The Dow saw all the gains made since President Donald Trump took office erased.
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Also in New York City, the suspended presidential campaign of former Mayor Michael Bloomberg told staffers Friday there was a confirmed case of COVID-19 at its Times Square headquarters, a campaign official confirmed to NBC News.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said Friday evening the city has 5,151 coronavirus cases and 29 deaths associated with the virus. "We are now the epicenter of this crisis" in the United States, he said.
In California the number of cases, more than 1,000, has doubled in three days. Los Angeles County, the nation's most populous, reported it now has a total of 292 cases.
There are now more than 250,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus around the world, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Inmates were puzzled when a flier about the coronavirus was handed out at the Rikers Island jail complex in New York City on Thursday. “It said stay six feet away from other people,” Juan Giron, 29, who is locked up on robbery charges, told NBC News. “But somebody sleeps three feet away from me in a dorm.”
That reality has prompted prison reform advocates and even jail doctors to call for the release of inmates amid fears of a coronavirus outbreak behind bars. Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Thursday that he has ordered the freeing of vulnerable inmates, starting with an initial group of 40. The mayor said one Rikers Island inmate has tested positive. At least three corrections officers have also contracted the virus.
“There’s going to be a huge explosion of cases,” said Malachi Robinson, the criminal justice campaign director for the advocacy group Color of Change. “Rather than expose more people, they should start releasing them swiftly.”
Giron, who arrived at Rikers from an upstate prison on Tuesday and is awaiting a court hearing after his sentence was vacated, said the facility is crowded and filthy. His first day, he said, was spent in a packed intake room with other inmates awaiting medical testing and a transfer to a housing area. “It’s disgusting in here,” said Giron. “And people are coming in and out of Rikers from the streets. Who knows who has this stuff?”
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FDA is working on treatment with blood from recovered patients
Dr. Arturo Casadevall was working from home in Baltimore on Thursday when his phone started to buzz with messages from colleagues.
The commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration had just announced during a White House press briefing that the agency was investigating the possibility of using blood plasma donated by recovered coronavirus patients as a promising short-term treatment for the virus.
For weeks, Casadevall has led an ad hoc team of researchers from across the country who are working to establish a network of hospitals and blood banks that can begin collecting blood serum or plasma from coronavirus survivors, with the hopes of using it to treat critically ill patients and boost the immune systems of hospital workers.
America's only community centers: Your local supermarket
With most U.S. businesses shuttered in the fight to contain coronavirus, grocery stores have become the unlikely center of American society.
The states of Minnesota and Vermont have even reclassified grocery employees as essential emergency workers, affording them benefits similar to health care providers and first responders.
Recent days have been "unlike anything I’ve ever seen at work," as "stockers were getting pushed out of the way for toilet paper" and customers were "fighting over beans," said Journey Carnahan, who works at H-E-B Grocery in central Texas.
The governor of Illinois on Friday issued a stay-at-home order, making it the latest state to make such a sweeping mandate in the fight against the spread of the new coronavirus.
California issued a stay-at-home order Thursday, and New York's governor mandated that all nonessential businesses keep workers at home. Pennsylvania's governor has also ordered that all businesses that are not "life-sustaining" close.
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said he did not "come to this decision easily" but believes it is necessary to slow the spread of the coronavirus. The order is expected to become effective Saturday.
States push price-gouging measures as coronavirus fuels consumer fears
As states across the country shutter restaurants, bars and schools for the next several weeks or more to slow the spread of the coronavirus, some are looking to pass legislation to stop businesses that remain open from price-gouging fearful U.S. consumers.
Price gouging — the practice of charging exorbitant prices for essential items in times of high-demand — is prohibited during times of crisis in about two-thirds of the United States. As public panic surrounding COVID-19 heightens, consumers have been flocking to stores to stock up on supplies like face masks, hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes — to the exploitation of some retailers.
While online marketplaces like Amazon and Walmart have taken steps to prevent the practice by suspending offers from sellers charging unfair prices, brick-and-mortar stores are being closely monitored by state governments, several of which are considering legislative action.
Dow closes down 900 points after New York and California curb economic activity
Wall Street took a nosedive on Friday, wrapping up another tumultuous week for all three major averages, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average sinking by 916 points.
The Dow has now shed around 18 percent this week, completely erasing all the gains made since President Donald Trump took office.
The S&P 500 closed the day down 4.3 percent, capping its worst weekly performance since the financial crisis. The Nasdaq, which had started the day by hitting the "limit up" threshold in premarket trading, ended the day down by around 3.8 percent.