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Team USA pushes for Olympics delay as millions more ordered to stay at home

Here are the latest updates from around the world.
Outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in New York
A member of Joint Task Force 2, composed of soldiers and airmen from the New York Army and Air National Guard, wears a face mask while carrying paper towels as he arrives to sanitize and disinfect the Young Israel of New Rochelle synagogue in New Rochelle, New York, on March 23, 2020.Andrew Kelly / Reuters

The United Kingdom went into lockdown Monday as British Prime Minister Boris Johnson tried to stem the spread of coronavirus, which has infected more than 5,000 people and killed hundreds in his country.

More American states did the same, too. Officials in Louisiana, New Mexico, Washington and West Virginia issued stay-at-home orders. “Right now, every time you leave your house, you are putting yourself, your family and your community at risk,” New Mexico Gov. Lujan Grisham said.

Team USA's Olympic and Paralympic Committee called for the International Olympic Committee Summer Games in Tokyo.

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Photo: NYC convention center becomes field hospital

Army National Guard line up at the Jacob Javits Center as New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announces plans to convert the the center on Manhattan's West Side into a field hospital on Monday. The Big Apple has the highest number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States and Bill de Blasio said the city's hospitals were at breaking point.Bryan R. Smith / AFP via Getty Images

NBC Washington: Virginia schools closing for the rest of the year

Read the full story at NBCWashington.com.

Rand Paul says amid criticism that more Americans should be able to get tested for coronavirus

Sen. Rand Paul insisted Monday that more Americans should be able to get tested for the novel coronavirus even if they are asymptomatic after he faced criticism for being tested for COVID-19 despite not having symptoms and for continuing on with his daily life while awaiting the results.

In a lengthy statement, Paul, R-Ky., said that he was tested because he and his wife traveled extensively in the weeks prior to the widespread societal shutdown and that he was at higher risk for complications because he had part of his lung removed after he was attacked by his Kentucky neighbor in 2017.

"For those who want to criticize me for lack of quarantine, realize that if the rules on testing had been followed to a T, I would never have been tested and would still be walking around the halls of the Capitol," he added.

Read the full story here.

Thousands of Americans remain stuck in foreign countries

Approximately 13,500 Americans abroad have contacted the State Department for help in getting back to the United States since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, a senior State Department Official told reporters Monday.

A repatriation task force is “working around the clock" to help Americans get home, said the official, who was only authorized to speak on condition of anonymity. 

Since the effort began, the State Department has repatriated 5,000 Americans from 17 countries and will bring home “thousands more in the coming days and weeks,” the official said.

Afternoon roundup of coronavirus coverage

How ProMED crowdsourced the arrival of Covid-19 and SARS [Wired]

My biggest coronavirus fear is my kid's mental health [Vice]

The weekend when box office hit zero for the first time [The Hollywood Reporter]

 

Stay-at-home Americans are reading about gardening and canning

Consumers are abandoning travel, fitness and self-improvement books in favor of reading about gardening and education, according to the latest data from data analytics firm NPD BookScan. 

With millions of Americans hunkering down to limit the spread of coronavirus, container gardening book sales are up by 30 percent week-on-week, while books on canning and preserving rose by 29 percent for the week ending March 14, according to NPD.

Other categories on the rise include educational books for children, reference and language titles, which collectively rose by 38 percent week-on-week. 

However, overall book sales fell 10 percent week on week, with sales affected by the lack of open stores. Year-to-date, book sales are still up 0.7 percent, or 123 million units. 

Half the economy will receive assistance, says Larry Kudlow

The government's economic stimulus package will "cover the whole broad-based economy," including "small and medium business," and not be "limited to a few corporations," National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow pledged on Monday.

Half the economy will receive assistance, he told CNBC, noting that "the Treasury and the U.S. government are guaranteeing" the financial aid, with the Federal Reserve also backstopping credit for businesses and individuals.

"We are doing the best we can, mobilizing America's resources. We are capable of dealing with problems and coming out the other side," Kudlow said.

"There's no reason why we can't get through this period. These large market declines can reverse themselves over time. This is the history of the U.S.," he said.

NASA halts work on James Webb Space Telescope

NASA is suspending work on its next-generation James Webb Space Telescope as part of an agency-wide effort to prioritize essential operations while maintaining the safety of workers across all centers.

Testing and integration work on the Webb telescope in California has been put on hold to ensure the safety of the workforce, NASA officials said in a statement released Friday.

Preparations for the agency’s 2020 Mars rover mission have been deemed a priority and will continue, though many employees and contractors will be conducting their work remotely, according to NASA.

All work associated with the International Space Station will continue, including flight control operations at the agency’s Mission Control Center in Houston. Astronaut training will also continue, in addition to work on NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.

Andrew Yang draws a line

Former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang on Monday sought to draw a line between legitimate criticism of China's reaction to the initial coronavirus outbreak and the ongoing racism and xenophobia that has spiked in the U.S. and around the world.

Trump's continued use of the term "Chinese" in relation to the virus has alarmed many in the Asian American community who worry that such rhetoric is fueling racism.

Boeing to shut down production in Washington state for two weeks

Boeing will temporarily halt production at its Washington state plants, following a state of emergency approved on Sunday.

For two weeks beginning on Wednesday, Boeing will suspend operations at sites across the Puget Sound area while it deep cleans its factories. 

"These actions are being taken to ensure the well-being of employees, their families and the local community, and will include an orderly shutdown consistent with the requirements of its customers," the company said in a statement.

The company will reduce production starting Monday, while operations in support of airline, government, and maintenance and repair customers will continue, according to the statement.