Economic toll of virus goes global and hits close to home

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A man wears a mask as he walks in the train station in Florence, Italy, Tuesday, March 10, 2020. Italy entered its first day under a nationwide lockdown after a government decree extended restrictions on movement from the hard-hit north to the rest of the country to prevent the spreading of coronavirus. (Jennifer Lorenzini/LaPresse via AP)

Seven weeks after the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in the U.S., the spread of the virus that causes the disease has done widespread damage to critical economic sectors in the country. Airlines are cutting capacity, people are working from home, major public events that raise millions of dollars for local communities have been canceled, including this year's St. Patrick's Day parade in Boston. The Associated Press is publishing a running tally of the effects of the coronavirus on people, businesses, and the economy.

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TURBULENCE IN THE AIR: Europe's airports say they expect 187 million fewer passengers this year due to the virus outbreak, which is “turning into a shock of unprecedented proportions for our industry.” The ACI Europe, which represents the sector, estimated Tuesday that the outbreak will mean a 13.5% drop in airport passengers in the first quarter alone. That translates to 1.32 billion euros ($1.5 billion) in lost revenue.

Airlines continue to slash capacity as travelers cancel flights or avoid them all together. United Airlines, Delta Air Lines and American Airlines are allowing passengers to rebook tickets through April 30 without paying fees.

LEISURE LATER, MAYBE: Vail Resorts is withdrawing its forecast for the entire year. The company said visits were modestly below expectations last week, but it believes that could grow worse.

The online travel company that owns Kayak and other sites withdrew its guidance for the quarter citing the worsening impact of the virus on travel. Booking Holdings said that travel demand, especially in North America and Europe, has fallen. Because of the "rapidly evolving situation," the company it's unable to issue a new forecast. Booking said it would offer an update in May.

THE FED AND BIG BANKS: The Federal Reserve and other regulatory agencies are encouraging financial institutions to meet the needs of customers affected by coronavirus. They vowed to give them the regulatory leeway to do so. “Prudent efforts that are consistent with safe and sound lending practices should not be subject to examiner criticism,” the Fed said in a prepared statement along with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the Office of the Comptroller General.

THE FED AND THE PRESIDENT: President Donald Trump has repeatedly demanded that the Federal Reserve do more to aid the economy, especially in the face of the coronavirus outbreak. On Tuesday, Trump called the Fed “pathetic” and “slow moving” in a tweet for not cutting interest rates as low as other central banks have. He asserted that its failure to do so has put the United States at a competitive disadvantage. “The Federal Reserve must be a leader, not a very late follower, which it has been!” Trump said in a second tweet.