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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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Lindsey Graham, who was at Mar-a-Lago last weekend, plans to self-quarantine

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., plans to self-quarantine as he awaits the results of a coronavirus test, his office said in a statement.

“Senator Graham was at Mar-a-Lago last weekend," Graham's office said. "He has no recollection of direct contact with the President of Brazil, who is awaiting results of a coronavirus test, or his spokesman who tested positive."

Dow falls 10 percent in worst day since 1987 crash

Wall Street recorded historic losses on Thursday as fears intensified over the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic amid what some saw as an anemic response from the White House. 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell by 10 percent, with the Nasdaq and S&P 500 both down 9 percent. It was the worst point drop ever for the Dow, and its worst performance since the "Black Monday" market crash in 1987.

Banks, travel, and energy sectors both notched up double-digit losses, after President Donald Trump issued a temporary ban on entry into the U.S. for some foreign travelers.

“It’s going to all bounce back and it’s going to bounce back very big,” Trump said Thursday.

Congress, Trump admin close to a deal on coronavirus relief bill

A deal on the coronavirus legislative package is close, a congressional source from each party and an administration official told NBC News on Thursday.

"We are close, not done yet, there could be hiccups along the way," the administration official said, adding that progress is being made on the two main sticking points: paid leave and the Hyde Amendment.

The official adds there is a cooperative spirit between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin during these negotiations and that both sides are working as quickly as possible to get a deal done.

House leaders are still hopeful for a vote later Thursday on the legislation but nothing is done until a deal is reached. The administration official remained more skeptical that a vote would happen Thursday.

Major League Baseball to suspend spring training, delay regular season over coronavirus

Major League Baseball announced Thursday it will suspend spring training in response to the coronavirus outbreak and delay the start of the regular season by at least two weeks.

"Following a call with the 30 Clubs, and after consultation with the Major League Baseball Players Association, Commissioner Robert D. Manfred, Jr. today announced that MLB has decided to suspend Spring Training games and to delay the start of the 2020 regular season by at least two weeks due to the national emergency created by the coronavirus pandemic," the statement from MLB said.

"This action is being taken in the interests of the safety and well-being of our players, Clubs and our millions of loyal fans."

The league says that all pre-season games will be cancelled as of 4 p.m. E.T. on Thursday. MLB will announce contingency plans regarding the 2020 regular season at an "appropriate time" with the "hope of resuming normal operations as soon as possible."

Read the full article here.

Major TV networks skip the red carpet, go virtual for 'upfront' presentations

NBC and CBS will skip the red carpet and go virtual for their annual "upfront" presentations, both companies announced Thursday.

The upfronts, where TV networks show future programming to advertisers in the hopes of securing billions of dollars, are usually star-studded events held at major venues in New York City.

Fox and Discovery announced later that they also would cancel their upfronts, and Disney and Hulu said they also would switch to streaming their presentations. Hulu is owned by Disney and Comcast, the parent company of NBC Universal, which owns NBC News.

“This year’s Upfront Presentation will ensure everyone’s safety, while allowing us to give fans and marketers a preview of the upcoming season,” said Linda Yaccarino, Chairman of Advertising and Partnerships, NBCUniversal, noting that the presentations would be televised and streamed instead.

CBS parent ViacomCBS said in a statement that it would make a video and share it with advertisers. 

E.U. and U.K. cancel face-to-face talks on post-Brexit trade

European Union negotiators will not travel to London for a second round of talks on a post-Brexit trade deal because of the coronavirus outbreak. 

"Both sides are currently exploring alternative ways to continue discussions, including if possible the use of video conferences,' the E.U. and U.k. negotiating teams said in a joint statement Thursday, adding that they were looking at "alternative ways" of keeping the talks alive, including video conferencing.  

The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus across the United Kingdom rose 29 percent to 590 over the past 24 hours. Ten people have died in the UK since the outbreak.

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson he said wants a comprehensive trade deal in place by the end of the year.  Earlier Thursday, he warned that many more families are "going to lose loved ones before their time," as his government's chief scientific adviser warned that between 5,000 and 10,000 people were likely infected with COVID-19 in the U.K. 

Ohio closing public schools for three weeks, gov announces

GOP lawmakers continue to use 'Wuhan virus' or 'Chinese coronavirus'

Republican lawmakers have persisted in using "Wuhan virus" or "Chinese coronavirus," despite remarks by Democrats and the director of the CDC that such phrases are inaccurate and even racist.

The racist rhetoric around the virus could potentially be a tactic in distracting from Trump’s handling of the situation, Rep. Grace Peng said.

Read the full story here.

Supreme Court closing to the public

Statement from the court:

"Out of concern for the health and safety of the public and Supreme Court employees, the Supreme Court Building will be closed to the public from 4:30 p.m. on March 12, 2020, until further notice. The Building will remain open for official business, and case filing deadlines are not extended."

 

‘It is a failing. Let’s admit it,' Fauci says of coronavirus testing capacity

America has failed to meet the capacity for coronavirus testing that it needs, a top public health official publicly acknowledged Thursday.

“The system is not really geared to what we need right now,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in a House hearing about coronavirus test kits in the United States, which were initially dogged by technical glitches. “That is a failing. Let’s admit it.”

Read more here. 

Broadway theaters canceling performances through April 12