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It was a day of cancellations and closures as the coronavirus spread to more states in the United States, as the number of cases passed 1,600.

Disneyland and Walt Disney World are closing. Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, New Mexico and Ohio announced statewide school closures to slow the rate of infections. And the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced it is indefinitely suspending all public gatherings, including worship services, worldwide.

In sports, major announcements have poured out over the past 24 hours. The NCAA basketball tournaments are off. The National Hockey League and Major League Soccer suspended their seasons, following the National Basketball Association’s lead. Major League Baseball canceled the rest of spring training and postponed Opening Day by at least two weeks.

Here are some other significant developments:

  • A Brazilian official who met President Trump and Vice President Pence at Mar-a-Lago on Saturday has tested positive for coronavirus, though Trump said Thursday he “isn’t concerned.” The White House later said “exposures from the case are being assessed,” but that Trump and Pence “do not require being tested at this time.”
  • Upheaval persisted in global markets, as fears of a worldwide recession mounted.
  • Trump’s order restricting travel from Europe for 30 days over the coronavirus outbreak left many European officials blindsided. In a blunt statement, the European Union expressed exasperation.
  • The White House, U.S. Capitol and Pentagon have closed to tours. All Smithsonian museums in New York City and the Washington, D.C. area, including the National Zoo, will temporarily close to the public starting on Saturday.
  • Sophie Trudeau, the wife of the Canadian prime minister, said she tested positive for the virus as her husband said he is self-isolating. Tom Hanks became the first American celebrity to publicly announce a coronavirus diagnosis.
3:02 a.m.
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Trump says still ‘lots of options’ for Tokyo Olympics, after call with Japan’s Abe

By Simon Denyer

TOKYO — President Trump praised Japan’s preparations for the Summer Olympics and said there were still “lots of options,” only hours after suggesting the Games might have to be postponed for a year due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The shift in the president’s tone came after a phone call with Japanese leader Shinzo Abe.

“Just had a great conversation with Prime Minister Abe of Japan,” Trump tweeted. “I told him that the just completed Olympic venue is magnificent. He has done an incredible job, one that will make him very proud. Good things will happen for Japan and their great Prime Minister. Lots of options!”

Abe has staked considerable political capital in the Tokyo Olympics, which he sees as a way to bolster national pride and his personal prestige. Japan has repeatedly insisted in the past few weeks that postponing or canceling the Games is unthinkable, and that its preparations are continuing as normal, a stance echoed by the ultimate arbiters, the International Olympic Committee.

So it won’t have gone down well in Tokyo when Trump suggested the virus could upend those plans on Thursday.

“Maybe they postpone it for a year,” Trump said. “Maybe that’s not possible. I guess it’s never happened with the Olympics.”

Trump said it might be better to delay than hold it with “empty stadiums all over the place,” but said Japan would have to make its own decision. “If you cancel it, make it a year later. That’s a better alternative than doing it with no crowd.”

Within hours, Abe was on the phone to the U.S. president, in what appeared to be an attempt to convince him that the Games could still go ahead.

2:37 a.m.
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Wife of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tests positive for coronavirus

By Emily Rauhala

Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, the wife of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, has tested positive for the coronavirus.

In a statement released Thursday night, the prime minister’s office said she was tested at the advice of doctors after a trip to Britain. The test came back positive.

“She is feeling well, is taking all the recommended precautions and her symptoms remain mild,” the statement said.

The prime minister is not showing symptoms, according to his office, but he will self-isolate for 14 days. The statement included a personal message from Sophie Grégoire Trudeau.

“Although I’m experiencing uncomfortable symptoms of the virus, I will be back on my feet soon,” she wrote in the statement.

“We will get through this situation together. Please share the facts and take your health seriously,” she continued. “I send you all my courage and warm thoughts (but only “get better” hugs from afar!).”

2:30 a.m.
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Alaska announces first coronavirus case; outbreak will soon reach all 50 states, officials say

By Hannah Knowles

Alaska, Maine and Wyoming announced their first positive tests for the novel coronavirus, as officials predict that the pandemic’s spread to all 50 U.S. states will come any day.

The latest case reported, a patient in Alaska, involves a foreign national who was traveling through Anchorage International Airport, state officials said. Authorities described the man as an “isolated case” who had contact with few people and sought treatment after noticing his symptoms.

“This is not a surprise,” Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy (R) said, adding later, “We expect more positives.”

Authorities said that community transmission of the virus appears to be a problem in the lower 48 states rather than Alaska at this time.

Earlier in the day, Maine officials announced the state’s first detected coronavirus patient is a Navy reservist, now quarantined at home, who traveled in an area hit hard by the virus.

And late Wednesday, Wyoming reported its first positive test for a resident. Health officials described an adult woman with “some recent domestic travel history” and said they believe there is still little risk of the virus’s transmission in the state.

As of late Thursday, only Alabama, Idaho and West Virginia had not reported cases.

2:28 a.m.
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Economic meltdown fears hammer Asian markets

By David Crawshaw

HONG KONG — Asian stocks plunged early Friday, with investors taking their cue from Wall Street after the Dow Jones industrial average suffered its worst day since 1987 on fears over the economic damage wrought by the coronavirus pandemic.

Japan’s Nikkei index slumped almost 10 percent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng benchmark retreated 6 percent, and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 fell 7.5 percent, adding to heavy losses this month.

While there are signs the outbreak is easing in Asia, especially in China, worries about the prolonged economic impact as the virus ravages the United States and Europe have led many economists to predict a global recession this year.

The airline and travel industries have been especially hard hit, with carriers slashing flights globally and tourism down sharply across several continents. That was even before President Trump announced a 30-day ban on travelers from most of Europe from entering the United States.

1:55 a.m.
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D.C. archdiocese closes schools, cancels public Mass

By Debbi Wilgoren

The Archdiocese of Washington is closing all Catholic schools in the District and its Maryland suburbs for two weeks and halting the public celebration of Mass until further notice.

Citing the emergency order by Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan banning public gatherings of 250 or more, Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory issued a dispensation from the obligation to attend Mass to the 655,000 Catholics in the diocese, which includes the District and Calvert, Charles, Montgomery, Prince George’s and St. Mary’s counties. He said weddings and funerals may still take place but attendance should be limited to immediate family.

“My number one priority as your Archbishop is to ensure the safety and health of all who attend our Masses, the children in our schools, and those we welcome through our outreach and services,” Gregory said in a statement. “Please know that this decision does not come lightly to close our schools or cancel Masses. We are profoundly saddened that we are not able to celebrate our sacraments as a community for the time being but we know Christ remains with us at all times — specifically in times of worry like this.”

The diocese includes 139 parishes and 93 Catholic schools.

Read more here.

1:38 a.m.
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Inside the NBA’s coronavirus response and its decision to suspend season

By Ben Golliver

LOS ANGELES — Before Adam Silver could announce to the public the National Basketball Association’s response to the coronavirus, which was to suspend the 2019-20 season, the league commissioner faced a more immediate challenge: communicating the severity of the growing pandemic to team owners, executives and players.

High-ranking executives from multiple teams generally praised Silver’s response to the spread of covid-19 across the country over the past two weeks, painting it proactive, thorough and timely. But those executives said in interviews that the league’s consensus plan, which was to play games without fans present, was initially met with skepticism and led to a divided conference call on Wednesday that concluded without a formal policy announcement.

Those who discussed the matter with The Washington Post spoke on the condition of anonymity to freely discuss the sensitive situation.

“I was shocked by the number of teams that were clueless at the size that [the coronavirus] would get to,” said one high-ranking executive privy to leaguewide conversations. “Some teams that hadn’t faced an outbreak in their communities didn’t think it was worth talking about.”

Read more here.

1:08 a.m.
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Disney World, Disneyland and other theme parks closing

By Hannah Knowles

Disney and Universal Studios are closing several theme parks through the end of the month as fears mount that large gatherings will help spread the novel coronavirus.

Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, Disneyland Paris Resort and two iconic Anaheim, Calif. attractions — Disneyland Park and Disneyland California Adventure — are all shutting down this weekend out of an “abundance of caution,” the Walt Disney Company announced Thursday. The properties had continued to draw enthusiastic crowds even as the coronavirus’s rising global toll stoked concern.

Disney Cruise Line will also suspend departures starting Saturday through the end of March, the company said.

Cast members will be paid during the closures, it added, and hotels at Disney World and Disneyland Paris will stay “open until further notice.” The company has asked domestic employees who are able to work from home to do so, it said.

Also closing this weekend are Universal Studios’ theme parks in Hollywood and Orlando, Calif., the company said Thursday.

California has barred mass gatherings to combat the coronavirus. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) said Thursday that the new statewide measure concerning large events would not yet apply to casinos, theaters and large theme parks, explaining that those industries had raised enough “legitimate concerns” that officials would allow more time to discuss repercussions.

But Disney announced later in the day that it would close its two California parks despite having “no reported cases” of covid-19 there. Universal Studios Hollywood, too, said it was closing beginning on Saturday in accordance with the California officials’ recommendations.

The closures in Anaheim will start Saturday, Disney says, but Disneyland Resort hotels will stay open until Monday so that guests can make travel arrangements. The company said in a statement that it will “work with guests who wish to change or cancel their visits” and refund people who booked during the shutdown period.

12:54 a.m.
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Jury trials postponed in Southern District of New York courthouses

By Shayna Jacobs

NEW YORK — Any jury trial set to start next week was postponed and naturalization ceremonies were canceled indefinitely as new measures to protect against the covid-19 pandemic went into effect in the Southern District of New York courthouses, an official confirmed.

A contract worker at the district’s bankruptcy court building tested positive for the virus and was working on the premises on March 3, according to district executive Edward Friedland. The building is being thoroughly cleaned, although increased sanitization was already underway before SDNY administrators learned of the worker’s novel coronavirus diagnosis on Thursday afternoon, Friedland said.

Administrators made the call Thursday to put off any jury trials slated to start next, eliminating the need for jurors to be summoned to the courthouse. The SDNY covers two court buildings in Lower Manhattan and another in White Plains in Westchester County, not including bankruptcy court which is in another downtown location.

Judges were encouraged to hold phone conferences when possible, in lieu of regular court appearances. A judge overseeing a lawsuit against the Trump Organization said in a phone conference Thursday that phone conferences would be expected “for the foreseeable future.”

The last naturalization ceremonies for new U.S. citizens will be held at SDNY’s 500 Pearl Street courthouse Friday and roughly a hundred candidates are usually on hand to get citizenship certificates, often with several family members or guests in attendance. Only the candidates are allowed to attend tomorrow’s events which will minimize the crowd, Friedland said.

12:10 a.m.
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Kansas announces first coronavirus death; U.S. total hits 41

By Hannah Knowles

Kansas announced its first coronavirus patient death on Thursday evening, bringing the nationwide death count for the virus to 41 people.

The Kansas patient was a man in his 70s who lived in a long-term care facility and had underlying health conditions, Gov. Laura Kelly (D) said at a news conference. He was hospitalized.

Officials are tracing the man’s activities over the past two weeks, Kelly said, and quarantining anyone who had contact with him.

Kelly has declared a statewide emergency, saying the move will help her marshal resources to fight the virus.

“This is not a time to panic,” Kelly said. “Please continue to use common sense, hand washing, coughing into your elbow, staying home when ill. This remains the best defense against covid-19.”

Earlier Thursday, Washington state and Georgia also announced new deaths.

11:56 p.m.
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Mormon church suspends all public gatherings, including worship services, indefinitely

By Hannah Knowles

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced Thursday that it is indefinitely suspending all public gatherings, including worship services, worldwide.

A cascade of organizations and local officials have been canceling events and trying to limit gatherings that experts fear will speed the spread of the novel coronavirus. Public health authorities say that such “social distancing” measures will help prevent health systems from becoming overwhelmed by the sick, and some U.S. states have even imposed bans on meetings above a certain size.

The Mormon Church said in a statement Thursday that its leaders should “conduct any essential leadership meetings via technology” whenever possible.

“Bishops should counsel with their stake president to determine how to make the sacrament available to members at least once a month,” the church added, encouraging its followers to “care for one another.”

11:27 p.m.
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‘PLEASE STOP NOW’: New York City officials driven to all-caps by viral misinformation

By Hannah Knowles and Kim Bellware

New York City leaders resorted Thursday to all-caps tweets correcting faulty information circulating about their response to the novel coronavirus.

They were just the latest public officials forced to push back on viral falsehoods amid a crisis.

“THERE IS A LOT OF MISINFORMATION ON SOCIAL MEDIA,” the New York City Police Department wrote on social media Thursday afternoon, denying one tweet’s claim that police planned to shut down roads and subways.

A little over two hours later, a seemingly exasperated Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) was forced to correct the record, too. He suggested he did not even know where the falsehoods were coming from.

“NO, there is NO TRUTH to rumors about Manhattan being quarantined,” he tweeted. “Whoever is spreading this misinformation, PLEASE STOP NOW!

Misinformation about what is now a pandemic has been rampant, complicating health experts’ efforts to get crucial information out to the public. The U.S. State Department found that roughly 2 million tweets peddled conspiracy theories about the coronavirus over the three-week period when the outbreak began to spread outside China, as The Post’s Tony Romm reported late last month.

Many of the hoaxes, half-truths and flat-out lies circulating have misled people about the virus itself. Some claimed that Chinese people eating bats were the source of the outbreak. Others falsely suggested that the virus was lab-engineered as a kind of bioweapon.

Even more online posts have propelled rumors about the increasingly dramatic measures being taken to combat the spread of the coronavirus, as officials ban large gatherings, close schools and struggle to scale up testing for infections.

11:03 p.m.
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Smithsonian museums to close in D.C. and NYC

By Michael E. Ruane and Fritz Hahn

All Smithsonian museums in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area and New York City, including the National Zoo, will temporarily close to the public starting Saturday, March 14. Arlington National Cemetery will close to visitors beginning Friday. Both actions were taken as a caution against covid-19.

“The health and safety of Smithsonian visitors, staff and volunteers is a top priority,” the Smithsonian said on social media. “We are closely monitoring the coronavirus situation and maintain ongoing communication with local health officials and the Centers for Disease Control. Due to the rapidly changing nature of the situation, we are not announcing a reopening date at this time and will provide updates on a week-to-week basis on our websites.”

Arlington National Cemetery announced Thursday that it will close to visitors Friday to protect employees, families and visitors. Funerals will be conducted as scheduled, but family members should contact 1-877-907-8585 for more information on new arrival procedures if they would like to reschedule a funeral, the cemetery said in a statement.

“U. S. Army and Department of Defense guidance is clear: force health protection is paramount,” said Karen Durham-Aguilera, executive director, Office of Army National Cemeteries and Arlington National Cemetery.

“We have a responsibility to protect our employees, the families of our fallen service members paying respect to their loved ones, and to the thousands of visitors per day who come … [to] this national shrine,” she said. “We do not make this decision lightly.”

10:52 p.m.
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Many older Americans are playing down the threat while others opt for safety

By Darryl Fears and Brady Dennis

Even as experts have pushed for social distancing as the coronavirus continues its spread across the world, some seniors continue to get together for movies, Zumba and concerts.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns that older Americans are among those who face the highest risk of hospitalization and death. With that in mind, retirees from Florida to Alaska are weighing whether to continue living their normal lives or do whatever it takes to preserve them.

At her home in the Villages, a sprawling central Florida retirement community that overlaps three counties, Alicia Przybylowicz still greets neighbors with a big smile and an outstretched hand. “I’m a hand-shaker. I think I will always be a hand-shaker and a hugger,” the 64-year-old said. Worries about the coronavirus aren’t going to stop that. “It seems that it’s been blown out of proportion.”

Not far away, at a house in the same community, Judy Nieman, 66, said that attitude is alarming. “We don’t know how this is going to spread in this community,” she said. “We’re all older here. This place is full of people who go on cruises all the time. They go on safaris. And I don’t see them curtailing their activities as much as I would.”

The Villages is one of the largest retirement developments in the United States, with 125,000 residents living on more than 1,000 acres. When asked on the “Villages Friendly Folks” Facebook page how they were managing the coronavirus, a majority of people sided with Przybylowicz, saying the crisis is being overblown.

Against mounting advice from federal and private health experts, many expressed a determination to move forward with travel excursions, such as cruises. But that is getting harder to do.

Read more here.

10:25 p.m.
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New York attorney general orders Alex Jones to stop selling phony coronavirus treatments

By Hannah Knowles

New York Attorney General Letitia James on Thursday ordered right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones to stop selling products as coronavirus treatments.

Jones has been marketing toothpaste, dietary supplements, creams and other items as preventing or curing the virus, James’s office said in a news release, even though the World Health Organization says there is no particular medicine to treat infections and the Food and Drug Administration has yet to approve any vaccine or cure. Jones claimed, for example, that a toothpaste “kills the whole SARS-corona family at point-blank range,” authorities said.

“As the coronavirus continues to pose serious risks to public health, Alex Jones has spewed outright lies and has profited off of New Yorkers’ anxieties,” James said in statement. “Mr. Jones’ public platform has not only given him a microphone to shout inflammatory rhetoric, but his latest mistruths are incredibly dangerous and pose a serious threat to the public health of New Yorkers and individuals across the nation.”

“If these unlawful violations do not cease immediately, my office will not hesitate to take legal action and hold Mr. Jones accountable for the harm he’s caused,” James added.

Jones has also made “deeply deceptive claims” about the main ingredient in his products, colloidal silver, the attorney general said. Health experts say the ingredient can be dangerous to human health.

Jones did not immediately respond to a request for comment through his site Infowars, which is known for fanning conspiracy theories.

On Wednesday, the attorney general also sent cease and desist orders to two companies that claimed to have treatments for the coronavirus. Additionally, James ordered the show of televangelist Jim Bakker to stop marketing a phony colloidal silver cure that the Missouri attorney general has also sued over.