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US coronavirus: Now a pandemic, life for Americans has changed indefinitely

CNN logo CNN 3/12/2020 By Christina Maxouris, CNN

CAPTION: A sign warning about the risks of coronavirus hangs next to a food stand on the main concourse of Pepsi Center before an NHL hockey game between the New York Rangers and the Colorado Avalanche Wednesday, March 11, 2020, in Denver. © (AP Photo/David Zalubowski) CAPTION: A sign warning about the risks of coronavirus hangs next to a food stand on the main concourse of Pepsi Center before an NHL hockey game between the New York Rangers and the Colorado Avalanche Wednesday, March 11, 2020, in Denver. Hours after the coronavirus was declared a global pandemic, Americans were flooded with announcements from what seemed like every corner of the country.

The President announced a sweeping ban on travel into the US.

The NCAA barred fans from its annual tournament.

The NBA suspended its season, altogether.

And one of the country's biggest movie stars shared that he has tested positive for the virus that has infected more than 100,000 people worldwide.

If it was possible to ignore the coronavirus before, that's not the case anymore.

Tracking coronavirus' global spread

Photo gallery by photo services

With US cases surpassing 1,270, President Donald Trump said Wednesday he was suspending all travel from Europe into the US for a month, a ban that will only apply to foreign nationals and not to American citizens who have been screened before entering the US, his administration later clarified.

"We are marshaling the full power of the federal government and the private sector to protect the American people," he said. "This is the most aggressive and comprehensive effort to confront a foreign virus in modern history."

The announcement came after the World Health Organization declared the virus a pandemic, saying the number of affected countries tripled in two weeks, with more than 118,000 cases and 4,290 deaths worldwide.

Health officials have "never before seen a pandemic that can be controlled," the agency's director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said.

"We have called every day for countries to take urgent and aggressive action," Ghebreyesus said in a statement. "We have rung the alarm bell loud and clear."

Meanwhile, incremental updates from around the country are flooding newsrooms. Cruise lines have shut down operations. A passenger on a Jet Blue flight from New York to West Palm Beach told the crew upon landing she received a positive coronavirus result, officials said. Two schools sharing a location in the Bronx are closing after a student has a confirmed positive test. White House tours are temporarily suspended. And New York Mayor Bill de Blasio is warning residents to expect more restrictions that will disrupt people's lives.

Cases continue to rise

In the US, all but six states have reported coronavirus cases. At least 38 Americans have died: 30 in Washington state, four in California, two in Florida, one in New Jersey and one in South Dakota.

Hundreds of public schools have suspended classes, colleges are sending students home after shutting down campuses and sporting events, concerts and festivals have come to a halt.

a person in a blue room: A lab technician begins semi-automated testing for COVID-19 on March 11 in Lake Success, New York. © Andrew Theodorakis/Getty Images A lab technician begins semi-automated testing for COVID-19 on March 11 in Lake Success, New York. Several cities -- including Boston, New Orleans and Savannah, Georgia -- canceled their St. Patrick's Day parades. Chicago officials called off the city's parade and said the Chicago River won't be dyed green this year.

In New York, the governor deployed the National Guard to help clean a suburb of 80,000 with more than 108 cases. Gov. Andrew Cuomo also announced a 1-mile containment area starting Thursday around New Rochelle. That means closed schools, houses of worships and no large gatherings through March 25, officials said.

The cluster of outbreaks in the area began with one attorney and spread to dozens within days. Officials are working to prevent that from happening again.

NBA canceled, March Madness closed to public

On Wednesday, the NBA canceled a game between the Utah Jazz and Oklahoma City Thunder and said it was suspending the rest of the season after a Jazz player tested positive for the virus.

The positive result came shortly before the tipoff in Oklahoma, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert and Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox said in a statement.

"We, along with the Utah Department of Health, are actively working to identify how long the patient has been experiencing symptoms, and are working to identify individuals who have had close enough contact with the player as to have been potentially exposed," the statement said.

Los Angeles Lakers' star LeBron James tweeted following the league's announcement.

"Man we cancelling sporting events, school, office work, etc etc. What we really need to cancel is 2020," he wrote on Twitter. "Damn it's been a rough 3 months. God bless and stay safe!"

The NCAA ruled only family members and essential personnel will be allowed to attend games during the annual March Madness basketball tournament.

"While I understand how disappointing this is for fans of our sports, my decision is based on the current understanding of how COVID-19 is progressing in the United States," NCAA President Mark Emmert said Wednesday.

Tom Hanks tests positive in Australia

Writing from Australia, actor Tom Hanks shared on Twitter he has tested positive for the virus.

"We felt a bit tired, like we had colds, and some body aches," the actor wrote, adding that his wife, Rita Wilson, also has the virus. "Rita had some chills that came and went. Slight fevers too. To play things right, as is needed in the world right now, we were tested for the Coronavirus, and were found to be positive."

The two were receiving treatment in Queensland, state Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said in a news conference.

"Our experts will work very closely with him, (and) with all of the cast and crew" she said, adding officials were tracing with whom the two came in contact and will isolate the individuals and test them for the virus.

States roll out restrictions in response to virus

Hoping to contain the spread in the US, two states implemented restrictions on large gatherings and another moved to isolate infected people in a state park.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee banned events with more than 250 people across the state's three largest counties.

"This is an unprecedented public health situation and we can't wait until we're in the middle of it to slow it down," the governor said in a statement. "We've got to get ahead of the curve. One main defense is to reduce the interaction of people in our lives."

In Georgia, which saw its number of cases nearly double in two days, officials transferred a coronavirus patient to a state park for isolation, CNN affiliate WSB reported. The patient "was not able to isolate in their primary residence and was not in critical condition requiring any hospital admittance," the governor's office said in a statement to the news station Wednesday.

State officials announced the park, which is closed off to the public and will be monitored by state police, will house seven mobile units to help isolate patients, WSB reported. At least 31 people have tested positive in the state.

California health officials said all public gatherings should be postponed or canceled until at least the end of March, the governor's office said in a statement.

Nonessential gatherings should be limited to fewer than 250 people, and gatherings including higher-risk individuals should be limited to up to 10 people, "while also following social distancing guidelines," the statement said.

"Not holding that concert or community event can have cascading effects — saving dozens of lives and preserving critical health care resources that your family may need a month from now," Gov. Gavin Newsom said. "The people in our lives who are most at risk -- seniors and those with underlying health conditions -- are depending on all of us to make the right choice."

Universities give students days to leave

Meanwhile, a growing list of universities have canceled study abroad programs, shut down campuses or moved classes online.

Universities including Harvard, Yale, Duke, Princeton and Cornell said they would be conducting lessons online.

"These past few weeks have been a powerful reminder of just how connected we are to one another -- and how our choices today determine our options tomorrow," Lawrence Bacow, Harvard president, wrote in a statement.

Harvard was also one of the universities that asked students to move out.

"Harvard College students have been asked to move out of their Houses and First-Year Dorms by Sunday, March 15, in an effort to de-densify our community," university spokeswoman Rachael Dane told CNN in an email.

a group of people standing next to a fence: Workers from a Servpro disaster recovery team wearing protective suits and respirators enter the Life Care Center in Kirkland, Wash., to begin cleaning and disinfecting the facility, Wednesday, March 11, 2020, near Seattle. The nursing home is at the center of the coronavirus outbreak in Washington state. For most people, the virus causes only mild or moderate symptoms. For some it can cause more severe illness, especially in older adults and people with existing health problems. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren) © Ted S. Warren/AP Workers from a Servpro disaster recovery team wearing protective suits and respirators enter the Life Care Center in Kirkland, Wash., to begin cleaning and disinfecting the facility, Wednesday, March 11, 2020, near Seattle. The nursing home is at the center of the coronavirus outbreak in Washington state. For most people, the virus causes only mild or moderate symptoms. For some it can cause more severe illness, especially in older adults and people with existing health problems. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren) In a Tuesday statement, Massachusetts Institute of Technology President L. Rafael Reif wrote students must begin moving out of their residences by Saturday and will be required to leave by Tuesday.

For returning students, the president wrote, "Please pack your belongings and make plans to travel home or to another location off-campus as if you do not expect to return here until the fall semester."

In a statement, Johns Hopkins University wrote the school was transitioning to online lessons and students who live in university housing were "strongly encouraged not to return to campus following spring break."

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