The stock market has been sent reeling for a second straight day amidst reports of a growing Coronavirus pandemic, with the loss in stock value being the greatest two-day decline since the financial crash of 2008.
The S&P 500 index declined by more than 3% on Tuesday, closely followed by the Dow and NASDAQ. The decline in stock prices seems primarily fueled by new reports of the Chinese Coronavirus’ global spread. The disease is beginning to enter widespread circulation in countries such as Iran and Italy, the latter of which has been hardest hit by the viral disease in any country outside of Asia.
Trump administration officials are reassuring the public about the containment of the viral disease, hoping to shore up the decline in stock prices by encouraging discounted investment in the market.
The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA. We are in contact with everyone and all relevant countries. CDC & World Health have been working hard and very smart. Stock Market starting to look very good to me!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 24, 2020
Markets plunged immediately when officials of the Center for Disease Control were quoted as saying a genuine spread of the pandemic to the United States was “inevitable.” The governmental agency then went on the walk back the claims.
The coronavirus has directly affected the American economy by putting an effective freeze on imports from China, shutting down trade and exchange of goods in the pandemic’s epicenter. The implications of the disease on the American economy have led some commentators to question the wisdom of closely linking American markets to the authoritarian Communist nation, where the response to the disease has been heavily criticized for a lack of transparency.
The coronavirus outbreak shows how important it is for us to keep our borders secure.
It's also why @realDonaldTrump is right to want a trade policy focused on increasing American manufacturing. He understands that it's dangerous for our economy to be beholden to China!
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) February 25, 2020
As the virus appears to be picking up steam globally, it may seem that health officials are finally getting the better of the epidemic in China. New diagnoses of Coronavirus in China have decreased significantly over the past week.
The human suffering caused by the disease obviously remains the most pressing issue at hand. The economic implications will prove less lasting, and the decline in stock prices may present an opportunity for financial investment.
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New York Man Coughs on Federal Agents During Facemask Price-Gouging Arrest
Baruch Feldheim was allegedly stockpiling respirators and selling them on the black market.
A New York man being arrested for his involvement in a price-gouging black market ring selling personal protective equipment and N95 respirator masks coughed on federal agents arresting him in Brooklyn on Sunday.
Baruch Feldheim was allegedly overseeing a black market enterprise importing entire warehouses of N95 respirators and selling them at outrageous markups of up to 700% to medical personnel that require them to treat Chinese coronavirus patients.
Prosecutors state that a New Jersey doctor in need of respirators was forced to contact Feldheim in a WhatsApp group chat labeled ‘Virus2020!’ on March 18th. The New York man agreed to sell 1,000 N95 masks and other medical equipment for $12,000– a whopping 700% markup on their standard retail price.
When the doctor met up with Feldheim at an area auto repair shop, he described seeing firsthand a coronavirus medical equipment stash warehouse that contains enough supplies to outfit an entire hospital. FBI agents later recorded Feldheim received a massive shipment of eight pallets of medical facemasks from Canada, and trying to get a nurse seeking to purchase medical equipment to come to his home.
Federal agents questioned Feldheim about the black market mask ring at his home on Sunday, and recount the man intentionally coughing on them. Shockingly, sources recount that the suspected price gouger then told federal agents that he had the coronavirus.
He’s now being charged with assaulting a federal officer and making false statements to law enforcement. If convicted, he could face up to six years in prison and a $350,000 fine.
Another New Jersey primary care physician, Dr. Alexander Salerno, has recounted having to resort to the black market in order to obtain the protective equipment he desperately needs in order to safeguard his own medical staff on the frontlines of fighting the coronavirus epidemic. It’s unclear if Salerno purchased equipment from Feldheim’s black market stash.
“We have to go out and we have to go literally to these black market brokers or black market pirates and we are paying like 400 – 800% markups to get the protective barriers so I can fulfill that promise of protecting our staff.”
This is a time to marshal resources behind a collective effort to contain the coronavirus epidemic, not allow black market pirates to gouge the medical supply market.
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