The night of March 11, 2020, may be remembered as the point where the coronavirus outbreak reached a new level of seriousness in the U.S.
In a span of just two hours, Americans heard a stunning series of announcements as the spread of the virus – also known as COVID-19 — continued.
Around 9 p.m. ET, President Trump told the nation from the Oval Office that he was calling for a temporary halt on air travel to the U.S. from Europe, excluding flights from Britain and those carrying cargo, in a bid to contain the spread of the virus.
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“The virus will not have a chance against us. No nation is more prepared, or more resilient,” Trump said.
“The virus will not have a chance against us. No nation is more prepared, or more resilient.”
Around 10 p.m. actor Tom Hanks revealed he and wife Rita Wilson had tested positive for the virus while in Australia.
Around the same time, the NBA announced it was suspending its basketball season until further notice, after a Utah Jazz player tested positive.
Then around 11 p.m., New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the postponement of New York City’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade – a tradition older than America itself.
The four announcements came on the same day the World Health Organization declared the outbreak a pandemic and as confirmed U.S. cases topped the 1,200 mark – and as the nation grappled with a problem for which no clear end was immediately in sight.
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All around the U.S., public gatherings such as conventions, conferences and concerts — even TV shows with live audiences – were being called off or scaled back.
March Madness? The college basketball games will be played with only “essential staff and limited family attendance,” NCAA President Mark Emmert said Wednesday, according to the Indianapolis Star.
Public tours of the White House and U.S. Capitol? Those were temporarily halted as well — “in an abundance of caution,” the White House said on its phone line for visitor information, the Washington Examiner reported.
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As of early Thursday, more than 110 nations had reported at least one case of the novel coronavirus, Time magazine reported.
More than 126,000 cases have been reported worldwide, including more than 68,000 recoveries, according to reports. The global death toll stood early Thursday at more than 4,600.