The COVID-19 Pandemic: U.S. Cases Spike by 40%; Market Turmoil Persists; Plans for Relief Money; and more

“The single biggest threat to man’s continued dominance on this planet is the virus,” once wrote Nobel Prize-winning biologist Joshua Lederberg. With each passing day, that quote appears as salient as ever. COVID-19 continues its reign of destruction – there are now over 225,000 confirmed cases worldwide and the confirmed death toll is nearing 10,000. The virus is affecting 176 countries and has a foothold on every continent short of Antartica. The novel coronavirus shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon, and reality has begun to set in that the global war on this contagion is only beginning…

World News

The numbers show that China now has 80,928 cases and 3,245 deaths. Italy and Iran remain in the top 3 of most afflicted countries; with the former affected with 35,713 confirmed cases (2,978 deaths) and the latter having 18,407 confirmed cases (1,284 deaths). Iran’s Health Ministry estimated that COVID-19 is killing one Iranian every 10 minutes and approximately 50 Iranians are contracting the virus every hour. Deputy Health Minister Alireza Reisi was quoted as saying that 147 people died over a 24-hour period, and the virus has killed 10 doctors and nurses in Iran.

The virus continues its assault on Spain, with 17,147 confirmed cases and 767 confirmed deaths – as mortalities in the country spiked up from 169. “These are difficult days,” said Fernando Simón, the head of the country’s health emergency center. “These are the days where will continue to see the number of cases rise.”

Germany reported 756 new cases, bringing its total to 13,083 confirmed. Lothar Wieler , head of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) said of the pandemic: “If we don’t succeed in effectively limiting social contact in the coming weeks, it is possible that we will have up to 10 million cases in Germany in the next two to three months.” He added that such a development could lead to collapse of the country’s healthcare system.

National News

In a startling increase, more than 2,700 new cases were recorded in the U.S. in a 24-hour period from Wednesday morning to Thursday morning, according to a CNN report. The 40% soar in confirmed cases comes as the result of increased testing and a rise in community spread. As this article goes to publish, the U.S. totals sit at 9,479 confirmed cases and at least 155 confirmed dead.  New York continues to lead the nation in confirmed cases (3,086) while Washington remains the state with the highest number of deaths (68). There are now 20 confirmed deaths in NYC and 1,187 cases in Washington. Other states with greater than 100 cases include: California (890); New Jersey (427); Florida (328); Illinois (290); Louisiana (280); Massachusetts (256); Texas (222); Colorado (221); Georgia (197); Pennsylvania (157); Michigan (147); Wisconsin (115); and Tennessee (100).

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Stimulus Package Update

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin laid out details of the Trump administration’s plan to send relief money to Americans amid the coronavirus pandemic. He stated in a Fox Business Network interview that the plan is to send direct payments to Americans totaling $500 billion. “The first one would be $1,000 per person, $500 per child,” Mnuchin said. “So for a family of four, that’s a $3,000 payment.”

He added that: “As soon as Congress passes this, we get this out in three weeks. And then, six weeks later, if the president still has a national emergency, we’ll deliver another $3,000.”


Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Market Volatility Continues

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a devastating effect on financial markets as businesses are forced to shut down and more and more customers and employees remain home. 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.

COVID-19 Devastates New Jersey Family

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. It is believed the family’s infections were transmitted at a family dinner earlier this month. Grace Fusco’s oldest daughter, Rita-Fusco-Jackson, 55, of Freehold, NJ passed on Friday. Shortly after, Grace’s son, Carmine Fusco, of Bath, PA also succumbed to the virus. Overall, nearly 20 other relatives are quarantined separately – unable to properly grieve as a family.


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.