Hospitals in New York City, the nation’s current epicenter of the Covid-19 outbreak, are facing shortages of beds, ventilators and protective equipment for medical staff. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Here’s what you need to know about the coronavirus outbreak to navigate the markets today.
• Republican leaders in the House and Senate opposeanother relief package to fight against the economic damage of the coronavirus pandemic. “I know the speaker is trying to talk about a fourth bill,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said on a conference call with reporters, referring to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif) support of additional aid. “I don’t think that’s appropriate at this time.” In the Senate, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) described Pelosi’s call for an even-bigger fourth package as “premature” in an interview with the Washington Post on Wednesday. On Wednesday, President Donald Trump tweeted his support for additional spending focused on infrastructure.
• The Democratic National Convention has been postponed until August 17, a little more than a month later than its initial July 13 start date. The decision comes after former Vice President Joe Biden, who is leading the primary, called for the party’s convention to be delayed because of the coronavirus outbreak.
• New York state has enough ventilators to last the next 6 days, Governor Andrew Cuomo said at his press conference Thursday. The state currently has 2,200 ventilators in its stockpile and currently about 350 patients come in “every night who need a ventilator,” the governor said.
• 6.6 million Americans filed unemployment claims last week. Economists had expected the data to show that 3.1 million Americans lost their jobs last week, according to a Wall Street Journal survey of economists. The latest initial jobless claims number was far worse than last week’s 3.3 million claims and shows the stunning speed of the economic meltdown due to the coronavirus outbreak.
• Oil prices are surging about 16%, after President Donald Trump said in a tweet that he’d spoken to Russian and Saudi leaders and that “I expect & hope that they will be cutting back approximately 10 Million Barrels, and maybe substantially more,” adding weight to optimism that the two countries will reach a truce on oil production.
• U.S. stocks were mixed, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average down 14 points, or 0.1%, while the S&P 500 gained 0.2%. The Nasdaq Composite slipped 0.3%.
• The total number of worldwide coronavirus cases is near 1 million as of Thursday morning, according to a Johns Hopkins data tracker.
FDA Approves the First Coronavirus Antibody Test
The first test for coronavirus antibodies has been approved by the FDA under emergency use authorization.
The test, known as a serology test, analyzes blood drawn from a patient’s vein to identify the antibodies produced by the body to fight the Covid-19. The test can only be performed by a certified lab.
The FDA has said in the past that this kind of test is likely to be better at finding older infections rather than more recent ones because of how long it takes the body’s immune system to develop antibodies in response to an infection.
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