingham Palace said Friday.

The ceremony will be postponed at Buckingham Palace, St James’s Palace and Windsor Castle, and will restart "when appropriate."

The move came a day after the Queen and Prince Phillip left Buckingham Palace for Windsor Castle, west of London, due to the outbreak.

Communities rally around one another — and Google Docs — to bring coronavirus aid

Americans are using an array of digital tools — from Google docs and Facebook groups to money transfer apps, Twitter and the neighborhood-focused social network Nextdoor — to form local mutual aid groups to help their most vulnerable neighbors and anyone else who could use help as the country adjusts to self-quarantine.

 Alycia Kamil, 19, organized a group with other young people in Chicago to go shopping for low-income people in their Chicago neighborhoods who were recently forced out of work.

Jalen Kobayashi, Deja Swint, and Alycia Kamil, volunteers with Good Kids Mad City, deliver groceries to neighbors in Chicago.Alycia Kamil

“Our goal was to raise about $300 and be able to give about 30 families food,” Kamil said. “We ended up raising over $7,000 in just two days and more is coming. We are really excited.”

Read the full story here.

Death toll in Spain climbs above 1,000

Spanish health authorities said on Friday that 1,002 people have died in the country since the outbreak, while infections have reached 19,980 — over 3,000 more confirmed cases than the day before.

Spain is in its first week of a lockdown as its government works to reduce the rising contagion rate and give relief to its strained health care system.

Spain is the second-hardest-hit country by COVID-19 in Europe, behind Italy — whose death toll surpassed China's on Thursday.

First British arrest for failure to self-isolate on the Isle of Man

A man has been arrested on the Isle of Man for failing to comply with the island’s new rules on self-isolation, the first such arrest in the British Isles. 

The rules, which came into effect just before midnight on Thursday, say that anyone visiting the island must self-isolate for 14 days, whether or not they show symptoms of the coronavirus. Noncompliance can result in up to three months' jail time or a fine of 10,000 English pounds

In a tweet, the Isle of Man Police said that the man would be detained in a specially cleaned area of custody designated for those who should be self-isolating. The island’s chief constable called the measures extraordinary, but added that “failing to follow self-isolation requirements is a serious matter."

News of the arrest came at the same time that the island’s first case of coronavirus was confirmed. The Manx Government said in a statement that the patient who tested positive had recently returned from Spain, and that the island’s Public Health Directorate would begin contact tracing.