'American Idol' Production Suspended, Contestants Head Home to Families Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

American Idol is the latest show to be affected by the coronavirus pandemic, and is suspending production effective immediately, TVLine reports. A source shared that filming has been stopped to ensure that contestants can get home to their families, while production is still working remotely and has been doing so since last week.

Season 3 of the ABC singing competition will continue airing as scheduled through the beginning of its live shows, which are scheduled to begin on March 30. Idol currently airs Sundays and Mondays at 8 p.m. ET and producers "will continue to evaluate things on a week-to-week basis." Deadline reports that the decision to suspend production was made following Los Angeles County's new guidelines to help slow the spread of the coronavirus including prohibiting large gatherings.

Sources say that the show had already ruled out having an audience for its first live show due to the coronavirus, but it's now unclear how the competition will proceed. NBC's The Voice is in a similar situation, though it has more time to decide what to do about its own live shows, which are slated to begin on May 4.

American Idol is just one of many shows to have shut down production amid the coronavirus. Other programs that have suspended filming include Riverdale, The Handmaid's Tale, Survivor, The Amazing Race, The Bachelorette, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, The Kelly Clarkson Show, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel Live, Saturday Night Live, Grey's Anatomy and many more.

Festivals have been canceled, concerts have been postponed, stores have closed, sporting events, including this year's NCAA tournament, have been canceled, several leagues have suspended their seasons including the NBA and NHL and a number of movies have had their release dates pushed back as a result of the pandemic. In addition, multiple cities have ordered the closure of businesses such as bars and gyms which means that thousands of people are currently without work.

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There are currently over 200,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 worldwide and cases have been reported in all 50 states of the U.S. On Tuesday, the number of confirmed U.S. cases passed 5,000 but a study published on Monday in the journal Science estimates that the true number could be between five to 10 times higher than that. The study suggests that undiagnosed cases are a massive driver of the virus, and the United States' issues with testing are proving it difficult to confirm just how many cases there truly are.

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