Global markets sank Wednesday following a dire outlook from President Donald Trump on the outbreak in the United States late Tuesday, with the Dow opening down 900 points.
[Stock market news live: Stocks fall after Trump warns of ‘painful two weeks’]
“This is going to be a rough two-week period,” Trump said. “It’s a matter of life and death, frankly.”
The White House coronavirus task force outlined its modeling of the virus, which showed up to 240,000 people could die from the outbreak in the U.S., even with social distancing measures in place to flatten the curve. New York and New Jersey are climbing higher rapidly in their positive case count, while other major cities and metros wait to see how badly they will be hit.
Trump said parts of the country could start seeing surges in the next couple of weeks, just as New York expects to hit its apex, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Cuomo today announced the case count in the the state has surged past 83,000, compared to 75,000 the day before.
This, as New York City is strained under the existing outbreak which is likely to worsen— a problem Cuomo blames on city residents using playgrounds and playing sports in groups, rather than using open spaces like parks. As a result, playgrounds are likely to shut down.
That will put the focus on the needs of frontline health workers, he said. “The crisis has come down to hospital management and enforcing social distancing,” Cuomo said.
The global case count has surged past 900,000 with more than 44,000 deaths, of which nearly 25% are in Italy. The U.S. is nearing 200,000 cases, according to Johns Hopkins University.
The markets started the new quarter back in the red Wednesday as the financial world braces for more bad news in initial jobless claims due Friday. Estimates range upwards from 5.5 million in the expected report.
Meanwhile, economists are weighing the jobless claims against the efforts to balance effects from the Federal Reserve and Congress.
In a note Tuesday, Goldman Sachs wrote, “On the other hand, both monetary and fiscal policy are easing dramatically further, which will tend to contain these second-round effects and add to growth down the road. The Phase 3 fiscal package was much bigger than we had expected, we now anticipate a Phase 4 package focused on state fiscal aid, and the Fed is likely to use the $454 billion addition to the Treasury’s Exchange Stabilization Fund aggressively to sustain the flow of credit to private-sector and municipal borrowers.”
Home Depot (HD) became the latest business to announce changes to its shopping experience amid the outbreak, including temperature checks and early closing times. The company will stop selling face masks and instead donate them to the frontline where they are needed.
Costco (COST), meanwhile, is reducing the number of people to two who can enter a store per membership card.
Walmart (WMT) this week also announced one-way aisles and temperature checks for employees and at some distribution centers.
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