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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

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.

Full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak

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Rio de Janeiro’s Christ the Redeemer statue closes

The Associated Press

Rio de Janeiro’s Christ the Redeemer statue closed at day-end Tuesday and won’t reopen for at least a week after Brazil’s Chico Mendes Institute ordered the closure of all national parks it oversees, including the one home to the statue.

The move is designed to help contain the spread of the coronavirus and the illness it causes, COVID-19. The 125-foot-tall statue last year saw almost 2 million visitors.

Tourists pose for photos in front of the Christ the Redeemer statue during a foggy day in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Tuesday, March 17, 2020.Silvia Izquierdo / AP

Gun and ammunition sales rise amid coronavirus fears

Coronavirus starts to take a major toll on automakers

Paul A. Eisenstein

Most white-collar auto industry employees by Fiat Chrysler, Ford and General Motors are working from home this week, but Detroit’s Big 3 have formed a task force with the United Auto Workers Union to see if there’s a way also to protect hourly workers from the coronavirus without shutting down their U.S. parts and assembly lines.

With schools closed, major sports leagues suspending their seasons, large gatherings being canceled and the travel industry in freefall, automotive analysts are downgrading their 2020 sales forecasts. Morgan Stanley now anticipates U.S. demand for new cars will plunge to 15.5 million, down from last year’s 17.1 million vehicles.

There are a few, faint bright spots. 

Read the full story here.

As more Washington state deaths reported, Inslee OKs $200M coronavirus response

The Associated Press

SEATTLE — As the death toll from COVID-19 in Washington state reached 54, Gov. Jay Inslee signed a measure drawing $200 million from the state’s emergency “rainy day” fund for the state’s coronavirus response.

Inslee said the funding bill “is really about protecting what we hold most dear, our lives and the lives of our loved ones.” The measure has $175 million going to the public health system and the remainder to a dedicated unemployment fund for coronavirus impacts. The bill contains an emergency clause and takes effect immediately.

The new spending comes as King County reported three more people have died, bringing its total to 46. Clark County health officials announced their first fatal cases, a husband and wife in their 80s, while Snohomish County said a fifth person has died. One person died in Grant County.

Washington has the highest number of deaths in the U.S., with most being associated with a nursing home in Kirkland. By Tuesday, the number of positive cases topped 1,000.

NYC mayor: 'Torrent' of new coronavirus cases coming, military aid may be needed

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services suspending in-person services

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services said Tuesday it is suspending in-person services at its field and asylum offices and application support centers over concerns about the spread of the coronavirus illness COVID-19.

The suspension starts Wednesday and will last until at least April 1.

The agency said it will notify those with appointments or naturalization ceremonies that could be impacted, and interviews for those seeking asylum will be rescheduled.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is an agency that deals with immigration to the United States, as well as with those working in the U.S. and fleeing persecution, warfare and other crises. 

How should you self-quarantine?

Visitation limits can't stop man's face-to-face chats with elderly father

Image: Charlie Johnson, Bernard Johnson
Charlie Johnson, left, visits with his father, Bernard Johnson, through the window of his assisted living facility in Anoka, MN on Sunday, March 15.Sandy Hamilton

A photo of a Minnesota man visiting with his father through the window at an assisted living facility illustrates the lengths some are going to in order to see their loved ones as nursing homes and assisted living facilities implement tougher restrictions amid the coronavirus pandemic.  

When Charlie Johnson found out that Whispering Pines, the center where father Bernard Johnson, 88, lives, was going into lockdown, he figured he would speak to him by phone every day.

"I said, 'You know actually, that’s good. I'm glad that they're doing that,'" Johnson told NBC News. 

But he quickly realized that talking by phone was not enough -- he needed to see his dad. So, he set up a chair Sunday outside his father's window. The two spoke by phone while maintaining a version of their usual face-to-face visits, something Charlie Johnson said would keep up for as long as the lockdown lasts. 

"They just had a normal conversation, like the window wasn’t even in between them," said Sandy Hamilton, the Whispering Pines employee who took the photo, which has more than 800,000 shares on Facebook.

Nevada's casinos ordered to close

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak on Tuesday ordered a statewide closure of casinos, table games and gaming machines for 30 days to help fight the spread of the coronavirus illness. They must close at midnight Tuesday.

Sisolak also said that non-essential businesses should close as of noon Wednesday. Grocery stores, banks, pharmacies, hardware stores, gas stations and other similar services will remain open.

"Please, stay home for Nevada," Sisolak urged all residents.

Several Las Vegas casino operators, including MGM Resorts, had already announced that they would shutter properties.

The Culinary Union, which represents casino workers, said they support Sisolak's move.

Arizona sees high voter turnout despite coronavirus fears

The number of in-person voters in Maricopa County taking part in the state’s Democratic presidential preference primary today has surpassed the number who took part at the county level for the 2016 Democratic presidential preference primary, Maricopa County Elections Department spokeswoman Megan Gilbertson told NBC News.

Maricopa County accounts for more than half of the state’s registered Democratic voters. This is especially notable because the Democratic race was more competitive in and the high Democratic turnout took place despite coronavirus concerns and despite the county closing one-third of its polling locations over the weekend.

Philadelphia police to stop arresting certain non-violent offenders

The Philadelphia Police Department said Tuesday that, because of coronavirus, certain non-violent offenders will be arrested at a later date pursuant to an arrest warrant. 

The measure means that a person will be detained, officers will complete the appropriate paperwork, confirm the offender’s identity and then let them go. Later, they will arrest the person and they will be processed and prosecuted per normal procedure.  

There is an exception, the Police Department says, “if a police officer believes that releasing an individual would pose a threat to public safety, the officer will notify a supervisor, who will review the totality of the circumstances, and in the interest of public safety, utilize discretion in determining the appropriate course of action.”

The move comes amid growing concern over how the coronavirus could wreak havoc in U.S. jails.

Kansas kids out of class for rest of 2019-20 school year

Kansas public school children will be out of class for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year, the governor announced Tuesday in an effort to combat the spread of the coronavirus illness COVID-19.

“This was not an easy decision to make,” Gov. Laura Kelly said in a statement.

While Kansas appears to be the first state to cancel the remainder of the academic year, California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Tuesday said it was unlikely that schools will re-open this spring. 

Kansas has 16 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of Tuesday afternoon, according to the state’s health department. One death linked to the illness was reported by the governor on March 12.

On Tuesday West Virginia confirmed its first case, meaning that all 50 states have reported cases.

San Francisco reverses course on pot shops, says they can stay open

San Francisco announced late Tuesday that marijuana dispensaries may stay open during the city's shelter-in-place order, reversing an earlier decision that drew complaints from stores and their customers. 

"Cannabis is an essential medicine for many San Francisco residents," the San Francisco Department of Public Health said in a tweet. "Dispensaries can continue to operate as essential businesses during this time, while practicing social distancing and other public health recommendations." 

City health officials had earlier put a halt to pot shop sales under emergency measures related to the coronavirus pandemic, the San Francisco Chronicle reported

Sanders tackles coronavirus in primary night speech

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., on Tuesday outlined his coronavirus proposals in a speech from his campaign headquarters in Washington, D.C. — items that include sending households $2,000 a month for the duration of the crisis.

Sanders opened his address by saying the country was "facing an unprecedented series of crises" that he believes will require a $2 trillion stimulus to avoid "economic catastrophe."

His lengthy list of proposals included government covering all coronavirus-related medical bills, speed up testing, invoke emergency powers to scale up production of supplies like surgical masks and ventilators, and provide substantial unemployment insurance to those who lose jobs as a result of the outbreak.

Sanders enters Tuesday's primaries trailing frontrunner Joe Biden in the NBC News projected delegate count.

Midway Airport tower in Chicago closed after employees test positive for coronavirus

Leslie Josephs, CNBC

The air traffic control tower at Chicago’s Midway International Airport was closed Tuesday after “several” technicians there tested positive for coronavirus, the Federal Aviation Administration said. 

The airport is still open but is operating at a reduced rate, according to the agency.

“The air traffic control tower at Midway Airport is temporarily closing while we ensure a safe work environment for air traffic controllers and technicians,” the FAA said in a statement.

Read the full story here. 

Kevin Durant among Nets players who tested positive for coronavirus

Kevin Durant, one of the biggest stars in basketball, tested positive for coronavirus. 

Durant told The Athletic that he was one of the four Brooklyn Nets players who were confirmed to have had the virus and were in self isolation. The NBA team announced the players' condition earlier Tuesday and said that all four were in isolation. 

"Everyone be careful, take care of yourself, and quarantine," Durant said in a statement. "We're going to get through this."

Cases confirmed in all 50 states as U.S. death toll reaches 100

The U.S. coronavirus death toll surpassed 100 on Tuesday.

In addition, West Virginia, the last remaining state without a confirmed coronavirus case, reported its first. There are more than 5,800 cases in the U.S.

More than half of the deaths, 53, are in Washington state. There have been 12 deaths in New York, nine in California, six in Florida, four in Louisiana, three in New Jersey, two in Virginia, two in Indiana, and one each in Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Nevada, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota and Texas.

The first coronavirus death in the U.S. was reported on Feb. 29, in Washington state. 

A timeline of Trump's public statements about the coronavirus threat

Geoff Bennett

After weeks of downplaying the risks posed by the coronavirus outbreak and lashing out at his critics, President Trump has since embraced a more urgent approach and sober tone as he’s implored Americans to do their part to help stem the spread.

From insisting a week ago that the virus will “go away” if Americans “just stay calm,” the president now admits the pandemic is “not under control.”

His previous statements also contradict his assertion Tuesday that he “felt that it was a pandemic long before it was called a pandemic.”

Here is a link to a timeline of the Trump administration's response to the virus crisis, including filters to highlight Trump's public statements and tweets.

Employee at Sing Sing prison tests positive

Alexa Liautaud

Image: Sing Sing Correctional Facility
Sing Sing Correctional Facility overlooking the Hudson river in Ossining, N.Y.Mary Altaffer / AP file

An employee at Sing Sing Correctional Facility in Ossining, New York, has tested positive for the coronavirus, NBC News has confirmed. Two other people, neither outwardly showing symptoms, have been tested, and those results are pending, according to the state Corrections Department. 

"People are really worried," Sing Sing inmate Jermaine Archer said. "I was still in Sing Sing for 9/11, and I remember that, and people have the same looks on their faces when I walk by."

Bianca Tylek, executive director of Worth Rises, a nonprofit advocacy organization focused on prison labor, told NBC News that she was particularly concerned about the elderly population in prison and whether adequate accommodations would be made.

Read the full story here.

Florida governor refuses to shut down beaches amid spread of coronavirus

Image: People crowd the beach, while other jurisdictions had already closed theirs in efforts to combat the spread of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Clearwater
People crowd the beach, while other jurisdictions had already closed theirs in efforts to combat the spread of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Clearwater, Fla., on March 17, 2020.Steve Nesius / Reuters

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis refused to issue an order to close the state's beaches, despite fears regarding that spread of coronavirus.

He instead signed an order that would limit parties on the beach to 10 people per group and forced any businesses authorized to sell liquor to reduce occupancy by half, DeSantis told reporters Tuesday.

"What we’re going to be doing for the statewide floor for beaches, we’re going to be applying the CDC guidance of no group on a beach more than 10 and you have to have distance apart if you’re going to be out there," DeSantis said. "So that applies statewide."

A video posted Monday by NBC affiliate WFLA showed people packed together on Clearwater Beach. The state has 192 confirmed coronavirus patients and five deaths due to COVID-19, the disease associated with coronavirus.

Read the full story here.

Tom Hanks provides update from home: 'No fever but the blahs'

Tom Hanks provided fans yet another update on his condition a week after he and his wife Rita Wilson tested positive for coronavirus

Hanks and Wilson were released Monday from the Australia hospital where they were under medical supervision to self-quarantine at home. 

"Good News: One week after testing Positive, in self-isolation, the symptoms are much the same. No fever but the blahs," Hanks said. 

The bad news is apparently that Wilson is sweeping the floor with him during games of Gin Rummy. But Hanks continued his message of calm in his latest update."I travelled here with a typewriter, one I used to love," Hanks said. "We are all in this together. Flatten the curve." 

Michael Cohen asks to finish prison sentence at home amid coronavirus outbreak

WASHINGTON — Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump's former lawyer and fixer, is requesting to serve the remainder of his three-year prison sentence at home due to unsafe prison conditions caused by the coronavirus outbreak.

In a letter to Judge William Pauley on Tuesday, Roger Bennet Adler, Cohen’s attorney, argued that Cohen’s sentence should be modified “as a consequence of the Bureau of Prison being demonstrably incapable of safeguarding and treating B.O.P. inmates who are obliged to live in close quarters and are at an enhanced risk of catching coronavirus.”

Prisons and correctional facilities can be overcrowded and unhygienic, making inmates particularly vulnerable to an outbreak of the virus. The tight living quarters can make it hard to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's guidelines on social distancing, and in many facilities, disinfectants such as hand sanitizer are not allowed due to the alcohol content.

Click here for the full story.

Navajo Nation confirms first case of coronavirus

The Navajo Nation on Tuesday reported its first case of the coronavirus: A 46-year-old tribal member with a recent travel history, leaders said. The person was taken to a hospital in Phoenix, and family members and other contacts were being isolated. 

Leaders of the Navajo Nation, the largest tribal reservation in the United States with 350,000 members, have been warning in recent weeks of the virus' spread into Indian country and the need for more testing and medical supplies.

"We call upon our Navajo people to do their best to remain calm and make good decisions by staying home to prevent the spread of the virus among our communities," tribal President Jonathan Nez said in a statement.

E.U. announces sweeping 30-day ban on most nonessential incoming travel

LONDON — The European Union on Tuesday announced a sweeping 30-day ban on most non-essential travel into the 27-country bloc.

There is still a need to guarantee passage of medicine, food stamps and citizens must be able to travel to home countries, European Council President Charles Michel said.

“We are ready to do everything that is required. We will not hesitate to take additional measures as the situation evolves," European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said.

Read the full story here.

Brooklyn Nets say 4 players tested positive for coronavirus

Four unidentified Brooklyn Nets players have tested positive for coronavirus, according to a press release Tuesday. 

Only one of the four NBA players is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, the disease associated with coronavirus, and all four are under the care of team doctors, the Nets said. All players and traveling staff are isolating themselves while staying in contact with medical staff. 

"The health of our players and staff is of the highest priority to the organization and the team is doing everything within its power to ensure that those affected receive the best care possible," the team said. 

The NBA season was suspended Wednesday after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive.

U.S. hospital association warns of ventilator shortage

The largest national hospital organization is pleading with Americans to abide by precautions to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, warning it's the only way to avoid running out of ventilators or otherwise overwhelming the health care system.

"There are limited supplies of ventilators and hospital beds, which is why hospitals and public health officials all across the country are urging the public to follow the guidance of the CDC and other public health leaders on social distancing and other actions," Nancy Foster, vice president for quality and patient safety policy at the American Hospital Association, which represents nearly 5,000 hospitals and other health care organizations, said in a statement to NBC News.

Read more here. 

New Jersey coronavirus patient gives hospital fake name, address — and then leaves

East Orange General Hospital in East Orange, N.J.
East Orange General Hospital in East Orange, N.J.Google Maps

A woman who tested positive for coronavirus at a New Jersey hospital provided workers with a fake name and false address in Newark and then left — leading to Mayor Ras Baraka to plead with her to come forward.

Baraka said at a press conference on Tuesday that the woman went to East Orange General Hospital on Saturday and received a test for the coronavirus, which came back positive, but the woman had already left. When health officials went to an address she gave to the hospital, they learned it was not correct. 

The mayor said the woman posed a "public health risk" to not only herself but the community, and urged her to come forward. She was later found Tuesday afternoon. 

Read the full story here. 

Dow closes with gain of 1,000 points on news of $1 trillion stimulus package

Stock markets surged on Tuesday, after the government doubled down on its economic response to the coronavirus outbreak, ramping up financial assistance for affected businesses, and floating a $1 trillion stimulus package that includes putting cash in the hands of Americans.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended the day with a gain of around 1,000 points, bouncing firmly back after its worst day since 1987. The S&P and Nasdaq rose by around 6 percent each. The benchmark 10-year Treasury yield also rallied, rising back above 1 percent.

Read the full story here.

Las Vegas Sands Casinos close 'out of an abundance of caution'

The casino company Las Vegas Sands announced Tuesday it will close its Venetian and Palazzo resorts “out of an abundance of caution” until at least April 1.  

The company will continue to pay workers and does not plan any layoffs or furloughs. It also donated $250,000 to several local community organizations.

Century Casinos announced it closed its Colorado locations beginning Tuesday morning through March 17  to comply with a quarantine imposed by the Governor.

McConnell tells Republicans to 'gag and vote' for House stimulus bill

Kasie Hunt

Leigh Ann Caldwell

Kasie Hunt and Leigh Ann Caldwell

The Senate will move as quickly as possible to pass the House’s bill to stimulate the economy in response to the coronavirus pandemic, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday.

The Kentucky Republican said the goal was to “reassure the people around the country that we can operate on a bicameral bipartisan basis,” even if some of his fellow Republicans objected to the bill’s details.

“My counsel is to gag and vote for it anyway,” McConnell said he told his colleagues. “We’re able to rise above our normal partisanship and many times our normal positions, because these are not ordinary times. This is not an ordinary time,” he said.

The White House told Senate Republicans that Americans could see cash payments in late April, Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., said. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said after the meeting the bill could cost more than $1 trillion.

Not just older people: Younger adults are also getting the coronavirus

The spread of the coronavirus through a Seattle-area nursing home seemed to underscore a key point about the disease: Older and sicker individuals are most at risk.

And while it is true that nursing home residents are particularly vulnerable to serious complications from the illness, younger and middle-age adults, those in their 30s, 40s and 50s, are far from immune from catching the virus.

Read more here. 

Macy’s to temporarily close all stores

All Macy’s stores will temporarily close by the end of business on Tuesday through March 31 in response to the coronavirus outbreak, the company announced in a press release.  

The temporary store closures include all Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, Bluemercury, Macy’s Backstage, Bloomingdales the Outlet and Market by Macy’s stores. The company’s ecommerce sites will remain open and impacted workers will receive benefits and compensation. 

Macy’s joins dozens of retailers including Nike, Nordstrom and PVH Corp that have announced they will temporarily close their stores in response to the outbreak.

Effects of social distancing won't be seen for at least one week

Efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus — such as travel restrictions and closures of business and schools — won't result in lower case counts any time soon, experts said Tuesday. But social distancing measures are expected to help in the long term.

"Any change that we make now is not going to show up in the data for probably seven to 10 days," Caitlin Rivers, senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, said during a webcast Tuesday.

That's because the virus's incubation period is around five days. That's the time from when a person gets infected until symptoms show up. Rivers said it would take a few additional days for that person to go to the doctor and get tested.

"We need to maintain vigilance," she added.

CEO of internet infrastructure company says no worries about increased traffic

Jo Ling Kent

The head of one of the biggest internet infrastructure companies said his company has seen a surge in traffic as people work from home — but consumers should not worry.

Matthew Prince, CEO of internet company CloudFlare, said usage in Seattle is up 40 percent in the last week.  

"Want to make sure it’s clear: this is not a risk to the functioning of the Internet," Prince said in an email. "There is increased usage, but the internet was designed to accommodate spikes like these. It’s not dissimilar levels of traffic to what we’d see during the Super Bowl or World Cup."

"The Internet was literally designed to be a network robust enough to survive a nuclear war," he added. "It is holding up exactly as designed during the additional load caused by people working from home during the Coronavirus emergency."

Can the federal government order a national quarantine?

It's abundantly clear that governors and mayors, not the federal government, have the broadest quarantine and isolation authority. That's because the constitution leaves that kind of police power in the hands of the states.

Longstanding federal laws, and rules put in place at the end of the Obama administration, give the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention authority to quarantine people to stop disease outbreaks. The beefed up rules were imposed after the experience of the outbreaks of Ebola and MERS six years ago.

Broadly speaking, the CDC has the power to detain people suspected of having a communicable disease, without getting approval from state and local officials. It comes under the public health laws that allow the federal government to impose restrictions either on people coming into the country or traveling from one state to another.

However, that authority is rarely used, and when it has been invoked, it was directed at individuals and small groups.

Click here for the full story.

The scene in New York

Image: People wait to enter the City Clerk's Office in New York to get married on March 17, 2020.
People wait to enter the City Clerk's Office in New York to get married on Tuesday.Eduardo Munoz / Reuters

NYC mayor says 'shelter in place' decision coming in next 48 hours

The City That Never Sleeps could be shutting down in 48 hours.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday that he was considering whether to impose a shelter in place order which would essentially require residents to stay in their homes and keep outside social contact to a minimum to slow the spread of the coronavirus in the nation's largest city.

"Be prepared right now for the possibility of a shelter in place order," de Blasio. "The decision will be made in the next 48 hours."

If imposed, the New York City order would be following the lead of several counties in the Bay Area, including San Francisco and Oakland, which are now prohibiting anyone from leaving their homes "except for essential needs."

Read the full story here.

Gun sales soar as coronavirus fears trigger personal safety concerns

Anxious shoppers are snatching up guns and ammo to gird for potential chaos related to the coronavirus pandemic, leading in some cases to long lines, short supplies, and purchase limits.

Businesses say some customers are feeding a self-fulfilling prophecy of artificial shortage, buying up firearms for protection because they’re afraid others will empty the shelves first.

“Worst day on the stock market since 1987 and shelves getting bare apparently have got everyone’s attention,” said one gun shop owner.

Read the full story here.

In need of comfort in Italy

ICU health professionals comfort each other in Cremona, Italy, on March 13, 2020.
ICU health professionals comfort each other in Cremona, Italy, on March 13, 2020.Paolo Miranda / via Instagram

With sports seasons on ice, Vegas sports book starts taking bets on weather

The NBA season is on hiatus. March Madness cancelled. The NHL is on thin ice. And there’s a delay of game for Major League Baseball. So what’s left to bet on?

In a sign of the times, at least one Las Vegas sports book, Bovada, is offering an alternative genre for those looking to wager: the weather. Doppler radar not included.

The bets focus on specific temperatures in 11 North American cities. High or Low. Fahrenheit or Celsius. Over or under. This could expend although no word yet on dew points, snowfall amounts or formation of bomb cyclones. 

Pat Morrow, Head Oddsmaker at Bovada Sports Book, told NBC NEWS they introduced the weather props and other non traditional areas like politics to keep some semblance of normality amid the massive social disruption caused by coronavirus. “With the fallout from the sports cancellations, Bovada is also taking props on primaries results and debates – i.e. how many times will 'coronavirus' come up," he added.

Washington Post, WSJ editors condemn China for expelling reporters

Claire Atkinson

David Gura

Claire Atkinson and David Gura

The top editors of The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal have denounced China for expelling journalists form several major U.S. media outlets, including reporters from both newspapers as well as The New York Times and Time magazine.

Broadcaster Voice of America and Time magazine were also asked to detail their operations in China. 

Marty Baron, executive editor of the Post, wrote in a comment shared with NBC News: “We unequivocally condemn any action by China to expel US reporters. The Chinese government’s decision is particularly regrettable because it comes in the midst of an unprecedented global crisis, when clear and reliable information about the international response to covid-19 is essential.”

Matt Murray, editor-in-chief of the Journal, said China's move "comes at a time of unparalleled global crisis."

"We oppose government interference with a free press anywhere in the world," Murray wrote. "Our commitment to reporting fully and deeply on China is unchanged.”

The moves come after the U.S. government declared journalists at several Chinese outlets to be government operatives.

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]

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."

Americans abroad scramble to get home as countries deepen travel restrictions


Michael Fiorentino

Abigail Williams

Rachel Elbaum, Michael Fiorentino and Abigail Williams

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.

Uber and Lyft suspend shared ride options

Image: An Uber driver wears a surgical mask while driving in Manhattan on March 15, 2020.
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.

Click here to read the rest of this story.

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.


Facebook giving $1,000 bonuses to employees

Dylan Byers

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has informed the company's 45,000 employees that they will all receive a $1,000 bonus to help them during the coronavirus outbreak, Facebook sources told NBC News on Tuesday.

Facebook employees will also receive at least their full bonuses for the current six-month period, the sources said. The news, first reported by The Information, came on the same day that Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg announced that Facebook would be investing $100 million to help small businesses in over 30 countries.

Facebook will also send thousands of its content moderators home but will continue to pay them.

Taken together, the steps mark the most aggressive effort yet by a major American company to alleviate the financial toll of the coronavirus outbreak.


Granddaughter shows grandfather through window of isolated care home that she’s engaged

Image: Carly Boyd and her grandfather, Shelton, speak through a window at the locked down Premier Living and Rehab Center in North Carolina.
Carly Boyd shows her grandfather, Shelton, her engagement ring through a window at the locked down Premier Living and Rehab Center in N.C. Premier Living and Rehab Center

Photos of a young woman telling her grandfather about her engagement through the window of a care home under lockdown have highlighted the impact coronavirus is having on families. 

Carly Boyd is seen in photos excitedly showing her grandfather Shelton her new engagement ring through the window of his bedroom at the care home. 

Like other residents of the Premier Living & Rehab Center in Lake Waccamaw, North Carolina, the elderly man cannot receive visitors in keeping with the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.

Image: Carly Boyd and her grandfather, Shelton, speak through a window at the locked down Premier Living and Rehab Center in North Carolina.
Premier Living and Rehab Center

In a second photo also posted to the center's Facebook page, Boyd and her grandfather are seen pressing their hands against a pane of glass that separates them. 

"She was right there with her hand pointing to it. He was lying up there eating some ice cream," Gennie Parnell, the facility's administrator, told NBC News over the phone.

"She put her hand up on the window and he put his hand on the window and we all just fell apart," Parnell added.

Dow surges after Mnuchin says the government will be "sending checks to Americans immediately"

Markets received a boost Tuesday morning after the White House coronavirus task force announced further response to the economic fallout from the pandemic.

"We're going big," President Donald Trump said at a White House briefing.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average soared to 1,000, with the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 notching gains of around 6 percent each.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the government would be "sending checks to Americans immediately," and announced a "very significant economic stimulus plan" that would be presented to Congress.

Wall Street also bounced back after the Federal Reserve announced new action Tuesday as part of its sweeping emergency measures to shore up the economy.

Maryland postpones primary election slated for April to June

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced Tuesday that he's postponing his state's primary that was scheduled for April 28 to June 2. 

"I am issuing a proclamation to postpone the April 28 primary to June 2, just as a number of other states have done and as other governors are expected to do later today or in the days ahead," he said at a press conference.

"I am directing the state board of elections to develop a comprehensive plan by April 3 to conduct the primary election in a way that protects public health and preserves the integrity of the democratic process in our state," he said. 

White House eyeing $850B coronavirus stimulus package


Rebecca Shabadis in Washington, D.C.

Leigh Ann Caldwell

Hans Nichols

Rebecca Shabad, Leigh Ann Caldwell and Hans Nichols

As the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S. worsens, Congress and the White House are already eyeing a third stimulus package to address the economic effects of the pandemic. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is preparing an aid package that is expected to total $850 billion, according to two administration officials.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said that Congress needs to provide more “direct assistance” to workers and families and enact “further strong steps to secure our economic foundation,” especially small businesses.

Meanwhile, Senate Democrats have prepared their own package that would cost at least $750 billion.

Click here to read the full story.

Olympic Committee: Too early to make 'drastic decisions' about Tokyo

The International Olympic Committee said Tuesday that it was too early to make "drastic decisions" about whether the summer games in Tokyo would be affected. 

"The IOC remains fully committed to the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, and with more than four months to go before the Games, there is no need for any drastic decisions at this stage; and any speculation at this moment would be counter-productive," the IOC said in a statement. 

"The situation around the COVID-19 virus" is affecting preparations for the games, but the "IOC encourages all athletes to continue to prepare for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 as best they can," the committee said.

Queen to meet with prime minister, then head to Windsor Castle

Chapman Bell

Rachel Elbaum and Chapman Bell

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II will head to Windsor Castle on Thursday, a week earlier than planned, Buckingham Palace said Tuesday.

She will, however, still meet with Prime Minister Boris Johnson and has two other planned "audiences" at Buckingham Palace, as planned before her departure.

“In consultation with the Medical Household and Government, a number of public events with large numbers of people due to have been attended by The Queen, and other Members of the Royal Family, in the coming months will be cancelled or postponed,” the palace said in the statement.

Three garden parties scheduled to take place in May were also canceled, along with Maundy Service at St George’s Chapel. It’s likely that the queen will stay at Windsor Castle beyond Easter, the palace said.

Image: Britain's Queen Elizabeth at a visit to the headquarters of MI5 in London on Feb. 25.
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II at the headquarters of MI5 in London in February.Victoria Jones / Reuters file

Updated map from the NBC News Graphics team

New York gov: 'I have no interest' in quarantining a city

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday morning he had no plans to impose a quarantine on any city in his state.

"I have no interest whatsoever, and no plan whatsoever, to quarantine any city," Cuomo said at a news conference.

However, Cuomo said it was "possible we will be doing more dramatic closings" in addition to shuttering restaurants, bars and schools to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

He also said the number of cases in the state is expected to peak in 45 days:

The scene in New York

Image: Employees entering the New York Stock Exchange are screened for fever on Tuesday.
Employees entering the New York Stock Exchange are screened for fever on Tuesday.Lucas Jackson / Reuters

Amazon limits warehouse service to household staples and medical supplies

Amazon is not accepting new products to its warehouse service except household staples, medical supplies and other high-demand items through April 5, according to an announcement obtained by NBC News. Amazon confirmed the authenticity of the announcement.

“We are seeing increased online shopping and as a result some products such as household staples and medical supplies are out of stock,” the company announced on its seller platform called Seller Central. “With this in mind, we are temporarily prioritizing household staples, medical supplies and other high-demand products coming into our fulfillment centers so that we can more quickly receive, restock, and ship these products to customers.”

The company said that high-demand goods include baby products, health and household items, beauty and personal care products, groceries, industrial items and pet supplies.

Spain turns back cars at land borders as death toll rises to 491


Image: A Catalan Police officer, Mossos d'Escuadra register a car trying to arrive to Igualada at a check-point outside the city on March 13, 2020 near Barcelona, Spain.
A Catalan Police officer at a check-point outside Barcelona, Spain, on Friday.David Ramos / Getty Images

Spain set up police checks at its land borders with France and Portugal on Tuesday and turned back foreigners attempting to enter, part of strict measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in Europe’s second hardest-hit country.

The government reported 182 new fatalities overnight, bringing the total dead to 491 and making Spain the country with the world’s fastest-rising toll behind Italy. The number of infected topped 10,000 for the first time to 11,178.

Spain closed its land borders Monday to all but Spaniards, permanent residents and transborder workers. Trade in goods is not affected.

Australian supermarkets open early to allow elderly to shop and buy supplies

The Associated Press

Image: Elderly customers waiting for the opening of Woolworths supermarket in Balmain on March 17, 2020 in Sydney, Australia.
Elderly customers waiting for the opening of Woolworths supermarket in Sydney, Australia on Tuesday. Jenny Evans / Getty Images

A major supermarket chain in Australia opened earlier than usual on Tuesday dedicating a shopping hour for the elderly and the disabled as anxiety over the coronavirus increases.

Shoppers waited outside Woolworths supermarkets chain waiting for a chance to buy necessities before stores opened to the general public.

The move comes after the country witnessed panic buying in recent weeks, especially for toilet paper, rice, pasta and frozen foods.

Similar "elderly hours" were also reported in shops in Iceland and Canada. 

NBC News

Euro 2020 championship postponed over coronavirus, Sweden and Norway's soccer authorities say


Soccer’s 2020 European Championship has been postponed for a year as the world fights to contain the outbreak of the coronavirus, the Norwegian and Swedish football associations said on Tuesday.

Swedish Football Association chairman Karl-Erik Nilsson said in a message to Reuters during a UEFA video conference call that the tournament will now take place in summer of 2021.

The Norwegian FA tweeted the news from its official account.

UEFA, who is yet to confirm the decision, was under pressure to push back the tournament to give suspended domestic leagues time to be completed.

Senate Democrats have prepped third coronavirus aid package


Rebecca Shabadis in Washington, D.C.

Leigh Ann Caldwell

Hans Nichols

Rebecca Shabad, Leigh Ann Caldwell and Hans Nichols

WASHINGTON — As Congress and the White House are already eyeing a third aid package to address the coronavirus outbreak, Senate Democrats have prepared their own package that would cost at least $750 billion.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., plans to present it to his Democratic caucus during a powerpoint during a tele-lunch they are having Tuesday.

He plans to “explain the contrast to the GOP’s expected proposals of industry bailouts and tax cuts,” a senior Democratic aide said.

Meanwhile, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is preparing an aid package that is expected to total $850 billion, according to two administration officials.

Dierks Bentley donates $90K to employees after closing Nashville bar

Image: Dierks Bentley performs at the Academy of Country Music Awards in Las Vegas in 2018.
Dierks Bentley performs at the Academy of Country Music Awards in Las Vegas in 2018.Mike Blake / Reuters file

Country music star Dierks Bentley said he is donating $90,000 to help his hourly employees after he was forced to close his Whiskey Row bar and grill in Nashville, Tennessee, due to the coronavirus. 

"Just gave last call at @whiskeyrownashville as we close the doors for a while. My heart goes out to all the guys/girls down on Lower Broad. Feels like yesterday that it was me down there working for tips," he said in a tweet.

"I am going to immediately give each of our 90 hourly employees $1,000 to help in the short run as our community and country try to get a handle on the situation," he said.

Read the full story here. 

First Read: Dem race could be frozen in place after Tuesday's primaries


Mark Murray

Carrie Dann

Chuck Todd, Mark Murray and Carrie Dann

It’s likely — if not certain — that tonight’s Democratic presidential primaries in Arizona, Florida and Illinois will be the last ones for the next two months.

And it’s unclear what, exactly, is going to happen today in Ohio, where the state’s governor said he wouldn’t open the state’s polling places, defying a judge who declined to postpone the state’s primary.

It all freezes into place a Democratic nominating contest — with uncertainty about when it all begins again.

Read the full story here.

NBC News

Image: A woman wearing a protective mask speaks over a phone as she stands inside a train at Fort railway station, as the number of people tested positive for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the country increased, in Colombo, Sri Lanka,
A woman wearing a protective mask speaks over a phone as she stands inside a train at Fort railway station in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Tuesday.Dinuka Liyanawatte / Reuters

Kentucky Derby to be postponed until September

The Kentucky Derby, the iconic annual horse race, will be postponed from May to September, according to a news release.

The race will now be held on Sept. 5.

The Derby is the latest major sporting event to be postponed or called off because of the global coronavirus outbreak.

Dow bounces back nervously as coronavirus continues to slam markets

The stock market bounced back nervously on Tuesday, the morning after the Dow Jones Industrial Average suffered its worst single-day points drop ever as traders grappled with almost unprecedented economic volatility.

The Dow opened with a modest rebound of around 400 points, and the S&P and Nasdaq notched up gains of around 2.5 percent each.

While analysts, economists, and even President Donald Trump make mention of the possibility of a recession, some are now even contemplating whether the massive social and economic upheaval could throw the U.S. into a depression.

Monday was the worst day for the Dow and the S&P 500 since the Black Monday crash of 1987.

RNC chairwoman Ronna McDaniel was tested for coronavirus, no results yet

Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel was tested for coronavirus Friday night in Michigan after presenting flu-like symptoms and testing negative for both the flu and strep throat. 

McDaniel has not received the results of her test yet, according to an RNC spokeswoman. 

In the meantime, McDaniel and her family have been self-quarantining at home. 

McDaniel has been in close proximity with President Donald Trump and other lawmakers in the past few weeks. She attended a fundraiser with Trump in Orlando on March 9 and flew back to Washington on Air Force One. She also attended a Senate GOP lunch on March 10 with Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.

U.K. advises against all non-essential international travel for 30 days

After a slew of tougher measures announced by the U.K. government Monday to help control the spread of the coronavirus, British nationals are being asked to avoid all non-essential international travel for at least 30 days. 

"This change in travel advice reflects the pace at which other countries are either closing their borders or implementing restrictive measures in response to the global coronavirus pandemic," U.K.'s foreign office said in a statement. 

British people who decide that they still need to travel abroad should be fully aware of the increased risks of doing so, the statement added. That includes the risk that they may not be able to get home if travel restrictions are put in place. 

Foreign office said in the last week alone, 430 changes have been made to their travel advice, more than in the entirety of 2019.

Contestants on Germany's 'Big Brother' to be told about coronavirus pandemic

Carlo Angerer

Contestants on the German edition of the "Big Brother" reality show will be told about the coronavirus pandemic for the fist time Tuesday night.

TV channel Sat.1 said most contestants where shut off from the outside world on Feb. 6 and are, therefore, theoretically aware of the virus outbreak in Wuhan and first infections outside of China, but have no idea how far the virus has spread since. 

It said the decision to inform them about the pandemic was made together with the contestants' families.

The show's moderator and consulting physician will break the news of the full scale of the global health crisis to the group during a live broadcast.

Contestants will then be able to ask questions about the pandemic and receive video messages from their loved ones. 

Four new housemates joined the show last week, but were not allowed to talk about the virus, the channel said. 

Trump's outgoing acting chief of staff Mulvaney under voluntary self-isolation

Outgoing acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney is under voluntary self-isolation in South Carolina, NBC News has confirmed. 

“He had contact with someone whose test results are pending, so out of an abundance of caution due to his proximity to the President, he’s teleworking pending those results," a White House official told NBC News. "He tested negative on Friday and had no symptoms. White House docs blessed his travel.”

The Associated Press reported that Mulvaney decided to isolate himself because his niece had been in contact with a Brazilian official who tested positive for coronavirus. Mulvaney had tested negative for the virus, the report said.

Earlier this month, President Donald Trump tapped on of his stanchest allies, Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., to be his new chief of staff.

Al Roker does the weather forecast — from home

Al Roker returned to "TODAY" after a staffer he came in contact with tested positive for coronavirus. But he's working from home, bringing viewers the weather from his kitchen.

"There are no NBC News crews here. This is my iPad," Roker said Tuesday, joking he finally got to sleep in without his usual commute.

Roker said he's feeling fine and doesn't have any symptoms of coronavirus. He sat out Monday's broadcast and decided to work from home Tuesday out of an abundance of caution.

Watch his kitchen broadcast below:

Sydney Opera House cancels performances over coronavirus

NBC News

NBC News

Iran sees 135 coronavirus deaths in the past 24 hours

Iran now has 16,169 reported cases of coronavirus after adding 1,178 new cases in the past 24 hours, the Iranian Heath Ministry said Tuesday.

So far, 988 people have died of COVID-19 in the country — 135 of them just in the past 24 hours.

The health ministry says 5,389 people have recovered.

India closes iconic Taj Mahal to curb spread of coronavirus

NBC News

Image: A low number of tourists are seen at Taj Mahal amid concerns over the spread of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus, in Agra
India has closed the Taj Mahal, its principal tourist site, amid coronavirus fears.Pawan Sharma / AFP - Getty Images

AMC Theatres, Regal Cinemas to close

Samantha Kubota

Both AMC Theatres and Regal Cinemas announced Monday they will close their doors this week as the coronavirus continues to spread in the United States.

The movie theater chains were set to close Monday night after the last showing.

Read the full story here.

British researchers warn social restrictions may have to remain for 18 months until vaccine is found

Researchers advising the British government have warned that social restrictions designed to combat the spread of the coronavirus may have to be imposed for 18 months or "indefinitely" until a vaccine is found.

report published Monday by the the COVID-19 Response Team at Imperial College London persuaded the U.K. government to shift its much criticized strategy from trying to slow the number of infections to trying to suppress them altogther.

However, the response team warned that the measures — advising people to skip pubs and theaters, as well as self-isolating at home for 14 days if any family member displays symptoms — might have to remain in place for many months because the contagion might "rebound" once they are lifted.

"The social and economic effects of the measures which are needed to achieve this policy goal will be profound," it warned.

WH press secretary not at work after being exposed to coronavirus

Hans Nichols

Rebecca Shabadis in Washington, D.C.

Hans Nichols and Rebecca Shabad

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham was not at the White House Monday after she was exposed to Brazilian officials at Mar a Lago last weekend who later tested positive for the coronavirus, according to two people familiar with the matter. 

Barr issues memo to U.S. attorneys outlining DOJ priorities amid the outbreak

Michael Kosnar

Rebecca Shabadis in Washington, D.C.

Michael Kosnar and Rebecca Shabad

Attorney General William Barr sent a two-page memo to all U.S. attorneys Monday that outlined the Department of Justice’s priorities for law enforcement and the health and safety of people in the judicial system. 

Every U.S. attorney’s office has been ordered to prioritize the detection, investigation and prosecution of criminal conduct that’s related to the coronavirus pandemic. 

The memo referred to businesses selling fake cures online for the COVID-19 disease, phishing emails from entities posing as the World Health Organization or the CDC and malware infecting apps designed to track the spread of the virus.

Distilleries using high-proof alcohol to make hand sanitizer

The Associated Press

Image: Chad Butters, founder of Eight Oaks Farm Distillery, poses for a photo at their facility in New Tripoli
Chad Butters, founder of Eight Oaks Farm Distillery, poses for a photo at their facility in New Tripoli, Pa., Monday, March 16, 2020.Matt Rourke / AP

NEW TRIPOLI, Pa. — A Pennsylvania distillery owner who grew increasingly angry as he saw the skyrocketing price of hand sanitizer has decided to do something about it: He’s temporarily converting his operation into a production line for the suddenly hard-to-find, gooey, alcohol-based disinfectant.

Eight Oaks Farm Distillery filled its first 20 bottles on Monday, a batch destined for charitable groups that need hand sanitizer but haven’t been able to get it due to the coronavirus pandemic. The family-owned distillery plans to dramatically boost production this week and distribute the bottles to charities as well as offer them at farmers’ markets where it sells its spirits and through its website.

The price: whatever people decide to donate.

“We are in a national emergency,” said distillery founder Chad Butters. “What’s the right thing to do? The right thing to do is support this community by providing something that is in desperate need. We’ll flood the valley with hand sanitizer and drive that price right down.”

Read the full story here.

Cuomo orders that all New York state schools close for 2 weeks

Rebecca Shabadis in Washington, D.C.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order Monday ordering that all schools in the state close by Wednesday and stay closed for two weeks ending April 1. 

A press release from his office said that the state will reassess the decision and whether to reopen.

“The single most effective way to slow the spread of this virus is to reduce close contacts, and that includes in our schools,” he said in a statement, saying that every school district will be required to submit a plan to ensure children of healthcare and first responders have access to childcare.

NBC News

Cellist Yo-Yo Ma performs tribute to frontline healthcare workers

NBC News

Olympic torch relay to go ahead in Japan as planned

Arata Yamamoto

Image: Greek actress Xanthi Georgiou, playing the role of the High Priestess, lights up the torch during the flame lighting ceremony at the closed Ancient Olympia site, birthplace of the ancient Olympics in southern Greece
Olympic torch lit up during the flame lighting ceremony at the closed Ancient Olympia site, birthplace of the ancient Olympics in southern Greece, on Thursday, March 12. Thanassis Stavrakis / AP

The Olympic torch relay will kick off in Japan on March 26 according to plan, the head of the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee said Tuesday, but all accompanying celebrations and events will be cancelled.

Toshiro Muto told reporters the grand opening event in Fukushima will have no spectators. 

As for the actual torch relay, Muto said anyone who is not feeling well is asked to refrain from watching from the sidelines. Spectators will also be asked not to pack together along the streets where runners will be passing through. 

Despite a growing coronavirus pandemic, Japan has so far ruled out postponing or cancelling this year's  Olympics. 

NBC News

Image: Thai Muslim students wear face masks donated by a school official as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 coronavirus during a ceremony at Attarkiah Islamic School in Thailand's southern province of Narathiwat
Thai Muslim students wear face masks donated by a school official at a school in Thailand's southern province of Narathiwat on Tuesday.Madaree Tohlala / AFP - Getty Images

China reacts to Trump’s tweet referring to coronavirus as ‘Chinese virus’

Alex Shi and Yuliya Talmazan

China had harsh words for President Donald Trump Tuesday after he referred to the coronavirus as "Chinese virus" in a tweet. 

State media CGTN quoted China’s foreign ministry spokesperson saying Beijing strongly opposes Trump's use of those words.

Geng Shuang said the World Health Organization (WHO) and the international community are clearly against linking the virus to specific countries and regions, according to CGTN. 

The disease the coronavirus causes was dubbed indiscriminate COVID-19 by the WHO earlier this year to avoid names that can be stigmatizing, singling out a country or a group of people. 

On Weibo, Chinese equivalent of Twitter, hashtag #trumpcallingCOVID19Chinesevirus was mentioned 24 million times Tuesday as social media users voiced their discontent with the U.S. president's tweet. 

The comments also prompted massive backlash in the U.S., including New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, who said the tweet was misplacing blame and could put more Asian Americans in danger.

NBC News

All but one new confirmed cases in China are imported: health officials

Salina Lee

Salina Lee and Yuliya Talmazan

Health officials at China’s National Health Commission said Tuesday there were 21 new confirmed cases in mainland China, of which 20 were imported cases. The only new domestic case was recorded in Wuhan, the city where the coronavirus outbreak is believed to have originated. 

It’s a huge change of pace for China, where officials are now focusing on stopping people bringing new cases from abroad. 

On Tuesday, Wuhan officials said they will now require overseas arrivals to undergo 14-day quarantine at a central location at the people’s own cost, emulating Beijing.

Other cities in Hubei province, of which Wuhan is the capital, are doing the same, as is Anhui province.

The rate of new infections has slowed down considerably in China, according to officials figures released by the state, since a surge in number of cases in January. Nearly 81,000 people have been confirmed to have the virus so far, with 3,226 deaths recorded. 

Israel's security forces to track coronavirus patients and people in self-isolation

Paul Goldman

Image: Health Ministry inspectors speak with a woman who is in self quarantine as a precaution against coronavirus spread in Hadera
Health ministry inspectors speak with a woman who is in self quarantine as a precaution against coronavirus spread in Hadera, Israel on Monday. Ronen Zvulun / Reuters

Israeli's security forces will track coronavirus patients and people in self-isolation using technology used to locate terrorists to make sure they stay isolated, officials said Tuesday.

They will also use this information to track people who were in proximity to the coronavirus patients and notify them of the need to self-isolate themselves. 

Israel has so far recorded more than 300 cases of the coronavirus, with no recorded deaths. 

Israel's military force, IDF, also confirmed to NBC News Tuesday that it's taking over two hotels - each able to hold 500 people - and transforming them into facilities to house patients with mild symptoms.

Qatar stops prayer in mosques indefinitely

Charlene Gubash

Image: An almost deserted Souq Waqi in Qatar's capital Doha, with the spiral minaret of the mosque at the Abdulla Bin Zaid Al Mahmoud Islamic Cultural Center in the background
An almost deserted Souq Waqi in Qatar's capital Doha on Monday. AFP - Getty Images

Qatar has stopped prayers in mosques indefinitely amid the growing coronavirus epidemic.

The Qatar News Agency reported Tuesday that government officials directed the closure of mosques and suspension of all congressional prayers, including the obligatory five prayers and Friday prayers as part of measures to prevent and contain coronavirus. 

The country has so far recorded 439 coronavirus cases, but no deaths. 

NBC News

Two pedestrians cross an empty San Francisco street on Monday.
Two pedestrians cross an empty San Francisco street on Monday.Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

San Francisco police ready to enforce health orders

Beverly Hills’ iconic Rodeo Drive closed to shoppers

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

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

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

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

The Associated Press

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.

Miami mayor with coronavirus shares video diary to reduce fear

California governor halts evictions and foreclosures

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

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.

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