Coronavirus, Stock Markets, Primary Elections: Your Tuesday Briefing

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Good morning.

We’re covering the growing restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic and looking ahead to Democratic primary voting in three states. (Ohio has postponed its election because of the outbreak.)

Americans should stop unnecessary travel and avoid gathering in groups of more than 10, the president said on Monday, as he warned that the coronavirus outbreak could extend well into the summer.

As the pandemic curtails consumer activity, business groups, local and state leaders, and a growing chorus of lawmakers and economists are urging the federal government to pay workers to stay home and to funnel money to struggling companies.

The main trade group for airlines has suggested a $50 billion bailout might be needed for carriers. President Trump’s chief economist, Larry Kudlow, said on Monday that he did not expect the industry to need a rescue but that the government would do what it could.

Global markets were mixed today, after the S&P 500 fell 12 percent, its worst daily decline since 1987. Here’s the latest.

Related: China’s economy may have shrunk in the first quarter for the first time since 1976, an ominous sign for the rest of the world.

Go deeper: In the $87 trillion global economy, one person’s spending is another’s income. That simple idea explains the threat posed by the pandemic, our senior economics correspondent writes.

Closer look: Our reporters examined how forced closures are affecting the restaurant industry in New York and Paris.

Related: With millions working and learning from home, internet networks are being tested.

The Democratic presidential race moves to Arizona, Florida and Illinois today, the first primaries to be held amid the heightened restrictions for the coronavirus.

Ohio was also scheduled to vote today, but its governor, Mike DeWine, said on Monday that he and state health officials would ignore a court ruling and postpone the primary by declaring a public health emergency.

Related: The outbreak might affect turnout less than expected because millions have already cast their ballot, particularly in Arizona and Florida.

Closer look: Under intense pressure to notch wins, Senator Bernie Sanders’s campaign is trying to reconcile a sense of resignation with a desire to press on.

And you thought baseball was bad.

Our sports reporter David Waldstein writes: “Whether it’s a secret buzzer planted in a shoe, a smartphone smuggled into the bathroom, a particular flavor of yogurt delivered at a key moment — or just online players using computerized chess programs — chess has perhaps more cheating than any other game in the world.”

Mueller charges may be dismissed: The Justice Department moved to drop charges against two Russian shell companies accused of financing schemes to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. The companies were charged in 2018 in an indictment secured by the special counsel, Robert Mueller.

Brief return in Syria: Amid a cease-fire in the northern province of Idlib, some of the hundreds of thousands of displaced residents are trickling back. But few, if any, say they believe the quiet will last.

Snapshot: A physicist is trying to disentangle the structural dynamics of birds’ nests using bamboo skewers, above. A nest is “a disordered stick bomb,” resilient in ways that humans have hardly begun to understand.

Late-night comedy: The shows have shut down production during the coronavirus outbreak. Our roundup will resume when they do.

What we’re reading: This New York Magazine article about the fatal stabbing of a college student in a Manhattan park. Jonathan Wolfe, a news producer on “The Daily,” called it “an insightful look at how the communities that surround the park — and the city as a whole — have responded.”

Cook from your pantry: Our columnist Melissa Clark is offering weekly recipe tips for those of us who are trying to make the most of grocery stockpiles. First up: pumpkin bread.

Watch: Looking for a few hours of distraction between vigorous hand-washings? A musical mockumentary, two true-crime docs and a pottery competition are among nine TV shows we recommend.

Read: Was there a murder on the Mayflower? In her new novel, “Beheld,” TaraShea Nesbit uses a death on the pilgrims’ ship to look at what life was like for women in the Plymouth Colony.

Smarter Living: Self-imposed isolation doesn’t require you to forgo good food or good wine.

To break down the recent turmoil on Wall Street, Times Insider spoke to Matt Phillips, a reporter on the Business desk. Below is a condensed version of the conversation.

Walk us through last week. What happened?

Everyone knew the virus was spreading in China and compartmentalized it. But there was a psychological shift when the virus spread to Italy. A lot of Wall Street workers have been to Italy. This wasn’t as “foreign” as people thought.

Then there was growing concern about the response from our government. Wall Street isn’t warm and fuzzy. What they really want to see is numbers. And if there aren’t numbers to work with, then Wall Street doesn’t know what to do. That there hasn’t been substantial testing in the United States drove the Street crazy.

Did the stock market events of last week surprise you?

I never would have predicted a collapse like we saw last week. This was the end of the bull market, in part because the Federal Reserve, which has been a huge wind at the market’s back for a decade, can’t solve it: It can’t print enough money to ensure that people don’t get infected.

How have your sources been reacting?

They’re saying it’s scary. People in the stock market typically talk in generalities because specifics are valuable. My job is like trying to take their temperature on what they think is driving the market, but no one really has any idea. It’s really the sum of millions of people with millions of motivations taking millions of positions, so there is never one answer.

That’s it for this briefing. See you next time.

— Chris

Thank you
Mark Josephson and Eleanor Stanford provided the break from the news. You can reach the team at

• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Today’s episode is about the coronavirus in Italy.
• Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Copper + zinc (five letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• Elaine Glusac, a longtime contributor to The Times’s Travel section, is our next Frugal Traveler columnist.

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