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

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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.

Full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak

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This live coverage has ended. Continue reading March 24 Coronavirus news.

Instacart to add 300,000 gig workers in coronavirus-driven hiring

Instacart said on Monday it plans to hire 300,000 gig workers over the next three months, more than doubling its current base, as demand surges for grocery delivery services due to the coronavirus pandemic forcing people to shop from home.

The hiring is huge compared to those announced by major retailers. Amazon said last week it would hire 100,000 warehouse and delivery workers in the United States to deal with a surge in online orders. Walmart said it would hire more than 150,000 hourly workers through the end of May in its stores and fulfillment centers.

Instacart said order volumes had risen over 150 percent in the last few weeks.

IOC member says Tokyo 2020 Olympics will be postponed — but IOC remains quiet

International Olympic Committee member Dick Pound told USA Today on Monday that the Tokyo 2020 Olympics will be postponed to 2021 in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

But that decision does not appear to be final. The IOC said in a statement that "it is the right of every IOC Member to interpret the decision of the IOC [Executive Board] which was announced yesterday.” The IOC announced Sunday that it would be increasing its “scenario-planning” for the 2020 Games. These plans could include modifying the Olympics but keeping the July 24 start date or changing the start date.

The organization did not comment further on the report of postponement. But in a letter to athletes on Sunday, IOC President Thomas Bach said “cancellation would not solve any problem and would help nobody.”

South Africa to go into nationwide lockdown

JOHANNESBURG — South Africa, Africa's most industrialized economy and a nation of 57 million people, will go into a nationwide lockdown for 21 days starting Thursday to fight the spread of the coronavirus.

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the measures Monday in response to the increase of COVID-19 cases. South Africa will be the third country in Africa to close down all but essential economic activity, after Rwanda and Tunisia.

South Africa's coronavirus cases jumped to 402 Monday, the most in Africa and up 47 percent from the day before.

Rhode Island postponing presidential primary until June 2

Rhode Island on Monday became the latest state to postpone its presidential primary election.

Gov. Gina Raimondo announced the state will shift its planned April 28 primary to June 2.

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.