Spain Nationalizes All Private Hospitals Amid Massive Coronavirus Spike
- The US Federal Reserve cut interest rates to 0.25%.
- The CDC urges against gatherings of over 50 people.
- Amazon will open 100,000 new positions.
- UK PM Johnson orders a stop on non-essential travel.
- Spain sees a spike in cases, topping 342 deaths.
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US Fed Cuts Interest Rates To 0.25%
The US Federal Reserve has cut its target interest rate to essentially zero and launched a massive $700 billion quantitative easing program to shelter the economy from the effects of the virus. The sooner-than-expected rate cut is designed to prevent the same financial market disruptions that occurred during the global financial crisis just over a decade ago.
The Fed also slashed the rate of emergency lending at the discount window for banks to 0.25%, and lengthened the term of loans to 90 days. Despite the aggressive move, the market’s initial response was negative. Dow futures pointed to a decline of 1,000 points at the Wall Street open this morning.
CDC Urges Against Gatherings Of Over 50 People
The CDC is now urging the nation to stop all gatherings of more than 50 people for the next eight weeks, citing the risk of the coronavirus. The US CDC also reported its first case within the organization. Since the announcement, Washington State, Ohio, New York City, and Los Angeles, among others, have announced the closures of public schools, bars, dine-in restaurants, and entertainment venues. Delivery and take-out options remain open.
This morning, President Trump acknowledged the gravity of the coronavirus pandemic, releasing strict new guidelines to limit movement. The new guidelines called for people to not gather in groups of more than 10 and for the closure of eateries, bars, and food courts.
Amazon Overwhelmed By Coronavirus Orders
Amazon will be opening 100,000 new positions to deal with overwhelming demand. Amazon acknowledged that a “systems impact” has halted its ability to deliver some grocery orders from Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods Market.
Last Friday, the company shared that the increase in online commerce has resulted in shortages for household essentials and delays in shipment. Amazon said they will increase pay by $2 in the U.S. and by £2 in the UK and Europe.
UK Orders To Stop Non-Essential Travel
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has ordered everyone in the UK to work remotely if possible and avoid all non-essential travel and contact with others. The UK’s death toll has just hit 55, after much controversy over light measures.
According to BBC, people in at-risk groups such as pregnant women and the elderly will be asked within days to stay home for 12 weeks. Health Secretary Matt Hancock told the House of Commons the number of coronavirus deaths in England has risen drastically and the disease is now accelerating.
More than 1,500 people have tested positive for the virus in the UK – but the actual number of cases is estimated to be between 35,000 and 50,000. Schools in the country are yet to close.
Spain Goes Into Lockdown
Spain has nationalized all of its private hospitals as the country has gone into coronavirus lockdown. The ministry of health announced today that it will put all of Spain’s private health providers and their facilities into public control. The spread of coronavirus has turned Spain into the world’s fourth-largest hit country with 342 deaths. The Spanish government has declared a 15-day state of emergency, mobilizing the military, and only allowing citizens to leave their house for work or to buy essentials. Peru’s president has also declared an emergency and ordered people to stay home and Honduras is among the latest nation to close its borders.
Vaccine Testing Begins In Seattle
Researchers in Seattle gave the first shot to the first person in a test of an experimental coronavirus vaccine. Scientists at the Kaiser Permanente Washington Research Institute in Seattle begin the first-stage study today, a milestone that marks the beginning of a series of studies needed to prove whether the shots are safe and could work. Even if the research goes well, it’s estimated that a vaccine wouldn’t be available for widespread use for 12 to 18 months.
German ministers have expressed anger following reports that US President Donald Trump offered a German medical company “large sums of money” for exclusive rights to a COVID-19 vaccine. Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said “Germany is not for sale,” reacting to a front-page report in a German newspaper.