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When Víkingur Ólafsson was about 5 years old, he already knew what he wanted to be. "It sounds crazy, but I always saw myself as a concert pianist," he says. "Even if I wasn't a good pianist."

The Tiny Desk is working from home for the foreseeable future. Introducing NPR Music's Tiny Desk (Home) Concerts, bringing you performances from across the country and the world. It's the same spirit — stripped-down sets, an intimate setting — just a different space.

South Africa started a three-week nationwide lockdown on Friday as the country reported its first deaths from COVID-19 and the number of confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus there neared 1,000, the highest on the continent.

At midnight Thursday, police and the military began enforcing an order forbidding all but essential movement. Before the deadline, there were long lines at supermarkets as people stocked up on supplies, according to the BBC.

A federal judge has ordered the release of 10 people held by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in New Jersey county jails where COVID-19 has been confirmed, citing chronic medical conditions of the detainees that make them particularly vulnerable to the disease.

Those ordered freed range in age from 31 to 56 years of age and have medical conditions including diabetes, heart disease and obesity, and some with past histories that include pneumonia and smoking. Five were being held at Bergen County Jail, three at Hudson County Jail and the other two at Essex County Jail.

Last year, attempts to pass a safe firearm storage law were foiled by a walkout in the Oregon Senate. This year, Republicans walked out again and, once again, safe storage never got a vote.

But the group State of Safety Action filed an initiative petition to get a safe storage law on the November ballot in case the Legislature failed.

That plan is now faltering because of the coronavirus.

Bryan White leaned in to greet his wife with a kiss on the forehead when she arrived home from a 12-hour shift at Salem Health, a hospital that's had 19 confirmed cases of the coronavirus.

“Nope, you don’t want that,” his wife told him as she rebuffed his kiss.

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Coronavirus Latest: New Guidelines For Counties, Unemployment Spikes

Mar 26, 2020

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ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

The toll of the coronavirus pandemic is steep - hundreds of thousands of confirmed infections around the world, tens of thousands of lives lost.

ALISA CHANG, HOST:

During the White House's Thursday coronavirus task force briefing, President Trump boasted about a "terrific meeting" he had with state governors about coordinating a response to the outbreak.

"We had a great meeting," Trump said. "It was no contention. I would say virtually none."

Updated 9:31 p.m. ET Thursday

The U.S. now has more coronavirus cases than any other country in the world, surpassing China's total and highlighting how rapidly the virus can move through a population.

The U.S. logged more than 83,000 cases as of 8 p.m. ET Thursday, while China reported more than 81,00 infections, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Fred "Curly" Neal, the Harlem Globetrotters star who played more than 6,000 games and 22 seasons, has died at 77. The team remembers him as "one of the truly magical dribblers and shooters in basketball history."

The Globetrotters said in a statement that Neal, who played with the team from 1963 to 1985, died at home in Houston on Thursday morning.

A political twist in Israel may help the embattled prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, stay in power.

After three inconclusive elections, the right wing Netanyahu and his centrist rival Benny Gantz are reportedly close to a deal to rotate as prime minister, with Netanyahu taking the first turn.

When our bodies are invaded by a virus, our immune systems make particular proteins called antibodies to help fight off infection.

Scientists working to quell the COVID-19 pandemic think it will be possible to figure out which antibodies are most potent in quashing a coronavirus infection, and then make vast quantities of identical copies of these proteins synthetically.

Heading into Wednesday evening, Kosovo had already been tangled in tumult.

Iran is dealing with one of the worst outbreaks of the coronavirus in the world, with a death toll surpassing 2,200 people. But getting help into the country is hindered both by a truculent Iranian leadership and strong U.S. sanctions.

On weekday evenings, sisters Lesley Laine and Lisa Ingle stage online happy hours from the Southern California home they share. It's something they've been enjoying with local and faraway friends during this period of social distancing and self-isolation. And on a recent evening, I shared a toast with them.

"We are at war with a virus that threatens to tear us apart," World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told world leaders Thursday, in a special virtual summit on the COVID-19 pandemic.

The deadly coronavirus, Tedros said, "is the defining health crisis of our time."

Updated at 6:37 p.m. ET

President Trump told governors his administration is working on publishing guidelines for state and local governments to use to determine whether to increase or relax social distancing rules to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

The announcement came ahead of the White House's regular news conference on its response to the pandemic.

Roughly 50,000 Instagram viewers got a taste of what a White House briefing from the coronavirus task force would be like if only the doctor, not President Trump, answered questions.

Sick Cruise Ship Crew Taken To Miami Hospitals

Mar 26, 2020

The Coast Guard is overseeing medical evacuations of crew members from two cruise ships off of Miami. The ships, the Costa Magica and the Costa Favolosa, don't have any passengers on board. As many as 13 crew members on the two ships are being transported ashore on small boats and taken to area hospitals. According to Carnival, the parent company of the Costa line, as many as 30 crew members on the two ships have flu-like symptoms. According to a spokesperson with the Port of Miami, those being transported ashore have respiratory symptoms consistent with pneumonia and bronchitis.

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Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

We are all cooped up at home a lot now.

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Oh, yeah. And with gyms closed, it can be really hard to get in your regular workouts. So we asked experts for tips on staying active while hunkering down.

For 6-year-old Sadie Hernandez, the first day of online school started at her round, wooden kitchen table in Jacksonville, Fla. She turned on an iPad and started talking to her first grade teacher, Robin Nelson.

"Are you ready to do this online stuff?" her teacher asks, in a video sent to NPR by Hernandez's mother, Audrey.

"Yeah," Sadie responds.
"It's kind of scary isn't it?"
"Kind of."

Mirroring the national trend, Washington and Oregon are experiencing an unprecedented spike in unemployment claims caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the last week, 133,464 Washingtonians and 76,500 Oregonians filed first-time claims for unemployment benefits. In Oregon, that represents a 15-fold increase in claims from the previous week. In Washington, the increase was more than eight-fold.

Amazon has closed a warehouse in Shepherdsville, Ky., until April 1, after several workers there tested positive for the coronavirus — the first prolonged closure of a facility confirmed by the company.

Workers in at least 10 other warehouses across the country have tested positive for COVID-19, prompting shorter temporary closures for sanitation and cleaning.

First it was commercial cruise ships that became floating petri dishes for the coronavirus.

Now the U.S. Navy's nuclear powered aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt has been diverted to the U.S. island territory of Guam, the first American warship to have confirmed cases of COVID-19.

If you don't already have a REAL ID-compliant drivers license or ID, you have an additional year to get one before you probably need it to board a domestic flight.

The Dept. of Homeland Security has pushed back the enforcement deadline from Oct. 1, 2020 to Oct. 1, 2021 in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

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