The Trump administration reportedly is drafting a series of short-term fiscal measures to offset the steep and dramatic drop in economic activity related to the coronavirus, and help slow its spread in the U.S.
The White House and Treasury officials reportedly have been discussing several possible options, including a temporary expansion of paid sick leave and possible help for companies facing disruption from the outbreak.
The economic package is still being debated and hasn’t yet been presented to President Donald Trump. The timing of any of the economic measures on the table also was unclear, though reports suggested they would be rolled out on a step-by-step basis, starting with aid to infected Americans and then expanded to companies and workers affected by lost business, Bloomberg reported on Monday.
A short-term expansion of paid sick leave is drawing the attention of top administration officials because it would cost less than another proposal floated in recent weeks: a temporary payroll tax cut, Bloomberg said, citing people familiar with the discussions.
Pressure is growing on Trump to take more decisive action in response to the virus outbreak, as the number of cases in the U.S. and worldwide continues to grow.
However, the markets were in freefall on Monday in response not only to the impact of slowing trade and production due to the coronavirus, which has all but shuttered China since January, but also massive declines in consumer spending resulting from the onslaught of the virus, and now the crash in oil prices at the hands of a disagreement between Russia and OPEC on whether to curb supply to keep prices from falling.
U.S. stocks tanked Monday, following global stocks lower, and bond yields fell sharply as investors' fears about the spread of the coronavirus deepened and oil prices plunged as producers argued over how to cut production and lift prices as demand weakened.
The number of confirmed global cases of the coronavirus has risen to 111,363, according to the Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering, and deaths sit at 3,892. The U.S. has 566 cases of the virus and deaths have climbed to 22.