NPR National News

Updated at 8:30 p.m. ET

The Ruby Princess cruise ship docked in Sydney on March 19 and nearly 2,700 passengers who were on board left freely, though some exhibited flu-like symptoms. On Sunday, Australian police announced they've launched a criminal investigation into the Ruby Princess, citing questions over whether the operators of the ship, Carnival Australia, were transparent about sickened passengers and crew members.

Updated at 9:12 p.m. ET

President Trump doubled down Sunday on the suggestion that people facing the coronavirus should consider taking an anti-malaria drug that has not been proven to be an effective treatment.

Updated at 5:00 a.m. ET on March 6

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who was diagnosed with the coronavirus last month, has been admitted to the hospital for testing on the advice of his doctor, his office said Sunday.

"This is a precautionary step, as the Prime Minister continues to have persistent symptoms of coronavirus 10 days after testing positive for the virus," a spokesperson said in a statement.

The Pentagon was aware of the likelihood of a pandemic brought on by a novel coronavirus years ago, predicting with startling accuracy shortages of masks, hospital beds and ventilators that could occur in an outbreak, according to a 2017 internal document reported by The Nation.

Your Anti-Anxiety Playlist

13 hours ago

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

And finally today, another selection from our anti-anxiety playlist. That's where you share the songs that help you stay calm during these stressful times. And we play some of them here. You've been sending us lots of great suggestions, and every week, it's hard to choose which ones to highlight. But today's choice is easy. It's from Twitter user @leahsamuel (ph), and we love it because who does not want to get up and dance when they hear Earth, Wind & Fire?

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SING A SONG")

NPR Poetry Month: Richard Blanco

13 hours ago

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

And finally today, another selection from our anti-anxiety playlist. That's where you share the songs that help you stay calm during these stressful times. And we play some of them here. You've been sending us lots of great suggestions, and every week, it's hard to choose which ones to highlight. But today's choice is easy. It's from Twitter user @leahsamuel (ph), and we love it because who does not want to get up and dance when they hear Earth, Wind & Fire?

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SING A SONG")

Tips For Homebound Bakers

13 hours ago

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

And finally today, another selection from our anti-anxiety playlist. That's where you share the songs that help you stay calm during these stressful times. And we play some of them here. You've been sending us lots of great suggestions, and every week, it's hard to choose which ones to highlight. But today's choice is easy. It's from Twitter user @leahsamuel (ph), and we love it because who does not want to get up and dance when they hear Earth, Wind & Fire?

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SING A SONG")

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Sunday that for the first time in days, the state has seen the daily number of deaths, hospitalizations and intubations as a result of COVID-19 decrease. More patients are also being discharged from hospitals.

"There's something a little bit different in the data today," Cuomo said, as state officials reported 594 new deaths on Sunday, down from 630 on Saturday.

Pope Francis was the sole celebrant at Palm Sunday Mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the commencement of Holy Week, and the service took place without a congregation, which the Vatican press office said was a historical first for the Roman Catholic Church.

An association representing thousands of hospitals across the country is pushing back after President Trump claimed that hospital administrators are "really thrilled to be where they are."

The American Hospital Association said hospital officials are worried about shortages of critical medical supplies, including medication for patients and personal protective equipment, or PPE, for health care workers.

Former Vice President Joe Biden says the Democratic National Convention may need take place virtually as a result of the deepening coronavirus outbreak.

On Thursday the party delayed the presidential nominating convention from mid-July to mid-August over pandemic fears, but Biden on Sunday raised the specter of Democrats choosing their White House nominee online for the first time.

Updated at 3:39 p.m. ET

Queen Elizabeth II addressed the United Kingdom on Sunday in a rare speech, urging self-discipline and resolve in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. The queen, 93, acknowledged the grief and financial pain that Britons are enduring while also thanking health workers for their service and ordinary people for staying home.

"Together we are tackling this disease and I want to reassure you that if we remain united and resolute, then we will overcome it," she said.

Beijing's parks are an oasis in an otherwise dense and sprawling city. They provide a rare public space for people to ribbon dance, play checkers and practice tai chi. But in January and February, they were deserted. More than 80,000 people across China were sickened with the virus and strict quarantine measures locked down villages and cities, including Beijing.

The United States remains the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, with confirmed cases now at more than 300,000 and deaths climbing toward 9,000.

In Europe, another global hot spot, Spain has surpassed Italy for the leading number of cases, with Germany and France not too far behind. Worldwide, there are over 1.2 million cases and nearly 66,000 deaths.

April McGhee and her teenage daughter started feeling sick last month. They had coughs, sore throats and fevers. Her daughter's condition became so bad that they went to the emergency room.

"She had it worse than I did," McGhee said. "Her cough lasted longer. It was really a concern. ... It was like a dry, nonproductive, hacking cough."

McGhee, who lives in Sacramento, wanted both of them to get tested for the coronavirus. But the hospital told her they weren't sick enough to qualify for testing under California's rules. So, they went home and into isolation.

The Walker family never thought having an age range of 3 to 96 under the same roof would be risky.

That was before the coronavirus pandemic.

Wilma Walker's now nonagenarian mom moved into her daughter and son-in-law's home in Florissant, Mo., about 15 years ago. Their party of three turned into a household of six when the Walkers' now 30-year-old daughter, Andre'a Walker-Nimrod, moved back in with her young son and a daughter on the way.

As the coronavirus pandemic intensifies across the country, many churches, synagogues, temples and mosques are temporarily shutting their doors to all public services.

Although there are exemptions for some religious services, congregations are still expected to follow state stay-at-home orders and limitations on gatherings.

Wu Fei and Abigail Washburn, who released a self-titled debut album as a duo on Friday, have lived almost parallel lives. Both women were born in 1977, and both grew up to be accomplished and virtuosic folk musicians, albeit in completely different folk traditions. Wu is a composer and a world-renowned virtuoso on the guzheng, a 2500-year-old string instrument which is a staple of Chinese folk music. Meanwhile, Washburn is a banjo player who has won a Grammy Award for her reinterpretations of traditional Appalachian music.

Kandace Springs' third record is a source of familiarity in uncertain times. Titled The Women Who Raised me, it's full of beloved and recognizable songs associated with jazz artists who inspired and influenced Springs as an artist: Nina Simone, Billie Holiday, Lauryn Hill and Norah Jones, among many others. But the album is not only a tribute to some of those legends, it's also a showcase of Springs' talent for reinterpreting and seamlessly blending genres.

The coronavirus pandemic has all but shuttered global tourism. As quarantines and social distancing continue in countries around the world for the foreseeable future, airlines are warning of bankruptcy, hotels are closed, cruise ships are docked and tour buses are idle.

Greece is among some countries that have begun offering interactive websites to keep their tourism brands afloat — "until we can all be together in person again," Dimitris Fragakis, secretary-general of the Greek National Tourism Organization, said in a statement on Thursday.

The children's voices on the phone line were hesitant, but they were looking for answers.

"Why did we switch to remote learning?"

"When are we going to go back to school?"

"They're opening up an emergency hospital here, will that bring more coronavirus cases to my area?"

The fast-growing number of cases of COVID-19 around the country is also bringing a surge in the number of deaths. In New York City alone, the death toll is in the thousands and rising steeply every day.

There, and in places like Detroit, Seattle and New Orleans, funeral directors are struggling to meet the increased demand. Joseph Lucchese, who owns and directs a funeral home in the Bronx, says it's unlike anything he's ever seen and it's dispelled any doubts he once had about the severity of the coronavirus pandemic.

Picture an angry little ball, covered in spikes, perhaps equipped with arms and legs, and definitely an evil grin. That's how cartoonists and animators are anthropomorphizing Covid-19. Which seems to make the coronavirus unique in our long history of anthropomorphizing diseases.

Spring semester was off to a pretty normal start at Rolling Meadows High School. The school, in a northwest suburb of Chicago, was gearing up for the goodbye rituals of every spring semester: senior prom, end-of-year exams and graduation.

Caitlyn Walsh, the school's music teacher, was looking forward to the big choir concert and the spring musical. "From the fine arts scene we have a lot of end-of-year activities that are very cherished," she says.

April is National Poetry Month, and this April, we might need poetry more than ever. Poems helps us process both the world out there and the world inside ourselves, putting words to feelings that we might have suspected were ours alone to carry.

One universal entry point to poetry: Haiku. From children to scholars, the five-seven-five rhythm is familiar and comforting.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom said Saturday that the state had significantly reduced a testing backlog even as he announced new collaborations to improve coronavirus testing capacity and infrastructure.

"The testing space has been a challenging one for us and I own that," he said. "And I have a responsibility as your governor to do better and to do more testing in the state of California."

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy announced On Saturday that the state has now lost nearly 100 more lives to the coronavirus pandemic than it did to the September 11 attacks.

In a briefing on the state's response to the crisis, the governor announced that 846 residents have died from the coronavirus, up 200 from Friday. Murphy also said there were 4,331 new cases in the state, bringing the total above 34,000.

"This pandemic is writing one of the greatest tragedies in our state's history," Murphy said.

Stephen Bruner, better known as Thundercat, is one of the music industry's most eclectic and prolific collaborators. Over the past five years, the virtuosic bass player has worked with everyone from Snoop Dogg and Kendrick Lamar to Michael McDonald. His latest album, It Is What It Is, was released on Friday and it features the same expansive range of genres and styles.

Just over two months after Kobe Bryant's death shocked the world, his career has received his sport's highest honor: The Los Angeles Laker legend headlined the list of players selected to the Basketball Hall of Fame.

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

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Pages