The president warned Americans of “painful” weeks ahead. Donald Trump urged people to stay home and follow social distancing guidelines as the death toll grows. It was a somber contrast to his earlier optimism that the US could be open for business by the middle of April.

State governors are demanding more supplies from the federal government. New York’s Andrew Cuomo said officials are forced to compete with other states for vital equipment and products, while Maryland’s governor Larry Hogan said his state is flying blind.

Zoom is under the legal microscope. New York’s attorney general Letitia James wrote to executives to ask whether they had reviewed security measures since its popularity surged, while the company is being sued by a user over its privacy policy.

California is letting some prison inmates out early. The state is accelerating the release of 3,500 people who are serving sentences for nonviolent crimes and were already due to be released in the next 60 days.

China started reporting asymptomatic cases. As lockdowns are lifted, officials are releasing the information because of concerns that people will go back to their routines without knowing they carry the coronavirus. The number was previously classified.

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Chinese scientists said they’ve identified “extremely effective” antibodies. If proven, and it’s a big if, they could be used to prevent cells becoming infected. Lead researcher Zhang Linqi hopes that human tests are possible within six months.

Saudi Arabia put the hajj on hold. With the annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca still scheduled for July, the Saudi government suggested that people wait before making travel arrangements.

The world took stock of a miserable first quarter. The S&P 500 lost $5 trillion in value, marking its worst quarterly decline since the financial crisis. Goldman Sachs doesn’t see much room for improvement, predicting a 34% annualized hit to US GDP for Q2.

Small businesses are anxiously awaiting $350 billion of aid. The Paycheck Protection Program is designed to support smaller enterprises and keep workers on payroll. But even as these businesses crumble, lenders are still awaiting final guidance from the federal government.

London stocks tumbled after banks suspended dividend payments. Shares of Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds, Royal Bank of Scotland and Standard Chartered fell between 3% and 7% this morning, pulling the FTSE 100 down by more than 3%.

Soccer’s global governing body is tapping into its $2.7 billion cash reserves. FIFA is creating an emergency fund to help members who are in danger of insolvency. The game is mostly suspended around the world, with broadcasters and sponsors withdrawing support, and many contracts expiring in June.

 

This piece was written by Wayne Dupree on April 1, 2020. It originally appeared in WayneDupree.com and is used by permission.

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