Virus update: More disruptions inevitable as pandemic spreads

President Donald Trump said he plans to deliver a prime-time address to the nation tonight on a federal response to COVID-19 coronavirus, declared a pandemic Wednesday by the World Health Organization.

In other developments today:

Trump was reportedly considering a national disaster declaration and new travel advisories while Congress unveiled a coronavirus aid package as Washington raced Wednesday to confront the pandemic.The Dow dropped more than 1,400 points, or 5.9%, as investors await broader response to economic damage from the coronavirus.The hard-hit Seattle area closed schools Wednesday. governors and other officials in other states urged against large public gatherings.The NCAA announced it will hold March Madness basketball games around the country in near-empty arenas, off limits to most fans. In the NBA, the Golden State Warriors planned to play Brooklyn Nets at home Thursday night in first game without fans.The coronavirus threat to senior citizens is forcing counties to remove polling places from nursing homes for their safety.Tests led by U.S. government scientists show that the new coronavirus can live in the air for several hours and on some surfaces for up to three days.Elsewhere, Italy says all stores except pharmacies and food markets will be closed in response to the country’s new virus outbreak.

For most, the coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. But for a few, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illnesses, including pneumonia.

More than 121,000 people have been infected worldwide and over 4,300 have died. But most people recover. People with mild illness recover in about two weeks, while more severe illness may take three to six weeks, the WHO says.

For full reports on developments in the past 24 hours, please select from the articles below. Scroll further for a photo gallery of key events and live updates from verified social media accounts.

WHAT’S AHEAD: Watch for our next update tomorrow morning with these and other stories:

• As outbreaks of the new virus that first emerged in China spread to more than 100 countries, one of the biggest unanswered questions is how it will behave in warmer weather.

• Amid all the fears, quarantines and stockpiling of food, it has been easy to ignore the fact that more than 60,000 people have recovered from the coronavirus spreading around the globe. Those who have recovered describe symptoms no different from cold or flu to ones serious enough to land in a hospital.

• In Italy, a country with one of the world’s oldest populations, the coronavirus outbreak is taking its toll on family relationships, as elders seal themselves off from loved ones or can’t be visited due to nursing home rules or travel restrictions.

• A photo gallery of before and after shots of famous landmarks in Rome highlights the remarkable drop in visitor numbers since Italy’s lockdown began.

Photos: Virus impact deepens worldwide

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