The number of coronavirus cases continued to accelerate in the United States on Tuesday, and early Wednesday Senate leaders announced they had reached a deal on a massive $2 trillion spending bill aimed at alleviating the economic impact of the outbreak.
The White House coronavirus coordinator asked people who have recently been in New York, where the death toll continues to climb, to quarantine themselves for 14 days, because they may have been exposed before leaving.
President Donald Trump is pushing for the country to get back to business by April 12, Easter Sunday, when he said he would like to see churches full of people.
And after growing international pressure, Japan and the International Olympic Committee agreed to postpone the 2020 Tokyo games until next year but said they would happen no later than summer 2021.
- Here's what to know about the coronavirus, plus a timeline of the most critical moments.
- MAPS: Where cases have been confirmed in the U.S. and worldwide.
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Los Angeles County gun shops drew a barrage of buyers before lockdown
Los Angeles County residents rushed to gun stores as the coronavirus spread across the U.S. last week, forming long lines in a fit of panic-buying, a top law enforcement official told NBC News.
Sheriff Alex Villanueva says the gun buying bonanza came just before a stay-at-home order was put in place. Gun shops, like other nonessential businesses, are now closed across the county.
"You can't shoot a virus," Villanueva told NBC News. “But if we ever get to the point of a foreign invasion or zombie apocalypse, I’ll make sure they are open.”
Transit systems in free fall beg for federal help over coronavirus
The nation's public transit systems are asking for federal help as ridership plummets because of the coronavirus pandemic.
As more and more states and major urban centers call upon residents to work from home and shelter in place to slow the spread of the virus, public transit systems around the country are taking a major hit, with declines in ridership of up to 90 percent.
In New York, an epicenter of the outbreak in the United States, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority has seen a 60 percent decline in ridership on its subways, while in San Francisco, where residents have been ordered to stay home, the Bay Area Rapid Transit system has seen a decline of almost 90 percent and is losing millions per week, forcing it to reduce service times.
The steep drops in riders, plus the added costs of safety measures such as disinfecting subway cars and cleaning the stations, could have catastrophic financial consequences for public transit systems even after the crisis is over.
Read the full story here.
Coronavirus cases surpass 50,000 in the U.S.
The number of coronavirus cases in the United States has now risen to more than 50,000. New York has the biggest number of cases by far, at over 25,000. That's largely due to increased testing for the virus.
California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, New Jersey and Washington have all reported more than 1,000 cases each.
Nationwide, 637 people have died from the coronavirus.
Liberty University's Jerry Falwell Jr. welcomes students back
More than 1,100 students returned Monday following spring break, according to Scott Lamb, a spokesman for the university in Lynchburg. Falwell Jr. said he met with many of them.
At least one professor at the university has criticized the move, writing in an op-ed that "Falwell's lack of concern" about the pandemic puts faculty, staff and others in the city of Lynchburg at risk. In addition, an online petition seeks Falwell's removal over his alleged failure to take COVID-19 seriously.
Trump says he wants to ease coronavirus restrictions by April 12
President Donald Trump on Tuesday said he wants to have the country getting back to business by the Easter holiday, April 12, saying the country isn’t built to sustain a longterm shutdown.
Public health experts and local and state leaders have cautioned against easing restrictions too early, saying it could put an enormous strain on hospitals and lead to even more deaths and economic damage.
A White House official clarified that the president views Easter as a date by which the economy is speeding again, meaning the loosening of restrictions would happen even sooner.
Grassroots team launches website to get protective equipment to health care workers
A newly launched website “Get Us PPE” aims to unite medical workers, engineers, marketers, and manufacturers to get frontline healthcare workers the necessary protection they need to stay safe and take care of coronavirus patients.
Over the last couple weeks, hundreds of health care workers across the country have been flooding social media with disturbing accounts of shortages of basic equipment like masks, gowns and hand sanitizer.
Many have responded to their calls offering to donate supplies, sew masks, or retool their factories. Until Tuesday, these real-time donations efforts were decentralized, but now a “passionate grassroots team” from across the country has unified the effort into one website getusppe.org. More than 566 hospitals have already asked for supplies and the number is growing, organizers told NBC News.
Greta Thunberg self-isolates after experiencing coronavirus-like symptoms
Thunberg and her dad experienced coronavirus-like symptoms after traveling in Central Europe and are now isolating themselves for 2 weeks in a separate apartment, the climate activist said in an Instagram post Tuesday.
Last week, Sweden's Public Health Agency stopped testing all possible cases and advised that anyone who experienced symptoms to stay at home and practice social distancing.
Thunberg reported that she did not get tested for coronavirus, but has since fully recovered.
"Follow the advice from experts and your local authorities and #StayAtHome to slow the spread of the virus," she said. "And remember to always take care of each other and help those in need.#COVID #flattenthecurve"
Poland unleashes vodka on the virus
The Polish government has deployed a weapon in the fight against the coronavirus: confiscated black market vodka.
Known locally as “bimber,” some 500,000 liters of the high-powered liquid will be used as a disinfectant, the National Office of the Public Prosecutor said. It's worth noting, however, that vodka is generally not considered an effective killer of microbes.
Vodka was invented in Poland, and the authorities crack down routinely on the hundreds of illegal distilleries operating in the countryside.
Photo: Auto plant workers in Wuhan return to jobs
Harvard president and his wife test positive for coronavirus
Harvard President Larry Bacow and his wife Adele tested positive for the coronavirus, he announced in a statement on Tuesday.
Bacow said they have been completely limiting their contact with others since March 14. Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker announced on Monday a stay-at-home advisory for the state's 7 million residents.
UK reports highest daily deaths, surging over 25% in total number
The number of coronavirus deaths in the UK has risen by 87 in the past 24 hours, according to the country's Department of Health.
There are now 422 patients who have died from coronavirus and 8,077 confirmed cases.
On Monday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson imposed a 3-week national lockdown in order to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Introducing our new project: Coronavirus Confessions
Dow surges by 1,700 points as hopes rise that economic stimulus bill will pass
Wall Street soared on Tuesday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average surging by 1,700 points as lawmakers appeared to be closing in on the $2 trillion stimulus package.
The measure would reportedly include $350 billion for small businesses and $240 billion in relief for health care, including $75 billion that would be allocated to hospitals directly; $11 billion for the development of vaccines, treatments and other preparedness needs; and $4.5 billion for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Unemployment insurance benefits included in the bill would give recipients 100 percent of their salary.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up by 1,773 points by midday, or more than 9 percent. The S&P 500 was up almost by around 8.25 percent, with the Nasdaq up by almost 7 percent. Traders have pinned their hopes on the government's fiscal stimulus plan after emergency crisis action from the Federal Reserve failed to soothe markets.
Lady Gaga delays sixth studio album, citing coronavirus
Lady Gaga announced Tuesday that she would delay the release of her sixth studio album "Chromatica." In a post on Twitter and Instagram, the Oscar- and Grammy-winning singer wrote that she didn't feel right releasing an album "with all that is going on during this global pandemic."
"It is important to me that the attention is on getting essential medical equipment to healthcare professionals, making sure kids who depend on public schools for meals get the assistance they need, and that we help those who will be financially impacted by this pandemic," Gaga wrote.
The singer had already postponed a dozen dates of her Las Vegas residency "Enigma," and revealed in the post that she had planned a surprise set for Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, which was also postponed.
Gaga assured her fans, despite the delay, that the album is still coming: "I hope you can see that when the album does come out, I want us to be able to dance together, sweat together, hug and kiss each other, and make it the most bombastic celebration of all time. And until that time comes, LET'S ALL STAY HOME!"
Steep fines face those who defy coronavirus lockdowns, curfews around the world
As millions of people are locked down in their homes around the world, governments are hoping steep fines will also help to stop those who are breaking quarantine rules.
In Saudi Arabia, where a nationwide curfew has been enacted for three weeks starting Monday, violators will be fined 10,000 Saudi riyal ($2,777), which will be doubled for a second violation, the country's interior ministry said. A third violation will earn the offender a jail sentence of up to 20 days.
Italy, which is experiencing the worst coronavirus outbreak in Europe with 6,077 deaths so far, is considering raising the fines for violation of the nationwide lockdown to 3,000 euros ($3,246), the country's Corriere della Sera newspaper reported. The current fine stands at 206 euros ($222).
Meanwhile, in Israel, which is on partial lockdown, police are fining those breaking the quarantine 5,000 shekels ($1,365). Israel has had 1,656 confirmed coronavirus cases and one death so far.
And in France, where 860 people died of the virus, sanctions for not respecting restricted movement started at just 38 euros ($41) when they began last week, but French Prime Minister Philippe Edouard said Monday night the fines will go up to as high as 1,500 euros ($1,618) for repeat offenders.
New York governor highlights 'dramatic increase' in infection rate
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday his state has seen a "dramatic increase" in the rate of coronavirus infections, saying the "troubling and astronomical numbers" of people getting infected are higher than initially projected.
"The apex is higher than we thought and the apex is sooner than we thought," Cuomo said, adding that cases could peak in as soon as 14 to 20 days. "It is clear that we must dramatically increase the hospital capacity."
India's prime minister orders nationwide lockdown
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has ordered a lockdown of the country starting at midnight local time.
The lockdown across the country of some 1.3 billion people will last for 21 days, according to The Associated Press.
Photo: The staggering toll in northern Italy
Dow soars by 1,300 points on hopes economic stimulus bill will finally pass
Wall Street rallied Tuesday on hopes lawmakers are nearing a deal on the $2 trillion stimulus package to help American workers and businesses survive the coronavirus outbreak.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average surged by 1,300 points, after hitting its 5 percent "limit up" threshold in premarket trading. The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq both notched up gains of around 5 percent at the opening bell.
"I think we're very hopeful that this can be closed out tomorrow," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told reporters late Monday on Capitol Hill after emerging from negotiations with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.
France enters two-month state of emergency
France will be under a state of health emergency for two months, the French government announced Tuesday.
The new emergency law, passed by the Senate and the Parliament last week, gives the government special powers to enforce the lockdown, which first began two weeks ago.
Local officials will determine in each city if a curfew is necessary, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said. Health officials said France has confirmed 19,856 cases of coronavirus, more than 2,000 of which are in intensive care, and 860 have died.
The tighter measures rolled out Monday night by Philippe allow residents to leave their homes for only one hour to do only essential tasks, and for physical exercise within 0.6 miles of their residence. They will also need to mark the time they leave home on a special form they need to carry when venturing outside.
Tokyo 2020 Olympics postponed
The Tokyo 2020 Olympics have been postponed, Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced Tuesday.
Abe said Japan and the International Olympic Committee came to an agreement during a phone call with the head of the IOC, Thomas Bach, following growing calls for the games to be delayed or canceled because of the concerns around coronavirus pandemic.
The Japanese leader said they have agreed that the games would not be canceled and will be held by the summer of 2021, his office said on Twitter.
The Olympics was set to run from July 24 through Aug. 9, and the Paralympics from Aug. 25 to Sept. 6.
Spanish doctor warns situation in hospitals likely to become 'unsustainable'
A doctor in Spain has warned that unless the number of new coronavirus infections decreases, the situation in Madrid's hospitals will be "almost unsustainable" in a few days.
"One of the worst shifts I can remember," Miguel Guirao, 27, a Spanish anesthesiologist, wrote on Twitter, posting a photo of his face marked with red lines from his protective mask after a 19-hour shift. "And they said it was like the flu."
Guirao told NBC News that staff at the Hospital Universitario La Paz where he works have "literally just enough" personal protective equipment, but not enough ventilators for patients.
Doctors need to decide which patients can be admitted to their critical care units, taking into account medical history and prognosis. "There is even an age limit: Above it, you do not enter, because there isn't a bed for everyone," explained Guirao.
Madrid has been the city worst affected by the pandemic in Spain, with a total of 10,575 cases and 1,263 deaths reported in the capital so far, according to officials on Tuesday.
FEMA to use Defense Production Act for test kits, chief says
FEMA Administrator Peter Gaynor said Tuesday that his agency planned to use its authorities under the Defense Production Act “to get our hands on” coronavirus test kits.
“We're going to use it for about 60,000 test kits, and so we're really going to use the allocation portion of the DPA, and again many different levers and options in that,” he said in an interview on CNN.
Gaynor said that they were also going to insert “DPA language” into contracts for 500 million masks.
President Donald Trump has come under fire in recent days for not using the powers of the DPA to authorize the mass production of critical supplies.
'Fine line' to balance economy, public health, White House official says
The White House coronavirus response coordinator on Tuesday suggested that "there's a fine line" between balancing the economic needs of Americans and the fight against the pandemic.
Dr. Deborah Birx in an interview on "TODAY" on Tuesday responded to questions about President Donald Trump's assertion at a press conference Monday that the shutdown of many businesses around the country would last weeks, not months. "America will again and soon be open for business," he said.
Birx said officials are carefully evaluating data, including from Italy where after two weeks of a national lockdown the number of deaths has begun to decline.
The question is, Birx said, "Can we be laser-focused rather than generic across the country" in the fight against the spread of virus?
'This is only the beginning,' says New York City mayor
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio warned that "April will be much worse than March" as coronavirus spreads through the city. New York now accounts for 35 percent of all cases across the United States, he said in an appearance on NY1.
"This is only the beginning of a much bigger crisis. I take no joy in saying that, but April will be much worse than March, and I fear that May will be worse than April. We are just beginning on a very difficult road," he said, according to the remarks released by his office.
There are more than 13,000 confirmed coronavirus cases in New York City and 125 people have died, according to city statistics. A state-wide lockdown took effect Monday as authorities rushed to set up thousands of hospital beds.
De Blasio, who has criticized President Donald Trump's response to the outbreak, said on Monday that he had "hopeful" conversations with the White House and had seen some "movement" on getting protective gear and medical support.
Most of India under lockdown as prime minister set to address nation
Police enforced lockdowns across large parts of India on Tuesday, with curfews in place in some areas, as domestic air travel was set to end at midnight.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi prepared to address the nation on Tuesday for a second time in a week on the risks that coronavirus poses to the country of 1.3 billion people.
India has already severed international flight links and Indian states have imposed their own lockdowns, suspending train and bus services and ordering traffic off the roads. Health officials have warned that the coronavirus is spreading out of big cities where it first appeared and into smaller towns.
Egypt announces 2-week, night-time curfew
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Egypt has announced a two-week, 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew for its over 100 million people to slow the spread of the new coronavirus.
Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly told a news conference on Tuesday that the 11-hour curfew would go into effect Wednesday across the country and last for two weeks. He says all kinds of transportation will be halted during the curfew.
Egypt, the Arab World most populous country, has 366 confirmed cases and 21 fatalities, including two senior military officers.
Mnuchin, Schumer optimistic on coronavirus stimulus package, say deal is close
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said late Monday that they were nearing a deal on a roughly $2 trillion stimulus package to help American workers and businesses survive the coronavirus outbreak.
"I think we've made a lot of progress," Mnuchin told reporters on Capitol Hill just before midnight after emerging from negotiations. "There's still a couple of open issues, but I think we're very hopeful that this can be closed out (Tuesday)."
Mnuchin said that he and Schumer had consulted with both President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Monday about the progress made on the legislation. Though no deal was reached, staff was expected to continue drafting the massive package overnight.
NBC News' Richard Engel rounds up the latest coronavirus headlines
Madrid ice rink set to become morgue
An ice skating rink in Madrid will become a makeshift morgue for coronavirus victims, a city spokesperson said Monday.
The rink will be re-purposed by Madrid's regional government and military emergency units, which have been deployed across Spain over the past week to help deal with the coronavirus crisis.
Spain is the hardest-hit European country after Italy with 35,120 confirmed cases and 2,297 total deaths. Madrid alone has 10,575 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 1,263 deaths, according to local authorities.
The normally bustling streets of Madrid have fallen quiet since Spain enacted a partial lockdown Saturday night as the country tries to stem the outbreak. The government expects a state of emergency to be in place for at least another 15 days with people only allowed to leave their homes to go to work, the pharmacy or for medical attention.
Planes stand parked in Frankfurt as air traffic shuts down
Commuters squeeze into London Tube, despite lockdown measures
The morning after the U.K. government announced a three-week lockdown and asked the British public to limit their movements to curb the spread of coronavirus, London's Underground was still full.
Videos shared by commuters on social media show train cars and platforms rammed with people standing in close proximity to each other.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan implored city residents to stop all non-essential use of public transport.
"Ignoring these rules means more lives lost," Khan said in a tweet.
He also warned that a growing number of public transport staff are off work sick or self-isolating, limiting the city's capacity to run more services.
Wuhan travel restrictions set to end on April 8
Travel restrictions in and out of Wuhan, the city in central China where the coronavirus is believed to have originated, will lift on April 8, local authorities announced Tuesday.
Life in Wuhan ground to a standstill in January after the Chinese government moved to completely shutter public transportation, highways, airports and businesses as the number of coronavirus infections rose. The city's 11 million residents were told to stay at home and leave only in cases of emergency.
Dozens of countries, including the United States, evacuated their nationals from Wuhan after the outbreak began. In recent weeks, China has seen a steep drop in the number of new infections in Wuhan and across the country, and officials are now shifting their attention to battling cases of the virus that are coming in from abroad.
Hospitals limiting visitors in delivery rooms
Mothers-to-be spend months perfecting their birth plans. And while births often don't go according to those plans, most women find comfort in knowing they have support — and at least one person advocating for their wishes. Yet thanks to the coronavirus outbreak, this may not be the case for women delivering babies in the next few months.
Hospitals across the country are limiting visitors and the number of people who can be in a room with a woman while she gives birth.
One hospital in New York City has enacted the strictest policy yet: Banning partners from delivery rooms.
Department of Homeland Security delays 'Remain in Mexico' hearings
The federal government on Monday delayed upcoming hearings for asylum-seekers who have been detained and are awaiting U.S. court proceedings in Mexico.
In a statement, the Department of Homeland Security said that detainees who have hearings within the next month under the Migrant Protection Protocol program — also known as “Remain in Mexico” — will be rescheduled.
The department said that migrants should present themselves to border agents on their previously scheduled dates to get a new court hearing.
A coalition of lawyers and judges called on the government last week to shutter immigration courts and delay hearings for migrants in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
More inmates released from Rikers Island
Hawaii, Alaska close businesses, tell residents to stay home
Hawaii and Alaska ordered businesses shuttered and told residents to stay home on Monday, becoming the latest states to implement sweeping measures in an attempt to limit the spread of coronavirus.
In Hawaii, where 77 cases have been confirmed, Gov. David Ige said that beginning Wednesday, people should leave their homes only to go to the grocery store, bank or another “essential” business. He said outdoor exercise is allowed as long people remain six feet apart from each other.
“The threat of COVID-19 is unprecedented, and it requires even more actions,” he said.
In Alaska, officials closed hair salons, barbershops and other businesses where people gather. Visitors from out of state will also be required to self-quarantine for two weeks. The orders go into effect Tuesday and Wednesday, Alaska Department of Health Commissioner Adam Crum told reporters.