In the latest of national traditions and government events to be canceled or postponed because of the coronavirus, first lady Melania Trump announced the cancellation Monday of the annual White House Easter Egg Roll.
“The health and safety of all Americans must be the first priority, especially right now,” the first lady said in a statement. “I deeply regret this cancellation, but we need to make difficult decisions in the short-term to ensure a healthy country for the long-term. During this time, I encourage everyone to listen to state and local officials, and follow CDC guidelines in order to help protect the health and well-being of everyone.”
The cancellation comes after White House, Capitol Building and Pentagon tours were put on hold due to the coronavirus threat — and as events including the NCAA’s March Madness basketball tournament, the seasons of the NBA, NHL and MLB, and even some presidential primary elections are being canceled or delayed to reduce the spread of the disease.
Public health officials are telling Americans to wash their hands, engage in social distancing, work from home if possible and limit their travel to slow down the spread of the novel coronavirus, which threatens to overwhelm the American health care system if left unchecked.
Anxieties over the disease, which originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan before spreading worldwide and leading to a pandemic declaration last week by the World Health Organization, have led to a volatile stock market which fell more than 10 percent Monday morning, triggering a pause in trading just minutes after the opening bell. Last week saw two such pauses amid steep sell-offs.