The U.S. stock market had its worst day Monday since fears over the COVID-19 outbreak began rattling investors.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped nearly 3,000 points, or 12.94 percent — its worst single-day point drop and second-worst single-day percentage drop in history — while the S&P 500 fell 11.99 percent and the NASDAQ Composite Index fell 12.32 percent.
Minutes after the opening bell, trading was halted for 15 minutes when the S&P 500 plummeted 7 percent, triggering an automatic “circuit breaker” for the third time in a week. Stocks continued to fall once trading resumed, dashing hopes that the Federal Reserve’s announcement that it was slashing its benchmark interest rate to close to zero could slow or reverse the slide.
Instead, the Trump administration’s efforts to quell panic have so far failed to reassure investors. Over the weekend, administration officials said plans are in place to ramp up COVID-19 testing, pledging that 1.9 million tests will soon be available to up to 2,000 laboratories across the country.
Meanwhile, local and state governments have issued drastic orders aimed at curbing public gatherings in an effort to control the spread of the virus to vulnerable populations, such the elderly and immunocompromised. New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut ordered bars, restaurants, and several other businesses shut down until further notice, and public-school systems in dozens of states nationwide have been closed as well.
The U.S. currently has over 4,100 confirmed COVID-19 cases, and 73 confirmed deaths from the virus.