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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CDC says gatherings of 50 or more should be canceled for next eight weeks
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Sunday that people throughout the United States should avoid events of 50 people or more for the next eight weeks.
The announcement comes as some major cities have already put in place bans on large events and ordered bars and restaurants to close.
"This recommendation is made in an attempt to reduce introduction of the virus into new communities and to slow the spread of infection in communities already affected by the virus," the CDC said.
The CDC noted that its guidance "is not intended to supersede the advice of local public health officials."
Robert Durst murder trial delayed
The murder trial of real estate scion Robert Durst will be delayed until next month because of concerns over coronavirus, California court officials said Sunday.
In a statement, Los Angeles County Superior Court said jurors in the case should return on April 6.
Durst, 76, was charged with one count of murder in the 2000 death of his close friend, Susan Berman.
Berman was found lying face down in her Los Angeles home with a gun shot wound to the back of her head. Durst, who was the subject of the HBO series "The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst," has maintained his innocence.
5 deaths reported in New York City
The number of confirmed cases and deaths from coronavirus rose sharply in New York City in recent days, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Sunday.
Five people have died from the disease and more than 300 have tested positive for it, he said in a news conference.
On Friday, there had been no reported deaths in the city, he said, and the week began with several dozen confirmed cases. Those who died were between 53 and 82 and had preexisting conditions like emphysema, diabetes and heart disease, he said.
Restaurants, bars close
Nike, Lululemon to temporarily close stores
Apple, Lululemon and Nike are among some of the country’s leading retailers that announced temporary store shut downs in response to the coronavirus outbreak.
Lululemon and Nike announced Sunday they will close their stores through March 27. They both said employees will be paid for the hours they were scheduled to work. Apple closed all of its stores outside of China through March 27 last week, but its online stores and App Store remain open.
Under Armour and Abercrombie & Fitch announced separately they will close their doors through March 28. Under Armour said it will pay team members for the house they were scheduled to work. Abercrombie & Fitch warned the store closures would have “material adverse impacts” on its financial performance and withdrew its first-quarter and full year forecast.
Patagonia, Urban Outfitters, Lush Cosmetics, Warby Parker and Allbirds are among other retailers closing stores in response to the virus.
California governor asks seniors, people with chronic conditions to self-isolate
California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Sunday asked all Californians who have chronic conditions or are over age of 65 to self-isolate at home in a bid to protect them.
“We are doing so with our eyes wide open at the magnitude of what that means,” Newsom said at a news conference.
He added that state officials were working on providing medicine, food and other supplies to the state’s 5.3 million seniors, a population that public health officials have said is more vulnerable to the disease.
Newsom also asked nightclubs, brewpubs and wineries to close their doors — though he did not order them to do so, saying he was confident they would follow his guidance. Restaurants can remain open, Newsom said, though he asked businesses to reduce their patrons by half. And he said customers should remain 6 feet or more away from each other in an effort to reduce the possibility of spreading or catching the disease.
Officials are also trying to move the thousands of homeless people who are in encampments or on the streets across California into sites that Newsom said would allow for appropriate “social distancing.” He said the state is “procuring” hotels and motels “in real time” and using hundreds of trailers for the effort.
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.
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
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
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.”
Mnuchin defends Trump's coronavirus response as officials ramp up efforts
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin defended President Donald Trump on Sunday amid ongoing criticism over the administration's response to the coronavirus pandemic.
"People misinterpreted his comments," Mnuchin told ABC's "This Week" after the president during an Oval Office speech misstated several elements of a new policy restricting travel from Europe to combat the spread of the virus. "And we immediately put out a statement to clarify that."
Luxury goods company that owns Dior, Luis Vuitton to make free hand sanitizer for France
One of the world's largest luxury fashion and beauty companies will now direct its cosmetic factories to manufacture hand sanitizer gel to be distributed at no cost in France.
LVMH, home to brands such a Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior, will prepare its production sites to manufacture the antibacterial gel to be given over to French authorities at the direction of its CEO and Chairman, Bernard Arnault. The moves comes amid a fear of sanitizer shortage in the country.
"Through this initiative, LVMH intends to help address the risk of a lack of product in France and enable a greater number of people to continue to take the right action to protect themselves from the spread of the virus," the company said in a press release.
French Prime Minister Édouard Philippe ordered the country's restaurants, cafés, cinemas and clubs to close as coronavirus spreads quickly in the country.
Travelers face airport chaos as U.S. tries to implement coronavirus screening
Those who came to the U.S. from abroad Saturday were met with chaos as new coronavirus screenings snarled airports around the country, forcing travelers into overcrowded lines for hours.
Beth Kander, 38, returned from France to a "madhouse" at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago, where she spent about five hours going from line to line. Kander told NBC News Sunday that her flight was only alerted to the screenings about an hour before landing.
"When we were an hour out from landing, the captain made an announcement, and it created a lot of anxiety," Kander said. "He said you will not be allowed to get off a plane, a U.S. official will board and there will be a coronavirus update."
O’Hare airport was only one of many airports where passengers returning from abroad were forced into packed lines, antithetical from the call for “social distancing” in an effort to slow the spread coronavirus. Travelers also reported overcrowding at airports in New York City, Los Angeles and Dallas-Fort Worth upon their returns.
Coronavirus cases in the U.S. surpasses 3,000
The U.S. now has more than 3,000 reported cases of coronavirus, according to NBC News tallies.
As of Sunday afternoon, there have been at least 61 deaths in the U.S. due to coronavirus and 3204 reported cases.
The numbers in the U.S. are rising as people around the country are increasingly practicing social distancing in an effort to stop the virus' spread. Currently Washington state and New York have the highest concentration of cases, each with more than 600.