US leads in cases as outbreak surpasses 550K; historic $2.2T stimulus deal passes House

The U.S. is leading the world in the number of reported coronavirus cases, surpassing 85,000 Friday, with nearly one-quarter of cases emerging in New York City alone. The worldwide case count has surpassed 550,000, and the death toll has surged past 25,000. Italy has reported more than 8,000 deaths.

Meanwhile in the U.K., Prime Minister Boris Johnson is in isolation after contracting the virus, and a number of top government officials have also tested positive. Prince Charles tested positive for the virus earlier this week.

China, which has not reported new cases this month, has been adversely affected by the slowdown in Europe and the U.S. as the pandemic has taken a grip on those economies. It has now seen orders dry up or be put on hold as companies shut down and events are canceled globally.

The only way to ease shutdowns is to implement strong testing and surveillance measures to isolate the areas of the country that are hardest hit, World Health Organization officials said on Friday.

Coronavirus cases around the world

This week, the U.S. major cities in the U.S. increased testing, leading to alarming numbers and concerning trends in New Orleans, Atlanta, Chicago and other major cities.

Meanwhile, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a $2.2 trillion stimulus package Friday afternoon, sending it to President Donald Trump’s desk.

U.S. markets

All three major indices spiked Friday after the bill passed the House but could not maintain gains seen the past few days.

The pressure from the global pandemic continues to weigh on markets, in light of the unprecedented economic stimulus, and actions from the Federal Reserve.

Skyrocketing jobless claims on Thursday reflected what ZipRecruiter labor economist Julia Pollack previously predicted.

“We know, from previous recessions that when that changes, and when companies start laying off [workers] … job losses can be much deeper and much more rapid,” she said.

Supply shortage

Meanwhile, a number of companies are replying to the call to manufacture supplies, including medical devices such as ventilators, for health workers on the frontline.

GM (GM) came under fire Friday when Trump tweeted about the company’s inability to meet a quick turnaround time for 40,000 ventilators, which Trump said was reduced to 6,000, to meet the growing demand around the country.

In response, GM tweeted, “We are poised to deliver the first ventilators next month with capacity of more than 10,000 monthly.”

Ford (F), in partnership with 3M (MMM), is also set to produce ventilators to help with the outbreak.

Meanwhile, Bloomberg reported Friday that Carnival Cruise Lines is in talks to raise as much as $7 billion in new debt, as demand for the industry has dried up. The industry was also left out of the stimulus package as a last minute change excluded companies not domiciled in the U.S.

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