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Restrictions on daily life grow as U.S. death toll climbs

Here are the latest updates from around the world.
A traveler talks with a security officer at Washington Union Station, a major transportation hub in the nation's capital, on March 16, 2020.
A traveler talks with a security officer at Washington Union Station, a major transportation hub in the nation's capital, on March 16, 2020.J. Scott Applewhite / AP

The Dow Jones plunged nearly 3,000 points as U.S. states and major cities are following European nations and capitals in shutting down schools, bars and theaters to try and delay the spread of coronavirus.

California officials announced a complete lockdown of the Bay Area, including San Francisco, that requires people to stay home except for essential needs, and the governor of Ohio is recommending postponing the state's primary elections originally scheduled for Tuesday.

New York, Los Angeles and Washington state have all announced public buildings will be shut temporarily, amid fears that the number of cases will continue to grow beyond the confirmed 4,000. The National Security Council stressed Sunday night that there is no U.S.-wide shutdown or national quarantine.

A long list of European nations that have enacted severe countrywide lockdowns, including France, Spain, Denmark, Netherlands and the Republic of Ireland. Italy, the worst affected European country, has recorded more than 1,800 coronavirus-related deaths so far and expects some 90,000 infections by the end of April.

The U.S. death toll climbed to at least 85, with 25 of those deaths associated with the Life Care Center in Kirkland, Washington.

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Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson out of Australian hospital

Tom Hanks and wife Rita Wilson are no longer hospitalized as the couple has moved to self-quarantine at their Australia home after testing positive for coronavirus.

Hanks, 63, announced that he and his wife were experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, the disease associated with coronavirus, on his social media Wednesday. But both actors are now out of the hospital and quarantined at home, according to the two-time Oscar winner's son, Chet Hanks.

"So quick update on my folks, they're out of the hospital," Chet Hanks said on Instagram Monday. "They're still self-quarantined, obviously, but they're feeling a lot better."

Read the full story here.

Penguins explore Chicago aquarium while it's closed for coronavirus

"Social distancing" might be frustrating for humans, but for two penguins at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago it meant a chance to break free and explore. 

Edward and Annie, two bonded rockhopper penguins, were recorded by staff walking around the Shedd Aquarium on Monday while it remained closed to the public. The curious birds are scheduled to begin their nesting season next week, according to the aquarium's Facebook page. 

"While this may be a strange time for us, these days are relatively normal for the penguins and other animals at Shedd," the post said.

Shedd Aquarium promised to post more adventures from its animals while it remains closed during the coronavirus outbreak.

U.S. death toll jumps to 81

The number of reported U.S. deaths related to coronavirus jumped to 81 on Monday night, an increase of 10 within the span of a few hours. 

Washington state reported 6 more deaths, and Virginia, New York, Louisiana and California each reported one death.

Read the full story here.

Facebook, Google and other tech giants vow solidarity to fight fraud and misinformation

Seven of the biggest names in technology joined together in a statement vowing to work together closely on their response to the coronavirus pandemic. 

"We're helping millions of people stay connected while also jointly combating fraud and misinformation about the virus, elevating authoritative content on our platforms, and sharing critical updates in coordination with government healthcare agencies around the world," the companies said. 

Joining the statement were tech firms that typically are heated competitors: Facebook, Google, Google-owned YouTube, Microsoft, Microsoft-owned LinkedIn, Reddit and Twitter. They said they were inviting other companies to join them. 

Washington state may call on dentists to donate personal protective gear

With increasingly dire shortages of personal protective equipment like masks and gowns in Washington state hospitals, medical professionals are raising the possibility of asking dentists to scale back non-critical procedures and donate their extra protective gear.

“You can get the dentists out of the supply chain,” said Cassie Sauer, CEO of the Washington State Hospitals Association. “No one should be getting their teeth cleaned.”  

Sauer says her group is working with the state department of health on a possible mandate for dentists to stop non-critical procedures and donate their extra gear.

Even in states where the need is not as dire, hospitals are looking to other medical facilities for supplies.“There are other fields that use [protective equipment] that may be an untapped resource,” said Kerry McKean Kelly, of the New Jersey Hospital Association.

The American Dental Association did not respond directly to a question about dentists donating protective gear, but it released a statement Monday asking dentists nationwide to “postpone elective procedures for the next three weeks.”

"Jeopardy!" and "Wheel of Fortune" will suspend production as concerns regarding the spread of coronavirus continue to grow. 

"The health and well-being of our contestants, staff, and crew are our top priority, and we will continue to monitor the situation as it develops," the "Jeopardy!" Twitter account said Monday. 

It's unclear when production will continue.

"Jeopardy!" host Alex Trebek is currently battling stage 4 pancreatic cancer and finished his first round of chemotherapy in August. 

San Francisco residents ordered to stay home in effort to slow spread of coronavirus

Teachers and families brace for massive experiment in online education

Teachers at Washington state's Northshore school district spent the past week figuring out how to teach students to do science experiments at their kitchen tables, or jumping jacks in their home basements instead of gym class.

After the area saw some of the nation's first confirmed coronavirus infections, Northshore teachers learned two weeks ago that — ready or not — they'd have to lead the way on what's likely to become the largest experiment in online instruction this country has seen.

"It's been a tremendous lift," said Tim Brittell, the president of the Northshore Education Association, the district's teachers union.

Read the full story here.

False coronavirus rumors surge in 'hidden viral' text messages

The various false text messages forwarded to many Americans on Sunday and Monday all started a little differently before making the same debunked claim: Martial law is coming.

Martial law is not coming. U.S. politicians on Monday sought to remove any doubt and publicly debunked the rumors. But the messages proved hard to stop or even trace, because they were shared in texts, often forwarded by people who meant well.

With social media networks like Facebook and Twitter cracking down on the spread of dangerous misinformation in the face of the pandemic, misleading information and false claims have moved to what experts are calling a literal “game of telephone” in text-messaging apps.

Read the full story here.