Officials across the country curtailed many elements of American life to fight the coronavirus outbreak on Sunday, with health officials recommending that groups of 50 or more don’t get together and a government expert saying a 14-day national shutdown may be needed.
There are at least 3,244 confirmed cases of novel coronavirus in the United States and at least 61 coronavirus-related deaths in the country as of Sunday.
COVID-19 has reached 49 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. More restaurants and schools are closing across the nation to try to stop the spread. Globally, there are more than 162,600 confirmed coronavirus cases and more than 5,800 deaths, according to data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University and ABC News reporting.
Governors were closing restaurants, bars, and schools as the nation sank deeper into chaos over the crisis. Travelers returning home from overseas trips were stuck in line for hours at major airports for screenings, causing them to be crammed into just the kind of crowded spaces that public health officials have been urging people to avoid.
In a sign of the impending economic gloom on the horizon, the Federal Reserve slashed its benchmark interest rate to near zero. President Donald Trump sought to calm a jittery nation by declaring that the government has “tremendous control” over the situation and urging people to stop the panic buying of grocery staples that has depleted the shelves of stores around the country. Gun stores started seeing a similar run on weapons and ammunition as the panic intensified.
As Americans struggled to come to terms with how to change their daily habits, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a dramatic recommendation: Because large events can fuel the spread of the disease, it said gatherings of 50 people or more should be canceled or postponed throughout the country for the next eight weeks. It added that, at any event, proper precautions should be taken, including making sure people are washing their hands and not getting too close.