The Rundown for March 27, 2020

U.S. LEADS THE WORLD IN REPORTED CORONAVIRS CASES… The U.S. now leads the world in the number of reported coronavirus cases, Johns Hopkins University reported yesterday. The U.S. has 82,404 cases, while China has 81,782 and Italy has 80,589. The 1,178 fatalities in the U.S. are far fewer than in Italy, Spain, China and Iran. Louisiana, which has reported more than 2,300 cases, has demonstrated the fastest growth in new cases in the world. New York is the epicenter of cases in the U.S., with at least 30,000 positive diagnoses and 331 deaths.

HOUSE VOTES TODAY ON SENATE RELIEF BILL… The House will vote today on the Senate’s $2.2 trillion relief package aimed at mitigating the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak. The Senate unanimously passed the bill Wednesday night and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she expects it to pass quickly in the House. The legislation will pay $1,200 to Americans who earn up to $75,000 a year, and those with children will receive $500 for each child. Also in the package is a small business loan program, a fund for industries and funding for states and localities. The package also expands unemployment insurance to four months and includes money for hospitals, nursing homes and other healthcare facilities.

UNEMPLOYMENT FILINGS SKYROCKET… The number of Americans who filed for unemployment benefit claims spiked to a record 3.28 million last week, according to numbers released yesterday by the Labor Department. The previous record of 695,000 claims stood for nearly 38 years. Analysts say the figure confirms that millions of households nationwide are under severe financial strain.

JUSTICE DEPARTMENT INDICTS VENEZUELAN PRESIDENT... The Justice Department yesterday announced drug trafficking charges against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and other senior regime officials. Maduro “helped manage and ultimately lead” a smuggling organization known as the Cartel of the Suns, according to the indictment. Prosecutors say Maduro and cartel members “prioritized using cocaine as a weapon against America” and imported as much into the U.S. as possible. Maduro’s regime allegedly allowed Colombian revolutionaries to use Venezuelan airspace to fly cocaine through Central America to destinations in North America. Maduro personally negotiated drug shipments and coordinated with Honduras and other countries in facilitating the illegal drug trade, the indictment claims.

WALL STREET CONTINUES REBOUND… Wall Street continued to rebound yesterday amid the pending $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief package. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 1,351.62 points, or 6.38 percent, while the S&P 500 climbed 6.24 percent. Boeing, Chevron and Walgreens drove the Dow’s gains by rising more than 10 percent.

ENTERTAINMENT
SCARFACE TESTS POSITIVE FOR CORONAVIRUS… Rapper Scarface has revealed that he has tested positive for coronavirus. He said he experienced vomiting, fever pneumonia kidney failure before the diagnosis. The rapper said his condition improved enough that he was allowed to recover at his Houston home

ACTOR MARK BLUM DIES… Actor Mark Blum, whose film credits include “Desperately Seeking Susan” and “Crocodile Dundee,” died earlier this week from coronavirus complications, friends confirmed yesterday. He was 69. Blum’s television appearances included “Law & Order,” “Us” and “Succession.”

SPORTS
INDY 500 POSTPONED… Organizers announced yesterday that the Indianapolis 500 is being postponed until August 23 due to the coronavirus pandemic. The 104th running of the race was scheduled originally for May 24. Its postponement marks the first time since 1946 that the race won’t run on Memorial Day weekend.

‘CURLY’ NEAL DIES… Harlem Globetrotters legend Fred “Curly” Neal, who was known worldwide for his bald head, stylish ball-handling and crowd-dazzling moves, has died at age 77. The team said only that Neal died at his home near Houston.z Neal played in more than 6,000 games between 1963 and 1985 for the Globetrotters.

NFL PLAYER TRACKER (source: ESPN)
The Arizona Cardinals and offensive tackle Marcus Gilbert have agreed to a one-year contract.

The Buffalo Bills have signed offensive lineman Daryl Williams to a one-year deal.

The Chicago Bears have agreed to a one-year contract with offensive lineman Germain Ifedi.

The Indianapolis Colts have agreed to a one-year deal with former Minnesota Vikings All-Pro cornerback Xavier Rhodes.

The Rundown for March 26, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE… The number of deaths in the U.S. due to the coronavirus rose to at least 928 yesterday as 223 fatalities were reported. More than 65,000 Americans have now tested positive test for the virus, with nearly half in New York. Medical experts expect the numbers will rise dramatically as more tests are administered and analyzed.

SENATE APPROVES STIMULUS PACKAGE… The Senate voted unanimously last night to approve a $2 trillion stimulus package aimed at providing relief from the coronavirus pandemic. The largest emergency aid package in U.S. history is now heading to the House for a vote. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer indicated yesterday that the House will begin considering the relief package at 9 a.m. tomorrow. The Senate proposal includes $250 billion for direct payments to individuals and families, $350 billion for small business loans, $250 billion for unemployment insurance benefits and $500 billion in loans for distressed companies.

TRAVEL HALTED FOR U.S. TROOPS… Defense Secretary Mark Esper has ordered a halt to travel for 60 days for all U.S. troops, their families and civilian employee to limit the spread of coronavirus. The move will affect 90,000 troops scheduled for deployment, according to the Pentagon. Exceptions will be made for medical purposes and for those aboard ships that are deployed for 14 days. In addition, it will not affect the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan.

JUDGE ISSUES ORDER OVER DAKOTA ACCESS PIPELINE… A federal judge yesterday ordered the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to conduct a full environmental review of the Dakota Access pipeline. The order comes nearly three years after the controversial pipeline began carrying oil. U.S. District Judge James Boasberg wrote that a more extensive review is necessary than the environmental assessment that was done. Boasberg ordered both parties to submit briefs on whether the pipeline should continue operating during the period of the new environmental review.

AMERICAN HOSTAGE IN IRAN DEAD… The family of retired Drug Enforcement Agency and FBI agent, private investigator and part-time CIA consultant Robert Levinson announced that he has died after being held hostage in Iran. Family members said they made the announcement based on information received from U.S. officials. Levinson had traveled to Kish Island, Iran, in 2007 to investigate cigarette smuggling and was meeting with U.S. fugitive Dawud Salahuddin when Iranian security officials detained them both. Salahuddin later said he never again saw Levinson after they were released. In 2014, Levinson’s family filed suit against Iran.

ENTERTAINMENT
TONY AWARDS POSTPONED… The Tony Awards has become the latest cultural event to be postponed due to the coronavirus. The awards ceremony was scheduled to air live on CBS on Sunday, June 7, from New York City. The show will be rescheduled, but a new date will not be determined until Broadway reopens.

ELTON JOHN TO HOST LIVING-ROOM CONCERT… Elton John has signed on to host a living-room concert for coronavirus relief special broadcast this Sunday. Billie Eilish, Mariah Carey, Billie Joe Armstrong and Alicia Keys are among performers who have agreed to take part in delivering at-home performances. Each performance was filmed using the artists’ personal cell phones, cameras and audio equipment. The hour-long iHeart Living Room Concert for America will air commercial-free on Fox.

SPORTS
BASEBALL PLANS COMEBACK… Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred said during an ESPN interview yesterday that “nothing’s off the table” in terms of plans to return. Manfred said he’s hopeful the sport can begin preparing for a season at some point in May but there’s no way of knowing for certain when the sport will return. For the past couple weeks, MLB executives and the MLB Players Association have exchanged proposals over salary and service-time issues, as well as the proper way to return.

NFL PLAYER TRACKER (source: ESPN)
The Dallas Cowboys have agreed to a one-year deal with tight end Blake Bell.

The Kansas City Chiefs have re-signed defensive tackle Mike Pennel and fullback Anthony Sherman to one-year deals.

The Minnesota Vikings have signed free-agent wide receiver Tajae Sharpe to a one-year contract.

The New York Jets have agreed to terms with former Baltimore Ravens linebacker Patrick Onwuasor on a one-year contract.

The Philadelphia Eagles have agreed to a one-year deal with Cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman.

The Pittsburgh Steelers signed defensive tackle Cavon Walker, offensive tackle Jarron Jones and safety Tyree Kinnel from the XFL yesterday.

The Washington Redskins have agreed to terms with wide receiver Cody Latimer. Details were not announced.

The Rundown for March 25, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE… The number of coronavirus cases in the U.S. topped 50,000 yesterday, according to figures released by John Hopkins University. At least 606 people with the virus have died. New York City accounts for more than half of the nation’s cases. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo likened the speed of the spread to a “bullet train.”

SENATE PASSES STIMULUS BILL… The Senate earlier this morning passed a $2-trillion package to stimulate the economy during the coronavirus pandemic. Details were forthcoming, but it appeared the deal included $250 billion in direct payments to individuals and families, $350 billion in small business loans, $250 billion in unemployment insurance benefits and $500 billion in loans for distressed companies. The bill next goes to the House, where Democrats have introduced their own proposal.

TRUMP SAYS HE WANTS AMERICA REOPENED BY EASTER… President Trump said yesterday that he hoped to re-open the country by Easter. Experts immediately criticized the April 12 target date as unrealistic. The president expressed outrage over having to “close the country” by shutting down businesses and implementing social distancing despite a pandemic. People “don’t want to be locked in a house or an apartment or some space,” the president said.

MICHAEL COHEN DENIED IN BID FOR REDUCED SENTENCE… A federal judge yesterday denied a request by President Trump’s former attorney Michael Cohen to reduce or modify his three-year prison sentence. Cohen’s sought to have his three-year sentence reduced to one year or serve the entirety in home confinement but U.S. District Court Judge William Pauley said the motion had a “fatal flaw” as only prosecutors can file to reduce or alter a sentence. Cohen has been imprisoned at the Federal Correctional Institution in Otisville, New York, since May. He pleaded guilty to arranging a hush-money scheme in the final days of the 2016 presidential campaign to pay two women who had affairs with Trump.

INMATES ESCAPE WASHINGTON JAIL… Six inmates remained at large yesterday after 14 inmates escaped a county jail in Washington state overnight. Authorities in Yakima County say the inmates used a table inside the annex to break open an exterior fire door. Eight inmates were captured and returned to jail. The escapees’ charges include theft, assault, resisting arrest, possession of a firearm and drug offenses.

ENTERTAINMENT
WARNER BROS. DELAYS FILM RELEASES… The release of the superhero stand-alone film “Wonder Woman 1984” is being pushed back two months due to the spread of the coronavirus. The Warner Bros. film was set to hit theaters in early June but will now go out in August. Warner Bros. also announced it is delaying the adaptation of the Lin-Manuel Miranda musical “In the Heights,’ the animated movie “Scoob!” and the horror film “Malignant.”

NETFLIX MOVES… Netflix has announced plans to order second seasons of the unscripted shows ”The Circle,” “Love is Blind’ and “Rhythm + Flow,” all of which will premiere in 2021. Additionally, Netflix will unveil an all-new series called “Sparking Joy,” a follow-up on the popular show “Tidying Up. ” The announcement came despite the shutdown of all Netflix shows and movies due to the coronavirus.

SPORTS
OLYMPICS POSTPONED… The Tokyo Olympic Games will be pushed back to 2021 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The postponement after Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, held talks with International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach. Until a few days ago, Japan had insisted there were no plans to delay the Games.

MLB NEWS… New York Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard will undergo Tommy John surgery tomorrow to correct a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching (right) elbow. The 27-year-old Syndergaard was expected to help anchor the Mets’ rotation. Last season, he pitched a career-high 197⅔ innings in compiling a 10-8record with a career-worst 4.28 ERA.

NFL PLAYER TRACKER (source: ESPN)
The Carolina Panthers have signed wide receiver Robby Anderson to a two-year. The move comes the day the club formally cut ties with quarterback Cam Newton.

The Cincinnati Bengals have signed former Baltimore Ravens linebacker Josh Bynes to a one-year deal.

The Green Bay Packers have reached agreement with free-agent receiver Devin Funchess.

The Jacksonville Jaguars have agreed to terms with former Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Tyler Eifert. The Jaguars also signed former Detroit Lions cornerback Rashaan Melvin to a one-year contract.

The Los Angeles Chargers have signed linebacker Nick Vigil to a one-year deal.

The New York Jets have agreed to a one-year contract with wide receiver Breshad Perriman.

The Seattle Seahawks have agreed with wide receiver Phillip Dorsett on a one-year deal.

The Washington Redskins have signed free-agent running back Peyton Barber to a two-year deal.

The Rundown for March 24, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE… The number of coronavirus cases in the U.S. has topped 41,000 and the number of deaths has risen to 573, according to figures released by John Hopkins University. The U.S. now has the third-most number of cases among nations throughout the world, trailing only China (81,400) and Italy (59,100). New York City has reported 98 deaths. King County in Washington state has 75. Thirty-four others have been recorded elsewhere in New York state.

SENATE BLOCKS SECOND STIMULUS PACKAGE… The Senate yesterday blocked a second procedural vote to advance a $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package. Democratic senators are demanding that legislation prioritize workers over companies. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer met with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House legislative affairs director Eric Ueland yesterday and afterward, both sides expressed confidence that legislation will be passed soon. Democrats say the legislation doesn’t protect workers from layoffs and object to a provision that allows Mnuchin to conceal which companies receive federal funds for up to six months. Democrats also complain that Republicans are adding unrelated measures to the legislation, including an extension of an abstinence education program set to expire in May. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell accused Democrats of obstructing the bill. Meanwhile, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Democrats will unveil their own economic stimulus legislation.

COLORADO BANS DEATH PENALTY… Colorado Governor Jared Polis yesterday signed legislation to abolish the death penalty. In addition to signing the bill, he commuted the death sentences of three death row inmates who will now serve life in prison without the possibility of parole. Polis’ signature comes after Colorado’s House of Representatives voted 19-13 on January 31 to repeal the state’s death penalty law. The legislation bans the death penalty as a punishment for any crime committed after July 1, 2020.

FLORIDA GOVERNOR SETS TRAVEL REQUIREMENTS… Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has issued an executive order requiring anyone flying into the state from New York, New Jersey, Washington, or California to undergo a “mandatory 14-day self-isolation” period in response to the coronavirus. During a press conference yesterday, DeSantis said there were currently over “190 direct flights from the New York City area” to Florida, and he believed there was at least one positive case per flight. The governor vowed, however, that he will not issue a stay-at-home order and called such a plan “unsustainable.”

CALIFORNIA UTILITY TO PLEAD GUILTY… California’s utility company has agreed to plead guilty to dozens of counts of involuntary manslaughter for its role in the deadliest wildfire in state history. A Pacific Gas & Electric transmission line sparked the Camp Fire in November 2018, which ultimately led to the deaths of 84 people. The utility plans to plead guilty to all 84 counts of manslaughter as part of a plea agreement with the Butte County district attorney. The company also agreed to pay a maximum $3.5 million fine, in addition to $500,000 to the Butte County District Attorney Environmental and Consumer Protection Trust Fund to cover costs related to the fire investigation. PG&E filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last year and set up a trust fund to compensate victims of fires started by company equipment.

ENTERTAINMENT
WOODY ALLEN TO RELEASE MEMOIR… Woody Allen’s memoir has a new release date after it was dropped by its original publisher amid widespread criticism. “Apropos of Nothing” will be released April 7 by Arcade Publishing, according to Grand Central Publishing. Outrage at the book’s release centered on Allen’s alleged abuse of step-daughter Dylan Farrow.

METALLICA POSTPONES SHOWS… The rock band Metallica is postponing its upcoming shows in South America and says three of the five festivals it was set to play this year have been canceled as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. South American dates of the band’s six-city tour were to begin on April 15 but have been rescheduled for December. The rescheduled tour will retain Greta Van Fleet as the opening act.

SPORTS
NFL PLAYER TRACKER (source: ESPN)
The Baltimore Ravens re-signed cornerback Jimmy Smith to a one-year deal.

The Carolina Panthers have traded quarterback Kyle Allen to the Washington Redskins for a late-round draft pick. The Panthers also made quarterback P.J. Walker the first XFL player to join an NFL team.

The Chicago Bears agreed to terms with free-agent linebacker Barkevious Mingo on a one-year deal.

Dallas Cowboys Pro Bowl center Travis Frederick announced his retirement at age 29.

The Kansas City Chiefs have agreed to terms with quarterback Jordan Ta’amu from the XFL.

The New England Patriots have released kicker Stephen Gostkowski, who was with the team for 14 seasons.

The New Orleans Saints signed defensive back Deatrick Nichols.

The New York Giants have signed running back Dion Lewis to a one-year deal. The Giants agreed to terms with wide receiver Corey Coleman on a one-year deal.

The New York Jets have brought back outside linebacker Jordan Jenkins by signing him to a one-year contract.

The Seattle Seahawks have acquired cornerback Quinton Dunbar from the Washington Redskins in exchange for a fifth-round pick.

The Washington Redskins have released starting free safety Montae Nicholson.

The Rundown for March 23, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE… The death toll from the coronavirus has topped 400 in the U.S. while the number of cases has surpassed 32,000. Almost half of those cases have been diagnosed in New York state, where Governor Andrew Cuomo says an estimated 40 to 80 percent of residents could get infected. Ohio, Louisiana and Delaware yesterday became the latest states to order most citizens to remain in their homes to prevent the virus’ spread. President Trump announced yesterday that members of the National Guard will be activated to New York, California and Washington state.

STIMULUS BILL BLOCKED BY SENATE… The Senate last night failed to pass a $1.6 trillion emergency coronavirus stimulus bill after Democrats argued that the bill prioritizes federal aid for corporations rather than focusing on unemployment insurance and other protections for workers. After it was blocked by 47-47 vote, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer also complained that the bill “shortchanges our hospitals and healthcare workers who need our help.” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell last night a procedural vote early today on a bill that Democrats already. Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky has become the first member of the Senate to test positive for the coronavirus, his office announced yesterday.

FAUCI: U.S. WON’T FOLLOW ITALY’S PATH… National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci said yesterday that mitigation measures implemented to flatten the number of new coronavirus cases are vital to stopping the U.S. “from becoming an Italy.” During an appearance on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” Fauci acknowledged that while the trajectory in the U.S. is “unpredictable,” the country has taken steps to ensure it does not follow in Italy’s path. He also praised the work of the private sector in responding to the outbreak.

BIDEN CONSIDERING VICE-PRESIDENTIAL PICKS… Democratic presidential front-runner Joe Biden revealed last night that he has discussed his potential vice presidential picks with former President Barack Obama. Biden told donors during a fundraising call that he currently has at least seven women his team is considering. The vetting process would begin in a “matter of weeks,” he said.

WALL STREET PLUNGES AGAIN… Last night’s failure of the Senate to pass an economic stimulus plan amid the coronavirus prompted stock markets to plunge. Futures markets were indicating the Dow could drop more than 900 points when stocks open Monday on Wall Street. Many Asian markets opened sharply lower this morning, with indexes in Hong Kong and South Korea down more than 5 percent.

ENTERTAINMENT
RIHANNA DONATES $5M TO CORONAVIRUS RELIEF… Pop star Rihanna is giving $5 million to the response efforts against the coronavirus through her Clara Lionel Foundation. The funding will support “on-the-ground partners working on the frontlines of disaster response especially those focused on protecting and serving marginalized communities — helping the most vulnerable in the United States, the Caribbean and in Africa prepare for what is to come,” according to the foundation. The money will be channeled through Direct Relief, Partners In Health, Feeding America, the International Rescue Committee, the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund and others.

LIL UZI VERT REMAINS ATOP ALBUM CHART… Lil Uzi Vert’s “Eternal Atake” sold 247,000 more copies to remain atop the Billboard 200 chart for a second week. Lil Baby’s “My Turn” finished at No. 2 with 77,000 units sold. Bad Bunny’s “YHLQMDLG” stayed at No. 3 on sales of 69,000 copies. Niall Horan’s “Heatbreak Weather” debuted at No. 4 with 59,000 units sold. Jhené Aiko’s “Chilombo” finished at No. 5 after selling 56,000 copies.

SPORTS
NFL PLAYER TRACKER (source: ESPN)
Dallas Cowboys defensive end Randy Gregory has officially filed for reinstatement to the NFL after being suspended indefinitely in February 2019 for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy.

The New England Patriots have agreed to a one-year contract with quarterback Brian Hoyer.

The New Orleans Saints are bringing back veteran safety D.J. Swearinger on a one-year deal.

The New York Jets have agreed to terms with cornerback Pierre Desir.

The Rundown for March 17, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE… There are 4,661 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 85 deaths in the U.S., according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University. The governors of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut announced yesterday morning that many non-essential businesses across the states would close last night until further notice. Grocery stores will remain open as will restaurants and bars for takeout only. The governors also announced a ban on gatherings of more than 50 people. San Francisco Bay Area officials ordered about 7 million residents of six counties to stay home except for “essential needs” until April 7. At a White House briefing, President Trump and other officials revised steps to combat the spread of the coronavirus over the next 15 days. Among the guidelines limiting non-essential gatherings to fewer than 10 people. The guidelines also include schooling from home when possible and avoiding eating in bars, restaurants and public food courts. Associated Press reported last night that the first human trial of a vaccine has been conducted at the Kaiser Permanente research facility in Seattle. Doctors administered the trial vaccine to four patients but won’t know for months whether it is effective.

DOW FALLS NEARLY 3,000 POINTS… The Dow Jones Industrial Average remains on course for its worst month since the “Black Monday” market crash in 1987. The Dow was down 2,997 points, or 12.93 percent, at the end of trading yesterday and has plunged to its lowest level in nearly three years. The Nasdaq Composite dropped 12.32 percent, and the S&P 500 ended the day down 11.98 percent. The major averages fell to their lows into the close after President Trump said the worst of the outbreak could last until August. He also told reporters the U.S. “may be” heading into a recession.

PRIMARY ELECTIONS TODAY… Primary elections remain on schedule in Florida, Illinois and Arizona today despite the threat and fears of coronavirus. Florida and Arizona have moved polling places located in nursing homes and assisted living facilities to avoid exposing the residents to outsiders. The Ohio scheduled for today has been postponed by Governor Mike DeWine despite a judge’s refusal to endorse a postponement yesterday. DeWine sought permission to postpone the election from a state court to postpone the election but after his request was denied, he said the state’s health director would order the polls shut.

BIDEN WINS WASHINGTON… Former Vice President Joe Biden has been declared the winner of the Washington state Democratic primary. With 99 percent of the vote counted last night, Biden carried 37.9 percent of the vote to Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders’ 36.4 percent. Biden holds 871 of the 1,991 delegates needed to lock down the nomination.

7 FAMILY MEMBERS DEAD IN MURDER-SUICIDE… Authorities said yesterday that seven members of a North Carolina family were fatally shot over the weekend in what appeared to be a murder-suicide. According to the Chatham County Sheriff’s Office, seven members of the family were found at more than one home in the town of Moncure on Sunday night. The victims ranged in age from 39 to 93. The suspected shooter was among the dead, officials said.

GUNMAN, COP, 3 OTHERS KILLED IN MISSOURI SHOOTING… A shooting at a Missouri gas station on Sunday night left the gunman, a police officer and three citizens dead, Springfield police announced yesterday. Witnesses said the gunman ran inside the store and began shooting customers and employees. He then fired at the first two officers who arrived. Authorities say the gunman appeared to die of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

ENTERTAINMENT
ACTORS TEST POSITIVE FOR CORONAVIRUS… British actor Idris Elba announced yesterday that he tested positive for the novel coronavirus. Elba said online that he feels “ok” and doesn’t have any symptoms “so far.” He says he has been “isolated” since Friday, when he learned he was possibly exposed to the virus. Norwegian actor Kristofer Hivju, who played Tormund Giantsbane on the HBO series “Game of Throne,” also announced a positive test yesterday. French actress Olga Kurylenko, who starred in the James Bond film “Quantum of Solace,” and the films “Oblivion” and “The Man Who Killed Don Quixote,” also has contracted the virus. Last week, Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson announced they had tested positive.

‘CATS’ WINS RAZZIE AWARD… The movie musical “Cats” has been dishonored with the Razzie Award for the Worst Picture of 2019.. The critically panned film tied with “Rambo: Last Blood” and “A Madea Family Funeral” with eight dishonors apiece when Razzie nominations were announced last month. An annual awards-show ceremony was canceled on Saturday due to concerns over the coronavirus outbreak but organizers announced the winners via press release and video yesterday.

The Rundown for March 16, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE… The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in the U.S. has risen to at least 3,173 and the disease had resulted in at least 62 deaths, according to figures from state and local health agencies, governments and the CDC. Governors and mayors in states and cities nationwide have begun closing restaurants, bars, and schools. Travelers returning home from overseas trips were stuck in line for hours at major airports for screenings. Airports were overwhelmed by crowds as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended gatherings of 50 people or more should be canceled or postponed for the next eight weeks. Director of the National Institute of Infectious Disease Dr. Anthony Fauci said he would not rule out implementing a national lockdown in response to the outbreak.

FED CUTS RATES TO NEAR ZERO… The Federal Reserve yesterday cut interest rates to near zero and launched a massive $700 billion quantitative easing program to shelter the economy from the effects of the coronavirus. The Fed also slashed the rate of emergency lending at the discount window for banks by 125 bps to 0.25 percent and lengthened the term of loans to 90 days. Dow futures immediately plunged by 1,000 points as traders worried that the crisis response would still fall short.

PELOSI PREPARING THIRD CORONAVIRUS BILL… House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said yesterday that she has been in talks with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin on a third legislative package in response to the spread of coronavirus. Pelosi’s announcement came a day after the House reached a deal with the Trump administration to pass the bipartisan Families First Coronavirus Response Act. Her newer package would be a stimulus bill targeting small and medium-sized businesses as well as specific industries that have been hit hard by the virus.

SPACEX LAUNCH ABORTED… Project managers aborted a scheduled SpaceX rocket launch yesterday after it experienced an engine power problem just before liftoff. The launch from Kennedy Space Center in Florida would have been the sixth carrying “Starlink” satellites, which SpaceX says will bring high-performance broadband internet to underserved areas. The launch has not yet been rescheduled.

GAS PRICES DROP… The average price for a gallon of regular-grade gasoline in the U.S. dropped 15 cents per gallon to $2.39 over the past three weeks, according to a nationwide survey of gas stations. The Lundberg Survey found that the most expensive gas was in Honolulu, where it $3.45 per gallon. Tulsa had the cheapest gas at $1.82 a gallon.

ENTERTAINMENT
LIL UZI VERT TOPS ALBUM CHART… Lil Uzi Vert’s new release, “Eternal Atake,” sold 288,000 copies to top the Billboard 200 album chart. Jhené Aiko’s “Chilombo” debuted at No. 2 after selling 152,000 units. Bad Bunny’s “YHLQMDLG” slipped to third place on sales of 111,000 copies. Last week’s champ, Lil Baby’s “My Turn,” sold 104,000 unit to finish fourth. NCT 127’s “NCT #127” finished fifth with 87,000 copies sold.

BOX OFFICE SUFFERS DURING PANDEMIC… Movie-theater ticket sales dropped to their lowest levels in at least 20 years over the weekend amid the coronavirus pandemic. Receipts totaled about $55.3 million in U.S. and Canada theaters. That was the lowest total since 2000. More people went to the movies even on the weekend after the 9/11 attacks.

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE… “Onward” took in $10.5 million to remain atop a weak weekend box office. “I Still Believe” debuted in second place with $9.5 million. Another newcomer, “Bloodshot,” opened at No. 3 after taking in $9.3 million. “The Invisible Man” slipped to fourth place with $6 million. “The Hunt” capped the top five with $5.3 million.