US states beg for help against coronavirus; Fed tries to protect economy

US governors and mayors have asked for help from the federal government and even private citizens to combat the coronavirus outbreak, while the U.S. Federal Reserve has launched an extraordinary range of initiatives to mitigate the economic impact of the pandemic.

They sounded the alarm when Democrats and Republicans in the US Senate tried to draft an economic relief law on Monday, aware that failure could have a devastating effect on states, cities and businesses, and could cause further heavy losses in the stock market. of US values.

“I want to appeal to everyone in the House and Senate, you need to help cities, towns, countries, states, public hospitals, private hospitals. You need to get direct relief from them all, ”New York Mayor Bill de Blasio told CNN.

With the addition of Maryland, Indiana, Michigan and Massachusetts on Monday, 13 of the 50 U.S. states imposed restrictions on people's movements to reduce the virus, putting the country on a trail similar to that of the most devastated European countries, such as Italy and Spain. Affected states have a combined population of more than 140 million people.

The mayor of the most populous city in the United States has extended his appeal for ventilators and medical equipment to private citizens. “Anyone who can help us obtain these supplies, we only have a few days to install them. That is the reality, ”said de Blasio.

About 1.800 patients were hospitalized with COVID-19 in New York City, with about 450 in intensive care units, said Mark Levine, chairman of the City Council's health committee, on Monday.

The number of cases across the country surpassed 40.000 on Monday morning, of which 481 died.

New programs launched by the U.S. central bank on Monday have prevented an unprecedented range of credit for families, small businesses and large employers. [L1N2BG0ED]

"The Fed is proving that it can and will do everything in its power to support the economy," said Steve Chiavarone, portfolio manager and stock strategist at investment management firm Federated Hermes.

US stock futures rose more than 3% after the Fed's moves, but the market still slipped on the opening. The Dow fell 0,4% at noon, after falling briefly 4% late in the morning.

In NY

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said he had ordered New York City to come up with a plan by the end of Monday to reduce density in its parks and among young people who still gather. "The biggest problem with density control is now in New York City," said Cuomo.

The Senate was due to meet at noon to consider the bill, which Democrats argue is favorable to corporate interests at the expense of healthcare professionals, hospitals and state and local governments. Republicans, for their part, accused them of obstructing a much-needed stimulus in the midst of a national emergency.

Independent experts have suggested that it will take more than 15 days to stop the spread. President Donald Trump issued guidelines a week ago that, he said, aim to slow the spread of the disease by 15 days.

The lack of coordinated federal action was causing chaos for states and municipalities, and even competing them for resources, the governors of New York, New Jersey and Illinois said.

States "are all looking for the same thing," New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy told CNN on Monday.

Letting states defend themselves put them into bidding war with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, other U.S. states and even other countries, said Illinois Governor JB Pritzker.

"We are competing with each other for what should be a national crisis in which we should meet and the federal government should lead, helping us," said Pritzker to the "Today" program.

Cuomo urged Washington to implement the federal defense production act to eliminate this "adhoc" system.

On Sunday, Trump defended his decision to postpone the use of that power, claiming that nationalizing companies "is not a good concept".

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin called on companies, especially the small businesses most immediately affected by the crisis, to try to maintain themselves.

“We are encouraging small businesses: make sure you hire people back. If you don't let people go, don't let people go, ”Mnuchin told Fox Business Network.

But it was unclear how long companies could deal with unprecedented disruptions and the sudden loss of revenue without relief.

General Electric Co's aviation unit will reduce its total US workforce by about 10%, said CEO Larry Culp on Monday, as airlines delay purchases due to the travel pandemic effect.

Source: Reuters // Image credits: REUTERS / Jonathan Ernst

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