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Fifty years ago, federal postal workers walked out in a strike that lasted eight days, spanned more than 30 cities and prompted President Richard Nixon to declare a national emergency. The effort won postal workers living wages.

Tom Germano was one of them, picketing in the middle of New York City alongside fellow letter carriers and clerks. As a strike leader of Branch 36 of the National Association of Letter Carriers, Germano helped rally support.

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Stocks fell deeper into the red this morning as investors tried to grapple with the economic cost of the coronavirus pandemic. Trading was briefly halted just minutes after the opening bell, when the S&P 500 index plunged by seven percent. Last night, President Trump announced new measures to try to contain the virus and shore up the economy.

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Updated at 4:04 p.m. ET

The stock market has suffered a relentless, breathtaking drop — moving deeper into bear territory. Stocks fell so fast Thursday morning that it triggered a 15-minute halt in trading for the second time this week.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 2,352 points, or nearly 10% — the biggest one-day drop since 1987. The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq were each down more than 9%.

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Rachel, let's talk more about the White House response to the coronavirus here. I want to bring in NPR White House correspondent Franco Ordoñez, who is at the White House. Hi, Franco. Franco, you with us?

FRANCO ORDOÑEZ, BYLINE: Hello.

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Joining us now is Dr. Margaret Harris of the World Health Organization's coronavirus response team. The WHO has now characterized the coronavirus as a pandemic. Dr. Harris joins us via Skype from Geneva, Switzerland. Thanks so much for being with us this morning.

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Hong Kong and Singapore were hit early with the coronavirus. But each now has fewer than 200 cases, while France, Germany and Spain, which were hit late, all have more than 10 times that number.

Three weeks ago, Italy had only three cases. Now it has more than 10,000.

These dramatic differences show that how governments respond to this virus matters, says Mike Ryan, the World Health Organization's head of emergencies.

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Bernie Sanders' run for president has focused a lot on this.

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BERNIE SANDERS: I think that my campaign kind of speaks to the idealism of young people.

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President Trump spoke to the nation from the Oval Office last night.

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Updated at 5:18 p.m. ET

Major stock indexes plunged again on Wednesday, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down more than 20% from its peak in February. The meant that the blue chip index entered bear market territory, ending its 11-year winning streak.

The blue chip index fell 1,464 points, or nearly 5.9%. The S&P 500 slid 4.9% and the Nasdaq lost 4.7% — and put those indexes down 19.2% from their peaks.

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Two years ago, Olympic swimmer Ariana Kukors Smith went public about abuse she alleges an elite USA Swimming coach inflicted on her when she was a minor. USA Swimming and Kukors Smith's attorney announced Wednesday they had reached a settlement for an undisclosed amount in damages. That doesn't mean, however, that the organization's legal battles over sexual assault claims are over.

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China's leader Xi Jinping visited Wuhan this morning. That's the city where the new coronavirus started. NPR Beijing correspondent Emily Fang is on the line. Good morning, Emily.

EMILY FENG, BYLINE: Good morning, Noel.

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