If there is madness this March, it wont be on the basketball court

By:  john-russell  •  4 weeks ago  •  5 comments

If there is madness this March, it wont be on the basketball court

One of the nation's most highly anticipated sporting events every year, the 68 team men's college basketball championship tournament , nicknamed "March Madness", has been completely canceled. The women's tournament , also very popular, is canceled also. 

A week or so ago analysts were warning that things would happen quickly and "everyday" life in the US would be disrupted by the coronavirus disease.  Now it is happening. 

Churches are being shuttered in Seattle , Virginia and Washington DC.  Surely other cities and towns will follow suit. 


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1  author  JohnRussell    4 weeks ago

Yesterday the NCAA said the tournaments would go on in empty arenas, but that plan has been discarded. 

2  author  JohnRussell    4 weeks ago


Coronavirus Live Updates: Trump Says Some Domestic Travel Could Be Curtailed, and Senate Cancels Recess

Stocks plunged again despite the Fed offering at least $1.5 trillion worth of short-term loans to banks, with the S&P 500 index tumbling 9.5 percent. A Brazilian official tested positive days after being with the president and Vice President Mike Pence.

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The N.C.A.A. has canceled its Division I men’s and women’s basketball tournaments because of the   coronavirus pandemic , erasing one the most anticipated annual events on the American sports calendar.

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President Trump speaking in the Oval Office, on Thursday. Credit... Doug Mills/The New York Times

Trump says domestic travel restrictions are a possibility.

President Trump said on Thursday that he could restrict domestic travel to regions of the United States where the coronavirus becomes “too hot.”

Asked by a reporter in the Oval Office whether he was considering limits on travel inside the country to hard-hit states like Washington or California, Mr. Trump said the subject had not yet been discussed, before adding: “Is it a possibility? Yes, if somebody gets a little bit out of control, if an area gets too hot.”

He did not elaborate, except to say that a containment zone New York State had imposed around the city of New Rochelle was “good.”

The president also said that he was canceling or deferring several political events in the coming weeks.

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“We had some big rallies. We canceled one that were thinking about doing in Las Vegas, as you know. And one in Reno, Nevada.”

Speaking of political events, Mr. Trump mentioned “four or five of them that we were thinking about.” And he said he would not follow through on a planned “big one in Tampa, all sold out.”

“But I think we’ll probably not do it because people will say it’s better to not do,” he said. “You know, we need a little separation until such time as this goes away.”

How will President Trump’s actions   affect his legacy ?

The Senate canceled a weeklong recess in hopes of reaching a virus relief compromise.

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Senator Mitch McConnell arriving on Capitol Hill on Thursday. Credit... Pete Marovich for The New York Times

Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky, the majority leader, canceled a recess that had been planned for next week, as House Democrats and the administration continued to negotiate a deal on a sweeping coronavirus relief package.

The House version of the package, unveiled by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California, and her lieutenants on Wednesday night, would provide food security assistance, a substantial national   paid sick leave   program, free coronavirus testing and strengthened unemployment benefits.

The proposal also includes $500 million to provide assistance to low-income pregnant women and some mothers who are laid off because of the outbreak; $400 million to assist food banks; and $250 million to deliver packaged meals to low-income seniors. House Democrats scheduled a vote on their package Thursday, but leaders were postponing it as their negotiations with the White House continued behind the scenes.

“I am glad talks are ongoing between the administration and Speaker Pelosi,” Mr. McConnell said on Twitter. “I hope Congress can pass bipartisan legislation to continue combating the coronavirus and keep our economy strong.”

Senators from both parties had pushed to scrap the recess, which would have begun in effect Thursday afternoon, when senators typically leave for the week to return to their home states. Frustrated with the Democrats’ package and aware of the urgency to respond to the pandemic, senators had begun pushing to stay in Washington to work out a bipartisan compromise.

Republican congressional aides have said that the House bill appeared to contain several “poison pills” that would make it difficult for them to support it. And the top House Republican called it ineffective and too expensive.

“If the Democrats try to move what they’re trying to do, I don’t know that that will help the economy,” Representative Kevin McCarthy, Republican of California and the House minority leader, said in an interview on Fox News. “It’ll just cost us so much more money.”

President Trump attacked Democrats   hours after calling for bipartisanship

Stocks sink despite the Fed’s offer of $1.5 trillion to banks.

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The floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday. Credit... Brendan Mcdermid/Reuters

Stocks fell sharply again on Thursday , as Mr. Trump’s latest effort to address the coronavirus outbreak — a ban on the entry of most Europeans to the United States — failed to assuage investors’ concerns about the global economy.

The recovered slightly after the Federal Reserve Bank said it would offer at least $1.5 trillion worth of short-term loans to banks today and tomorrow. But then the decline resumed, and the S&P 500 index fell about 9.5 percent, while the Dow Jones industrial average lost about 10 percent.

Get an informed guide to the global outbreak with our daily   coronavirus   newsletter.

Waves of selling in stocks this week have left the major global benchmarks in bear market territory — a term that signifies stocks have fallen more than 20 percent from their highs. Without a substantial recovery on Thursday, the S&P 500 will end there as well.

The travel ban hit shares in Europe particularly hard, with major stock indexes there down more than 10 percent and one regional benchmark suffering its worst-ever decline.

New York will ban most gatherings of more than 500 people, including at Broadway shows.

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Fans leaving broadway theaters on West 45th Street in New York City on Wednesday. Credit... Jeenah Moon for The New York Times

New York will ban most gatherings of more than 500 people, including at Broadway shows, and restrict smaller groups in an extraordinary step to fight the growing outbreak in the state, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced on Thursday.

The restrictions are expected to have a profound impact on the city’s cultural institutions, including theater, a multibillion dollar industry at the heart of New York’s tourist trade. The ban will take effect at 5 p.m. Thursday for Broadway theaters and will go into effect for other venues on Friday at 5 p.m., Mr. Cuomo said.

The Broadway League, a trade organization representing producers and theater owners,   said the closing would last   through April 12.

New York’s Roman Catholic archdiocese announced that its elementary schools would be closed next week, and possible longer.

“It’s been very crazy,”   said one of the thousands of New Yorkers under quarantine about the official guidance she has received.

California joined other states in imposing new measures aimed at containing the virus, telling residents to   postpone or cancel gatherings   of more than 250 people through the end of March. An order from Gov. Gavin Newsom required local governments not to permit them. California also advised against gatherings in smaller venues that don’t allow for 6 feet between people. Gatherings of high-risk people, like those in retirement homes, should be no more than 10 people, officials said.

At a news conference on Thursday, Mr. Newsom said that Disneyland and casinos were exempted from the restrictions for the time being, since they posed uniquely complicated challenges that require more conversations. He said that the order applied to nonessential gatherings — places like schools and courthouses were also exempt, but subject to more specific guidance.

Negotiations with Native American tribes over the casinos and with executives such as the chairman of The Walt Disney Company, Bob Iger, were ongoing, Mr. Newsom said. He said operators of amusement parks, theaters and casinos are proposing ways to keep people at safe distances from each other, such as staggered seating and show times, and all this demands careful evaluation.

Delays in testing have made it difficult to get a full sense of scale of the outbreak, but the epidemic is increasingly altering American life, and state, local and private institutions are taking matters into their own hands. Mr. Newsom also discussed how the state is working with hospitals and commercial labs in an effort to significantly boost testing capacity.

U.S.   cities are retrenching   in the face of coronavirus.

Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington State said that people should no longer sit shoulder-to-shoulder in bars, and he banned public gatherings of 250 people or more in three counties in the Seattle area.

In Ohio, the governor said a ban on large events was imminent.

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Seattle became the first in the country to   suspend public celebration of Mass . Episcopal bishops in Virginia and Washington, D.C., said that churches in their dioceses would close for two weeks.

Many colleges have moved classes online and some have   directed students to not return   after spring break.

As of Thursday afternoon,   more than 1,320 people nationwide had tested positive and 38 had died, most of them in Washington State . But the prevalence is unknown, because testing has been limited.

In New Rochelle, N.Y., National Guard troops   have begun delivering food for school lunches and helping clean and sanitize public facilities and buildings.

A top U.S. health official says coronavirus testing is “a failing.”

This iframe is not allowed

One of the country’s top health officials said that the government’s coronavirus testing methods were inadequate in testimony on Capitol Hill on Thursday.

Speaking at a House committee hearing on coronavirus testing, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and Dr. Robert Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, fielded pointed questions about rising frustration over a lack of testing kits across the country.

“The system does not, is not really geared to what we need right now, what you are asking for,” Dr. Fauci said. “That is a failing. It is a failing, let’s admit it.”

Dr. Fauci had stepped in to respond to a question, from Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, to Dr. Redfield about who was ultimately responsible for overseeing testing.

“The idea of anybody getting it, easily, the way people in other countries are doing it, we are not set up for that,” Dr. Fauci added. “Do I think we should be? Yes. But we are not.”

Mr. Pence said on Thursday that thousands more cases of coronavirus were expected in the United States.

“We know there will be thousands of more cases of coronavirus,” Mr. Pence said on NBC’s “Today” show. Asked whether it could be millions, he declined to answer, saying, “I’ll leave to the experts to make the estimates of how many people will be infected.”

At another point in the testimony,   Dr. Redfield told Representative Katie Porter   that he would commit to making coronavirus testing available for Americans, regardless of insurance.

U.S. restrictions on travel from Europe draw anger and confusion.

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Passengers at Adolfo Suarez-Barajas international airport, outside of Madrid, Spain, on Thursday. Credit... Bernat Armangue/Associated Press

On both sides of the Atlantic on Thursday, the consequences of   President Trump’s decision to ban most travel from Europe   began to be felt economically, politically and socially.

Traveling Americans sought to understand what Mr. Trump’s plan meant for them, and European Union leaders sharply condemned the move, even as many nations on the Continent moved to tighten their own restrictions on the movement of people.

“The coronavirus is a global crisis, not limited to any continent and it requires cooperation rather than unilateral action,” a statement from European leaders said. “The European Union disapproves of the fact that the U.S. decision to impose a travel ban was taken unilaterally and without consultation.”

Italy’s government reported more than 15,000 infections through Thursday, a jump of more than 2,000, and more than 1,000 deaths. With the worst outbreak outside of China, Italy is   under a national lockdown.   In France, which has more than 2,280 cases, President Emmanuel Macron, is expected to address his country on Thursday evening.

Mr. Trump said on Wednesday night that Europe had failed to take appropriate measures to the contain the virus and its “horrific infection, “ and that he was suspending most travel from Europe for 30 days beginning on Friday.

Read President Trump’s full speech , and our analysis: “ A New Crisis and a Familiar Response: It’s China’s Fault, and Europe’s.”

He imposed a 30-day ban on foreigners who in the previous two weeks have been in the 26 countries that make up Europe’s Schengen Area. American citizens, permanent legal residents and their families would still be able to return to the United States, and Mr. Trump later tweeted to clarify that cargo would not be blocked.

“Please remember, very important for all countries & businesses to know that trade will in no way be affected by the 30-day restriction on travel from Europe,” Mr. Trump posted. “The restriction stops people not goods.”

In appearances on several morning television shows on Thursday, Mr. Pence offered more details. Americans returning from the affected area of Europe in the next 30 days, he said, would be “funneled through 13 airports” and would be required to self-quarantine for two weeks.

Days after being with Trump and Pence, Brazilian official tests positive for the virus.

A senior Brazilian government official who visited Mar-a-Lago days ago, and was in close proximity to Mr. Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, has tested positive for the new coronavirus, Brazil’s government confirmed on Thursday.

The official was part of a delegation led by Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, who is now awaiting results for a coronavirus test.

But Mr. Trump and Mr. Pence will not be tested, according to the White House press secretary, Stephanie Grisham. “Both the president and vice president had almost no interactions with the individual who tested positive,” she said in a statement.

In contrast, the office of Canada’s prime minister, Justin Trudeau, said that his wife, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau,   had been tested after developing flu-like symptoms   and that he decided to work from home until receiving his wife’s results.

The Brazilian official who tested positive is Fábio Wajngarten, Mr. Bolsonaro’s communications chief. He was at Mar-a-Lago, Mr. Trump’s oceanfront resort in Florida, as part of a Brazilian government delegation. Members of that group   dined with Mr. Trump on Saturday .

In a statement, Mr. Bolsonaro’s office said it was “adopting all the necessary preventive measures to preserve the health of the president and the delegation that accompanied him on the recent official trip to the United States,” and had informed U.S. officials.

It said that Mr. Wajngarten tested positive in two separate tests after returning home with flu-like symptoms. Mr. Bolsonaro was being tested for the virus, and results were expected on Friday.

The New York Times is providing   free access to our most important updates and most useful guidance   on the global coronavirus crisis.

Over the weekend Mr. Wajngarten   posted a photo on his Instagram account   posing shoulder-to-shoulder with Mr. Trump, who appears smiling and holding a baseball cap with the words “Make Brazil Great Again.” It was not clear when the photo, which includes Mr. Pence, was taken.

Asked at a news conference about Mr. Wajngarten Mr. Trump said, “I’m not concerned.”

Senator Rick Scott, Republican of Florida, who met with Mr. Bolsonaro in Miami earlier this week, said he would put himself in isolation as a precautionary measure. He added that said he did not think he had interacted with Mr. Bolsonaro’s aide and does not have any symptoms.

Senator Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas, is already in quarantine because of another encounter with an infected person at a conservative conference near Washington. Several House Republicans also self-isolated after meeting the same individual. Without Mr. Cruz or Mr. Scott voting, Republicans will functionally now have a narrower majority in the Senate.

As of Thursday, Brazil had at least 73 confirmed coronavirus cases and more than 930 suspected cases.

Tom Hanks and his wife, the actress Rita Wilson,   tested positive for coronavirus in Australia , where he was set to begin filming a new movie.

The N.H.L. paused its season and the Met in New York temporarily closes.

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Paul Boyer, Head Equipment Manager of the Detroit Red Wings packs a stick bag after the Red Wings’ N.H.L. game against the Washington Capitals was postponed due to the coronavirus, in Washington, D.C., on Thursday. Credit... Patrick Smith/Getty Images

One by one, sporting events have been canceled, museums shuttered, movie premieres delayed and conferences and concerts disbanded in a global push   to stop the spread of the coronavirus .

On Wednesday, the N.B.A. suspended its season after a Utah Jazz player tested positive for the coronavirus, and a second Jazz player tested positive on Thursday. The N.H.L. and Major League Soccer followed by announcing pauses to their seasons.

Major League Baseball halted spring training and   postponed the start of the season   by at least two weeks.

Most N.H.L. teams have about a dozen games left in the regular season, with the Stanley Cup playoffs scheduled to begin in about a month. “It’s the right thing to do but obviously it stinks,” Florida Panthers center Aleksander Barkov said in a telephone interview.

The New York Times would like to hear from people in the U.S. about closures in their community. How do policies around school closures, large gatherings, quarantines, testing and messaging in your area compare to what you’ve seen elsewhere in the country? Please email   coronavirus@nytimes.com . Thank you.

In New York, the Metropolitan Museum of Art announced on Thursday that it would temporarily close its three locations, including its Fifth Avenue flagship. The sprawling music, tech and film festival in Austin, South by Southwest, was canceled and the giant Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, which takes place in the picturesque desert of Southern California, was postponed until October.

Congress’s visitor center will shutter the Capitol to visitors until April, and the Supreme Court building is closing until further notice.

Ireland’s government canceled all St. Patrick’s Day parades, including Dublin’s. (Boston, which has a robust Irish-American population, also canceled its parade; Manhattan’s was postponed.) Several places in Germany, including Berlin, closed all state theaters, concert halls and opera houses.

Here’s a running list   of what has and hasn’t been canceled across the worlds of sports and culture.

A JetBlue passenger learns, in the air, that he has the virus.

A passenger on a JetBlue flight from New York to West Palm Beach, Fla., on Wednesday night learned midair that he had tested positive for the coronavirus, raising questions about possible widespread exposure.

The passenger, who had previously been tested for the virus and was awaiting results, got a notification toward the end of the flight that the test had come back positive, JetBlue said on Thursday. He was overheard talking about it, and the flight crew quickly notified health officials on the ground.

The flight, which departed from Kennedy International Airport with 114 people on board, landed at Palm Beach International Airport around 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday. Medical workers rushed to the airport shortly after, officials said.

“JetBlue had no prior indication that this customer had or may have had coronavirus,” the airline said in a statement. Both airports and the airplane were being cleaned.

Concern in the Middle East grows more dire as cases rise in Egypt.

,https://static01.nyt.com/images/2020/03/12/world/12virus-briefing-egypt/merlin_170340189_269064d5-7106-4787-a23f-73ee12dec229-jumbo.jpg?quality=90&auto=webp 1024w,https://static01.nyt.com/images/2020/03/12/world/12virus-briefing-egypt/merlin_170340189_269064d5-7106-4787-a23f-73ee12dec229-superJumbo.jpg?quality=90&auto=webp 2048w" src="https://static01.nyt.com/images/2020/03/12/world/12virus-briefing-egypt/merlin_170340189_269064d5-7106-4787-a23f-73ee12dec229-articleLarge.jpg?quality=75&auto=webp&disable=upscale" >
Visiting the Luxor Temple in southern Egypt on Wednesday. Credit... Khaled Desouki/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

At least 102 people who traveled in Egypt last month have tested positive for the coronavirus after returning to their home countries, stoking fears of a much wider outbreak in the Arab world’s most populous country than had previously been calculated.

Egypt has declared 67 coronavirus cases, and officials insist that it is still safe for tourists to come to the country. “Thank God, Egypt is one of the least affected countries,” Tourism Minister Khaled el-Enany told reporters in Cairo on Tuesday.

Egyptian officials say that the country’s outbreak is concentrated on a cruise ship on the Nile, on which 45 people were infected, that has been quarantined since Friday. But the high number of people who have tested positive after leaving Egypt suggests that the virus has spread to other parts of the country.

Outside Iran, the highest number of reported cases in the Middle East are in countries like Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait and Iraq, which have declared about 500 cases between them.

The number in Qatar jumped to 262 from 24 on Wednesday amid fears that the virus will spread in the packed camps for construction workers who are building soccer stadiums for the 2022 men’s soccer World Cup.

Relatively little is known about the spread of the virus in some of the region’s most vulnerable war-torn corners, such as Syria, Yemen and Libya.

Iran’s coronavirus response   has been a mix of pride, paranoia and secrecy.

Are you prepared? How to stock your pantry and other tips.

Here are tips for stocking your pantry in ways that are practical and delicious; answers to some common questions about travel, and steps to take when talking to an anxious teen about coronavirus.

2.1  squiggy  replied to  JohnRussell @2    4 weeks ago

"...got a notification toward the end of the flight that the test had come back positive, JetBlue said on Thursday. He was overheard talking about it..."

I don't see these as 'Trump' problems. This guy was clearly suspect of his condition yet chose to be a loose killer. I haven't seen you answer for Trump's power limits - can he start cracking heads yet?

Greg Jones
3  Greg Jones    4 weeks ago

Sounds like you've gone all in. Good luck!

Dean Moriarty
4  Dean Moriarty    4 weeks ago

Just when I was all excited to see MSM drool over Obama’s brackets. 


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