In a press conference on Friday, President Trump declared a national emergency over the COVID-19 outbreak. Stocks rebounded strongly, particularly consumer staples stocks, which finished the day up 8.5%.
Investors seemed satisfied that the Trump administration is making more tests available to the public. At the press conference were CEOs from top retailers, including Walmart (NYSE:WMT) and Target (NYSE:TGT), who will be working with the administration to stop the virus.
The news came as the number of cases in the U.S. has spiked to 1,629, with 41 total deaths, as of March 13, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
A sigh of relief to finish a brutal week
President Trump announced a drive-thru screening initiative to test people who might have the virus. Walmart CEO Doug McMillon announced that the retailer would make portions of its parking lots available to help in that effort. Also, Target CEO Brian Cornell said, "We look forward to working with the administration to do our fair share to alleviate this growing threat."
The administration also announced that Google would be building a website to show people who have symptoms where to find drive-thru testing clinics
Investors have been worried that continued spreading of the virus would tilt the economy into a recession. The update from the administration, along with the announcements from Walmart and Target, gave investors some hope that the novel coronavirus may be corralled sooner than previously thought.