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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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Dow futures plunge 1,000 points after Fed's crisis action

Stock futures plunged Sunday night, despite unprecedented emergency action from the Federal Reserve.

Dow futures fell by 1,000 points, triggering the "limit down" threshold after the Fed announced a rate cut that brings the central bank's borrowing rate to a range of between 0 and 0.25 percent.

Investors remain skeptical that even such bold moves will move the needle as the coronavirus outbreak takes its toll on the U.S. economy.

“They had no choice, but it won’t be enough in the grand scheme of things,” Jeff Mills, chief investment officer of Bryn Mawr Trust, told Bloomberg.

Federal Reserve cuts rate to near zero in emergency move

The Federal Reserve cut its benchmark borrowing rate in an emergency move Sunday, citing “disrupted economic activity in many countries, including the United States,” due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The action by the Federal Open Market Committee is the second emergency rate cut enacted by the central bank in the last two weeks as the U.S. attempts to shore up the economy ahead of any impact from the viral outbreak.

Sunday's move follows an ugly week on Wall Street, with the Dow and the S&P both entering bear market territory and the Dow seeing its biggest one-day points drop. Investors were responding to mounting fears that the viral pandemic will take a heavy toll on the nation's economy, with stores, businesses, and schools all closing and industry and sporting events canceled.

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.