The COVID-19 Pandemic: US Cases Skyrocket; Wall Street Turmoil Continues; Stimulus Package Fails; and More

World News:

COVID-19 numbers are skyrocketing by the day, with no reprieve in sight. The number of both confirmed cases and deaths soared over the weekend. According to Worldometer, there are now over 353,000 confirmed cases across the globe and 15,418 confirmed deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus as of today.

The virus continues to cause the most devastation in Europe, where Italy reported 651 new deaths on Sunday, bringing their death toll to 5,476 (with 59,138 confirmed cases), the highest of any country. In response, the Italian government has now agreed that the military can be used to help enforce the lockdown. The president of the Lombardy region, Attilio Fontana, the region worst affected by COVID-19, told a news conference on Friday that: “The request to use the army has been accepted… and 114 soldiers will be on the ground throughout Lombardy… it is still too little, but it is positive,” Fontana said. “Unfortunately we are not seeing a change of trend in the numbers, which are rising.”

Spain, Europe’s second worst hit country, suffered a two-fold rise in the death toll over the weekend, bringing its mortality numbers to over 2,000 on Monday (with over 33,000 confirmed cases). The Spanish government imposed a strict 15-day period of restrictions to combat the virus’ spread, and citizens are only permitted to leave their homes to commute, buy essentials, or provide care. Moreover, Spain’s deputy prime minister, Carmen Calvo, was hospitalized on Sunday after developing a respiratory infection. “The deputy Prime Minister went to a hospital yesterday afternoon and after medical tests were carried out doctors decided she had to remain there to receive treatment for a respiratory infection,” a Spanish government spokesperson said.

National News:

“It’s Going to Get Bad.”

The United States surpassed Spain over the weekend, and now has the third most confirmed cases of any country at over 35,000. New York accounts for more than half of all US cases at 20,875, and has overtaken Washington for the most US fatalities (157). Washington stands at 1,996 confirmed cases and 95 deaths, while New Jersey rounds out the top three most affected states at 1,194 cases and 21 deaths. There are now 33 US states with over 100 confirmed cases, and the following states outside the top three have over 200 confirmed cases: California (1,802); Florida (1,171); Illinois (1,049); Michigan (1,035); Louisiana (837); Texas (719); Massachusetts (646); Georgia (620); Colorado (591); Tennessee (505); Pennsylvania (479); Wisconsin (381); Ohio (351); Connecticut (327); North Carolina (307); Maryland (288); Indiana (259); Mississippi (249); and Virginia (219). Today, US Surgeon General Jerome Adams warned the nation on NBC’s “Today” show when he said: “I want America to understand — this week, it’s going to get bad.”

Monday, March 23, 2020

Fed Takes Emergency Action

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. “The coronavirus pandemic is causing tremendous hardship across the United States and around the world,” the Fed said in a statement. The combined programs will provide up to $300 billion in new financing to an economy becoming ever-crippled by the effects of COVID-19.

Stocks in the Red

Stocks are 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% as of midday – signs that the stimulus package gridlock (more on that below) has overshadowed the Fed’s new plan of monetary infusion.

 

Three Therapy Trials Set to Begin in New York

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that the state will initiate three studies for potential COVID-19 treatments this week. Cuomo also announced that the state is working on a blood test to determine if a person has already had the coronavirus and subsequently recovered. “We believe thousands and thousands of people have had the virus and self-resolved. If you knew that, you would know who is now immune to the virus and who you can send back to work,” the governor said during a briefing Monday.

 

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Stimulus Package Fails to Pass

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 Shutters Non-Essential Businesses, Cancels Gatherings

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed two executive orders on Saturday which scraps all non-approved gatherings and shutters all non-essential retail businesses. Bars and restaurants across the state closed and may only provide take-out or delivery. The order mandates that all businesses must accommodate for telework or other at-home work arrangements wherever possible. “We recognize the impact today’s order will have on our small businesses, who are the backbone of our economy,” said Gov. Murphy. “We remain committed to working with you to ensure you have the help and resources you and your employees will need, going forward throughout this emergency & beyond.”

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.