Americans adjust to new life, hunker down amid coronavirus

  • Fort Worth ISD employee Yolanda Cintron assists with a deep cleaning at the Leadership Academy at John T. White Elementary School in Fort Worth, Texas on Thursday, March 12, 2020. (Lawrence Jenkins/The Dallas Morning News via AP)

    Fort Worth ISD employee Yolanda Cintron assists with a deep cleaning at the Leadership Academy at John T. White Elementary School in Fort Worth, Texas on Thursday, March 12, 2020. (Lawrence Jenkins/The Dallas Morning News via AP) Associated Press

  • Janitors clean in a hallway in Wheeler Hall on the University of California campus in Berkeley, Calif., Wednesday, March 11, 2020. UC Berkeley has suspended in-person classes due to coronavirus concerns.

    Janitors clean in a hallway in Wheeler Hall on the University of California campus in Berkeley, Calif., Wednesday, March 11, 2020. UC Berkeley has suspended in-person classes due to coronavirus concerns. Associated Press

  • A custodian cleans the lobby of the Roundabout Theatre Company in Times Square, Thursday, March 12, 2020, in New York. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday he will announce new restrictions on gatherings to halt the spread of the new coronavirus in the coming days. For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms. For some it can cause more severe illness.

    A custodian cleans the lobby of the Roundabout Theatre Company in Times Square, Thursday, March 12, 2020, in New York. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday he will announce new restrictions on gatherings to halt the spread of the new coronavirus in the coming days. For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms. For some it can cause more severe illness. Associated Press

  • A commuter wears a face mask while riding the a nearly empty subway car into Brooklyn, Thursday, March 12, 2020, in New York. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday he will announce new restrictions on gatherings to halt the spread of the new coronavirus in the coming days, but he hopes to avoid closing all public events such as Broadway shows. For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms. For some it can cause more severe illness.

    A commuter wears a face mask while riding the a nearly empty subway car into Brooklyn, Thursday, March 12, 2020, in New York. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday he will announce new restrictions on gatherings to halt the spread of the new coronavirus in the coming days, but he hopes to avoid closing all public events such as Broadway shows. For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms. For some it can cause more severe illness. Associated Press

  • Pampered Hands Salon worker Nguyen Ho sits in an empty store in San Francisco, Thursday, March 12, 2020. For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms. For some it can cause more severe illness.

    Pampered Hands Salon worker Nguyen Ho sits in an empty store in San Francisco, Thursday, March 12, 2020. For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms. For some it can cause more severe illness. Associated Press

  • In this photo provided by Anne Marie Canlis,  Clementine Canlis, of Seattle, watches an online lecture Thursday, March 12, 2020, after her private school closed for five weeks due to the coronavirus. The Canlis family's three children, ages 14, 11 and 9, are split between two private schools that are closed for six weeks and five weeks, respectively. Canlis' husband's family owns a well-known, award-winning restaurant called Canlis that will close next week and instead open three different options: a bagel shop, a drive-thru burger stand in the restaurant parking lot and a home delivery meal service for cooped up families. For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms. For some it can cause more severe illness. (Anne Marie Canlis via AP)

    In this photo provided by Anne Marie Canlis, Clementine Canlis, of Seattle, watches an online lecture Thursday, March 12, 2020, after her private school closed for five weeks due to the coronavirus. The Canlis family's three children, ages 14, 11 and 9, are split between two private schools that are closed for six weeks and five weeks, respectively. Canlis' husband's family owns a well-known, award-winning restaurant called Canlis that will close next week and instead open three different options: a bagel shop, a drive-thru burger stand in the restaurant parking lot and a home delivery meal service for cooped up families. For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms. For some it can cause more severe illness. (Anne Marie Canlis via AP) Associated Press

  • This photo provided by Natasja Billiau, shows a handwritten school schedule she devised for the first time to homeschool her 5-year-old daughter and 8-year-old son Thursday, March 12, 2020, after Seattle schools closed due to the coronavirus. Billiau's husband is also working from home and they family is trying to pack up their house for a move in two weeks. For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms. For some it can cause more severe illness. (Natasja Billiau via AP)

    This photo provided by Natasja Billiau, shows a handwritten school schedule she devised for the first time to homeschool her 5-year-old daughter and 8-year-old son Thursday, March 12, 2020, after Seattle schools closed due to the coronavirus. Billiau's husband is also working from home and they family is trying to pack up their house for a move in two weeks. For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms. For some it can cause more severe illness. (Natasja Billiau via AP) Associated Press

  • Pedestrians pass under a news ticker in Times Square, Wednesday, March 11, 2020, in New York, N.Y. The number of coronavirus cases in New York state jumped Sunday to more than 100, a spread that forced the suspension of classes at schools across the state, including a district that has a faculty member with a positive test and Columbia and Hofstra universities. For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms. For some it can cause more severe illness.

    Pedestrians pass under a news ticker in Times Square, Wednesday, March 11, 2020, in New York, N.Y. The number of coronavirus cases in New York state jumped Sunday to more than 100, a spread that forced the suspension of classes at schools across the state, including a district that has a faculty member with a positive test and Columbia and Hofstra universities. For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms. For some it can cause more severe illness. Associated Press

  • A Servpro cleaning worker wipes her hands Thursday, March 12, 2020, as she gets ready for a break from work cleaning inside the Life Care Center in Kirkland, Wash., near Seattle. The nursing home is at the center of the outbreak of the COVID-19 coronavirus in Washington state. For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms. For some it can cause more severe illness.

    A Servpro cleaning worker wipes her hands Thursday, March 12, 2020, as she gets ready for a break from work cleaning inside the Life Care Center in Kirkland, Wash., near Seattle. The nursing home is at the center of the outbreak of the COVID-19 coronavirus in Washington state. For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms. For some it can cause more severe illness. Associated Press

  • Judie Shape, center, who has tested positive for the coronavirus, blows a kiss to her son-in-law, Michael Spencer, left, as Shape's daughter, Lori Spencer, right, looks on, Wednesday, March 11, 2020, as they visit on the phone and look at each other through a window at the Life Care Center in Kirkland, Wash., near Seattle. In-person visits are not allowed at the nursing home.  The vast majority of people recover from the new coronavirus. According to the World  Health Organization, most people recover in about two to six weeks, depending on the severity of the illness.

    Judie Shape, center, who has tested positive for the coronavirus, blows a kiss to her son-in-law, Michael Spencer, left, as Shape's daughter, Lori Spencer, right, looks on, Wednesday, March 11, 2020, as they visit on the phone and look at each other through a window at the Life Care Center in Kirkland, Wash., near Seattle. In-person visits are not allowed at the nursing home. The vast majority of people recover from the new coronavirus. According to the World Health Organization, most people recover in about two to six weeks, depending on the severity of the illness. Associated Press

  • Ushers leave empty Hammond Stadium, after a baseball game between the Minnesota Twins and the Baltimore Orioles was canceled, Thursday, March 12, 2020, in Fort Myers, Fla. Major League Baseball has suspended the rest of its spring training game schedule because if the coronavirus outbreak. MLB is also delaying the start of its regular season by at least two weeks.

    Ushers leave empty Hammond Stadium, after a baseball game between the Minnesota Twins and the Baltimore Orioles was canceled, Thursday, March 12, 2020, in Fort Myers, Fla. Major League Baseball has suspended the rest of its spring training game schedule because if the coronavirus outbreak. MLB is also delaying the start of its regular season by at least two weeks. Associated Press

  • A man walks toward an exit in an empty area in front of the Wheeler Hall auditorium on the University of California campus in Berkeley, Calif., Wednesday, March 11, 2020. UC Berkeley has suspended in-person classes because of the coronavirus.

    A man walks toward an exit in an empty area in front of the Wheeler Hall auditorium on the University of California campus in Berkeley, Calif., Wednesday, March 11, 2020. UC Berkeley has suspended in-person classes because of the coronavirus. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 3/12/2020 8:40 PM

Workers lost their jobs, parents came up with impromptu home lesson plans for children kept home from shuttered schools. Families fretted over dwindling retirements accounts, the health of elderly parents, and every cough and sneeze in their midst.

Millions of people settled into new and disrupted routines Thursday as the coronavirus began to uproot almost every facet of American life.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The spate of event cancellations that drove home the gravity of the outbreak a day earlier only intensified Thursday, with Disney shutting down theme parks, the NCAA calling off March Madness and Broadway theaters closing their doors in Manhattan. All the major professional sports announced they are halting play, and officials ordered a shutdown of every school in the state of Ohio for three weeks.

And with the cascade of closures, a new reality set in for American households.

In the Pacific Northwest, parents scrambled to devise homeschooling using library books or apps. Others, desperate to get to work, jumped on social media boards to seek child care or exchange tips about available babysitters.

Parents rushed to college campuses and drove away with their children's belongings and bags of their clothing. College officials scrambled to pay for plane tickets home for others.

A mother in Seattle organized small outdoor play dates where the kids are told not to get too close to one another. The parents stood awkwardly, several feet apart.

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Most big tech companies in San Francisco and Seattle have told employees to work from home, emptying out the downtown neighborhoods that are a hub for tech and venture capital firms. The restaurants, food trucks and other businesses that thrive off lunchtime crowds say that businesses has pretty much ground to a halt.

Keny and Nancy Pham own a pair of businesses outside of the Salesforce Tower in San Francisco - a nail salon and a Vietnamese Banh Mi restaurant - where they say sales have dropped more than 50 percent this week. The salon was empty Thursday at the usually busy lunch time.

Nobody wants to get manicures - because that involves hand touching. The salon typically gets about 100 clients a day and this week is down to about 10 a day, said Nancy Pham, co-owner of the Pampered Hands Nail Spa.

Keny Pham says he is concerned about finances and paying their $10,000 monthly rent, but he has other worries as well. They have a child and live with Keny's elderly parents, whose health he is most worried about. And it's hard not to look at customers as potential germ carriers. Pham has asked his half dozen employees to rotate shifts and work alternate days, for now.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

'We don't want to lay anyone off," he said. "We have to come up with a way to survive.'

In Las Vegas, where so much of the economy is wedded to big crowds from concerts, tournaments, conventions and tourists, many suddenly found themselves out of work.

Las Vegas bartender Rique Rose works part-time at three different locations on the Las Vegas Strip, tending bar in event centers at the MGM Grand, the Mandalay Bay and in the T-Mobile arena, where the Las Vegas Golden Knights play.

First, he lost Friday and Saturday shifts with the cancellation of the Pac-12 men's college basketball tournament. Then, he saw that the NHL was suspending the rest of its season. He's still waiting to see if the Post Malone concert he was scheduled to work Saturday night will be canceled.

Every cancellation means more than missing out on his $8.25 minimum wage pay; he also loses approximately $200 in tips. He wonders how he will pay his bills.

'I guess we're just going to have to endure it," he sighed.

And American Airlines announced Thursday that one of its pilots based at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport tested positive for the virus.

More than 1,300 people have tested positive for coronavirus in the United States, and 40 people have died as of Thursday evening. About 128,000 people have been infected globally.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia. The vast majority of people recover from the new virus.

In every state, officials were taking dramatic new measures each day to keep the virus from spreading deeper into the country. And with each shuttered school, canceled outing, lost shift and work-from-home directive, people's lives were being transformed in profound ways.

Mom Natasja Billiau came up with a quick homeschooling plan for 8-year-old Victor and 5-year-old Anna Laura after their public school in Seattle closed for the first full day Thursday. They kept as close to their regular school schedule as possible, she said, with recess times and lunch built in.

Billiau's husband has been working from home since last week, and the family is moving to a new house in two weeks.

'Everything's up in the air. I don't know how I'm going to get it done, we'll see,' she said. 'It's a day-by-day situation.'

She went forward with play dates, but everyone kept apart at a safe distance.

'And of course, as soon as we get home everybody has to wash hands,' she said.

Despite the scrambling and closures, for many people, life continued as usual. Hours after Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, announced it was sending students home and would complete the semester online, customers stood in a busy line and ate lunch elbow-to-elbow at a crowded taqueria not far from campus. Many were working to see the upside of hunkering down and 'social distancing,' swapping recommendations for Netflix shows or good books.

Students at the University of Maryland in College Park are heading off to spring break this week and classes are moving online. On Thursday, students were packing up their belongings on a campus that was noticeably emptier than usual.

Signs posted on the front doors of the University of Maryland's journalism school said, 'If you are sick, please go home.'

Mike Davis, 60, drove over from Annapolis, Maryland, to help his son Nick, a 22-year-old senior, pack up his stuff. Davis said the school's decision to keep students off campus for several weeks make sense.

Besides, he was looking forward to having his son around the house: 'I've got three bags of mulch ready for him to spread.'

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Associated Press Writers Jocelyn Gecker in San Francisco, Michelle Price in Las Vegas, Mike Kunzelman in College Park, Maryland, and Airlines Writer David Koenig in Dallas contributed to this report.

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The Associated Press receives support for health and science coverage from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

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Follow AP coverage of the virus outbreak at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

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