During a news conference Monday, US President Donald Trump announced new economic stimuli, including payroll tax cuts and loans to small businesses, amid the economic turmoil caused by the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak.
Trump also said that he will be meeting with Senate and House Republicans Tuesday to discuss “very substantial relief” measures to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus.
In addition, Trump noted that hourly wage earners will be supported amid the coronavirus outbreak if they need to miss work. “We’re also going to be talking about hourly wage earners getting help so that they can be in a position where they aren’t ever going to miss a paycheck,” Trump said, adding that the government would be working with companies “so that they don’t get penalized for something that’s not their fault.”
Trump’s announcement comes after the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) finished Monday with its worst loss since December 2008 and the Dow Jones slid by more than 2,000 points due to the coronavirus and the associated quarantines, travel restrictions and decreased trade.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average declined by 2013.76 points, while the S&P 500 decreased by 225.81. The Nasdaq Composite slid by 624.94 points, Sputnik reported.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) last Thursday revealed that airlines could lose up to $113 billion in revenue this year due to the COVID-19 outbreak. In addition, the Federal Reserve last Tuesday cut US interest rates by half a percentage point in an unusual move ahead of its upcoming monthly policy meeting on March 17-18 in order to mitigate threats to the economy stemming from the viral outbreak. This followed similar moves by the Bank of China and other financial institutions around the globe.
US Vice President Mike Pence noted at the conference that passengers on the Grand Princess cruise ship, which has docked at a port in Oakland, California, will be flown to military bases in Georgia and Texas on Tuesday. The ship has been linked to at least 12 coronavirus cases after an earlier trip it took to Mexico.
Pence also noted that the Trump administration plans to meet with hospital and nursing home executives regarding the deadly virus. Pence also revealed that he has not been tested for the coronavirus and is unsure if Trump has been tested, but revealed that he has notified 47 governors of all the testing options. Pence also reassured the American public that a risk of serious disease among Americans remains low.
“We are going to stand by those hardworking Americans. We are going to stand by those businesses large and small,” Pence said during the conference, adding that people who are at risk of losing their paychecks or jobs if they stay home while sick will be protected.
US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar revealed that more than 1 million coronavirus tests are available for use in private and commercial labs as well as hospitals. In addition, 2.1 million tests will soon be shipped out to be used for coronavirus testing in the US, and the country is expected to produce 4 million tests per week in the near future.
US Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin said that the US has the “most resilient economy in the world” and that the Trump administration is committed to supporting the US economy as required. He also noted that oil prices did fall Monday, with the price for Brent crude dropping by around 24%.
In addition, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Robert Redfield reaffirmed that the risk to the American public remains low and that the several community outbreaks in states like Washington and California are being extensively investigated to understand the transmission mechanisms of the disease.
There are currently 607 cases of the coronavirus in the US. The disease has caused at least 24 deaths in the US.