The White House Monday, March 16, urged all older Americans to stay home and everyone to avoid crowds and eating out at restaurants as part of sweeping guidelines meant to combat an expected surge of coronavirus cases.
READ MORE: U.S. President Donald Trump and the coronavirus task force released the guidelines as the U.S. government moved to try to blunt the impact of the virus, racing to bolster testing and aid even as financial markets fell and Americans scrambled to reorder their lives.
Among the new recommendations: Over the next 15 days, Americans should not gather in groups of more than 10 people, schooling should be at home and discretionary travel and social visits should be avoided.
If anyone in a household tests positive for the virus, everyone who lives there should stay home.
As normal life in the United States quickly came to a halt with mandated closures of businesses beginning in many states, stock prices on Wall Street plunged Monday.
Despite an extraordinary move taken by the Federal Reserve a day earlier to boost investor confidence, the S&P 500 index fell 8% in the opening seconds, prompting an automatic 15-minute halt to stock trading. When trading resumed, stocks prices continued to dive (with the Dow Jones Industrial Average losing as much as 2,500 points – a drop of 11%. )
The Fed, which is America’s central bank, on Sunday made an emergency cut to interest rates, bringing them to near zero, amid deep concern that the coronavirus pandemic will hit corporate revenue globally. Despite the move, Asia markets fell sharply in Monday trading, a harbinger of what would happen hours later on Wall Street. (VOA/AP)