US overtakes China as the country with the highest number of confirmed coronavirus cases

As the world's number of cases reaches 525,350, with 23,701 deaths and 123,329 recoveries, the US has just overtaken China as the country with the highest number of confirmed coronavirus cases with 81,996 total cases and +13,785 new cases. The news follows how President Donald Trump laid out his vision for what he called the “next phase” in the war on the coronavirus pandemic that is sweeping the country and came ahead of today's Task Force meeting.

CNBC reported that, in a letter to the nation’s governors, "Trump said he and his administration planned to develop criteria to “help classify counties with respect to continued risks posed by” the deadly coronavirus. He said the use of “robust surveillance testing” will allow local governments to track the spread of the virus."

Counties would be divided into three low, medium and high “risk” levels, the president wrote. These categories will be accompanied by “new guidelines for state and local policymakers to use in making decisions” about whether to maintain, decrease, or increase their social distancing guidelines. The president has made no secret of his desire to see U.S. businesses reopen, even as the virus is infecting thousands of people every day across the country. Trump has set upon the date of Easter, April 12, as the one by which he hopes to see large parts of the country “roaring” back into business.

Market implications

A get back to work strategy is potentially bullish for markets, rallying up sentiment for a return to the norm sooner than first thought. However, eyes are on China now which has started to go back to work which could be a template for the rest of the world. The strategy as it stands is those who have had the disease could be presumed immune and can go back to work. However, there is still no evidence that anyone would be immune and there are still too many uncertainties for markets to really get back to business as usual.  For that reason, the stimulus being pumped into the financial system is the real driver at this juncture for which US markets cheered all of this week, so far.

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