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Coronavirus: Fed cuts rates to near zero, CDC says cancel gatherings of 50 or more and NYC schools close

Bars and restaurants across the United States have been limited to takeout and delivery as lockdown grows.
Image: A fence is locked outside the playground at P.S. 156 and L.S. 392,  as the New York City school system canceled classes after further cases of coronavirus were confirmed in New York, in the Brownsville section of the Brooklyn borough of New York
A fence is locked outside a playground at a school in New York City after it was announced that all public schools in the country's largest district would be closed Monday until at least April 20. Shannon Stapleton / Reuters

Good morning, NBC News readers.

Americans just experienced a weekend like no other as the coronavirus pandemic continues to upend daily life.

Here are the latest developments and restrictions in the global effort to stop the spread of the virus.


Coronavirus latest: NYC schools closed; restaurants and bars across U.S. limited to takeout, delivery as virus shutdowns grow

As the coronavirus continued to spread across the United States — with over 3,700 confirmed cases and 69 deaths as of early Monday morning — officials announced some of the strictest measures yet Sunday to try to halt its spread.

Here are some of the latest developments in the U.S.:

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced Sunday that people in the U.S. should avoid events of 50 people or more until early May.
  • New York, Los Angeles and other major cities ordered bars and restaurants to close and restrict their service to only takeout or delivery.
  • More public school systems closed. New York City, the largest school district in the country with 1.1 million students, announced Sunday that it would shut down until at least April 20.
  • The Federal Reserve cut interest rates to nearly zero Sunday, its second emergency move to stimulate the economy that has been ravaged by the pandemic. But Dow futures immediately plunged by 1,000 points as traders worried that the crisis response would still fall short.
  • "Madhouse": Travelers faced chaos at airports as the U.S. tried, and by all accounts failed, to implement coronavirus screenings.
  • The U.S. Peace Corps said it was suspending its operations globally and will be evacuating all of its volunteers.
  • "Thanks to the Helpers": Tom Hanks posted a short coronavirus update to his Instagram account Sunday morning.
  • Get all the latest updates in our live blog.
  • Check out a map of where the virus has spread in the U.S.

Spain, France, Ireland announce major lockdowns

While the U.S. grapples the spread of COVID-19, Europe is now the epicenter of the outbreak.

  • Italy’s death toll rose to 1,809 on Sunday, a jump of 368 people in one day, the biggest daily jump yet in any country, including China.
  • France, Spain, Denmark, Netherlands and Ireland all enacted severe country-wide lockdowns, placing more than 100 million people under similar orders across the continent. (Video)
  • Spanish police used drones to make announcements urging people to stay home during the outbreak. (Video)
  • Germany announced it would close it borders with five countries beginning Monday in an effort to to halt the spread.
  • The Irish government called on all pubs and bars to close as of Sunday in an effort to reduce the spread of illness, just days before the annual St. Patrick's Day festivities.
  • Meantime, the U.K. has yet to announce any restrictive measures on schools or public buildings, and is facing mounting pressure to do so.
  • See a map of where the virus has spread worldwide.
Pope Francis walks in a deserted Rome to pray at two shrines for the end of the coronavirus pandemic on Sunday.Vatican Media / Reuters

Teaching kids at home due to coronavirus? Homeschooling moms share their tips

As the new coronavirus spreads, schools across the country are closing their doors and encouraging parents to help kids complete schoolwork at home until risk of catching or spreading COVID-19 have passed.

For parents, the question is, how?

Some veteran home-schooling parents kindly shared some of their tricks of the trade.

"Your 'school day' will not be perfect, and that's OK. Just try to remember you're adjusting to something new and there will be some bumps along the way," one sage parent said.

Meantime, you've probably heard a lot about "social distancing" in recent days. Here's why experts say giving each other "breathing space" is one of the best ways to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

But, that said, we need to be mindful that it could have a devastating effect on people who suffer from depression.

And is it safe to go to the gym? Experts say it depends and it's best to follow local guidance.

NBC News medical contributor Dr. Natalie Azar joined Sunday TODAY’s Willie Geist to answer viewers’ questions about the coronavirus pandemic — from should grandparents stay out of physical contact with their grandchildren to is it safe to bring your kids to the park. See below.

Are you self-quarantining? Working from home? Please share your experience with us.


5 takeaways from the Democratic debate: Joe Biden promises a woman VP

And then there were two.

Former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders met last night for the first Democratic primary debate with just two candidates on stage.

The debate began as a genteel conversation over how to address the coronavirus and descended into a testy battle over records and who has the courage to do the right thing.

The candidates clashed over issues from bankruptcy policy and same-sex marriage to health care and immigration, highlighting their differing visions for the country.

Here are five key takeaways from the evening that began with an elbow-bump.

Get more of the play-by-play from last night here.

We apologize, this video has expired.

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Plus


THINK about it

America's coronavirus sports blackout is likely worse than it seems, sports writer Will Leitch argues in an opinion piece.


Shopping

The healthiest plant-based foods to order from Amazon Fresh, according to nutritionist.


Quote of the day

"Americans should be prepared that they're going to have to hunker down significantly more than we as a country are doing."

— Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Sunday on NBC News' "Meet the Press."


Keeping the faith in difficult times

Houses of worship across the United States were empty Sunday in an attempt to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.

But, instead, the faithful tuned in online and even at a drive-in movie theater.

See a report from NBC News' Kerry Sanders below.


Thanks for reading the Morning Rundown.

We are currently all hands on deck for coronavirus. Please send me any comments or questions you have so we address them in future stories: petra@nbcuni.com

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Be safe and stay healthy, Petra Cahill