People around the world became increasingly closed off from one another Thursday as sweeping travel bans accelerated, walling regions apart as a viral pandemic unfolds and financial markets plunge.
It was an outbreak moving, at once, both glacially and explosively, with a virus first detected three months ago in China creeping across borders and producing eruptive outbreaks that have crippled areas.
Even for a crisis that has brought no shortage of headlines, dizzying developments were flashing across screens: An official designation of “pandemic” from the World Health Organization, a dramatic halt to much travel between the United States and 26 European countries, and infections among beloved Hollywood stars, sports luminaries and political leaders. All of it came against a backdrop of plunging world economies that left not only Wall Street investors but people from all walks of life hurting.
“We will see more cases and things will get worse than they are right now,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
U.S. President Donald Trump, who had downplayed the virus for days, suddenly struck a different tone, delivering a somber Oval Office address announcing strict rules on travel from much of Europe to begin this weekend. The State Department followed with an extraordinary warning to Americans to “reconsider travel abroad” too. Local leaders warned things would only get worse.
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