American life is shutting down due to coronavirus; markets slump again after dire China numbers

With daily life in the United States shutting down due to the coronavirus pandemic, global financial markets shuddered again Monday as dire economic numbers out of China offered a harbinger of what’s in store for American businesses.

Across the world, countries are shutting their borders to travelers and enforcing quarantine requirements. Yet local transmission is on the rise in many places, demonstrating the difficulty of controlling the virus even with increasingly harsh entry restrictions.

Here are some other significant developments:

  • Global markets fell sharply again, with U.S. stock futures down almost 5 percent Monday. This came despite the Federal Reserve’s emergency interest rate cut to zero on Sunday night.
  • Industrial output in China — where the coronavirus emerged late last year — contracted at the most dramatic pace in 30 years in January and February, while retail sales also collapsed. The figures underlined the real-world effects of extended disruption to daily life, a scenario now unfolding across the United States as much of the country’s labor force retreats into enforced isolation.
  • The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is urging a nationwide halt to gatherings of more than 50 people for the next eight weeks, citing the risk of the coronavirus.
  • Several major cities, including New York, have ordered schools, bars and restaurants to close in last-ditch efforts to stem the spread of the virus.

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