Americans face new shutdowns as coronavirus keeps spreading. But some say the bans aren't enough

In a bold, emergency action to support the economy during the coronavirus pandemic, the Federal Reserve announced it would cut its target interest rate to zero.

Posted: Mar 16, 2020 2:50 PM
Updated: Mar 16, 2020 2:50 PM

The race to control coronavirus in the US has taken a drastic turn, as the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urged the public to cancel or postpone gatherings of 50 people for the next eight weeks.

That's on top of countless school closures, store shutdowns and canceled events across the country. Even some public beaches are closing in Florida.

But some say it's still not enough to stop the virus that has infected more than 3,800 people and killed at least 68 in the US.

"I think it's good that the CDC and the federal government is increasingly leaning into more aggressive measures. But I think we've got to move a lot faster than that," former US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy said Monday.

"I would not feel safe with people getting together in groups of 20 people. ... I don't think we should tell people to go on play dates with groups of friends and catch up with small groups over lunch or dinner," Murthy said.

"These may seem extreme. But the consequences of not doing so are even more extreme -- (both) the health consequences and the economic consequences."

Two factors are helping fuel this pandemic: the fact that people with no symptoms can easily spread the virus, and problems with testing in the US.

So more states are adding new rules on social distancing.

New Jersey residents are no longer allowed to travel from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m., with the exception of essential travel, Gov. Phil Murphy announced Monday. The curfew remains in effect for the foreseeable future.

"We want everybody to be home, not out," Murphy said.

New York, New Jersey and Connecticut announced a ban on gatherings of more than 50 people, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a call with Murphy and Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont on Monday.

The three states agreed that casinos, gyms and movies will close at 8 p.m. ET Monday and remain closed until further notice, Cuomo said.

All eat-in services at bars and restaurants must stop at 8 p.m. ET Monday and transition to take-out only services.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker ordered all bars and restaurants to close to the public starting Monday night until March 30. Illinois officials are working with restaurant owners and food delivery services to coordinate so restaurants can keep kitchens open for food delivery, Pritzker said.

Washington state will shut down bars, restaurants and recreational facilities in an effort to mitigate the virus. Gov. Jay Inslee said he will sign the shutdown order and issue a ban on gatherings larger than 50 people on Monday.

And Massachusetts, which had previously banned gatherings of 250 people or more, reduced that number to no more than 25 on Sunday.

Schools, sporting events and stores shut down

Across the country, more than 30 million students in at least 31 states are missing classes due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Cuomo said all public schools in New York State

Some school districts and universities have started transitioning to online instruction until work can resume in classrooms.

In the sports world, the National Basketball Association, National Hockey Association and the Major League Soccer have all had cancellations in their season.

And in New York City, Broadway theaters have suspended performances.

In addition to parks, all Disney stores and properties at Downtown Disney in California and Disney Springs in Florida will be closed as of March 17.

Travel nightmares abound

Many travelers scrambled to get into the US after new travel restrictions were announced over the weekend.

Earlier, the Trump administration restricted travel from 26 European countries in the Schengen free movement zone. On Saturday, Vice President Mike Pence added the United Kingdom and Ireland to the list starting Monday night.

The Department of Homeland Security has clarified that the ban does not apply to American citizens, so US travelers will be allowed to return, provided they "have undergone appropriate screenings" beforehand.

Travelers waited for hours at international airports in New York, Texas and Chicago this weekend to get through health screenings upon their arrival into the US.

Acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf said Sunday that all 13 airports taking in passengers from Europe's Schengen area now have a wait time of 30 minutes, but acknowledged that the lines over the weekend were "unacceptable."

Customs and Border Patrol Acting Commissioner Mark Morgan said all locations will have an increase in staff to help process travelers.

Airlines have suspended service to some destinations and are cutting flight capacity.

In a memo to its employees, Delta Air Lines said it's facing worse conditions and making even deeper cuts than after the 9/11 terror attacks.

"The speed of the demand fall-off is unlike anything we've seen," CEO Ed Bastian wrote in the memo.

What does this mean for economy?

The Federal Reserve announced Sunday that interest rates would be cut to near zero to "support the flow of credit."

"These measures, which are essential to contain the outbreak will nonetheless... take a toll on the economy in the near term," Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said.

Despite the major slash to rates, an investor who helps to manage about $150 billion in assets at a high-profile firm said that the Federal Reserve cannot fix the strain that comes from people not leaving their homes.

Then there's the problem of limited supplies. Officials are urging Americans not to hoard supplies.

"Supply chains in the United States are strong, and it is unnecessary for the American public to hoard daily essentials," according to a readout of a conference call President Donald Trump had with grocery store and supply chain executives around the country.

White House Deputy Press Secretary Judd Deere said Americans don't need to worry about running out of daily items.

"All of the executives are working hand-in-hand with the Federal Government, as well as State and local leaders, to ensure food and essentials are constantly available," Deere said.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 47432

Reported Deaths: 2687
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion11546683
Lake5104242
Elkhart321144
Allen2737129
St. Joseph190866
Cass16389
Hamilton1538100
Hendricks1390100
Johnson1256118
Porter72037
Tippecanoe6948
Madison65564
Clark64044
Bartholomew58244
Howard56557
LaPorte56326
Kosciusko5354
Vanderburgh5026
Marshall4823
Jackson4693
Noble46928
LaGrange4677
Hancock44035
Boone43743
Delaware43150
Shelby42325
Floyd37144
Morgan32731
Montgomery29320
Grant29126
Clinton2882
Monroe27628
Dubois2666
White26010
Henry25815
Decatur24932
Lawrence24225
Vigo2318
Dearborn22823
Harrison21222
Warrick21229
Greene18532
Miami1822
Jennings17411
Putnam1688
DeKalb1604
Scott1607
Daviess14216
Orange13623
Wayne1366
Steuben1282
Perry1279
Franklin1248
Ripley1157
Jasper1142
Wabash1122
Carroll1102
Fayette987
Newton9810
Starke923
Whitley905
Randolph784
Huntington742
Jefferson722
Wells711
Fulton691
Jay680
Washington681
Gibson672
Knox640
Pulaski641
Clay604
Rush563
Adams501
Benton480
Owen471
Sullivan441
Brown381
Posey380
Blackford372
Spencer371
Crawford300
Fountain302
Tipton301
Switzerland260
Martin220
Parke220
Ohio140
Vermillion140
Warren141
Union130
Pike100
Unassigned0193

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 56183

Reported Deaths: 2907
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin10023420
Cuyahoga7571372
Hamilton5770197
Marion273038
Lucas2700302
Pickaway218841
Summit2110206
Montgomery193126
Mahoning1818231
Butler154744
Columbiana129560
Stark1091112
Lorain99767
Trumbull92565
Warren82321
Clark7659
Delaware55315
Belmont54422
Fairfield54316
Tuscarawas54110
Medina50832
Lake49218
Licking46612
Miami45531
Portage43258
Ashtabula43144
Wood41251
Geauga40042
Clermont3946
Wayne36051
Richland3325
Allen30840
Mercer2808
Greene2489
Darke24625
Erie23622
Holmes2263
Huron2112
Madison1938
Ottawa14323
Crawford1355
Washington13120
Putnam12715
Sandusky12714
Hardin12012
Ross1183
Morrow1161
Auglaize1064
Coshocton942
Monroe8817
Jefferson872
Union821
Muskingum811
Hancock781
Hocking788
Preble731
Williams692
Clinton680
Guernsey683
Lawrence680
Shelby654
Fulton610
Ashland581
Carroll583
Logan581
Wyandot586
Brown561
Defiance503
Athens491
Knox481
Fayette460
Highland441
Champaign391
Scioto380
Van Wert340
Seneca332
Perry321
Henry290
Adams231
Paulding230
Pike230
Jackson220
Vinton222
Gallia161
Harrison121
Meigs120
Morgan110
Noble110
Unassigned00
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