Coronavirus live updates: Powell says the Fed saw economic risk and chose to cut interest rates, COVID-19 almost a global pandemic

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  • Global cases: At least 91,300, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
  • Global deaths: At least 3,110, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
  • US cases: At least 91, according to the CDC. 
  • US deaths: At least 6, according to the CDC and state health officials.

Following an emergency interest rate cut, central bank chair Jerome Powell said the Federal Reserve saw a “risk to the outlook for the economy and chose to act.” The Fed slashed rates by 50 basis points on Tuesday. Powell said “over the course of the last couple of weeks we’ve seen a broader spread of the virus,” which the Fed worried would have a material impact on the economy. “The magnitude and persistence of the overall effect on the U.S. economy remain highly uncertain and the situation remains a fluid one,” Powell added.

Shoppers are racing to online retailers to order face masks, hand sanitizer, hazmat suits and other items to protect against the coronavirus. The surge in demand has created an opening for third-party sellers on various e-commerce sites like Amazon and eBay to offer products that are otherwise sold out at traditional retailers. But in doing so, some merchants have flooded online marketplaces with overpriced goods and items that make dubious medical marketing claims. Amazon, eBay, Walmart and Etsy have all struggled to curb price gouging and products that make unverified claims about the coronavirus.

The National Basketball Association sent a memo to teams on March 1 regarding the coronavirus outbreak, encouraging players to avoid “high-fiving and offer fist bumps” to fans when interacting. It also advised not taking items from fans such as pens, marker, and other items from fans. The memo had some other good tips that anyone would be wise to heed, including washing hands for at least 20 seconds, using hand sanitizer as another option. Meanwhile, four league officials told CNBC the NBA has not offered any plans for league games or event cancellations as of yet.

Target has seen “aggressive shopping” as people across the U.S. respond to rising cases of the coronavirus, CEO Brian Cornell said in a Tuesday earnings call. The Minneapolis-based retailer said it’s increasing inventory to keep up with heightened demand for household essentials and food and beverage. He said the “surge in store traffic” has underscored the importance of brick-and-mortar locations, even as more of its customers shop online.


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