Over 1.5 billion globally asked to stay home to escape virus

218

PARIS (AP) — The hunt for masks, ventilators and other medical supplies consumed the U.S. and Europe, as more than 1.5 billion people — one-fifth of the world’s population — were asked or ordered to stay home on Monday to try to blunt the spread of the coronavirus.

Political paralysis stalled efforts for a quick aid package from Congress, and U.S. stocks fell at the opening bell even after the Federal Reserve said it will buy as much government debt as necessary and lend to small and large businesses and local governments to help them cope with the economic damage from the outbreak.

In New York, where a near-lockdown took effect statewide over the weekend amid fears the city could become one of the world’s biggest hot spots, the mayor warned that hospitals are 10 days away from shortages in “really basic supplies” needed to protect health care workers and patients alike.