The World Health Organization has declared a COVID-19 pandemic despite the fact that it hasn't reached the true definition. A pandemic is defined as "an epidemic occurring world wide." However, a COVID-19 epidemic has only occurred in China, where nearly 81,000 of the almost 114,000 confirmed global cases have occurred. Of the 4,012 total deaths, 3,140 has been in China, where spread of the virus has drastically slowed. There have only been 20 new cases and 17 new deaths reported in China in the past 24 hours. So, why has the WHO decided to go ahead and call COVID-19 a pandemic? Because they think governments haven't taken appropriate action to stop the virus from spreading further.
With all kinds of public gatherings and events being canceled because of the coronavirus, should movie theaters be shut down too? A Hollywood Reporter/Morning Consult poll found Americans divided, with 38 percent saying they should be, but 44 percent opposed to the idea. However, that poll was taken starting a week ago, running from March 5th to 7th, and concerns over the virus has expanded since then. Meanwhile, about 21 percent of people in the poll who said they'd subscribed to a streaming service since the beginning of the year cited the coronavirus as a reason for doing so, and 43 percent said they'd be more likely to watch movies on a streaming service now amid the calls for social distancing.
Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson have both tested positive for the coronavirus. According toTMZ, the couple is currently in Australia shooting an Elvis Presley movie. The actor's rep said that Tom and Rita felt like they had a cold and then felt extra tired and had body aches. They got tested for the virus and it came back positive. Tom took to Instagram to inform fans and said that he and Rita plan to follow protocol put in place by medical officials. He also revealed that he rest of his family will be tested for the virus and that he will be observed and isolated for as long as required. Tom and Rita are not the only celebrities who tested positive for the coronavirus. International soccer star Daniele Rugani has also tested positive.
Noted germaphobe Howie Mandel wore a hazmat suit to a taping of America’s Got Talent amid coronavirus concerns,Page Six reports. The 64-year-old was photographed arriving at the Pasadena, California studio in the suit, which he accessorized with a gas mask and orange rubber gloves.
The Walt Disney Co. executive chairman Bob Iger is attempting to reassure investors, while still admitting that the coronavirus fears are valid and serious. "We're all sobered by the concern we all feel for everyone affected by this global crisis," Iger said in a webcast. "Disney has been through a lot, including wars and economic downturns and disasters. We are incredibly resilient. Our future has always been bright and it remains so for good reason." And while Disney is taking measures to ensure safety at theme parks, they are still open and in operation.
The airlines are being hit hard by the coronavirus, and Amtrak revealed yesterday (March 11th) that it's feeling a huge effect too, saying its bookings have fallen by 50 percent and cancellations are up more than 300 percent. Reuters cited a memo to employees that said more service reductions are being put in place, and they expect to lose hundreds of millions of dollars. Amtrak will also offer voluntary leave for non-critical employees.
The NBA suspended its season Wednesday night (March 11th) after a Utah Jazz player, reportedly Rudy Gobert, tested positive for the coronavirus, saying games won't be played "until further notice." The league said in statement, "The NBA will use this hiatus to determine next steps for moving forward in regard to the coronavirus pandemic." Utah's game at Oklahoma City against the Thunder was canceled after the positive test result came in shortly before start time, with fans at the arena told the game had been postponed. The game between the New Orleans Pelicans and Sacramento Kings was also postponed because one of the assigned referees had worked a Utah game Monday. The four other scheduled games for the night were played, with the suspension taking effect after they were over.
The NCAA announced yesterday (March 11th) that the men's and women's basketball tournaments will go forward, but they will be played without fans because of the coronavirus. Only essential staff and a limited number of family members will be able to attend. The major college conferences then followed the NCAA's lead, announcing their league tournaments would take place with restricted fan access. The decision for March Madness applies to all NCAA-sponsored championships as well, including hockey's Frozen Four.
The Columbus Blue Jackets and the San Jose Sharks announced Wednesday (March 11th) that they will play their remaining home games without fans amid the coronavirus outbreak. That came as the NHL said in the wake of the NBA's decision to suspend its season indefinitely that it's consulting with medical experts and evaluating its options. The league expects to have a further update today.
A woman who identified herself only as Alexandra says she and her friends hosted a coronavirus-themed party recently. The 31-year-old from New Jersey says she and her husband threw the party for eight neighbors. The theme was complete with "Caution" tape across the door, a fridge stocked with Corona beer, "Coronavirus cupcakes, "Quarantini" cocktails, and wearing makeshift hazmat suits. Partygoers also played the board game Pandemic and dined on "Coronavirus cupcakes" and Queso dip that was called "Case 0" as in patient zero. Alexandra says the party was not meant to cause offense.
The novel coronavirus has the world a bit freaked out-- college classes are being cancelled, as are other large gatherings, such as concerts. The airline industry is being rocked as people cancel travel plans. But American millennials are taking advantage of the low prices of flights. Many are taking to social media to share the incredible deals they are finding on flights. One person posted a flight that was $49 from San Francisco to Australia, and one Twitter user wrote, "I'd like to thank the Coronavirus for making flights cheap as ****... so that I can sit on a beach...with a corona...you the real mvp." Others lamented about the fact that while flights got cheap hotel prices stayed high.
President Trump says he is suspending all travel between the U.S. and Europe for 30 days beginning Friday as he seeks to combat a viral pandemic. Trump made the announcement Wednesday in an Oval Office address to the nation, blaming the European Union for not acting quickly enough to address the novel coronavirus and saying U.S. clusters were "seeded" by European travelers. Trump says the restrictions won't apply to the United Kingdom. Afterward, Trump took to Twitter to make clear that trade is not impacted by the new travel restrictions, despite saying during the address: "these prohibitions will not only apply to the tremendous amount of trade and cargo, but various other things as we get approval. Anything coming from Europe to the United States is what we're discussing." Trump also tweeted his hope that the payroll tax cut will win approval in Congress.
Stock futures are pointing to more losses in U.S. stock markets Thursday after President Trump's speech on the coronavirus outbreak that appeared to disappoint investors. The financial fallout from COVID-19 is being felt in almost every sector as the NBA suspended its season “until further notice,” New York City postponed its historic St. Patrick’s Day parade (which usually brings people to New York City on the millions) and the airline and cruise industries suffering losses. Daily, it seems, more fallout is apparent. All of this means the financial effects of COVID-19 will most likely be felt by Americans for quite some time.