By PoliZette Staff | February 24, 2020

Global concern over the spread of the coronavirus, some comparing it to the worldwide Spanish flu epidemic of a century ago, has played havoc with financial markets across nations and regions on Monday.

In the U.S. the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 1,000 points and is now in the negative range for the year. President Trump is closely monitoring the situation and the administration is expediting action on treatment and a possible vaccine.

In other developments, Fox News reports, “Commodities traded mixed with West Texas Intermediate crude oil down 3.7 percent to $51.43 a barrel and gold up 1.7 percent to $1,672.40 an ounce. The precious metal hit a seven-year high of $1,691.70 earlier Monday… U.S. Treasurys soared, pushing the yield on the 10-year note down 9.3 basis points to 1.377 percent. The yield finished just over one basis point above its July 5, 2016, record low of 1.376 percent… European markets were hit hard with Britain’s FTSE, France’s CAC and Germany’s DAX all trading lower by at least 3.6 percent… In Asia, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng paced the decline, down 1.8 percent, while China’s Shanghai Composite and Japan’s Nikkei shed 0.3 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively.”

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Tension in China is so great, with 409 new cases and 150 new deaths reported on Monday, that the normally reticent Chinese President Xi Jinping said, “The outbreak of novel coronavirus pneumonia will inevitably have a relatively big impact on the economy and society.” He also said the crisis will be a “big test” for the Chinese leadership.

He understates the situation so as not to cause panic.

Totals for the virus in China number 77,150 cases and 2,592 deaths. And those are the official statistics. The reality could be higher.

Regimes have sustained lasting damage and worse over an inability of governments to combat natural disasters and health emergencies. While it is unlikely that the coronavirus would immediately cause such a consequence in China, confidence in the communist hierarchy could be sorely tested by this matter and public outcry, if not protests, could ensue.

This piece originally appeared in LifeZette and is used by permission.

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