Boston public schools to close until late April

Boston public school will close starting Tuesday until April 27. School will be in session Monday, according to the school district.

Yelp reports rise in searches for delivery versus eating out

People searching for food on Yelp are turning more of their attention to delivery, in another sign of Americans taking up social distancing to slow the spread of the coronavirus. 

The search app has been tracking a number it calls the dine in/out ratio: the number of U.S. restaurant searches seeking delivery availability against the number seeking reservations or wait lists. Yelp doesn’t release the exact ratio, but Yelp Data Science Editor Carl Bialik said that the ratio was up 7.7 percent Thursday from a day before and up 31.1 percent since March 1. 

The ratio has risen for 11 consecutive days, Bialik said in an email. “It’s higher than at any time this past winter, including much colder periods.”

Reservation app OpenTable said it was seeing a 30 percent drop-off in total seated U.S. diners from a year earlier, with the decline as high as 45 percent in Seattle.

Opinion | Coronavirus is killing the campaign rally. Here’s why that helps Biden.

You know it’s bad when President Donald Trump is canceling campaign rallies. The massive gatherings of loyal devotees are events he feeds off and are central to his re-election strategy: Whip up the base to make sure they vote and get as much free media attention as possible while doing it.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., takes a similar approach to rallying the masses, even turning his large crowds into rock concerts to jack up the energy and attract new eyeballs. He purports to be leading a revolution, after all, so he needs to use the power of his personality and bully pulpit to realize that.

Sanders purports to be leading a revolution, after all, so he needs to use the power of his personality and bully pulpit to realize that.

Which means that both Trump and Sanders stand to lose much more by the coronavirus shutting down large public campaign activities than their shared opponent, Joe Biden. The former vice president is more comfortable with a teleprompter than speaking extemporaneously; his trademark is an avuncular one-on-one connection with voters rather than issuing a rabble-rousing call to arms in a cavernous arena.

Read more here.

Cruise lines suspend voyages

President Trump tweeted Friday evening that Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian and MSC Cruises agreed to suspend outbound cruises for 30 days at his request. All of these companies had already announced suspended voyages earlier in the day.

The country’s biggest cruise companies announced a spate of suspensions throughout Friday afternoon. Royal Caribbean said it will halt all U.S. voyages for 30 days beginning Saturday. Carnival Corporation said it will stop dozens of voyages, and its subsidiary Princess Cruises will suspend its cruises through April 30. Norwegian said it suspended its ships until April 11. MSC Cruises canceled all its U.S. cruises through April 30.

Idaho reports state’s first patient

Idaho Gov. Brad Little is scheduled to offer details Saturday on the state’s first patient.

The governor’s office tweeted that he was expected to address the media at 5 p.m. from the statehouse.

Other details would be distributed afterward, the office said. The patient was described as the state’s “first confirmed case.” Earlier in the day, the governor signed a “proactive emergency declaration.” 

Utah public schools close for 2 weeks

All Utah public schools will close for a two-week period starting Friday. After that time, the state will reassess conditions and decide whether students can return to the classroom.

Researchers: Blood of recovered patients could be used in treatment

A pair of Johns Hopkins University researchers says harvesting virus-fighting antibodies from the blood of previously infected patients could help some of those suffering from COVID-19.

The method of using “convalescent serum” dates back more than a century but has not been used widely in the United States in decades.

In a paper published Friday in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, Drs. Arturo Casadevall and Liise-anne Pirofski argued that collecting blood serum or plasma from previously infected people might be the best hope for treating severe cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by coronavirus, in the absence of vaccines or antiviral drugs.

Read the full story.

House Democrats and White House reach deal on coronavirus aid package

House Democrats and Trump administration have reached a deal on a coronavirus aid package that includes free testing, paid emergency leave and other resources intended to help stem the crisis and stabilize the financial markets, House speaker Nancy Pelosi said Friday.

Pelosi said earlier the House is expected to vote on the bill Friday, which would send it to the Senate for a vote as early as Monday.

The deal was struck after numerous conversations over the last two days between Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

“The three most important parts of this bill are testing, testing, testing,” Pelosi said Friday outside the speaker’s balcony on Capitol Hill.

Read what’s in the deal.

Italians break into song during quarantine in moving video

As Italy enters its first weekend under a countrywide lockdown, residents in the city of Siena found a new way to connect with one another: through song. 

In a Twitter video that already has more than 1.5 million views, Italians singing from their balconies in unison. “E mentre Siena dorme” (“And While Siena Sleeps”), is a traditional folk song for the people of Siena, usually sung to show local pride. 

“In Siena, the city to which I am very attached, you stay at home but you sing together as if you were on the street,” wrote one of the Twitter users who shared the video. “I was moved.”

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