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Over 3,000 cases in the U.S.; airport chaos due to new screenings

Here are the latest updates from around the world.
Image: People wait in line to go through customs at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport in Grapevine, Texas, on March 14, 2020.
People wait in line to go through customs at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport in Grapevine, Texas, on March 14, 2020.Austin Boschen / via AP

Americans are racing to cut vacations short and re-book flights home this weekend as Europe continues to lock down towns and cities amid the spread of coronavirus.

The CDC said Sunday that all events of 50 people or more should be canceled for the next eight weeks, guidance that advocates for people to engage in "social distancing" through early May.

New York City announced it would close public schools, and many cities around the country ordered bars and restaurants closed, with some even issuing curfews, to encourage social distancing. Meantime, brick-and-mortar retailers began shutting down stores.

Stock futures plunged Sunday night, despite unprecedented emergency action from the Federal Reserve, which announced a rate cut.

The United States has surpassed 3,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, and the death toll climbed to at least 61, with 25 of the deaths associated with the Life Care Center in Kirkland, Washington.

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New York City to close all public schools

New York City will close public schools, and as U.S. cases of the coronavirus climb well past 3000, states and cities are ordering bars and restaurants to close in an effort to encourage social distancing and try to stem the outbreak.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo made the announcement about schools on Sunday evening.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said the closures will start Monday and last at least until April 20.

Read the full story here.

New Hampshire, Vermont close public schools

Officials in New Hampshire and Vermont announced Sunday that the states’ public schools will be temporarily shuttered in an effort to contain the spread of COVID-19.

In an emergency order, New Hampshire Gov. Christopher Sununu said the closures will begin Monday and remain in effect until April 3. He charged the state’s school districts with immediately developing and implementing remote instruction plans.

In Vermont, Gov. Phil Scott said schools will be canceled from Wednesday to April 6, although students aren’t required to attend classes Monday or Tuesday. Scott’s office said that schools should develop plans for remote learning, meal service and students with special needs in case the closures extend beyond April 6.

Several other states have also temporarily closed their schools, including Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

Oxford researchers show what it looks like to 'flatten the curve'

Researchers from the University of Oxford have released a new study showing how countries with older populations are particularly at risk of having their health care systems overwhelmed. 

"Our illustrations suggest that countries with older populations will need to take more aggressive protective measures to stay below the threshold of critical cases that outstrip health system capacity," Professor Jennifer Dowd tweeted as part of a thread on the study.

She added that the data they analyzed showed "some real-world evidence of 'flattening the curve.'" The study compared two Italian cities — Bergamo and Lodi — and how their different responses (Bergamo was slower to react than Lodi) led to a divergence in reported cases.

Hollywood box office takes hit

Hollywood experienced one of its worst weekend in two decades as many movie theaters were forced to close because of the coronavirus. 

The weekend box office top 10 took in $55 million in North America, according to Variety. That was a 47 percent drop over the previous weekend, and 60 percent down from the same weekend a year ago when “Captain Marvel,” was still in theaters, said a studio executive who did not want his name used because he was not authorized to speak to the media. The weekend of Sept. 15, 2000, just days after the 9/11 attacks, the box office take was $55.4 million, according to Variety.

The top movie this weekend, “Onward,” from Disney and Pixar, took in $10.5 million. Other releases included “I Still Believe,” “Bloodshot,” “The Invisible Man" and “The Hunt.” 

Around around 100 cinemas in North America have shuttered, including Bowtie cinema in Hoboken, New Jersey, which the city ordered closed Saturday. Meanwhile AMC and other cinemas said they would limit capacity to 50 percent of auditoriums.

Biden urges voters to cast ballots on Tuesday primaries as coronavirus concerns mount

Former Vice President Joe Biden asked voters in a slew of Tuesday primary states to "please vote" as the coronavirus crisis has led to widespread closures and cancelations as officials try to corral the COVID-19 outbreak.

Florida, Ohio, Illinois and Arizona are slated to hold primaries on Tuesday. Already, Georgia and Louisiana have announced they are pushing back their primaries from March and April to May and June.

"The right to vote is the most sacred American right there is," Biden tweeted. "State election officials are working closely with public health officials to hold safe elections. If you are feeling healthy, not showing symptoms, and not at risk of being exposed to COVID-19: please vote on Tuesday."

Read the story here.

The scene in Milan

People stand on their balconies to "gather" after a nationwide lockdown to slow the spread of coronavirus in Milan, Italy, on Sunday. Some Italians are showing signs of solidarity by playing music for neighbors on other balconies for entertainment.Claudio Furlan / LaPresse via AP
A man plays the guitar on his balcony in Milan on Sunday.Daniele Mascolo / Reuters

Illinois orders restaurants to halt dine-in services until the end of March

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker ordered restaurants to close to dine-in customers for the rest of March as authorities attempt to slow the spread of coronavirus.

The order would begin at the end of business Monday and continue until March 30, Pritzker said at a press conference Sunday. The closure would not extend to delivery and drive-through services. 

Pritzker's order comes hours after Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced restrictions on businesses selling liquor. Such establishments would be forced to half their regular maximum capacity and limit entrance to 100 people, according to NBC Chicago.

Commissioner to NYPD: "We will, without a doubt, suffer" during coronavirus outbreak

NYPD Chief Dermot Shea holds a press conference on Feb. 15, 2020.Yana Paskova / Getty Images file

The head of the largest police force in the world says they will "suffer" as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, but tells his cops "we will stand with you" in an internal memorandum reviewed exclusively by NBC News and transmitted to all NYPD officers and staff this afternoon.

Police Commissioner Dermot Shea sent the 4 page memo to the approximately 36,000 officers and 19,000 civilian members of New York's Finest telling them that starting tomorrow they should expect staggered schedules and for non-essential civilian employees to work from home. Shea says, "we will, without a doubt suffer."

He says, "many members may become ill" and that officers should expect to work extra hours on their shifts and that some duties will change. He vowed that personal protective equipment will be available for members of the Department who are on the "front lines."

On Saturday a school safety officer working in the New York City borough of Queens tested positive for coronavirus, which marked the first case of a NYPD employee testing positive for the virus. The school safety officer was believed to be exposed through her husband who also had the virus. In Shea's memo he says that 30 employees are currently self-quarantined, "out of an abundance of caution, based on consultation with the Medical Division." 

Gov. Mike DeWine orders bars and restaurants to close in Ohio

Gov. Mike DeWine announced that he was ordering all restaurants and bars in Ohio to close their doors to customers beginning at 9 p.m. on Sunday evening.

"How long will this order be in effect? We don't, frankly, know," DeWine told reporters Sunday. "It will be in effect for as long as it needs to."

DeWine elaborated that carryout and delivery services were excluded from the order, but that businesses could not have customers sitting down and congregating together as authorities attempt to combat the spread of coronavirus. The governor said his administration will work to mitigate the suffering of small businesses and workers who will likely be out of jobs due to the order.

"I have some understanding on what this order will do, and I think of all the places I've eaten across the state of Ohio, many business owners who this is going to hurt greatly," DeWine said Sunday. 

Ariana Grande pleads with fans to take coronavirus seriously

Amazon warns of delivery delays, some household products out of stock

Amazon warned it’s experiencing Prime delivery delays and running out of stock of popular household items amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The issues are a result of a “dramatic increase in the rate that people are shopping online,” Amazon said in a blog post that was updated on Saturday. Some popular brands and items in the “household staples” categories were out of stock, while Amazon said some of its “delivery promises are longer than usual.”

“In the short term this is having an impact on how we serve our customers,” Amazon said in the blog post. “We are working around the clock with our selling partners to ensure availability on all of our products, and bring on additional capacity to deliver all of your orders.”

Amazon added a notice to the top of its marketplace this weekend that reads: “Inventory and delivery may be temporarily unavailable due to increased demand. Confirm availability at checkout.”

Read the full story here.