The coronavirus pandemic brought about pandemonium on Wednesday night.
That figures to be bad news for U.S. stock markets on Thursday.
In the aftermath of a dizzying single hour that included President Donald Trump announcing a European travel ban for 30 days during a nationally televised address from the Oval Office and the NBA suspending its season after a Utah Jazz player tested positive for coronavirus, Dow futures dropped more than 1,000 points — a worrying sign that U.S. stocks could further slip after the longest-running bull market came to an abrupt end on Wednesday.
The Twitter announcement by beloved actor Tom Hanks that he and his wife, Rita Wilson, tested positive for coronavirus while in Australia added to Wednesday night's flurry of unnerving news, as did the first reported positive case on Capitol Hill, a staffer for Democratic Sen. Maria Cantwell of Washington state.
All that came after the World Health Organization declared coronavirus as a pandemic to start the day amid a rising number of deaths and confirmed cases around the world. The U.S. death toll was at 38 early Thursday, with more than 1,310 confirmed cases, and all but six states were infected after Arkansas, Mississippi and Wyoming were among the states to report their first encounters.
The only states without reported cases, according to USA TODAY data gathering: Alabama, Alaska, Idaho, Maine, North Dakota and West Virginia.
Here's the latest on the outbreak of COVID-19:
Speaking of pandemics: What does that mean, and what took so long?
Coronavirus, explained: Everything to know, from symptoms to how to prepare
The Europe travel ban: What you need to know
Dine out or eat in during the coronavirus crisis? Here's what public health and food safety experts say
Donald Trump details US coronavirus response plan in televised address
On Tuesday, President Donald Trump attempted to downplay the spread of coronavirus in the U.S.: "It will go away," he said. "Just stay calm."
He struck a different tone on Wednesday night in a prime-time address, restricting passenger travel from 26 European nationals to the U.S. beginning late Friday and urging Americans to wash their hands and practice good hygiene.
“We are all in this together,” Trump said.
The president's response plan also included, among other things:
• Paid sick leave: Trump said he plans to take emergency action soon to provide financial relief to workers who are quarantined or caring for others due to coronavirus. He added he would be asking Congress to take legislative action to extend the relief
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Editor-in-chief Nicole Carroll gives an inside look at the week's must reads.
• Small business loans: Trump said he is instructing the Small Business Administration to provide capital and loans to businesses affected by coronavirus, effective immediately. He added he's asking Congress to increase funding for this program by an additional $50 billion to help those businesses hardest hit by economic uncertainty over the virus.
• Payroll taxes: He called on Congress to provide Americans with “immediate payroll tax relief,” and implored lawmakers to “consider this very strongly” despite bipartisan pushback that idea received Wednesday.
– Courtney Subramanian and John Fritze
Dow Jones falls into bear market for first time since financial crisis
The Dow Jones industrial average hadn't been in bear territory for 11 years — until Wednesday.
With the ongoing coronavirus outbreak as a backdrop, the Dow suffered its largest decline since the financial crisis of 2007-08, falling 1,465 points to close at 23,553.22. The Standard & Poor's 500 index also plunged again Wednesday but narrowly avoiding its first bear market since the financial crisis.
"This is the swiftest fall from grace that I’ve ever seen," says Megan Horneman, director of portfolio strategy at Maryland-based Verdence Capital Advisors. "We would have never forecast it would be the coronavirus that could take this market down.
The average decline in bears since 1929 is roughly 40%, according to S&P Dow Jones Indices.
– Adam Shell and Josh Rivera
NBA suspends season after Utah Jazz player tests positive for coronavirus
The NBA announced Wednesday night it is suspending its season after a Utah Jazz player tested positive for coronavirus.
The league said it is halting operations “following the conclusion of tonight’s schedule of games until further notice. The NBA will use this hiatus to determine next steps for moving forward in regard to the coronavirus pandemic.”
While the league did not name the Jazz player in its news release, a person familiar with the situation confirmed it was Utah center Rudy Gobert. The person requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly because of the sensitive nature of the situation.