Coronavirus Upgraded To Global Pandemic, Country Responds

( – Things certainly did step up to a new level on Wednesday regarding the coronavirus.

Word first came from the World Health Organization that COVID-19 had officially been declared a worldwide pandemic.

And then, it seemed like madness ensued.

The NCAA announced that its upcoming men’s and women’s basketball tournaments — easily the most important events for the organization, schools and fans of the year — would be held as planned, but no fans would be allowed to enter the arenas.

The National Basketball Association made the unprecedented move to suspend their entire season after one of their players tested positive for coronavirus. Other professional sports leagues are considering what moves they should make next, too.

The stock market has been in a freefall the last few days, officially entering a bear market on Wednesday, with the Dow Industrials being at levels that were 20% off its high on February 12. On Thursday, futures tumbled down, down, down following President Donald Trump’s announcement that the United States would ban all travel from most European nations for the next 30 days.

The hardest-hit stocks are in the oil, transportation and travel industries, but stocks overall seemed to take a huge hit in broad premarket selling.

On Wednesday night, Trump addressed the nation from the Oval Office to calm fears about the spread of coronavirus, but at the same time announce measures that would help the country contain the spread as well as stabilize the economy. In addition to the 30-day travel ban for most European countries, he announced his hope for a payroll tax cut that would need to be approved by Congress before it can be instituted.

Following his speech, Trump tweeted:

“Hoping to get the payroll tax cut approved by both Republicans and Democrats, and please remember, very important for all countries & businesses to know that trade will in no way be affected by the 30-day restriction on travel from Europe. The restriction stops people not goods.”

Trump also announced plans to utilize emergency funding to allow the Small Business Administration to provide low-interest loans to small businesses that have been — or will be — hurt by the coronavirus and the ensuring response from people worldwide. These loans, Trump said, would help business owners to continue to pay payroll and other essential bills while their cash flow may be dramatically affected by the way people change their daily lives.

European Union leaders were not happy with Trump’s decision regarding the travel ban, with EU Council President Charles Michel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen saying in a joint statement that coronavirus is a “global crisis, not limited to any continent, and it requires cooperation. The European Union disapproves of the fact that the U.S. decision to impose a travel ban was taken unilaterally and without consultation.”

Thomas Bossert, a former adviser for Homeland Security under Trump, also questioned the move, calling it on Twitter a “poor use of time & energy. Earlier, yes. Now, travel restrictions/screenings are less useful. We have nearly as much disease here in the US as the countries in Europe. We MUST focus on layered community mitigation measures-Now!”