According to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, the US coronavirus death toll is now at 250,029, representing a higher death toll than any other country in the world, and the markets are paying close attention.
World-wide, more than 56 million people have been infected and more than 1.3 million have died, according to Johns Hopkins data.
No matter the vaccine news, the US stock market drop heavily in the final stages of the session on Wednesday.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 344.93 points, or 1.16%, to 29,438.42, the S&P 500 lost 41.74 points, or 1.16%, to 3,567.79 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 97.74 points, or 0.82%, to 11,801.60.
The death toll has quickly accelerated in recent days amid a national surge in new cases. The figures from Johns Hopkins indicate 1,707 Americans died of the virus yesterday alone. The number of deaths has remained above 1,000 a day for eight of the past nine days, according to a seven-day average of data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
New confirmed cases have gone from 40,000 a day to 150,000 over the course of six weeks, and daily deaths have steadily increased over the same period.
What investors fear most, however, is a national lockdown under a far more active Joe Biden.
Already, a number of states have introduced stricter guidelines in recent weeks to try to mitigate the spread of the virus.
New York mayor Bill de Blasio has said that the public schools will be closed starting today because the city’s seven-day average positivity rate has reached 3%.
New York had set a 3% seven-day average positivity rate for Covid-19 tests as the threshold for stopping in-person instruction in the nation’s largest school district.
Meanwhile, Joe Biden has stated that the delays to his presidential transition are hampering his ability to prepare to fight the pandemic. “I am optimistic but we should be further along,” he said.
The General Services Administration still has not issued a technical designation allowing him to access key resources.
Politics is getting in the way as the incumbent president is still not conceding fully.
Biden said his advisers didn’t even have details on the depth of the stockpiles of vaccines or the specific plan for the distribution of the vaccine to 300 million Americans.
“There are a whole lot of things we just don’t have available to us. Unless it is made available soon, we’re going to be behind by weeks or months,” Biden warned.
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