President Donald Trump has signed an appropriations bill that allocates $8.3 billion to various arms of the federal government to fight the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Trump's ratification of the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act came hard on the heels of its overwhelming bipartisan approvals in both the House of Representatives and the Senate.
Most of the funding will be channeled into the Department of Health and Human Services, to be dispersed to various branches involved in the effort to contain the rapidly spreading disease. Several other federal agencies will also receive monies for the same purpose, among them the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
Following the signing, Trump flew to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta. This, despite a White House official's remarks Friday morning that the visit would not go ahead as planned.
According to the CDC, as of noon Friday, there were 164 confirmed cases of COVID-19 across 19 U.S. states, and 11 deaths in the country from the disease so far.
The spread of the coronavirus and its anticipated impacts on the economy continue to have a deleterious effect on the stock market; the major indexes again closed down notably on Friday.
Several biotech and pharmaceutical stocks directly involved in the fight, however, are doing well. Moderna (NASDAQ:MRNA), for one, rose by nearly 6% on the day. The company's efforts are focused on developing an RNA-based vaccine to prevent COVID-19. Moderna has received government funding to aid it in the process. Bloomberg reported today that a clinical trial for the Moderna vaccine candidate will start this month.