- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Stocks are sinking as coronavirus cases rise, with airlines and cruise lines hit by fears of a resurgence and new restrictions on how people travel, shop and live in U.S. cities and in Europe, where France and Germany announced sweeping closures Wednesday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 943 points, or 3.4%, while the S&P 500 dropped 3.5%, or 120 points — both their worst drops since June. Shares of United Airlines lost 4.6%, and Royal Caribbean and Carnival cruise lines dropped 7.4% and 10.6%, respectively.

Wall Street is spooked as Chicago bans indoor dining, average daily case-counts hit record highs across the U.S. and hospitals report dwindling capacity. At the same time, Congress’ failure to pass a stimulus package before Election Day is dampening the economic outlook.

Wednesday’s drop also reflected trends in Europe, where French President Emmanuel Macron announced another nationwide lockdown. He told people to stay home except for essential work or medical care, although schools will remain open.

“France will never let hundreds of thousands of its fellow citizens die, these are not our values,” Mr. Macron tweeted.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday announced a “lockdown light” that would allow schools to remain open but close bars and restaurants and ban large gatherings for a month.

In the U.S., the mayor of Newark, New Jersey’s largest city, imposed a curfew that closes indoor dining and most shops at 8 p.m., hoping to avoid a second wave of the virus after the tri-state area was slammed in the spring.

Dozens of states are reporting an increase in hospitalizations for the virus.

“We are at another critical point in the pandemic response,” Adm. Brett Giroir, an assistant health secretary and coronavirus testing czar, said Wednesday on NBC’s “Today” show.

He also said the rise in coronavirus cases is “not just a function of testing,” diverting from President Trump’s campaign rhetoric.

“Yes, we’re getting more cases identified, but the cases are actually going up. And we know that, too, because hospitalizations are going up,” Adm. Giroir said.

Mr. Trump says he will get a stimulus bill passed after the elections next week, but the upheaval is complicating his closing message, as he insists the pandemic is rounding the turn.

Mr. Trump said the U.S. will return to “normal life” in short order with the help of a forthcoming vaccine.

“Next year, it will be the greatest economic year in the history of our country,” he told supporters in Arizona.

He also mocked blue-state mask rules.

“In California, you have a special mask. You cannot under any circumstances take it off. You have to eat through the mask. Right?” he told Arizona supporters. “It’s a very complex mechanism. And they don’t realize, those germs, they go through it like nothing.”

His Democratic foe, Joseph R. Biden, said he would let science drive his decisions in dealing with the virus, if he were elected.

“We will deal honestly with the American people, and we will never, ever quit,” Mr. Biden said in a Delaware speech. “That’s how we will shut down this virus. So we can get back to our lives. And a lot more quickly than the pace we’re going at now.”

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