Posted in: Market News
Published:
February 13, 2020 12:03 PM UTC

Dow Tumbles as U.S. Warned of 100,000s of Coronavirus Cases

Health experts urged Congress to prepare for widespread coronavirus outbreak in the U.S. which could number in the hundreds of thousands.

  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) plunged from its record high on Thursday.
  • Health experts told the Senate to brace for “hundreds of thousands” of U.S. coronavirus cases.
  • China reported a parabolic rise in deaths and cases after changing its diagnostic methodology.

After a record-breaking day on the stock market on Wednesday, the Dow Jones took a brutal fall when trading resumed on Thursday.

It comes as U.S. health experts urged Congress to take the coronavirus threat more seriously. According to one testimony, there are likely seven or eight unknown cases for every confirmed infection.

Asha George, executive director of the Bipartisan Commission on Biodefense, warned:

It may be hundreds of thousands of cases (in the U.S. eventually).

Speaking before the Senate Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committee, a number of experts agreed the threat to the U.S. is underestimated and under-reported.

Dow tumbles on Thursday

The Dow Jones dove off its record highs on Thursday, though it pared its losses following a brutal opening bell drop.

As of 9:53 am ET, the Dow had lost 111.8 points or 0.38% to settle at 29,439.62.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) tumbled from its record high on Thursday. | Source: Yahoo Finance

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq also struggled, falling 0.25% and 0.34%, respectively.

U.S. coronavirus outbreaks to emerge in ‘two-four weeks’

The U.S. has now reported 14 confirmed cases of the deadly virus. But health experts believe the real figures are much higher as the virus can be transmitted even while undetected for 10-14 days.

Scott Gottlieb, former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, said there are “certainly cases we don’t know about,” and that we’re only “capturing 25 percent of cases at best.” He urged the committee to expand testing and warned them to expect a wider outbreak.

We’re going to see those outbreaks start to emerge in the next two to four weeks.

If it spreads in the U.S., there could be a drag on the Dow Jones and economy.

Recent data releases have forecasted a positive outlook for U.S. growth. On Thursday, unemployment claims (205,000) narrowly beat expectations (210,000). Core inflation hit the consensus 0.2% target.

Economists worry that the picture could suddenly darken as the impact of the coronavirus begins to filter out of China and into the global economy. That’s especially true if the disease goes viral in the U.S.

Luciana Borio, former director for medical and biodefense preparedness at the National Security Council, agreed. He said the real number of cases is “much, much higher” than reported.

We need to brace ourselves for difficult weeks or months to come… We’re going to see a lot more cases in the United States in the near future.

Source: Twitter

Stock markets rattled as China reports parabolic rise in virus

China confirmed overnight what many had already suspected: the infection rate is significantly higher than first thought. Almost 15,000 new cases were reported overnight, taking the global toll to 60,000.

The numbers spiked after China changed the way it diagnosed the virus. Additional cases were confirmed in the U.S. and London. Julie Gerberding, former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, warned that America is not yet prepared for the looming pandemic.

We simply don’t have the surge capacity to handle a widespread outbreak. Now is the time to be “leaning in.”

With additional reporting by Josiah Wilmoth

This article was edited by Samburaj Das.

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Last modified: February 13, 2020 2:57 PM UTC

Ben Brown @_ben_brown

Ben is a journalist with a decade of experience covering financial markets. Based in London, UK, his writing has appeared in The Huffington Post and he was Chief Editor at Block Explorer, the world's longest-running source of Blockchain data. Reach him at benjamin-brown.uk or on Twitter at _Ben_Brown. Email ben @ benjamin-brown.uk.

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