In a bad week things got decidedly worse March 12 as the Dow suffered its worst decline since 1987 as investors dumped stocks with growing fears about the escalating coronavirus pandemic that has infected more than 125,000 people globally and killed almost 5,000.
In Hollywood, increased numbers of television series productions halted work in an effort to safeguard cast and crew against the potential spread of the virus. Studios pushed back release dates for A Quiet Place II and Fast and Furious 9, among other titles.
TV productions halted included Apple’s “The Morning Show” and “Little America,” Netflix’s “Russian Doll,” The CW’s “Riverdale,” CBS’s “The Amazing Race” and “Survivor,” among others.
The Walt Disney Co. elected to temporarily close Disneyland and California Adventure, a move it has already done in China, Hong Kong and Japan. Disneyland Paris and Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla., remain open. Citing an “abundance of caution,” Universal Studios closed its theme parks as well.
In sports, Major League Soccer and the NHL suspended play nationwide, while Major League Baseball halted spring training. The NCAA decided to terminate the $900 million annual “March Madness” men’s national basketball championship tournament before it even started. The governing body of intercollegiate athletics had initially elected to limit the tournament to participating teams, school officials and families.
It took a further step the day after the NBA suspended play indefinitely after a player on the Utah Jazz test positive for the virus.
“Today, NCAA President Mark Emmert and the Board of Governors canceled the Division I men’s and women’s 2020 basketball tournaments, as well as all remaining winter and spring NCAA championships,” the organization said in a statement.
The canceling of March Madness came after conferences such as the ACC, SEC, Big Ten, Pac-12, Big West and Big 12 announced that their respective tournaments were off.
“This decision is based on the evolving COVID-19 public health threat, our ability to ensure the events do not contribute to spread of the pandemic, and the impracticality of hosting such events at any time during this academic year given ongoing decisions by other entities,” the NCAA said.
Meanwhile, the Dow index lost all gains from 2018 with the S&P 500 dropping 7% after the opening bell, which caused an automatic 15-minute trading halt on Wall Street.