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Americans face dramatic limits on public life as schools, theme parks, events shut down

The crisis continues to unfold across the globe as the World Health Organization uses the term "pandemic" for the first time.
Medical workers at Kaiser Permanente French Campus test a patient for the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, at a drive-thru testing facility in San Francisco on March 12, 2020.
Medical workers at Kaiser Permanente French Campus test a patient for the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, at a drive-thru testing facility in San Francisco on Thursday.Josh Edelson / AFP via Getty Images

The United States on Thursday surpassed 1,600 confirmed or presumptive cases of the coronavirus, and the death toll climbed to 41. Kansas reported its first death Thursday.

Wall Street recorded historic losses as fears intensified over the economic fallout from the pandemic, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average falling by 10 percent, and the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 both down by 9 percent.

It was the worst point drop ever for the Dow and its worst performance since the market crash in 1987.

Disruptions in the sports world continued, with March Madness canceled, the suspension of MLB's spring training and a pause on the National Hockey League season.

Health and government officials continue to call for the end of large gatherings, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints suspended public gatherings worldwide, the Smithsonian announced it will close indefinitely all museums in Washington, D.C. and New York City and Broadway theaters canceled performances through April 12.

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This live coverage has ended. Continue reading March 13 Coronavirus news.

Florida Sen. Rick Scott plans to self-quarantine

Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., plans to self-quarantine after coming into potential contact with a member of Brazilian President Bolsonaro's delegation in Miami, the lawmaker said in a statement."

"While I do not believe I interacted with the infected person, that individual was in the same room as me. The Embassy said the person had no symptoms leading up to or the day of the conference," Scott said.

"After consulting with the Senate’s attending physician and my personal doctor, I have been told that my risk is low, and I don’t need to take a test or quarantine," Scott added. "However, the health and safety of the American people is my focus and I have made the decision to self-quarantine in an abundance of caution. I am feeling healthy and not experiencing any symptoms at this time."

Prayers in Gaza City

Palestinian workers wearing protective gear pray in the courtyard of al-Omari mosque, after spraying disinfectant products as a means of prevention against the spread of COVID-19, in Gaza City on Thursday.Mahmud Hams / AFP - Getty Images

 

Greece reports its first coronavirus related death

Greece reported its first fatality from a coronavirus infection Thursday as it extended a closure of schools to include cinemas, theatres and nightclubs to help prevent a spread of the disease.

The 66-year-old man had returned from a religious pilgrimage to Israel and Egypt at the end of February. He had been in hospital for little over a week and had underlying health issues, the country's health ministry said.

There were 117 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Greece on Thursday, with 18 new infections added in the past 24 hours. Most of those affected had mild symptoms, Sotiris Tsiodras, the health ministry coordinator, said.

The closure of gyms, cinemas, nightclubs and theatres would apply for a period of two weeks, and followed a decision in the week by authorities to shut schools across the country.

New Hampshire courts cancel all criminal, civil jury trials

New Hampshire Superior Courts will cancel all criminal and civil jury trials for the next 30 days starting on Friday because of the coronavirus outbreak, Chief Justice Tina Nadeau said in a statement Thursday. 

Those called for jury duty service were told not to appear to the courthouse between March 13 and April 13, and those who had a report date on April 14 or later were encouraged to check the court's website for updates before appearing.

The court left open the opportunity to extend the 30-day period "on an ongoing basis." Plaintiff and defendants were told that if their cases were scheduled between those two dates they would be given notice of a new trial date.  

What we know about the MLB's plans for the baseball season

Young fans looking for autographs react with disappointment after being told by a baseball player that he couldn't sign, prior to a spring training baseball game between the Baltimore Orioles and the Atlanta Braves, Tuesday, March 10, 2020, in Sarasota, Fla.Elise Amendola / AP

Imagine if Pete Alonso smacks a home run in front of 41,922 empty Citi Field seats March 26 when the Mets are scheduled to open the regular season at home against the defending World Series champion Nationals.

One major league executive was asked about that exact scenario Wednesday, and said that all the buzz at spring training sites in Florida and Arizona this week has been team owners, executives and players contemplating — and preparing for — a brave new sports world in the time of the coronavirus.

Read the full story here.

NYC's Metropolitan Museum reportedly to close

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, one of the most iconic museums in New York City, plans to temporarily close its three locations across the city starting on Friday, according to The New York Times.

“The Met’s priority is to protect and support our staff, volunteers, and visitors,” Daniel Weiss, the Met’s president and chief executive, said in a statement to The Times.

1st coronavirus death in Georgia

The Georgia Department of Public Health confirmed on Thursday the state's first death from the coronavirus.

The patient, a 67-year-old man, had been hospitalized after testing positive for the illness Saturday. Public health officials said the man also had underlying health conditions.

In all, 39 people in the U.S. have died from COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus. 

PGA Tour continues play — but without fans

The Professional Golf Association announced Thursday that the PGA Tour would continue holding tournaments but would close them to fans. 

PGA Commissioner Jay Monahan said the change will go into effect Friday on the second day of The Players Championship.

Fans are still allowed to attend tournament play on Thursday, the first day of the Players Championship. Any fans who were scheduled to attend Thursday but now feel uncomfortable will be able to get a refund.

Monahan said he spoke with President Donald Trump and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, where the Tour is headquartered. He said the situation was “incredibly fluid and dynamic.” The restriction will continue through the Valero Texas Open, which is scheduled to end on April 5.

DOJ building closed for santization overnight after employee self-quarantines

A Justice Department building in Washington, D.C., was shuttered overnight for sanitization after a government lawyer who traveled to California and then developed symptoms was deemed to be a presumptive case of coronavirus, U.S. officials tell NBC News.

An employee working in the DOJ Civil Division’s Liberty Square Building in Northwest Washington exhibited symptoms consistent with coronavirus, and is self-quarantining for two weeks on the recommendation of their doctor, according to an email from Assistant Attorney General Jody Hunt sent to employees late Wednesday obtained by NBC News.

A Justice Department official told NBC News that the employee in question is an attorney in the department’s Office of Immigration Litigation who traveled to San Francisco last week for a court proceeding. The lawyer then returned to Washington and came into the office late last week and early this week before coming down with symptoms.

The official said that employees are being told that the lawyer is “presumptively” considered a coronavirus case but has still not been tested because of the strict eligibility requirements to qualify for a coronavirus test. The situation has created significant concern and uncertainty among Justice Department employees about whether they are at risk and whether they should continue traveling for official purposes, the official said.

NCAA’s five 'power conferences' cancel basketball tournaments

The NCAA’s five “power conferences,” the Pac-12, Big 10, ACC, Big 12 and SEC, all called off play on Thursday due to the outbreak of the new coronavirus.

In a flurry of tweets, the power conferences and others, including the Mid-American Conference and American Athletic Conference, announced the immediate cancellations of their tournaments. The Big East, which was in the middle of a game as other conferences were pulling out, canceled its tournament during halftime.

In some instances, the announcements came shortly before play was set to begin on the second day of play. The move comes a day after the NCAA announced that its annual men’s and women’s basketball tournaments, known as March Madness, would be open to only essential staff and limited family members. 

Pelosi: Mnuchin made 'very reasonable' suggestions for coronavirus relief bill

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., told reporters Thursday morning that Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin made several suggestions for the coronavirus relief bill that are "all very reasonable."

"I think that none of them is, would prevent us from moving forward with the bill," Pelosi said. "They are options that we considered in our own caucus, some of them. And we went one route, they want to go another route, that's fine."

Pelosi said she hopes that Republicans don't further "move the goal posts." The speaker spoke with Mnuchin for a third time Thursday after her press conference, according to her aide Drew Hammill on Twitter.