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Coronavirus: UK schools, colleges and nurseries to close from Friday

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Media captionThe prime minister spoke about why the decision to close schools was taken

Schools in the UK are to shut from Friday until further notice as a response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Schools will close except for looking after the children of keyworkers and vulnerable children, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said.

This academic year’s exams will not go ahead in England and Wales; decisions are due to be made in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

It came as UK deaths reached 104 after a further 33 people died.

Thirty-two were in England and one in Scotland.

Confirmed cases in the UK rose to 2,626 on Wednesday, from 1,950 on Tuesday. There have been 56,221 tests carried out in the UK for Covid-19, of which 53,595 were confirmed negative.

The government says it plans to more than double the number of tests being carried out in England to 25,000 a day.

Nurseries, private schools and sixth forms are also being told to follow the guidance to close their doors.

Scotland and Wales earlier said schools would close from Friday while schools in Northern Ireland will close to pupils today and to staff on 23 March.

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Media captionNHS TV campaign advert on the virus crisis

Meanwhile the government is bringing forward emergency legislation to protect private renters from eviction after being urged to do more for them

And a new advert, fronted by the UK’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty and being run across TV, radio and the internet, reminds people to stay at home even if they only have mild symptoms.

Questions had been asked about why the government had not moved to shut schools until now.

On Monday, the PM announced a series of new key measures to target the number of coronavirus cases after scientific modelling showed the UK was on course for a “catastrophic epidemic”.

As school closures were announced on Wednesday, Mr Johnson said: “We think now that we must apply further downward pressure with that upward curve by closing schools.”

He thanked teachers and head teachers and said that by looking after children of key workers, such as NHS staff, they “will be a critical part of the fight back” against coronavirus.

But he added that children “should not be left” with grandparents or others in groups vulnerable to contracting coronavirus.

Revealing the shutdown of schools in England, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson told MPs assessments or exams would not go ahead this year and performance tables would not be published.

But he said officials were working with exam boards “to ensure that children get the qualifications that they need”.

Schools have already been preparing for a shutdown for some time, with some creating homework packs or setting up ways of working online.

But there have been concerns about the ability of frontline NHS staff and others to remain in work if their children are not in school.

Chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty told BBC One’s new daily coronavirus update programme that school is “not dangerous” for children during the pandemic, but that the decision to close them would slow the rise of infections.

He said the government and its advisers were also keen to make it possible for the children of NHS staff to go to school.

In other developments:

A question of practicalities

School closure is something the health officials advising government have been continuously asked about.

Their stance has always been that while it can suppress a peak – a 15% reduction has been put forward – some of the gain would be offset by the fact children will still mix outside of school. Parents, including health workers, may have to take time off work or grandparents may have to look after them, one of the vulnerable groups they are trying to protect.

What is more, children are the age group least likely to get severe symptoms – only 0.2% of cases end up in hospital.

In the end it has undoubtedly come down to two factors.

Firstly, it might just do enough to ensure the NHS is not overwhelmed – as suggested by the new modelling by Imperial College London published on Monday.

Secondly, practicalities – increasing numbers of teachers and children are having to isolate at home and classes and exams would be seriously disrupted in the coming months regardless of what was done.

Parents contacting the BBC expressed their concern that predicted grades might be used for results at GCSE and A-level, if pupils did not sit exams.

Lone parents and self-employed parents were also worried about coping.

Sarah, from Bedfordshire, said: “I’m worried for myself and my children.

“I’m already struggling with everyone panic-buying. My children would be in a safer, cleaner environment at school.”

Victoria, in Belfast, said: “I am a self-employed mother of twins. I have zero support.

“Now I have to stay home and look after the children. Where will the money come from?”

One student, Alice Simpson, told the BBC: “We worked so hard and the past two years has always had that long end goal – GCSEs. And it’s just got to the point where that’s in sight. And now it’s not any more.”

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Media captionBoris Johnson confirms the government will bring forward legislation “to protect private renters from eviction”.

The National Association of Head Teachers General Secretary Paul Whiteman said: “The government has changed what it expects schools to do. They are to offer reduced access in order to prioritise the needs of the most vulnerable young people and the children of key workers.”

He added there were many complicated issues to address as a result of the announcement and the focus would be assisting heads with “this enormous task” and making it work on the ground.

Geoff Barton, head of the Association of School and College Leaders, said many schools had already drawn up plans to support key workers and vulnerable children.

“However, this is an exceptionally demanding situation and they will need support. We will be working closely with our members and the Department for Education to this end.”

Analysis

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By Hannah Richardson, education correspondent

It was the announcement the government did not want to make – shutting down schools indefinitely.

But as the virus spread its claws further into communities it became inevitable.

Heads and teachers are just as at risk as anyone else, and as more and more staff called in sick – increasing numbers of schools started to fall like dominoes under the weight of this pandemic.

Although the decision gives certainty for now – doors will be closed – there is even more uncertainty ahead.

How long will they remain closed? How will pupils cope with learning from home? Who will look after them?

And how will schools manage in their new role as the nation’s babysitters for the children of key workers?

Prime Minister’s Questions took place in a half-empty House of Commons earlier, after Labour and the Conservatives told MPs not scheduled to raise a query to stay away.

Meanwhile, the weekly face-to-face audience between the Queen and the prime minister was carried out over the phone.


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The Latest: Lions’ Slay tweets about seeking trade

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The Latest on NFL free agency. Teams can begin making agreements with free agents official as the league’s business season begins Wednesday. All times EDT:

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10:05 p.m.

Darius Slay is apparently ready to leave Detroit.

ESPN, citing an unidentified source, reported Wednesday night that cornerback Desmond Trufant had agreed to a two-year deal with the Lions. Slay, who is currently Detroit’s top player at that position, tweeted in response to that reported deal that he also wanted out.

“Congrats to my guy!!!! Hope that speeds up my trade process!!”

It would not be a surprise if Slay were dealt, but that activity on his Twitter account added more drama to Detroit’s offseason.

Slay has played all seven of his NFL seasons with the Lions.

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8:40 p.m.

The Giants sent, or are in the process of sending, a letter to their season ticket holders regarding payment for season tickets.

There are two plans. A six-month payment plan and a one-time pay-in-full option.

Those in the sixth month plan had already paid one month. They will get two months deferred and then have five payments. The payment plan will run through May-Sept. Those in the pay-in-full plan will not have to pay until June 1.

They can also elect a four-month option for more flexibility.

7:55 p.m.

The Cleveland Browns have a contract agreement with free agent linebacker B.J. Goodson, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

After getting four new offensive players over the past two days, general manager Andrew Berry worked out a deal with Goodson, said the person who spoke on condition of anonymity because the contract can’t be finalized until a physical is completed.

Goodson could replace Joe Schobert, who was allowed to walk away by the Browns and agreed to a five-year, $53 million deal with Jacksonville on Tuesday.

The 6-foot-1, 243-pound Goodson, who played at Clemson, started nine games last season for Green Bay. He played the previous three seasons with the New York Giants.

— Tom Withers reporting from Cleveland.

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7:15 p.m.

The Seattle Seahawks have added another piece to their offensive line and a potential starting right tackle after agreeing to an $11 million, two-year deal with Brandon Shell, according to a person with knowledge of the deal.

The person spoke to the AP on the condition of anonymity because the team had not announced the signing. ESPN first reported the agreement.

Shell started 25 games over the past two seasons for the Jets and played almost exclusively at right tackle. The 28-year-old was benched briefly last season, but started the final five games of the season.

He could end up being the replacement for Germain Ifedi, who has started the past four seasons at right tackle for Seattle with mixed results and is a free agent.

Shell was a fifth-round pick of the Jets out of South Carolina in 2016.

— Tim Booth reporting in Seattle.

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6:55 p.m.

Veteran free agent safety Malcolm Jenkins has agreed to a four-year, $32 million contract with the New Orleans Saints a person familiar with the situation said.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Wednesday because the agreement has not been announced.

Jenkins returns to the team that made him a first-round draft choice out of Ohio State in 2009. Jenkins, 32, has played 11 NFL seasons — his first five with the Saints and past six with the Philadelphia Eagles, who declined to pick up his option for the 2020 season.

Last season, Jenkins started all 16 games for Philadelphia and made or assisted on 81 tackles, including six tackles for losses and 2 1/2 sacks.

He also forced four fumbles and recovered one. He has 17 interceptions but had none last season. The signing comes as Saints safety Vonn Bell, a 2016 second-round draft choice, enters free agency for the first time.

— Brett Martel reporting in New Orleans.

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6:40 p.m.

The Indianapolis Colts have confirmed they have acquired All-Pro defensive tackle DeForest Buckner for next month’s first-round draft pick, No. 13 overall.

The deal was first reported Monday but Indianapolis had to wait until the official start of the league year to make it official. Buckner also signed a four-year deal worth $84 million, making him the second-highest paid defensive tackle in the league.

Colts general manager Chris Ballard wanted to upgrade Indy’s interior pass rush and found a perfect fit in Buckner, who had a career-high 12 sacks in 2018 and 7 1/2 sacks for last season’s NFC champions.

“DeForest is a premier defensive tackle in this league and we’re thrilled to add him to our roster,” Ballard said in a statement. “Adding a player of his caliber demonstrates the importance and commitment of building a strong defensive front. He will bring a veteran presence to our locker room and will lead with his work ethic.”

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6:15 p.m.

The Seattle Seahawks are reuniting with an old friend, bringing back former first-round pick Bruce Irvin, according to a person with knowledge of the deal.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on Wednesday on condition of anonymity because the team had not announced the agreement. NFL Network first reported the reunion.

Irvin will be a boost to Seattle’s pass rush that needed attention. He had a career-high 8½ sacks and 16 quarterback hits last season in just 13 games during his one year with Carolina. Both those totals would have led Seattle. He also made stops with Oakland and Atlanta after leaving Seattle following the 2015 season.

Irvin, 32, was a first-round pick of the Seahawks in 2012.

— Tim Booth reporting in Seattle.

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5:55 p.m.

The Arizona Cardinals have agreed to a three-year deal with linebacker Devon Kennard, according to a person familiar with the situation.

The person spoke with AP on condition of anonymity because the deal hasn’t been announced. Kennard played the past two years with the Detroit Lions, including all 16 games last season and tied a career high with seven sacks.

The Cardinals are trying to improve a defense that gave up the most yards in the NFL last season. He gives them another big-play threat to pair with edge rusher Chandler Jones, who had 19 sacks last season.

— David Brandt reporting.

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5:25 p.m.

The Minnesota Vikings have terminated the contract of starting right guard Josh Kline after just one season.

The move was made about an hour into the official start of free agency. The Vikings will save about $1.5 million in salary-cap charges, but they’ll have to carry forward about $4.5 million in dead money.

Kline started 15 of 18 games, including two in the playoffs. He missed two games because of a concussion and one to a foot injury. Kline previously played for New England and Tennessee. He signed a three-year contract with the Vikings prior to last season that came with $7.25 million guaranteed.

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5:10 p.m.

A person with knowledge of the deal says left tackle Andrew Whitworth has agreed to a three-year deal to return to the Los Angeles Rams.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the Rams haven’t announced the deal with the 38-year-old Whitworth, who will play his 15th NFL season in the fall.

Whitworth spent 11 years with the Cincinnati Bengals before joining the Rams as a free agent under new coach Sean McVay. The four-time Pro Bowl selection has been an anchor on the Rams’ line while protecting Jared Goff’s blind side all the way to his first career playoff victories and his first Super Bowl appearance during the 2018 season.

Whitworth hasn’t missed a game because of injury since 2013, and he has missed just two games in which he wasn’t being rested healthy since 2008.

He strongly considered retirement after the Super Bowl a year ago, but seemed much more determined to play on this winter after the Rams missed the playoffs despite finishing 9-7.

— Greg Beacham reporting from Los Angeles.

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4:55 p.m.

Former Jacksonville cornerback A.J. Bouye is officially a member of the Denver Broncos.

The teams announced the trade minutes after the new league year began Wednesday, more than two weeks after it was agreed upon. The Jaguars got a fourth-round pick in the upcoming draft for the 28-year-old veteran and 2017 Pro Bowl starter.

Bouye is due $13 million in each of the next two seasons. He has 14 interceptions in seven NFL seasons with Houston and Jacksonville.

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4:50 p.m.

Chris Harris Jr. is remaining in the AFC West after agreeing to a contract with the Los Angeles Chargers, a person familiar with the situation told the Associated Press.

The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because deals can not be announced until the completion of a physical. ESPN was the first to report Harris Jr.’s move.

Harris Jr. has spent the past nine seasons with the Denver Broncos and made four Pro Bowl appearances. He built his reputation as one of the top slot corners in the league, but played exclusively on the outside last season.

Harris Jr. joins a Chargers secondary that includes cornerbacks Casey Hayward and Desmond King as well as safety Derwin James.

— Joe Reedy reporting from Los Angeles

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4:30 p.m.

A person familiar with the deal says the Atlanta Falcons have agreed to sign former Rams outside linebacker Dante Fowler.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because most teams won’t announce signings until players pass physicals to finalize deals.

The league isn’t allowing players to report to new teams immediately for those physicals during the coronavirus pandemic.

The three-year, $48 million deal reunites Fowler with Falcons coach Dan Quinn. Fowler was a freshman at the University of Florida in 2012, when Quinn was the Gators’ defensive coordinator.

Fowler was a first-round pick by Jacksonville in 2015 who set a career high with 11 1/2 sacks for the Los Angeles Rams in 2019. He set another career high by starting 14 of his 16 games.

— Charles Odum reporting from Atlanta

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4:15 p.m.

Versatile Los Angeles Rams offensive lineman Austin Blythe has agreed to a one-year deal to return.

Blythe has started all but one game over the past two seasons with the Rams after serving as a backup in 2017. Blythe has started at left guard, right guard and center during his career with the Rams, who claimed him off waivers from Indianapolis in May 2017.

Blythe claimed the starting job at right guard in 2018 after Jamon Brown was suspended, and he never gave it up. Blythe started for Los Angeles in the Super Bowl in February 2019.

Blythe moved to left guard for the 2019 season, but slid over to center after Brian Allen was injured.

— Greg Beacham reporting from Los Angeles.

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3:55 p.m.

A person familiar with the deal says free agent cornerback Eli Apple has agreed to a contract with the Las Vegas Raiders.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal can’t be announced until Apple passes a physical. The Bay Area News Group first reported the deal.

Apple is the latest free agent addition to agree to the Raiders this week as part of a defensive overhaul. Linebackers Cory Littleton and Nick Kwiatkoski, defensive tackle Maliek Collins, safety Jeff Heath and defensive end Carl Nassib, according to people familiar with the deals speaking on condition of anonymity because the contracts haven’t been signed.

Apple was the 10th overall pick by the Giants in 2016 before being traded to New Orleans midway through the 2018 season. He has three interceptions and 33 passes defensed in 55 games.

— Josh Dubow from Alameda, California

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3:50 p.m.

The Washington Redskins are signing safety Sean Davis to a one-year contract that can be worth up to $5 million.

Agent Drew Rosenhaus conformed the deal in an email to The Associated Press. Davis is a Washington native who played at the University of Maryland.

The 26-year-old missed the vast majority of last season with a shoulder injury. Davis has 247 tackles and five interceptions in 48 games with the Pittsburgh Steelers since they drafted him in the second round in 2016.

The Redskins are retooling in free agency under new coach Ron Rivera and defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio. They already came to terms on contracts with linebackers Thomas Davis and Kevin Pierre-Louis and re-signed Jon Bostic.

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3:45 p.m.

A person with knowledge of the deal says the Los Angeles Rams have agreed to a one-year contract worth $10 million with pass-rushing linebacker Leonard Floyd.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the Rams hadn’t announced the agreement.

Floyd spent his first four NFL seasons with the Chicago Bears, who chose him with the ninth overall pick in 2016. He had seven sacks in his rookie season, but his totals have declined in each subsequent season. The Bears released him Tuesday.

Floyd’s position coach for the past two seasons with the Bears was Brandon Staley, the Rams’ new defensive coordinator. Floyd also played two seasons at Georgia with Rams running back Todd Gurley.

Floyd likely will be the effective replacement for Dante Fowler, who is leaving the Rams for a lucrative deal with the Atlanta Falcons after a strong season in 2019. The Rams also have lost leading tackler Cory Littleton and longtime defensive tackle Michael Brockers in the opening days of free agency.

— Greg Beacham reporting from Los Angeles.

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3:15 p.m.

The Buffalo Bills have signed cornerback Josh Norman to a one-year contract in hopes the eighth-year player can secure a starting job opposite Tre’Davious White.

The contract was first agreed to on March 9, and announced by the team Wednesday. Norman was available after struggling to meet expectations before being cut by Washington last month with one year left on his five-year, $75 million contract.

His addition fills an immediate need with the Bills allowing Kevin Johnson to become a free agent. Norman will compete with returning starter Levi Wallace for the No. 2 spot.

The 32-year-old is reunited with familiar faces in Buffalo. Bills coach Sean McDermott was the Panthers’ defensive coordinator during Norman’s first four NFL seasons in Carolina. Norman is also a known commodity to Bills general manager Brandon Beane, who worked in the Panthers’ front office at the same time.

Norman enjoyed his best season under McDermott in 2015 on a Panthers defense that led the league with 24 interceptions. He had a career-best four interceptions and returned two for touchdowns to earn his first and only All-Pro honor.

— John Wawrow reporting from Buffalo, N.Y.

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2:45 p.m.

Defensive tackle Linval Joseph has agreed to a two-year contract with the Los Angeles Chargers.

Two people familiar with the deal tell The Associated Press that Joseph’s contract is for $17 million but could go as high as $19 million with additional incentives. The signing could be announced later Wednesday when the new league year begins.

Joseph will be entering his 11th season. He was drafted in the second round by the New York Giants in 2010 and has spent the past six years with the Minnesota Vikings. He was released last week in a salary cap move.

Joseph’s forte is run stopping and he should pair well with defensive ends Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram. Los Angeles was in the market for a defensive tackle after releasing Brandon Mebane last week.

— Joe Reedy reporting from Los Angeles.

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2:30 p.m.

The New York Jets are re-signing cornerback Brian Poole to a one-year, $5 million fully guaranteed contract, agent Drew Rosenhaus tells The Associated Press.

Poole was the Jets’ best cornerback last season in Gregg Williams’ defense, playing in the nickel spot. He had 62 tackles, one interception he returned 15 yards for a touchdown, six passes defensed and a forced fumble in 14 games with 10 starts. He missed two games late in the season with a head injury, but returned for the final two.

The 27-year-old Poole spent his first three NFL seasons with Atlanta after being signed as an undrafted free agent out of Florida. He signed a one-year, $3.5 million deal with the Jets in free agency last year.

Poole has five career interceptions and five sacks in his four NFL seasons.

The move Wednesday is the first of the free agency period by the Jets that didn’t involve an offensive lineman. General manager Joe Douglas re-signed guard Alex Lewis and has agreed to terms with former Seattle tackle George Fant and former Denver center Connor McGovern since the NFL’s legal tampering period began Monday.

— Dennis Waszak Jr. reporting from New York.

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2:20 p.m.

The Panthers have released safety Eric Reid just 13 months after giving him a three-year contract extension.

Reid announced the move on Twitter, saying he enjoyed his time with Carolina and that he’s looking forward to furthering his career in another city. The Panthers later confirmed that Reid has been released.

Panthers general manager Marty Hurney gave Reid a $22 million, three-year contract extension after the 2018 season that included a $9 million signing bonus. The move means the Panthers will be on the hook for $5 million in dead cap money.

The Panthers re-signed safety Tre Boston to a three-year, $18 million contract on Tuesday and have also agreed to terms with free agent safety Juston Burris from the Browns earlier this week.

The 28-year-old Reid started 29 games over the past two seasons for the Panthers and had 201 tackles, five sacks and one interception.

— Steve Reed reporting from Charlotte, N.C.

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2:15 p.m.

The New England Patriots have agreed to trade safety Duron Harmon to the Detroit Lions, according to a person with knowledge of the deal.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity Wednesday because the trade had not been announced.

Harmon played all seven of his previous NFL seasons with New England. He started a career-high eight games last season.

Harmon has 17 interceptions, including two last season.

Lions coach Matt Patricia has familiarity with Harmon. Patricia, now entering his third season as Detroit’s coach, was New England’s defensive coordinator before taking over the Lions.

— Noah Trister reporting in Detroit.

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1:50 p.m.

A person familiar with the deal says center Ted Karras has agreed to a $4 million, one-year contract with the Miami Dolphins.

The person confirmed the agreement on condition of anonymity because the Dolphins hadn’t announced it.

Karras will replace Dan Kilgore, who is departing in free agency after starting 13 games in 2019.

Karras is a four-year veteran and former sixth-round pick who became a starter last year for the New England Patriots.

— Steve Wine reporting in Miami.

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1:20 p.m.

The Detroit Lions have agreed to a two-year, $8 million deal with defensive tackle Danny Shelton.

Agent Drew Rosenhaus confirmed the deal Wednesday. Shelton started 14 games last season for the New England Patriots. He had three sacks and a forced fumble.

Shelton has played five NFL seasons — three with Cleveland and two with the Patriots.

Detroit’s defense ranked 31st in the league last season, and defensive tackle was an area of need entering free agency. The Lions released defensive tackle Damon Harrison earlier this offseason.

Shelton was a first-round draft pick by the Browns in 2015.

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1 p.m.

The Denver Broncos have acquired five-time Pro Bowl defensive lineman Jurrell Casey from the Tennessee Titans.

Two people familiar with the trade tell The Associated Press that the Titans swapped Casey to Denver for a seventh-round draft pick.

The move cannot become official until the new league year begins later Wednesday, though most teams won’t announce official signings until players pass physicals to finalize deals.

However, the league isn’t allowing players to report to new teams immediately during the coronavirus crisis.

A six-time team captain, Casey was the longest-tenured player on the roster drafted by the Titans in the third round in 2011. Only punter Brett Kern has been with the franchise longer, picked up off waivers from Denver in 2009.

The defensive tackle has started 137 of 139 games played, though injuries kept him out of three games over the past two seasons. He tied for second with five sacks this past season and had a team-high 30 quarterback pressures.

But Casey is due $11.2 million this season and is under contract through 2022 with a price tag that only rises in the final two years. The Titans placed the nonexclusive rights franchise tag on NFL rushing leader Derrick Henry on Monday and could use more salary cap space to sign him to a new contract.

Tennessee also drafted Jeffery Simmons out of Mississippi State at No. 19 overall last April, and the defensive tackle was able to get two sacks playing nine games in the regular season and all of the postseason despite tearing an ACL last February.

— Teresa M. Walker reporting from Nashville, Tennessee, and Arnie Melendez Stapleton from Aurora, Colorado

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12:50 p.m.

The Green Bay Packers are extending the deadline for season ticket holders to pay for their 2020 tickets to June 1 to allow them more time to deal with any potential impact from the coronavirus.

The previous deadline for season ticket holders was March 31. Invoices were sent out in late February, along with a brochure outlining new pricing.

If a game is canceled and can’t be rescheduled, season ticket holders would receive a refund for the impacted games or could credit that amount to future playoff or regular-season tickets for 2021.

The same policy would apply to games that are played under conditions that prohibit fans from attending, such as if a public authority restricted gatherings to a certain number of people.

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More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP—NFL





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‘Friends’ reunion special latest victim of coronavirus shutdown

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(Reuters) – The planned “Friends” reunion has been delayed due to disruptions in Hollywood caused by the coronavirus, an industry source said on Wednesday.

The one-off special was due to have been filmed next week on the original sound stage in Burbank, California, according to the source, and broadcast in May on the upcoming HBO Max streaming service.

But movie and TV production in Hollywood has come to a halt in the past week due to restrictions brought in to contain the spread of the coronavirus in the United States. No new date has been set for filming the special.

HBO Max declined to comment.

The long-awaited unscripted show, featuring all six “Friends” stars Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry and David Schwimmer, was to have been a big draw for the planned HBO Max streaming service.

The hit comedy series ended in 2004 but found a new lease of life on Netflix where it was the second most-watched show in 2018.

HBO Max last year secured the rights to all 10 seasons of “Friends” for its streaming service and the comedy series is no longer available on Netflix.

The source on Wednesday said that HBO MAX still intended to launch as planned in May. An exact date has still to be announced.

The “Friends” delay follows the suspension of filming of all Netflix, Disney and Universal Pictures live action movies, including “Mission: Impossible 7” and “The Matrix 4”, as well as television shows ranging from “Saturday Night Live” to “The Amazing Race.”

Reporting by Aishwarya Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel and Sonya Hepinstall



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Master the nutrition coaching technique that helps solve any client problem.

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People have their reasons.

For overeating. Skipping exercise. Ignoring your advice.

And if you want to help clients overcome these types of self-sabotaging behaviors, you need to understand what those reasons are.

This is a universal law of nutrition coaching.

It’s also a powerful concept that can transform you from “frustrated coach” to “client whisperer.”

How so? Let’s explore.

Ever have a client say they desperately want to change—but also seem mired in self-sabotage?

Maybe they’re:

  • having four glasses of wine every night,
  • cancelling workout sessions last minute, or
  • burying a pint of ice cream right before bed.

Clearly, these behaviors are in direct conflict with their goals. It almost seems like they’re doing it on purpose just to make you feel like a failure as their coach, right?

Not so fast.

It could be their way of solving an even bigger problem than the “muffin top” they keep complaining about. 

Maybe a problem you haven’t even considered.

Your client might be drinking four glasses of wine because it helps them temporarily forget that their job sucks.

Or cancelling appointments because of trauma that makes them feel deeply uncomfortable in a gym.

Or pounding Ben and Jerry’s because it soothes their anxiety.

So don’t assume they’re ignoring your advice. Instead, focus on connecting the dots.  

When you understand there’s a deeper reason behind every bad habit, you’ll be able to:

  • have more empathy for your clients
  • feel less bothered when clients don’t do what they’ve agreed to do, and
  • use more effective strategies to help people change their behavior.

Those three things? They’re a formula for making you an awesome coach.

In this article, we’ll give you a step-by-step process for uncovering the real obstacles that are stalling your clients’ progress.

But even better, we’ll show you how to create solutions that actually work.

++++

All human behavior is an attempt to cope with or solve a problem.

Sit with that for a moment.

When we give presentations to coaches, this single piece of information visibly blows their minds.

Sometimes, it’s straightforward:

When you’re hungry (the problem), you eat (the behavior).

But often, it’s more complicated. Because usually, you see the behavior, but you don’t know about the problem.

For instance…

… when you snap at your partner for asking a totally harmless question about tonight’s dinner (the behavior), it’s usually not because of the question your spouse asked. It’s likely due to something else, like that irritating email from your coworker (the problem).

… when your hyperactive kid acts out (the behavior), it’s because she’s trying to release pent-up energy (the problem).

… and when your mom drops in unannounced to do your laundry long after you’ve reached adulthood (the behavior), it’s probably not because she’s dying to fold your underpants. She probably wants to feel needed, and currently, she’s not (the problem).

Similarly, unwanted eating behaviors are frequently related to a deeper problem that doesn’t start with the food.

This presents a challenge, since many nutrition coaches focus exclusively on food: meal plans, macros, organic vs. conventional, supplements, and so on. Which, intuitively, makes sense.

You want to make sure your client is getting the nutrients they need. So the two of you agree that they’re going to try eating more veggies.

But your client’s food log shows a whole lot of ice cream… and not much else. Last time you checked, ice cream wasn’t a veggie. (It feels like someone should invent that… )

So what happened? Why didn’t your client do what they agreed to try? Probably because…

Food isn’t the problem.

It almost never is.

This idea is one of the foundations of Precision Nutrition’s coaching method, which we’ve validated with over 100,000 clients and in three peer-reviewed research studies

To illustrate how this coaching principle works in practice, we’re going to discuss two case studies.

Meet Sam and Min.

Nutrition coaching case studies.

Sam is a 24-year-old medical student with a super hectic schedule. When he’s not in class or in the lab doing research, he’s studying.

He also comes from a culture where family time is extremely important. So he spends a lot of his off-hours with his parents and siblings.

Sam wants to get swole, but regularly binge drinks with his med school buddies (who also happen to be his roommates). That’s causing all sorts of problems with his nutrition, workouts, and recovery.

Min is a 56-year-old mother of two teenagers. She’s also a caregiver to her aging parents. Oh, and she has a full-time office job.

Slim until her mid-40s, Min’s now struggling to get rid of the spare tire around her midsection.

Min sticks to mostly whole, nutrient-dense foods during the day. But she struggles with nighttime snacking. The late-night chips, cookies, and dinner leftovers are making it tough to shed fat.

It might be tempting to tell Min to just stop snacking at night. Or tell Sam to quit the excess drinking.

After all, how hard can it be to just… stop?

But you probably know:

Clients don’t always do what they say they’ll do.

Why? In many cases, if they did what you asked, they’d be left with a problem—stress, feelings of unworthiness, desire to fit in socially—without a solution.

So what’s the best way to approach situations like these? Let’s find out.

5 steps to addressing the problem behind the behavior.

Step 1: Learn more about the behavior.

Let’s take a look at Min’s snacking.

Your task: Explore with Min exactly, specifically, precisely, and concretely the behaviors she’s describing.

You might ask questions like:

  • “In the hours before you end up snacking, what are you usually doing?”
  • “Immediately before you start snacking, what are you thinking about?”
  • “While you’re snacking, how do you feel physically? Is anyone with you?”
  • “After you’re done, how do you feel emotionally?

The answers to these questions will help you better understand what’s going on with Min. But they’ll also help HER understand it.

In fact, the more you probe for details, the more likely it is that Min will identify what’s behind her late-night snacking and develop solutions on her own.

You can use our Behavior Awareness worksheet to facilitate this process with any client. (It would work well for Sam’s binge drinking issue, too.)

Step 2: Figure out the problem.

Once you know the behavior—thanks to step 1—it’s time to identify the problem. This is the fun part.

Sometimes, clients can easily identify their problem. 

After completely the Behavior Awareness worksheet, Min might come right out and say:

“You know, it seems like anytime I have a tough day and feel underappreciated, I start snacking. Between work, taking care of my kids and my parents, and trying to take care of myself, I’m just under a lot of pressure. My mom has cancer, and we’re all having a tough time with it. Plus, she keeps giving me a hard time about why I’ve never made anything of my life.”

Seriously, figuring out the problem (or in this case, problems) is occasionally that easy. And when you hear about all the things going on in Min’s life, her “solution” makes total sense as a way to get immediate (but short-lived) relief.

Other times, clients have no idea what the real problem is. 

So, you get to do a little detective work.

With a mindset of compassionate curiosity, think of this as a puzzle that you and your client will solve together.

One way to do that is by asking what we call “two crazy questions.”

It goes something like this…

“Sam, I’m going to ask you two crazy questions, and I know this is going to sound really weird, but just humor me…”

Question 1: “What’s GOOD about drinking so much on the weekends? In other words, what purpose does it serve in your life? How does it help you?”

Question 2: “What would be BAD about changing? What would you lose or give up if you stopped drinking so much when you go out?”

Sam might reveal that drinking with his friends helps him destress from a long week of academic, work, and family commitments.

He knows drinking less would make it easier for him to eat better and get to the gym regularly.

But Sam also worries that he and his med school buddies won’t have fun if he’s not there with a beer in his hand. Valid or not, that fear is very real for Sam.

So the problem is two-fold:

Sam feels (understandably) stressed because of his demanding schedule, and he also sees himself as responsible for his friend’s ability to have fun together.

What if my client’s problem is out of scope?

Depending on what your client’s dealing with, you may need to refer out another professional.

Let’s say they were emotionally or sexually abused, and they’re dealing with the aftershocks of that.

These issues are way outside your scope. But if you have a good referral network, you can get your client the support they really need.

But that doesn’t mean you should drop them as a client. Rather, your client merely adds a new player with a different skillset to their support team.

Provide accountability, and help your client work on the fundamental skills they’re ready, willing, and able to tackle—while they’re also getting help with their deeper-seated challenges and concerns from a qualified professional.

Often, when someone starts improving their eating, fitness, sleep, or stress-relief habits, their bigger, underlying challenge becomes easier to manage. Because it’s no longer being compounded by feeling bad about their health habits.

By the way, we also suggest having your own referral network (for YOU). Clients’ “stuff” may bring up your personal “stuff,” and you’ll benefit from having your own “stuff support system.”

Step 3: Get on your client’s team.

Here’s where you get to be your client’s biggest fan. You’ll solidify your coaching relationship in the process.

Identify what’s good about your client and their unwanted behavior. 

You want to find the silver lining, even if it’s hard.

Turn their problems into evidence of their strengths and resilience.

Here’s how you might do that with Sam:

“Sam, it sounds like you’re the social glue that’s holding your group together. Everyone’s so stressed out with med school and stuff, and you’re the party guy who tries to liven up everyone’s mood. That’s a real testament to how much you care about your friendships. It’s honestly impressive how you make time to prioritize them.”

Here, it’s particularly important to be aware of how your own experiences and biases may cloud your perspective. 

For instance, if you’ve always been a fit athlete and you’re coaching someone like Min, you’ll need to set aside the idea that staying fit and avoiding trigger foods is “simple.”

Emphasize the positives of not changing, as well as what’s admirable about your client:

“Min, it’s amazing how you’re able to juggle two teenagers, a full-time job, and your parents who, if I’m being honest, sound a little bit challenging to deal with. I can’t even imagine! Gosh, I can’t even call my mom for 15 minutes, and here you are doing it constantly. That says so much about your commitment to family. I really admire that.”

This step might not seem that important. But it assures your client you’re not judging them. It also validates their feelings, making them feel heard and respected. Often, it also gets them to start viewing themselves (and their actions) through a different, more positive lens.

Bring on the warm fuzzy feelings. Because your client’s going to need them to make an important decision, which brings us to step 4.

Step 4: Let your client decide whether to change.

Most people resist change.

No one wants to give up doing stuff they like.

But here’s the funny thing about resistance: Giving someone permission to NOT change can actually make them realize that they DO want to change. 

So ask your client:

“Given all of this, do you want to change? Not changing is perfectly okay.”

This, of course, can require a vomit-inspiring leap of faith. You have to genuinely be okay with them not changing that behavior.

In fact, there are times when not changing their behavior could be healthier than the alternative. 

A client’s 12-hour-a-week exercise habit might seem extreme to you. But it may be helping them cope with their failing marriage.

If you take away (or greatly reduce) the exercise, they might start coping in a way that’s more destructive.

Maybe your client doesn’t want to eat any veggies, like, ever. Think: the carnivore diet.

They understand the health risks. And they’ve established they’re doing it because food is the one thing in their life they can control. So they’re not willing to change.

You have to accept that. (Although you don’t necessarily have to keep working with them.)

Depending on your client’s change vs. no change answer, the next step can go two different ways.

Step 5: Develop strategies together.

Let’s walk through two scenarios. In one, your client 100% embraces change. In the other? Not so much.

Client wants to change: Brainstorm what that might look like.

Min decides she does want to change. She sees what the nighttime snacking is doing for her, but she’s ready to try something different.

Importantly, you don’t want to just throw solutions at her. Instead, get her talking about where she sees opportunity for change.

You might try questions like:

  • “Put your coach hat on. If you were in my position, what might you suggest you do?”
  • “If you could do anything to stop snacking at night—even if that seems crazy—what would you do? Let’s just brainstorm and not worry about reality for the next few minutes.”

Work together to select one new action, making sure it feels super realistic given the confines of Min’s life—even if it’s challenging. 

Maybe, for example, Min starts by reorganizing her kitchen to help her avoid nighttime snacking. She stores trigger foods out in the garage, including the dinner leftovers, which now go straight to the garage mini-fridge. That way, her kids can still enjoy them if they want, but they’re out of sight for Min.

A key step: Ask Min whether she’s ready, willing, and able to incorporate this new habit into her routine. 

If she rates a proposed change at less than an 8 on a scale of 1 to 10, find out what it would take to get her fully on board. Often, it’s reducing the intensity of the habit so it feels more manageable. (Our Ready, Willing, and Able worksheet will come in handy here.)

Client doesn’t want to change: Try changing something else.

Sam doesn’t want to change his drinking habits. He understands the tradeoffs, but he’s just not ready to do things differently.

That’s okay.

Say something like:

“Okay, so it sounds like you want to feel fitter and less stressed. But right now, quitting drinking with your friends doesn’t feel like the right solution for you, which makes sense. What else can we do to move a tiny bit towards your goal?”

Maybe Sam would be willing to limit himself to three drinks per social outing, down from his usual five or six.

Or, he might not want to change his drinking habits at all. No big deal.

Rather than see this as a failure, think of it as an opportunity.

Sometimes, you have to look further upstream to solve the problem. 

In other words, maybe Sam won’t be able to stop binge drinking until he changes something else.

For example, take a look at the “deep health” graphic below.

Suppose you’re lonely and feel disconnected from others (see: relational health). You might eat or drink more to comfort yourself, which negatively affects your physical health. And that might lead to feelings of anxiety or anger, which challenges your emotional health.

Deep health wheel.

All the areas of deep health are interconnected. By working in one area, you automatically address the others. (Learn more about deep health.)

So in Sam’s case, you might work together to come up with stress-reducing strategies like:

  • taking a daily walk at lunch (physical health)
  • incorporating a 5-minute body scan most days (mental health)
  • developing a self-compassion practice (emotional health)

Although these actions may at first seem like they have nothing to do with nutrition, they often have everything to do with nutrition.  

Implementing one (and eventually more) of these habits could lighten Sam’s stress load. That would make it easier, over time, for him to prioritize working out and healthy eating, getting closer to the swole body of his dreams.

Wherever your client ultimately decides to focus, it’s time to step back and see what happens.

Along the way, monitor how things are going, and assess whether they’re:

  • struggling and need to scale back
  • doing pretty well, but still need to work on the current habit, or
  • mastering the current habit and ready to add another.

Nutrition coaching case studies.

This lesson won’t just change your coaching. It’ll change your whole life.

Understanding the motivation behind unwanted behaviors sets you up to be a pretty dang amazing coach.

And the more you explore the problems behind behaviors, the more you’ll see how this concept sheds light on virtually every sticky situation in life. 

Yes, it applies to your client who’s always late. But also the cranky guy overreacting about the barista getting his order wrong. And your friend who suddenly withdraws from your social circle.

So whether you’re in a position to help them or not, understand that much of what you experience with others isn’t personal.

After all, people have their reasons.

If you’re a coach, or you want to be…

Learning how to coach clients, patients, friends, or family members through healthy eating and lifestyle changes—in a way that addresses the real problems that are holding them back—is both an art and a science.

If you’d like to learn more about both, consider the Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification. The next group kicks off shortly.

What’s it all about?

The Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification is the world’s most respected nutrition education program. It gives you the knowledge, systems, and tools you need to really understand how food influences a person’s health and fitness. Plus the ability to turn that knowledge into a thriving coaching practice.

Developed over 15 years, and proven with over 100,000 clients and patients, the Level 1 curriculum stands alone as the authority on the science of nutrition and the art of coaching.

Whether you’re already mid-career, or just starting out, the Level 1 Certification is your springboard to a deeper understanding of nutrition, the authority to coach it, and the ability to turn what you know into results.

[Of course, if you’re already a student or graduate of the Level 1 Certification, check out our Level 2 Certification Master Class. It’s an exclusive, year-long mentorship designed for elite professionals looking to master the art of coaching and be part of the top 1% of health and fitness coaches in the world.]

Interested? Add your name to the presale list. You’ll save up to 30% and secure your spot 24 hours before everyone else.

We’ll be opening up spots in our next Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification on Wednesday, April 8th, 2020.

If you want to find out more, we’ve set up the following presale list, which gives you two advantages.

  • Pay less than everyone else. We like to reward people who are eager to boost their credentials and are ready to commit to getting the education they need. So we’re offering a discount of up to 30% off the general price when you sign up for the presale list.
  • Sign up 24 hours before the general public and increase your chances of getting a spot. We only open the certification program twice per year. Due to high demand, spots in the program are limited and have historically sold out in a matter of hours. But when you sign up for the presale list, we’ll give you the opportunity to register a full 24 hours before anyone else.

If you’re ready for a deeper understanding of nutrition, the authority to coach it, and the ability to turn what you know into results… this is your chance to see what the world’s top professional nutrition coaching system can do for you.





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Democrats swap virtual campaign events for rallies in coronavirus crisis

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden on Wednesday canceled political rallies in Florida and Illinois due to concerns about the coronavirus pandemic and replaced them with what his campaign called “virtual events” in the two states.

A microphone stand set up for U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders stands empty inside of a room in Burlington, Vermont, U.S., March 10, 2020. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Biden and his rival U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont are re-thinking their approach to campaigns amid widespread warnings from public health officials about packed crowds and handshaking involved in politicking. Both called off primary election-night rallies in Ohio on Tuesday.

Biden’s virtual events will be held in the lead-up to the next round of primaries to decide who should get the Democratic nomination to take on Republican President Donald Trump in November. The two states will vote on Tuesday along with Ohio and Arizona.

Late Wednesday, Trump also canceled two campaign events, including a fundraiser in Denver scheduled for Thursday.

“Out of an abundance of caution from the coronavirus outbreak, the President has decided to cancel his upcoming events in Colorado and Nevada,” Trump spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham said in a statement.

Until Wednesday, Trump had sought to play down the extent of the coronavirus threat and has held several rallies in recent weeks aimed at stealing the spotlight from the Democrats.

On Tuesday his campaign said he would hold a “Catholics for Trump” event in Milwaukee on March 19.

In a somber address to the nation on Wednesday night, he however acknowledged the pandemic threat but expressed confidence the U.S. public health system could handle it.

Biden, a moderate who has emerged as the race’s clear front-runner, and Sanders, a democratic socialist, have both criticized the Trump administration over its response to the outbreak.

“This is a matter, this whole coronavirus – is a matter of presidential leadership,” Biden said in Philadelphia on Tuesday night after decisively winning four of the six states that voted.

Biden said he would deliver an address on the U.S. response to the virus in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware, on Thursday.

COVID-19, the disease caused by the highly contagious virus, is a sometimes fatal respiratory illness. The number of coronavirus cases has risen steadily in the United States and currently exceeds 1,000, with 32 deaths, according to a Reuters tally.

Earlier on Wednesday, Biden’s campaign said it had created a committee of mostly doctors who could give advice on how to keep the candidate, his staff and voters safe.

Sanders’ campaign has said it will address plans on a day-to-day basis.

Trump campaign officials did not respond to requests for comment about how the coronavirus outbreak would influence event plans. Vice President Mike Pence on Tuesday told reporters decisions about events would be made “literally on a day-by-day basis.”

State officials have told constituents to consider voting early if they are worried.

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine on Wednesday urged voters to participate, but try to avoid crowds.

“People should think about trying to vote at a time when there is a smaller crowd,” DeWine said, suggesting that many polling places are less crowded in mid-afternoon. Voters also still have time to cast their ballots by mail, he said.

Arizona officials reminded voters of a Wednesday deadline to vote by mail.

Separately, organizers on Wednesday called off a March 27 rally in Detroit that was to be hosted by former first lady Michelle Obama. The rally, aimed at boosting election turnout in November, was canceled “out of an abundance of caution” given the spread of the coronavirus, organizers said.

The outbreak has infected more than 121,000 people and killed more than 4,380 worldwide. It has pounded financial markets, forced school closures and prompted organizers to cancel concerts, conferences and sporting events.

Slideshow (8 Images)

The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law has urged state election officials to ensure that virus concerns did not interfere with upcoming votes.

“States must not wait a moment longer to take real steps to address the impact of the coronavirus on the 2020 election season,” the organization said in a statement.

The Democratic National Committee said the next presidential debate, scheduled for Sunday in Phoenix, would not have an in-person audience because of the health concerns.

Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt in Philadelphia, Sharon Bernstein in Sacramento, and Amanda Becker, Doina Chiacu, Chris Kahn, Steve Holland and Jason Lange in Washington; Editing by Scott Malone, Jonathan Oatis, Sonya Hepinstall and Himani Sarkar



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NBA shuts down indefinitely after player tests positive

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The NBA announced Wednesday night it is suspending its season after a Utah Jazz player preliminarily tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19).

The league said it is halting operations “following the conclusion of tonight’s schedule of games until further notice. The NBA will use this hiatus to determine next steps for moving forward in regard to the coronavirus pandemic.”

While the league did not name the Jazz player in its news release, a person familiar with the situation confirmed it was Utah center Rudy Gobert. The person requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly because of the sensitive nature of the situation.

Earlier on Wednesday, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and team owners conducted a conference call to discuss their next steps amid the growing coronavirus outbreak. The league was leaning toward playing games with essential personnel and no fans, but there was a small group of owners who pushed to suspend operations.

Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19 before the Jazz-Thunder game was scheduled to start.

The league was expected to make its decision Thursday. The Gobert news forced the NBA to make an unprecedented decision.

Gobert, who was listed as ill for Wednesday’s game against Oklahoma City, was not at the arena, but the test result was reported just before tip-off. The game was suspended.

OPINION: Common sense prevails in sports, no thanks to the NCAA folks in charge

OPINION: NCAA shows leadership in unprecedented move

Earlier in the week, Gobert met with reporters and in what he thought was a joke, touched reporters’ microphones and recorders. That happened after the league had sent multiple memos telling players how serious to take coronavirus.

In the past week, the Jazz have played the New York Knicks, Boston Celtics, Detroit Pistons and the Toronto Raptors and were on the court pregame with the Thunder on Wednesday.

Follow NBA reporter Jeff Zillgitt on Twitter.





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Tom Hanks, Rita Wilson test positive for coronavirus

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Tom Hanks says he and wife Rita Wilson have tested positive for the coronavirus

NEW YORK —
Tom Hanks and his actress-singer wife Rita Wilson have tested positive for the coronavirus, the actor said in a statement Wednesday.

Hanks said the couple were in Australia and felt tired, with colds, body aches and slight fevers. “To play things right, as is needed in the world right now, we were tested for the coronavirus and were found to be positive,” Hanks said.

The 63-year-old Oscar-winner said they will be “tested, observed and isolated for as long as public health and safety requires.”

“Not much more to it than a one-day-a-time approach, no?” added Hanks.

Hanks had been in Australia shooting an untitled Elvis Presley biopic directed by Baz Luhrmann. Hanks plays Presley’s manager, Colonel Tom Parker. The film is currently slated for release in October 2021.

Hanks and Wilson, 63, were married in 1988. In 2013, Hanks disclosed that he has type 2 diabetes.

Hanks also posted his message on social media with an image of a surgical glove in a garbage can. He signed off saying: “Take care of yourselves!”

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. According to the World Health Organization, people with mild illness recover in about two weeks, while those with more severe illness may take three to six weeks to recover.

———

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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South Korea pioneers coronavirus drive-through testing station

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Here’s how it works.

In the northern city of Goyang, drivers pull in to a parking lot where they are met by health workers dressed in hazmat suits.

Motorists then drive to several stations where nurses in protective plastic suits, masks and face shields register drivers, check their temperatures, and use swabs to take samples from their throats and nasal passages.

This is a drive-through coronavirus testing site.

Officials say it is safer and faster to test for the virus at the drive-through than in a hospital or health clinic.

“There’s less face-to-face contact,” said Lee Jae-joon, the mayor of Goyang. “If you operate a testing site indoors, there is concern that suspected patients can infect each other in the waiting room.”

“Many drive-throughs at places like Starbucks have come to South Korea,” he added, explaining that health officials were inspired to replicate their model.

At the drive-through, passengers and drivers go through the entire testing process in a matter of minutes without ever getting out of their cars.

That limits the exposure of frontline workers to the virus, says Lee Eun-sook, a surgeon volunteering at the test site, and means patients aren’t able to contaminate a public health facility.

Pressure on health system

The novel coronavirus outbreak is putting pressure on the Korean health system.

The number of confirmed cases has surged from 31 to more than 4,200 in two weeks, and at least 26 people have been killed by the disease in the country.

In response to the crisis, South Korea has more than 500 coronavirus testing sites, which have screened more than 100,000 people.

When the drive-through opened on February 26, it was the first of its kind in the country and has tested as many as 384 people in one day.

Health officials test patients through a car window at the drive-through site.

Results come back within three days, and are sent by SMS.

Health workers screen visitors with a questionnaire about their travel history and symptoms. Only those deemed to be at-risk will be tested.

Those who have visited Daegu, for example, are deemed more vulnerable, as 73% of all coronavirus cases in the country stem from this southern city, according to South Korea’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Similarly, those who have links to the Shincheonji religious group in Daegu, connected to more than 50% of cases in the country, are deemed to be at risk.

About 100 workers in a gymnasium across the street from the drive-through site have been tasked with tracking down the 3,600 Shincheonji members believed to be living in Goyang.

Tough conditions

One down-side to the drive-through test site is the Korean winter weather.

“It’s hard because we have to wear protective suits, we can’t go to the bathroom or drink water, and it’s cold,” says nurse Park Seung-hee, who normally works at the city’s health center.

As cars coasted past, she and other nurses huddled by gas heaters, cupping heated pads in their hands. They work here in five-hour shifts.

When their shifts ends, they step fully clothed into a small portable booth called the “Clean Zone,” in which they are showered in hypochlorous acid disinfectant.

It is all in a day’s work at the drive through.



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Kanoa Igarashi: Coronavirus threat to Tokyo 2020 is ‘heartbreaking’

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Kanoa Igarashi is a professional surfer born and raised in the US, but will represent Japan, the country of his parents’ birth.

Expected to be one of Japan’s ‘stars’ this summer — and one of the host nation’s biggest gold medal hopes — he says it would be “heartbreaking” for the athletes and for Japan if the Games were affected, or even postponed due to coronavirus.

“This is an event that people have been preparing for years and putting their lives and souls into one event,” Igarashi told CNN World Sport’s Don Riddell.

“There is a lot that goes into the Olympics. All the sacrifices you make over the years to have it be postponed by a virus would be very shocking.

“It’s not an injury you cause on yourself but it’s just something that’s completely out of your hands.”

Igarashi says it would be "heartbreaking" if the games were affected by the coronavirus.
Last year Tokyo Olympic organizers said they were spending 1.35 trillion Japanese yen ($12.6 billion) to stage the Olympics, though respected Japanese financial newspaper Nikkei has estimated overall spending at 3 trillion yen ($28 billion).

“It would be a huge blow for Japan’s economy,” says Igarashi, as he reflects on any potential postponement of the Games. “There is a lot of people’s jobs at stake.”

How the coronavirus is impacting sport

“Having the Olympics coming into your city, your country is a very big deal economically and I can see the changes in Japan over the last few years and how much preparation has gone into it as a country.

“Every time I revisit Japan every few months, you can tell that it’s closer and closer to being 100% ready for the Olympics. We are a few months away and I feel like it’s probably like 99% ready.

“That’s just how the Japanese culture is. They are very prepared.”

This will be the first Olympic Games that features surfing as an event.

“For us as athletes our main focus is to be prepared anytime, anywhere,” says Igarashi.

“Even though the Olympics are scheduled for July 26 for us as surfers, our preparations start months and months and years before.

“So the Olympics can be tomorrow and me and my fellow competitors, I think we are all ready to compete.”

However, Igarashi revealed the thought of any possible postponement was providing a psychological challenge.

“The most important thing will be being prepared mentally — having that calm demeanor of being able to postpone your mental game to whether it’s a few weeks after or a few months after,” he said.

And while Coronavirus fears have dominated the news agenda, Igarashi himself says he personally isn’t “too worried about it.”

“As long as the right precautions are made, it should be fine,” he says.

“At this moment, it’s out of (our) control, so I think everyone is going to keep going with what they have to do and see how this all plays out.”



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‘DEVS’ dives into the world of brainy sci-fi from director Alex Garland

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Premiering on Hulu under the label of the FX network (a bit of corporate synergy that shouldn’t much concern viewers), the show focuses on a secretive unit within a high-tech Silicon Valley company, whose founder Forest (Nick Offerman) has the wild-eyed look of a man on a mission.

“No one knows what the DEVS team does except the DEVS team,” exults Sergei (Karl Glusman) to his girlfriend Lily (Sonoya Mizuno), who also works for the company, after landing an offer to join the group.

Soon, however, Sergei disappears, and Lily rapidly begins to suspect that she’s not being told the truth about what happened. The answers seemingly reside within that shadowy facility — which resembles the plastic prison in which Magneto was held in the “X-Men” movies — where the oddball assortment of employees have the dazed demeanor of people who have stared deeply into the abyss.

A co-star in “Ex Machina” likely better known for “Crazy Rich Asians,” Mizuno makes the most of her elevation to lead status here, investing Lily with considerable grit in the face of the doors that are closed to her, and the threats that arise.

That said, “DEVS” isn’t exactly a thriller, but simply unnerving — a bold concept, about the perils of scientific breakthroughs that might change everything, or nothing, with inherent warnings about mankind trifling with forces beyond its understanding. It’s a familiar premise, but calibrated her to the latest concerns about billionaires with messiah complexes and technology run amok.

The eight-episode story doesn’t move fast, exactly, but it’s consistently visually arresting and weird — in a “Twin Peaks” kind of way — including the image of a giant child statue that figures in Forest’s backstory. The cast is also excellent, including Alison Pill, Stephen McKinley Henderson and Zach Grenier as Forest’s employees, with plenty of long, quiet one-on-one exchanges to showcase them and feed the tension.

While it’s fair to conclude the payoff isn’t quite worthy of the journey — always a sticking point when you set up something this grand and mysterious — it’s still possible to come away from this limited series impressed by Garland’s ambition and storytelling knack.

“DEVS” arrives amid a flurry of new shows from FX, and it’s easily the most distinctive of the bunch. Although not a perfect program, with its combination of haunting imagery and big ideas, nor is it one that’s easily ignored, or forgotten.

“DEVS” premieres March 5 on Hulu.



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