Dragon dancers celebrate in Manila, Philippines, on Jan. 25. Photo: Jes Aznar/Getty Images

Over 1.5 billion people globally are celebrating the Lunar New Year on Saturday and into the weekend, USA Today reports, as participants honor ancestors, exchange gifts of good fortune, and toast to abundance.

The backdrop: Amid the celebrations, major Chinese cities Beijing and quarantined Wuhan are banned from large gatherings and travel that are ubiquitous with the holiday, due to the growing coronavirus crisis.

  • China is locking down at least three cities with a combined population of over 18 million, Hong Kong has closed all of its schools for two weeks, and Wuhan has reportedly banned the use of cars in downtown areas.
Fireworks during the River Hongbao festival in Singapore on Jan. 25. Photo: Suhaimi Abdullah/Getty Images
Prayer at the Vihara Satya Dharma Temple on Jan. 25 in Bali, Indonesia. Photo: Mahendra Moonstar/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
A lion dance on Jan. 25 in Yokohama, Japan. Photo: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images
Dragon dancers celebrate in Bangkok, Thailand. Photo: Anusak Laowilas/NurPhoto via Getty Images
A Chinese dragon in Moscow's Sokolniki Park. Photo: Alexander Shcherbak\TASS via Getty Images
Prayer at Amurva Bhumi Temple on Jan. 25 in Jakarta, Indonesia. Photo: Anton Raharjo/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
Myanmar people attend a Lunar New Year celebration on Jan. 25 in Yangon, Burma. Photo: Lauren DeCicca/Getty Images
Prime Minister Boris Johnson hosts celebrations outside 10 Downing Street on Jan. 24. Photo: Lauren Hurley/Getty Images
Fireworks over the midtown Manhattan skyline celebrating the Lunar New Year on Jan. 23. Photo: Gary Hershorn/Getty Images
A man wears a protective face mask outside Beijing's Forbidden City on Jan. 25. Photo: Nicolas Asfouri/AFP via Getty Images

Go deeper: Fear of Virus Ruins the ‘Happiest Day’ for Millions of Chinese (NYT)

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24 mins ago - Health

239 scientists call on WHO to recognize coronavirus as airborne

People walk at the boardwalk in Venice Beach. Photo: Apu Gomes/AFP via Getty Images

A group of 239 scientists in 32 countries is calling for the World Health Organization to revise its recommendations to account for airborne transmission as a significant factor in how the coronavirus spreads, the New York Times reports.

The big picture: The WHO has said the virus mainly spreads via large respiratory droplets that fall to the ground once they've been discharged in coughs and sneezes. But the scientists say evidence shows the virus can spread from smaller particles that linger in air indoors.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 a.m. ET: 11,294,859 — Total deaths: 531,419 — Total recoveries — 6,078,552Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9 a.m. ET: 2,839,917 — Total deaths: 129,676 — Total recoveries: 894,325 — Total tested: 34,858,427Map.
  3. States: Photos of America's pandemic July 4 ICU beds in Arizona hot spot near capacity.
  4. Public health: U.S. coronavirus infections hit record highs for 3 straight days.
  5. Politics: Trump extends PPP application deadlineKimberly Guilfoyle tests positive.
  6. World: Mexican leaders call for tighter border control as infections rise in U.S.
  7. Sports: 31 MLB players test positive as workouts resume.
  8. 1 📽 thing: Drive-in movie theaters are making a comeback.

Protesters toss Columbus statue into Baltimore’s Inner Harbor

Christopher Columbus statue in Columbus Piazza in Little Italy on April 9, 2015 in Baltimore. Photo: Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

Protesters in Baltimore on Saturday toppled a statue of Christopher Columbus and tossed it into the city's Inner Harbor, the Baltimore Sun reports.

Why it matters: It's the latest monument toppled by demonstrators during the protests against racism and police brutality. Statues of Confederate soldiers and slave owners have been a flashpoint in the protests.