Coronavirus updates: 3 states under stay-at-home orders, stocks post worst week since financial crisis

Residents across three states were expected to be under stay-at-home orders this weekend as health officials nationwide seek to slow the community spread of COVID-19.

Illinois plans to require residents to stay home as much as possible, aside from meeting their basic needs, starting Saturday evening. New York plans to ban all nonessential travel beginning Sunday evening. And California started Friday. Connecticut and Oregon were preparing to do the same.

There are at least 260 deaths and over 19,600 confirmed cases in the U.S. Worldwide, the death toll has topped 11,400, with 4,032 deaths in Italy, the country that has witnessed the most deaths. There are more than 275,400 confirmed cases around the globe, according to the Johns Hopkins University data dashboard.

Our live blog on the coronavirus is being updated throughout the day. Refresh for the latest news. More headlines:

Oregon drafting stay-at-home order

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown is telling residents to stay home.

“I am directing Oregonians tonight to stay home to stay healthy. Social distancing done well and done early can save lives,” Brown said in a press conference on Friday.

Brown called the directive “both an order and a public awareness campaign.”

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler said on Twitter Friday that he was working with the governor and Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury to draft the specifics of the order over the weekend.

“This is not a lockdown,” Wheeler said in the post. “This is a ‘stay at home unless it’s absolutely necessary to go out’ order.”

Stocks post worst week since financial crisis 

U.S. stocks dropped Friday, capping their worst week since the height of the financial crisis as investors remained jittery about the direction of the economy despite hopes for government and central bank action to combat the coronavirus pandemic. 

The Dow Jones industrial average tumbled 913.21 points to close at 19,173.98, falling back below 20,000 after wild price swings over the past week. The Standard & Poor’s 500 fell 4.3% to end at 2,304.92. The Nasdaq Composite lost 3.8% to close at 6,879.52.

For the week, the Dow dropped more than 17%, its worst one-week percentage drop since October 2008.

– Jessica Menton

Officials look to malaria drug, experimental antivirals as COVID-19 therapies

President Donald Trump said this week that the malaria drug chloroquine and the experimental antiviral drug remdesivir are being tested as possible COVID-19 therapies and could slow the epidemic. 

“It could have a very positive effect, or a positive effect, maybe not very, but maybe positive,” Trump said.  “It’s very, very exciting.”

There is no current treatment for the virus beyond supportive care that generally includes IV liquids, oxygen, fever reducers and pain killers.

Chloroquine as been in use since 1944 to fight malaria and has antiviral effects. Researchers believe it may interfere with the ability of the new virus to fuse to cell walls and infect them.

Remdesivir is an antiviral drug used to treat the Ebola virus and is known to be effective against Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), both coronaviruses with similarities to SARS-CoV-2. It is an experimental drug developed a decade ago by Gilead Sciences, a California-based biotech firm. 

– Elizabeth Weise and Ken Alltucker

US-Mexico border will close for nonessential travel 

The U.S.-Mexico border will be closed to nonessential travel to further help stem the spread of the novel coronavirus, Trump announced Friday.

“As we did with Canada, we’re also working with Mexico to implement new rules at our ports of entry to suspend nonessential travel,” Trump said. “These new rules and procedures will not impede lawful trade and commerce.” Trump said that Mexico is also suspending air travel from Europe.

The expected announcement follows the closure of the border between the U.S. and Canada to nonessential travel, which was announced Wednesday. Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters the closure would happen at midnight Friday.

– David Oliver

Tax Day deadline moved back

The IRS will postpone the April 15 tax deadline by 90 days for millions of individuals who owe $1 million or less and corporations that owe $10 million or less, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said.

To be sure, Americans still have to meet the April 15 deadline if they are expecting a refund or are requesting a six-month extension, but they can defer payment for up to 90 days beyond that.

“We encourage those Americans who can file their taxes to continue to file their taxes on April 15 because for many Americans, you will get tax refunds and we don’t want you to lose out on those tax refunds,” Mnuchin said. “We want you to make sure you get them.”

“All you have to do is file your taxes,” Mnuchin said. “You’ll automatically not get charged interest and penalties.”

– Jessica Menton

Illinois governor issues stay-at-home order for entire state

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Friday announced a “stay-at-home” order that will begin Saturday and last until at least April 7.

Residents will still be allowed to go to the grocery store, walk their dogs and do all essential tasks. All non-essential businesses must close, and all people who can work from home must do so, Pritzker said.

All Illinois schools will stay closed until April 8. Illinois is working with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Wal-Mart, and Walgreens to set up drive-thru testing sites in the hardest hit areas, state officials said. 

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said the order “is not a lockdown or martial law.” Pharmacies, grocery stories and clinics will not close. Airports will be open and garbage will be collected. 

How many cases of coronavirus in US?

The United States had more than 19,600 cases of coronavirus as of Saturday morning and at least 260 deaths. 

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