US coronavirus death toll reaches 61 as cities, states close bars and other venues

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.

Sunday’s biggest developments:

  • New York City and Los Angeles to shutter bars and theaters
  • CDC recommends eliminating large gatherings
  • Fed lowers interest rates to near zero
  • 368 people dead in 24 hours in Italy
  • Thousands stuck in long lines at airports waiting to be screened
  • Here’s how the news unfolded Sunday. All times Eastern.

    12:21 a.m. Washington to shut down bars, eliminate in-person dining

    Washington state is following the national trend shuttering entertainment venues and recreational facilities, and limiting restaurants to delivery and take-out.

    Governor Jay Inslee released a statement Sunday night local time announcing that he will sign the statewide proclamation on Monday.

    The ban will not apply to grocery stores and pharmacies, although other retail outlets will have reduced occupancy, the statement said.

    “These are very difficult decisions, but hours count here and very strong measures are necessary to slow the spread of the disease,” Inslee said.

    Washington’s King Country, which includes the county seat of Seattle, has been one of the centers of the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S.

    12:11 a.m. Los Angeles closing bars, clubs and gyms

    Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced that the city will be closing bars, nightclubs, entertainment venues and gyms until at least March 31.

    Restaurants will remain open only for takeout and delivery.

    The order extends to libraries, recreation centers and zoos.

    Grocery stores, pharmacies and food banks will remain open, the mayor said. In addition, the announcement included a moratorium on evictions for renters.

    The executive order, which came an hour after New York City made a similar announcement, puts the United States’ two largest cities under unprecedented restrictions during a national health crisis.

    The Los Angeles closures go into effect Sunday at midnight local time.

    “This will be a tough time, but it is not forever. Angelenos have always risen to meet difficult moments, and we will get through this together,” Garcetti said in a statement.

    11:17 p.m. Peace Corps to suspend worldwide operations

    The Peace Corps is suspending all activities around the world in 60 countries, effectively shutting down the service for the time being.

    The move will evacuate thousands of volunteers from host countries.

    The 59-year-old organization, founded by President John F. Kennedy, had already recalled volunteers from China and Mongolia because of COVID-19.

    10:05 p.m. NYC to shutter bars, limit restaurants to takeout and delivery

    New York City becomes the latest city in the U.S. to order the mandatory closure of all bars, movie theaters and entertainment venues, per an announcement by Mayor Bill de Blasio.

    In addition, restaurants and cafes will be limited to food take-out and delivery only.

    The closures will go into effect Tuesday at 9 a.m.

    “This is not a decision I make lightly,” De Blasio said in a statement. “These places are part of the heart and soul of our city. They are part of what it means to be a New Yorker. But our city is facing an unprecedented threat, and we must respond with a wartime mentality.”

    The announcement came just hours after the mayor announced the cancelation of classes in the city’s public school system.

    Several other U.S. cities have announced similar restrictions.

    8:40 p.m. Red Cross in urgent need of blood

    The number of blood drive cancellations is “growing at an alarming rate,” according to the Red Cross. About 1,500 blood drives have been canceled so far, resulting in 46,000 fewer blood donations, according to the organization.

    In light of coronavirus concerns, the organization is taking additional precautions at blood-donation facilities, including monitoring the temperature of staff and donors, providing hand sanitizer, increasing enhanced disinfecting of surfaces and equipment, and spacing beds where possible.

    Red Cross officials are reminding people that donating blood is a safe process, and that they should not hesitate to donate if they are healthy and eligible to give blood.

    8 p.m. CDC recommends eliminating large gatherings

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued new recommendations that mass gatherings of 50 or more people be canceled or postponed for the next eight weeks.

    The types of events include conferences, festivals, parades, concerts, sporting events, weddings, and other similar assemblies, according to a statement from the CDC.

    The recommendation does not apply to day-to-day operations such as schools or businesses.

    7:50 p.m. Wynn, MGM Resorts to close hotels on Las Vegas strip

    Wynn Las Vegas and Encore on the Las Vegas strip will be temporarily closed.

    Wynn Resorts will continue to pay all of its full-time employees, according to a statement from the company.

    A limited number of employees and management will remain at the resorts to secure and maintain the facilities.

    The closure will take effect on Tuesday and will last for at least two weeks.

    All MGM resorts on the strip will close as well, MGM announced. Casino operations will close on Monday, and hotel operations will close on Tuesday.

    MGM will reopen its resorts “as soon as it safe to do so” and will provide support to employees, according to a statement. Reservations for arrivals prior to May 1 will not be taken.

    7:10 p.m. Another NBA player tests positive

    A member of the Detroit Pistons has become at least the third NBA player to become infected with the coronavirus.

    The player, who was not identified, has been isolated since Wednesday and is under the care of medical staff, the Pistons said in a statement.

    Last week, Utah Jazz players Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell also tested positive for the virus.

    5:52 p.m. New York City closes public schools

    New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Sunday that the city’s public school system is canceling classes as of Monday morning to combat the spread of the coronavirus.

    The mayor said that all New York City public schools will be closed through at least Monday, April 20, at a minimum, and at a maximum the entire remaining school year could be canceled.

    The unprecedented decision will shutter schools for the nation’s largest school system, leaving more than a million students at home.

    De Blasio said the Department of Education is working to roll out an ambitious remote learning program that is slated to begin next week.

    School officials said they had determined that approximately 300,000 of the system’s 1.1 million students do not have a connected device, and administrators were working with Apple to purchase 300,000 iPads to loan to those students so they could participate in the school system’s distance learning program.

    “I am distraught at having to take this action, but I became convinced over the last few days that we have no other choice,” de Blasio said about the decision to close the city’s schools. “We’ve seen the latest models [regarding the spread of the virus] … it’s a sacrifice that has to be done.”

    The mayor said that as of Sunday, New York City has 329 confirmed coronavirus cases, up from a few dozen last week. Five city residents have died from the coronavirus.

    Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont also announced Sunday that schools in that state would close from Tuesday through at least March 31.

    Students who receive meals through the school lunch and breakfast program will be able to continue receiving meals while classes are canceled, similar to the way summer meals are operate, Lamont said.

    Officials in Arizona and Montana announced that schools in those states will be closed until March 27 as well.

    5:50 p.m. Starbucks to close some stores

    Starbucks is temporarily switching to a “to-go” model and will close some stores in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

    The Seattle-based coffee company will pause all seating at restaurants, including inside the café and on outside patios, according to a letter sent to partners.

    Customers will still be able to order at the counter or via the mobile app.

    5:40 p.m. All coronavirus testing will be free

    Vice President Mike Pence announced that coronavirus testing will now be free for all Americans.

    Nearly 2 million tests will be available by the end of the week, officials said during a press conference at the White House Sunday afternoon.

    5:25 p.m. Fed lowers interest rates to near zero

    The Federal Reserve has lowered interest rates to near zero amid the coronavirus outbreak.

    The new rate is to 0.25%, according to a press release from the Federal Reserve.

    “In light of these developments, the Committee decided to lower the target range for the federal funds rate to 0 to 1/4 percent,” the release read.

    President Donald Trump praised the decision during a White House news conference on Sunday.

    “It’s really good news,” Trump said. “It’s something that’s really great for our country.”

    4:50 p.m. Germany closes borders to neighboring countries

    Germany will close its borders with France, Luxembourg, Denmark, Austria and Switzerland starting Monday in an effort to stave off the COVID-19 pandemic.

    “The spread of the coronavirus is progressing rapidly and aggressively,” German Interior Minister Horst Seehoder said in a press conference Sunday.

    Seehoder said that one of the most important measures is to “cut off the source of infection,” by limiting social events and travel.

    4:45 p.m. Illinois bans dining out

    Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced that all bars and restaurants in the state will be closed from Monday to March 30.

    Restaurants will still be allowed drive-thru and delivery services.

    “This is not a joke. No on one is immune to this,” Pritzker said during a news conference Sunday.

    4:06 p.m.: Ohio shutters all restaurants

    All restaurants and bars in Ohio are ordered to close beginning at 9 p.m. Sunday, said Gov. Mike DeWine.

    The state has 36 COVID-19 cases including one person who started showing symptoms in early February, DeWine said.

    “Establishments can stay open for carry-out and delivery,” DeWine tweeted. “What we can’t have is people congregating and seated.”

    “Every day we delay, more people will die,” the governor tweeted.

    Tune into ABC News Live at noon ET every weekday for the latest news, context and analysis on the novel coronavirus, with resources from the full ABC News team.

    2:53 p.m.: Louis Vuitton to make free hand sanitizer

    French luxury goods company Louis Vuitton says it’s dedicating its perfume and cosmetics production facilities in France to make large quantities of hand sanitizer for hospitals free of charge.

    2:38 p.m.: National Institutes of Health employee tests positive for COVID-19

    An employee with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has tested positive for COVID-19, NIH said Sunday.

    “The individual works for the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases but is not involved in patient care,” the NIH said in a statement.

    The employee — who is quarantined at home and “doing well” — did not have symptoms while at work “which is believed to lower the risk of transmission,” the NIH said.

    The NIH added that it anticipates more cases among its staff.

    1:58 p.m.: 368 people dead in 24 hours in Italy

    Italy, hard-hit by the coronavirus, has seen nearly 3,600 new cases and 368 deaths in 24 hours.

    This brings the total number of fatalities in the country to 1,809, according to the Italy Civil Protection Agency.

    12:45 p.m.: St. Patrick’s Day changes for Chicago and South Boston 

    Two days before St. Patrick’s Day, one of Chicago’s most celebrated days of the year, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said businesses selling liquor must reduce their capacity, with no more than 100 people inside.

    Bars and restaurants also can’t allow revelers to line up outside, she said.

    Meanwhile, in South Boston, bars and restaurants are closing Sunday, according to a tweet from State Sen. Nick Collins.

    Some South Boston bars appeared packed with St. Patrick’s Day partygoers on Saturday.

    “We are in uncharted waters,” Collins tweeted. “We are in this together & it’s imperative now that we do all that we can to keep our communities safe.”

    12:00 p.m.: Self quarantine recommended in New Jersey town

    The northern New Jersey town of Teaneck is “ground zero” for infections in the state, Mayor Mohammed Hameeduddin told ABC News.

    The town of 41,000 people had 18 cases of COVID-19 as of Sunday.

    Teaneck is in Bergen County, which has 31 reported cases. Among the confirmed cases in Bergen County is a hospital worker. Staff in contact with that worker are now in self-quarantine.

    Hameeduddin said county officials decided to close all schools, municipal buildings, parks and other places where people congregate.

    The mayor recommends Teaneck families stay home and only leave for food and medicine. Hameeduddin said residents should assume they’ll be infected if they go out.

    The self-quarantine is completely voluntary, Teaneck Township Manager Dean Kazinci said Sunday.

    11:36 a.m.: New York governor wants federal troops to be mobilized to fight coronavirus

    In an op-ed in The New York Times, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is urging President Donald Trump to let states take over coronavirus testing.

    Cuomo also asked the president to mobilize the Army Corps of Engineers to expand hospital capacity.

    “States cannot build more hospitals, acquire ventilators or modify facilities quickly enough. At this point, our best hope is to utilize the Army Corps of Engineers to leverage its expertise, equipment and people power to retrofit and equip existing facilities — like military bases or college dormitories — to serve as temporary medical centers,” Cuomo said.

    “We believe the use of active duty Army Corps personnel would not violate federal law because this is a national disaster,” Cuomo wrote. “Doing so still won’t provide enough intensive care beds, but it is our best hope.”

    There are 729 cases of COVID-19 in New York, the most of any state in the country. Of those 729 people, 137 are in hospitals.

    At a news conference Sunday, Cuomo urged private businesses to “aggressively consider” working from home and voluntary close. He did not rule out taking more action.

    10:20 a.m.: More universities stop classes

    Yale is joining the growing list of universities to cancel in-person classes for the rest of semester.

    One Yale community member has tested positive for COVID-19 and two others who were in contact with that person are awaiting test results, university officials said Saturday. All three are at a New Haven, Connecticut, hospital, officials said.

    Students are to remain off-campus and learn online for the rest of the spring semester, including final exams, officials said.

    “It is too soon to say whether Commencement Weekend, scheduled for mid-May, will be carried out in the traditional way,” the officials said.

    Michigan State University officials also decided Saturday that classes will only be offered online for the rest of the semester.

    MSU said graduation is postponed.

    9:27 a.m.: Holy Week celebrations closed to public, says Vatican

    Vatican officials said Sunday that Holy Week celebrations — the week before Easter — will be closed to the public because of the coronavirus. Easter is on April 12.

    Italy is on lockdown in the wake of COVID-19 which has killed over 1,400 people in the country.

    Two of the pope’s weekly gatherings, on Wednesdays and Sundays, will continue to be livestreamed until Easter Sunday, said Vatican officials.

    8:38 a.m.: Nike closes stores

    Nike is closing its stores in the U.S., Canada, Western Europe, Australia and New Zealand, company officials said Sunday.

    The closures will last from March 16 through March 27.

    8:03 a.m.: Hospital workers contract coronavirus in Boston

    A spokesperson for Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston has confirmed that an undisclosed number of their health care workers have contracted coronavirus.

    “As the novel coronavirus spreads across the globe, it is inevitable that health care workers will be infected, as is now the case at the Brigham. We are in the process of contacting patients and staff who may have been exposed,” the spokesperson said. “We have been in close contact with the Massachusetts Dept. of Public Health and the Boston Public Health Commission and we will continue to follow their and CDC’s guidance, as well as the advice of our own infectious diseases experts as the situation continues to evolve.”

    What to know about coronavirus:

  • How it started and how to protect yourself: coronavirus explained
  • What to do if you have symptoms: coronavirus symptoms
  • Tracking the spread in the US and worldwide: coronavirus map
  • 5:55 a.m.: People over 70 to self-isolate in U.K.

    People over the age of 70 will be asked to self-isolate for up to four months as the United Kingdom escalates its fight against the coronavirus.

    Health Secretary Matt Hancock told Sky News that it is a “very big ask,” but it is for their own “self-protection.”

    The U.K.’s coronavirus death toll rose on Saturday from 11 to 21 and the total number of people testing positive passed 1,000.

    5:31 a.m.: Muslim holy sites close

    The Islamic Waqaf, the highest Islamic authority in Jerusalem for Muslims, has decided to close down the the third holiest place in Islam for prayer because of the coronavirus. The prayer will only be allowed at the plaza in the open air area but not inside the two buildings, the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa mosque.

    3:57 a.m. Tom Hanks tweets Australian-themed update

    “Thanks to the Helpers. Let’s take care of ourselves and each other,” tweeted actor Tom Hanks, along with a photo of a kangaroo, koala and vegemite on toast.

    Hanks and his wife, Rita Wilson, are in Australia where they tested positive for COVID-19 last week.

    3:10 a.m. Israeli Prime Minister’s corruption trail postponed

    A Jerusalem district court announced it was postponing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s criminal trial for two months because of restrictions caused by the coronavirus outbreak. The hearing will now begin on May 24.

    2:50 a.m. Long lines at airports as travelers wait for screenings

    As President Trump’s European travel restrictions go into effect, thousands of airline passengers are facing hours-long waiting lines for enhanced coronavirus screenings by the CDC and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at airports across the country.

    Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker tweeted, “The crowds & lines [Chicago’s] O’Hare [airport] are unacceptable & need to be addressed immediately.”

    Mark Morgan, acting commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, is calling wait times “unacceptable.”

    Morgan tweeted Sunday that “some of the resources of our partners are stretched thin” and that CBP is continuing to adjust its resources.

    The Department of Homeland Security said: “Upon arrival, travelers will proceed to standard customs processing. They will then continue to enhanced entry screening where the passenger will be asked about their medical history, current condition, and asked for contact information for local health authorities. Passengers will then be given written guidance about COVID-19 and directed to proceed to their final destination, and immediately home-quarantine in accordance with CDC best practices.”

    Trump said in a tweet Sunday, “We are doing very precise Medical Screenings at our airports. Pardon the interruptions and delays, we are moving as quickly as possible, but it is very important that we be vigilant and careful. We must get it right. Safety first!”

    1:30 a.m.: Trump tests negative for COVID-19

    Trump has tested negative for COVID-19, a White House physician said Saturday.

    While hosting the Brazilian delegation at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida last week, Trump came in close contact with at least two people who later tested positive for the virus.

    ABC News’ Joshua Hoyos, Alexandra Faul, J Gabriel Ware, Ahmad Hemingway, Rashid Haddou, Nasser Atta, Christine Theodorou, Ben Sui and Sabina Ghebremedhin contributed to this report.

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