The COVID-19 Pandemic: Stimulus Package Update; Olympics Postponed; UK on Strict Lockdown; and More

The number of people affected by COVID-19 continues to climb each day, pushing health care systems around the world to their limits. According to Worldometer, there are now over 396,000 confirmed cases across the globe and 17,244 confirmed deaths from the SARS-CoV-2 virus that started in Wuhan, China at the end of last year. Here’s the latest on COVID-19 news from across the globe.

World News:

UK Goes on Lockdown

United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson imposed the most stringent restrictions seen in the UK since the end of World War II on Monday.”From this evening I must give the British people a very simple instruction — you must stay at home,” Johnson said. “Because the critical thing we must do is stop the disease spreading between households.” Prime Minister Johnson said that British citizens “will only be allowed to leave their home for the following very limited purposes,” he added, listing four reasons for which citizens can go outside: shopping for basic necessities, completing one form of exercise a day, providing medical services, or going to work if it is absolutely vital. The UK currently has 8,077 confirmed cases and 422 deaths.

 

Olympics Postponed

In an unprecedented move, the Olympic Games were postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic for about a year, according to an ESPN report. This marks the first time in history the Olympics have been postponed or cancelled due to anything other than war. The opening ceremony was previously scheduled for July 24. “[T]he IOC president and the Prime Minister of Japan have concluded that the Games … must be rescheduled to a date beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021, to safeguard the health of the athletes, everybody involved in the Olympic Games and the international community,” said a joint statement by the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee and the IOC.

 

Italy Turning the Corner?

Although COVID-19 persists in hitting Italy hard (63,927 cases and 6,077 deaths), the numbers indicate that the Italians might be turning the tide on the novel coronavirus. The number of confirmed cases dropped by 771 on Monday, a sign that lockdown measures are beginning to work. “The measures we took two weeks ago are starting to have an effect,” Angelo Borrelli, Italy’s top coronavirus response official, said in an interview with the La Republica daily.

Dire Conditions in Spain

Unfortunately, Spain is on a grimmer trajectory, after confirming 6,600 cases and more than 500 deaths overnight. The total number of confirmed cases and deaths in Spain now stands at  39,673 (cases), and 2,696 (mortalities). Spanish authorities now say that the country cannot cope with the degree of infections, of which around 14 percent are among health workers, and decided to transform the Palacio de Hielo mall, home to an Olympic-sized ice rink, into a morgue.

Other countries notably affected include:

  • Germany: 31,370 confirmed cases; 133 confirmed deaths.
  • Iran: 24,811 confirmed cases; 1,934 confirmed deaths.
  • France: 19,856 confirmed cases; 860 confirmed deaths.
  • Switzerland: 9,117 confirmed cases; 122 confirmed deaths.
  • South Korea: 9,037 confirmed cases; 120 confirmed deaths.

National News:

COVID-19 continues its assault on the US health system, as America now stands third on the list of most infections with 46,274 confirmed, with a death toll that has risen to almost 600. New York still accounts for more than half of all US cases at 25,665, and overtook Washington for the most US fatalities (183). New Jersey has surpassed Washington for number two in confirmed cases at 2,844 (with  27 deaths). Washington stands at 2,221 confirmed cases and 110 deaths.

The following states outside the top three have over 300 confirmed cases: California (2,220); Michigan (1,328); Illinois (1,285); Florida (1,227); Louisiana (1,172); Texas (826); Georgia (803); Massachusetts; Colorado (720); Pennsylvania (644); Tennessee (615); Ohio (442); Wisconsin (416); Connecticut (415); North Carolina (410); and Indiana (365).

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Wall Street Rallies Around Hope of Stimulus Package

Wall Street rebounded on Tuesday amid hopes that lawmakers are finalizing the $2 trillion stimulus package designed to infuse life into the economy by helping American workers and businesses. The Dow Jones Industrial Average soared by 1,400 points, or 8%, while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq both saw modest gains at around 5%. Of the Stimulus Package, which is still in negotiations, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said: “I think we’re very hopeful that this can be closed out tomorrow.” Mnuchin however cautioned that there still remains a few “open issues.”

Monday, March 23, 2020

‘We Cannot Let the Cure be Worse than the Problem’

President Trump is contemplating reopening the economy for weeks instead of months. “We can’t have the cure be worse than the problem,” Trump told reporters at a briefing Monday, echoing a midnight Sunday tweet. “We have to open our country because that causes problems that, in my opinion, could be far bigger problems.” Health experts continue to admonish that unless Americans continue to dramatically limit social interactions, the number of cases threatens to overwhelm the US health care system.

 

  • The Federal Reserve is accelerating plans to rescue the economy and stave off a possible depression by announcing unlimited bond-buying, three new credit facilities and a upcoming Main Street lending program.
  • Stocks were deep in the red at midday Monday, wit the Dow down almost 4%, or 770 points, the S&P 500 down 4%, and the Nasdaq Composite down 2.4%.
  • New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that the state will initiate three studies for potential COVID-19 treatments this week.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

  • Plans to advance a $1 trillion aid package failed to pass on Sunday. President Trump, however, remains optimistic saying “We’ll see what happens. I think we’ll get there. We have to help the worker. We have to save the companies.” A second vote has been been scheduled for Monday.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

  • New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed two executive orders on Saturday which scraps all non-approved gatherings and shutters all non-essential retail businesses.

Per USA Today, here’s a look at the latest stay-at-home orders, as of Sunday:

  • Delaware Gov. John Carney ordered residents to stay at home and closed nonessential businesses in the state starting Tuesday at 8 a.m.
  • Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear ordered ‘nonessential’ businesses to close
  • Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards imposed a statewide stay-at-home order, effective 5 p.m. Monday.
  • Ohio will impose a statewide stay-at-home mandate, effective 11:59 p.m. Monday, Gov. Mike DeWine announced.
  • Philadelphia became the latest city to order its residents to stay home, a mandate that goes into effect at 8 a.m. Monday and exempts activities like buying groceries and medicine, seeking medical care and exercising.
  • Missouri’s two largest cities issued stay-at-home orders Saturday. St. Louis’ mandate, which also applies to St. Louis County, begins Monday, and the one for Kansas City and its metro area goes into effect Tuesday.
  • New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell directed residents to stay at home beginning Friday.
  • San Miguel County, Colorado, is under a shelter-in-place order until April 3.
  • Athens-Clarke County, Georgia, is under a shelter-in-place order until April 7.
  • Blaine County, Idaho, is under a shelter-in-place order.

Friday, March 20, 2020

  • On Friday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo ordered all non-essential workers across the state to remain at home. New York also implemented a 90-day moratorium on evictions for both residential and commercial tenants.
  • President Trump said he will trigger the Defense Production Act to accelerate the production of medical supplies to combat the pandemic.The act would enable the administration to force American industry to manufacture medical supplies that are running dangerously short.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

  • California Governor Gavin Newsom ordered all California residents to stay home on Thursday, making them the first state to impose that strict mandate on its population – a population of nearly 40 million people.
  • President Trump announced on Thursday that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is developing experimental drugs, including those used to treat malaria, available to test on COVID-19.
  • Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin laid out details of the Trump administration’s plan to send relief money to Americans amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

  • The Dow fell 6.3% by close of Wednesday trading – losing 1,335 points and falling to 19,902. The S&P 500 index took a 5.2% hit on Wednesday, and the Nasdaq composite lost 4.7% on Wednesday, falling 6,989 points.
  • The virus has taken a terrible toll on one New Jersey family – claiming the life of its matriarch, 73-year-old Grace Fusco, as well as her oldest son and daughter.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

  • The Trump Administration supported a plan that would send checks directly to American citizens as part of a $1 trillion stimulus package designed to infuse life into the economy while aiding households and businesses in need.
  • New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio warned New Yorkers on Tuesday to “get ready for the possibility” of a shelter-in-place order as the number of confirmed cases in the five boroughs soars.
  • The World Health Organization is now recommending that people experiencing COVID-19 symptoms should avoid taking ibuprofen, after French officials warned that anti-inflammatory drugs may exacerbate effects of the virus.
  • National Basketball Association (NBA) superstar and former Most Valuable Player (MVP) Kevin Durant, tested positive for COVID-19 along with four other players on the Brooklyn Nets.

Monday, March 16, 2020

  • On Monday, the number of COVID-19 cases in America spiked beyond 4,000.
  • Six Bay Area counties were ordered to “shelter in place” on Monday – the strictest measure of its kind in the U.S. thus far.
  • The Dow recorded its worst one-day point plummet in history on Monday – dropping 2,997 points, or 12.9%. The S&P 500 plunged 12%, its worst day since 1987. According to the VIX metric, a gauge of stock market volatility, the COVID-triggered mayhem surpasses what the market experienced during the 2008 financial crisis.
  • U.S. researchers administered the first shots of an experimental COVID-19 vaccine, code named mRNA-1273, on Monday to a woman from Seattle. Dr. Anthony Fauci of the U.S. National Institutes of Health cautioned that even if the research is successful, a vaccine would not be available to the public use for another 12 to 18 months.
  • Governors in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut mutually decided to shut down all non-essential businesses.
  • New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy issued a curfew from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. that restricts travel for all NJ residents, making NJ the first U.S. state to do so.
  • Actor Idris Elba disclosed to the world that he tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday morning. The star of “Luther” said that feels “OK” and so far isn’t presenting any symptoms. Elba has been isolated since last Friday after being exposed to someone who tested positive.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and government agencies are reported that there are over 3,400 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S., and 69 deaths. “For a while, life is not going to be the way it used to be in the United States, said” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday morning. “We have to just accept that if we want to do what’s best for the American public.”
  • New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Sunday that the city will close its public school system through at least April 20 and possibly for the remainder of the year in the hopes of combating the spread of COVID-19. The NYC school system stands as the nation’s largest – comprised of nearly 1,900 public schools and over 1.1 million children.
  • The Federal Reserve slashed interest rates to zero percent and purchased $700 billion in bonds and securities in an attempt to stabilize the economy.
  • The CDC laid out new guidelines on Sunday strongly urging Americans to cancel or postpone any in-person events that consist of 50 people or more.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

  • The White House announced on Saturday that the U.S. has added the United Kingdom and Ireland to its European travel ban list.
  • President Trump tested negative for COVID-19 on Saturday, according to the president’s personal physician. The President took the test after having direct contact with three people who subsequently tested positive for the virus.
  • Beginning Sunday, Walmart reduced its operating hours at all stories and Neighborhood Markets until further notice. This change only affects 24-hour stores, as any Walmart which had already been operating with reduced hours will continue to do so. Apple also announced that it will close all its retail stores outside of Greater China until March 27, while Nike decided to temporarily close all its stores in the U.S. for a period of 12 days.

Friday, March 13, 2020

Thursday, March 12, 2020

  • Ohio, Maryland, Michigan, and the large urban school districts of Seattle and San Francisco are shut down all K-12 schools in an attempt to slow COVID-19’s spread.
  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 2,352 points on Thursday following President Trump’s announced 30-day travel ban on visitors from European countries.
  • The NCAA decided to cancel the 2020 men’s and women’s basketball tournaments this year.
  • The National Hockey League (NHL) paused the remainder of the 2019-2020 season, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman announced on Thursday.
  • Major League Baseball (MLB) decided to suspend Spring Training and games and delay the start of the 2020 regular season, according to baseball Commissioner Robert D. Manfred Jr.
  • Utah Jazz star Donovan Mitchell became the second player to test positive.
  • Disneyland announced on the closure of Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park through the end of March. Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Orlando Resort also announced temporary closures beginning on March 14.
  • The wife of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday. Therefore, the Prime Minister vowed to keep himself and his wife in isolation for 14 days.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

  • WHO officially characterizes COVID-19 as a pandemic.
  • President Trump addresses the nation and announces a temporary travel ban from 26 countries in Europe over the next 30 days (effective Friday, March 13 at midnight).
  • The NBA suspends its 2019-2020 regular season after Utah Jazz player, Rudy Gobert, tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Oscar-winning movie star Tom Hanks and his wife, Rita Wilson, both test positive for COVID-19 while on set in Australia.

DocWire News will provide breaking updates on the COVID-19 pandemic as they become available.