All 50 states report coronavirus cases, U.S. death toll crosses 100

Here are the latest updates from around the world.
Image: A worker wearing a mask watches a road in New York on March 17, 2020.
A worker wearing a mask watches a road in New York on Tuesday. Eduardo Munoz / Reuters

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The United States and European nations are stepping up measures to tackle the spread of coronavirus and counteract its economic impact, as the numbers of deaths and infections continue to grow.

The U.S. death toll surpassed 100 on Tuesday as all 50 states have now reported cases, and the E.U. announced sweeping restrictions on most travel within the 27-country bloc.

The White House announced Tuesday that it is looking to send checks directly to Americans in order to soften the economic fallout from the coronavirus outbreak.

The announcement comes as many parts of the U.S. have taken extraordinary measures to health the spread of the coronavirus. California officials announced a complete lockdown of the Bay Area, including San Francisco, that requires people to stay home except for essential needs.

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Cases surpass 5,000 in U.S.

More than 5,000 people in the U.S. have tested positive for the coronavirus.

As of Tuesday afternoon, states with the greatest number of cases are California (412), New York (950) and Washington (908). 

A handful of other states have more than 100 cases each: Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts and New Jersey.

So far, 94 people nationwide have died.

The Rolling Stones postpone North American tour

National Parks to close facilities where people gather

The National Park Service says it is restricting operations to avoid gatherings of people, in order to conform to the CDC guidance.

NPS says it is "modifying operations until further notice for facilities and programs that cannot adhere to this guidance. Where it is possible to adhere to this guidance, outdoor spaces will remain open to the public."

As a practical matter, one official says, it means leaving most park entrances open but closing visitor centers, cafeterias, and other places where people would congregate. (The Statue of Liberty and elevator rides up the Washington Monument were closed earlier.)

Afternoon roundup of coronavirus coverage

Can social solidarity replicate faster than the virus? [Vox]

For Texas' ill and immunocompromised, coronavirus brings a new threat and familiar precautions [The Texas Tribune]

The airlines made billions over the past decade. Why do they need a bailout? [Slate]

Real-world lessons from a World of Warcraft virtual outbreak [Wired]

Americans abroad scramble to get home as countries deepen travel restrictions

Americans stuck in countries around the world are calling on U.S. officials to help them return home as governments have restricted travel to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

Phil McMannis, a tech entrepreneur, and his wife, Jerri, have been trying to get home to Boston from Fez, Morocco, since Friday. It was the last leg of a yearlong trip around the world. Their flight on March 22 was canceled, and the couple has had no luck trying to rebook.

“The local people are offering to help and are talking to us, but our own government has said nothing,” said McMannis, adding that he had reached out to the U.S. Embassy and his senators.

Click here to read the rest of this story.

Marriott starting to furlough tens of thousands of employees

Marriott International Inc., which employs more than 175,000 people worldwide, has started to furlough what it expects will be tens of thousands of those workers as its properties close.

The furloughs, first reported by The Wall Street Journal, were confirmed to NBC News by Marriott, which is the world's largest hotel company. The employees won't be paid but will keep their health benefits.

Marriott started closing some of its managed properties across its 30 brands last week and is also furloughing staff at still-open hotels. In a statement Tuesday, the company said customers could cancel their stays at no charge through April 30. 

"As travel restrictions and social distancing efforts around the world become more widespread, we are experiencing significant drops in demand at properties globally with an uncertain duration," the chain said in a statement. "We are adjusting global operations accordingly which has meant either reduction in hours or a temporary leave for many of our associates at our properties."

Uber and Lyft suspend shared ride options

An Uber driver wears a surgical mask while driving in Manhattan on March 15, 2020.Jeenah Moon / Reuters

Uber and Lyft customers will no longer be able to request shared rides due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Andrew Macdonald, senior vice president of Uber Rides and Platform, said in a series of tweets on Tuesday that the company hopes by suspending its UberPool in the United States and Canada it can "help flatten the curve of community spread in the cities we serve."

Lyft announced a similar plan, saying in a statement that it is "pausing Shared rides across all of our markets." 

World needs many more ventilators to save coronavirus patients. It is unlikely to get them.

LONDON — Ventilators have quickly become the most sought-after medical device in the world because of their ability to help save the lives of some of the sickest coronavirus patients.

What worries experts is that it's increasingly clear many countries — including the United States and much of Europe — have nowhere near enough of them to keep pace with a pandemic killing exponentially more people every day.

The challenge is daunting. The U.S. currently has an estimated 160,000 ventilators, far short of the 740,000 it would need in a "severe" pandemic like the Spanish flu of 1918, according to a study by the Center for Health Security at Johns Hopkins.

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Obama pays tribute to health professionals

New York state study predicted severe shortfall of ventilators in a pandemic

In 2015, a New York state task force predicted that an influenza pandemic as serious as the 1918 Spanish flu would mean a severe shortfall in ventilators for thousands of hospitalized patients who needed help breathing.

The New York State Task Force on Life and the Law said a model based on the 1918 pandemic indicated there would be more than 800,000 hospital admissions in the state, and 90,000 of those patients would need ventilators.

During the peak week of the pandemic, the task force’s report said that about 19,000 flu patients would need ventilators, but there would be shortfall of nearly 16,000. Patients with other diseases would already be using most of the ventilators, meaning that only about 2,800 would be available for flu patients .

The projections were based on a state population of 19.75 million and a state capacity of 8,981 ventilators. Five years later, the population is 19.44 million. The governor’s office says the state currently has under 10,000 ventilators, with about 4,000 available for use at any one time, meaning not already in use by patients.

Primary states voting Tuesday take steps to limit coronavirus risks

The blue painter’s tape issued to poll workers in Cook County, Illinois, has a particularly important use this year: marking off 6-foot increments to make sure people maintain a safe distance from one another.

“It is our job to ensure the safety of those around us while we carry out our civic duty today,” tweeted County Clerk Karen Yarbrough.

Arizona, Florida and Illinois are proceeding with Tuesday’s primaries, but officials are stressing alternatives, such as voting by mail, and telling voters to be on the lookout for changes due to coronavirus precautions.

Polling places are also taking their own precautions.

Read the full story here.

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