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Greg Hunnicutt has almost entirely shut down his Houston-based construction business. At his one remaining job site, he's being careful to minimize the risk of anyone being exposed to the coronavirus. So he keeps fewer workers on the job.

"My electrician is there now doing some work," he said. "It's just him and his helper. So what I'm trying to accomplish here is reducing how people interact."

Several meat processing plants around the U.S. are sitting idle this week because workers have been infected with the coronavirus. Tyson Foods, one of the country's biggest meat processors, says it suspended operations at its pork plant in Columbus Junction, Iowa, after more than two dozen workers got sick with COVID-19. National Beef Packing stopped slaughtering cattle at another Iowa plant, and JBS USA shut down work at a beef plant in Pennsylvania.

Japanese car giants Nissan and Honda are furloughing thousands of workers as North American auto plants continue to be shuttered because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Honda has extended closures through the start of May, covering auto plants in Alabama, Indiana, Ohio, Canada and Mexico, as well as other plants assembling engines and ATVs.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has declared the Easter Bunny to be an essential worker in her country, stating that the rabbit can go about its mysterious business this Sunday as usual, despite a nationwide lockdown.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said 731 more people died on Monday due to the coronavirus, marking the largest single-day increase in fatalities in the state since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

The latest surge brings the total number of deaths in New York to 5,489 — nearly half of all deaths caused by the virus in the U.S. — and comes even as the three-day average of hospitalizations and intensive care admissions are dropping, Cuomo said.

China on Tuesday reported no deaths from COVID-19 for the first time since it began publishing data about the outbreak more than two months ago.

The milestone comes a day before the government is set to lift outbound travel restrictions on people in Wuhan, the country's hardest-hit city.

With a population of more than 10 million people, Wuhan has been under lockdown since Jan. 23 in a bid to stop the spread of COVID-19. The first cases of infection with the coronavirus were detected in Wuhan in December.

Multiple U.S. senators are sounding the alarm about the solvency of a recently enacted $350 billion emergency lending program for small businesses, calling for Congress to pass another wave of funding as soon as this week.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced he will work with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to get the Senate to approve, without objection, another influx of cash on Thursday.

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As billions of people around the world face stay-at-home orders because of COVID-19, family dinners — and breakfasts and lunches — are resurgent. Former New York Times food editor Sam Sifton calls the shift to family meals one of the "precious few good things" happening as a result of the pandemic.

"A lot of us are really experiencing the joys of eating together with family regularly," he says. "For me, it's been kind of joyful amid all the sorrow."

As Earth experiences its sixth mass extinction and species disappear before our eyes, the United Nations and the Center for Biological Diversity have both released plans that address the extinction crisis and the closely-related problem of climate change.

U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams said he sees a "light at the end of this tunnel" in an interview Tuesday. At the same time, he said he still believes the nation will suffer high numbers of coronavirus-related deaths this week.

After an 11th-hour scramble, Wisconsin forged ahead with its election Tuesday, despite fears about the coronavirus outbreak and an ongoing stay-at-home order from the governor.

Though hundreds of thousands of voters cast absentee ballots ahead of time, many still turned out to vote in person Tuesday.

What they found: plenty of masks and cleaning supplies, jury-rigged Plexiglas barriers and long, socially distanced lines.

Updated at 2 p.m. ET

The White House is shaking up its communications team, a source familiar with the planning told NPR on Tuesday.

New White House chief of staff Mark Meadows will name Ben Williamson, a close adviser, as the senior communications adviser, the source said. Williamson worked with Meadows on Capitol Hill, where he helped drive messaging around President Trump's defense during impeachment.

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Italy has been hard-hit by the coronavirus epidemic, with a death toll of more than 16,000. Its economy is in near-shutdown.

Although Italy's south has seen fewer deaths from COVID-19 infection than the north, its poverty and jobless rates are high. In lockdown since March 10, Naples, a normally bustling city of more than 2 million, is now a ghost town. Acts of charity, long a hallmark of this city, have become more important than ever as a means of sustenance.

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