Major U.S. cities are following European nations and capitals in shutting down schools, bars and theaters as measures to delay the spread of coronavirus step up across the world.
New York, Los Angeles and Washington state have all announced public buildings will be shut temporarily, amid fears that the number of cases will continue to grow beyond the confirmed 3,000. The National Security Council stressed Sunday night that there is no U.S.-wide shutdown or national quarantine.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average of major U.S. stocks dropped almost 10 percent on Monday morning just after trading started for the week.
A long list of European nations have enacted severe country-wide lockdowns, including France, Spain, Denmark, Netherlands and the Republic of Ireland. Italy, the worst affected European country, has recorded more than 1,800 coronavirus-related deaths so far and expects some 90,000 infections by the end of April.
The U.S. death toll climbed to at least 61, with 25 of those deaths associated with the Life Care Center in Kirkland, Washington.
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Romney to propose giving every U.S. adult $1,000
Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, said Monday that he will propose a provision that would give every U.S. adult a $1,000 check in any additional coronavirus relief measure that Congress considers.
“Every American adult should immediately receive $1,000 to help ensure families and workers can meet their short-term obligations and increase spending in the economy,” his office said in a press release. “Congress took similar action during the 2001 and 2008 recessions. While expansions of paid leave, unemployment insurance, and SNAP benefits are crucial, the check will help fill the gaps for Americans that may not quickly navigate different government options.”
Romney also called for providing federal loans to small businesses for short-term obligations, factoring unexpected housing, travel and other costs related to the outbreak into Pell Grant awards, and allowing deferment of student loans to recent graduates affected by the crisis.
Romney called on the Senate to “swiftly pass” the House-passed aid package this week. The Senate has not yet scheduled a vote on that measure.
E.U. considers 30-day restriction on nonessential travel to region
The head of the European Commission has proposed a 30-day restriction on nonessential travel to the region.
Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, one of the two most powerful European Union institutions, said in a recorded announcement that she has brought a restriction proposal to European heads of state.
“As I have just informed our G-7 partners, I propose to the heads of state and government to introduce temporary restriction on nonessential travel to the European Union,” she said.
The restriction would be in place for 30 days, with the possibility of an extension. Long-term E.U. residents, family members of E.U. nationals, diplomats, people transporting goods, people commuting for work and people helping deal with the coronavirus outbreak would be exempt.
No seating at Starbucks
NFL draft to proceed next month, but public events canceled
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced that teams’ selection of players will be televised and proceed as scheduled April 23-25. However, public NFL draft events will be cancelled.
The league will continue exploring options for how the process will unfold and will provide information as it becomes available, Goodell said.
“The decision reflects our foremost priority — the health and safety of all fans and citizens,” Goodell said. He added that he looks forward to “evaluating opportunities for other major NFL events in Las Vegas in the future, including the Super Bowl.”
Cuomo mobilizing National Guard to find buildings to convert to emergency hospitals, calls for federal help
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Monday that he is mobilizing the N.Y. National Guard to seek out facilities that can be converted into emergency hospital space in anticipation that the curve of new infections will almost certainly not be flattened enough to prevent the state’s hospital systems from being overwhelmed.
Cuomo called on the federal government, specifically the Army Corps of Engineers, to build such emergency facilities, saying they have the greatest capability to quickly expand the total number of beds throughout the country. And Cuomo said that all elective surgeries scheduled in the state could be postponed.
Austrian Airlines to suspend operations
Austrian Airlines will temporarily suspend scheduled flights starting Thursday as the result of entry restrictions imposed by many countries amid the coronavirus outbreak.
The airline said the last flight will land in Vienna on March 19. Until then, flights will bring back as many passengers and crews home as possible, the company added.
Cuomo announces drive-through testing sites, waiving park fees
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced drive-through coronavirus testing sites on Long Island, Staten Island and in Rockland County, among other measures he’s taking to combat the outbreak.
Cuomo also said at a Monday press conference that he’s waiving all state park fees so that people are more encouraged to spend time outside in less densely packed areas.
In addition, Cuomo announced that at least 50 percent of state and local government employees must now work from home, and he said private businesses in the state should conduct the same practice when possible.
Eerie quiet at D.C. travel hub
VA records one death from coronavirus, 25 positive test results
The Department of Veterans Affairs says it has administered more than 100 tests for COVID-19, and recorded four positive results, 21 presumptive positive results and one death.
The death occurred on March 14 in the Portland, Oregon, VA system. The four confirmed cases are in Palo Alto, California; Southern Nevada; Denver and Maine. Two of the patients are home quarantined and two are inpatients.
The 21 presumptive positive cases, meaning positive pending Centers for Disease Control confirmation, are in New Orleans, Denver, Portland (Oregon), Washington State, Atlanta, Fresno, Sioux Falls, San Francisco, New York City, Tucson, Vermont, Cleveland and New York’s Hudson Valley.
The VA urges “any Veteran with symptoms such as fever, cough or shortness of breath [to] immediately contact their local VA facility. VA urges Veterans to call before visiting – you can find contact information for your closest VA facility.”