As the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak continues to spread outside of China, Tuesday saw continued losses in the financial markets. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell by 879 points, or 3.1%, while the S&P 500 is down 3%. The tech-focused Nasdaq has also given back about 2.8% of its value today.
Tuesday's losses follow what was already a difficult start to the week. Yesterday, the Dow fell by another 1,000 points, about 3.6%, in its worst single trading day in two years. The number of COVID-19 cases has grown to 80,407, and while most of these cases are still in mainland China, countries like Italy and South Korea have seen an alarming surge in cases over the past couple of days.
Companies are becoming increasingly worried that a wider COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak could lead to significant economic disruptions, especially if that outbreak occurs outside of China. The World Health Organization (WHO) has repeatedly warned that the international community should be ready for a possible pandemic, saying that countries need to be "in a phase of preparedness" should things get worse.
A good time for vaccine makers
While the markets have seen significant losses, some biotech stocks that are developing possible COVID-19 treatments have seen their stock's soar. Moderna (NASDAQ:MRNA) announced yesterday that the first batch of its mRNA COVID-19 vaccine was shipped and ready for human trials.
Inovio Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:INO) and Novavax (NASDAQ:NVAX), two small-cap companies that are also working on a COVID-19 treatment, are both down about 5% today, giving back some of the impressive gains they made on Monday.