NY Stock Exchange reopens

  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, center, applauds as he rings the opening bell of the New York Stock Exchange with with New York Stock Exchange President Stacey Cunningham, right, Tuesday, in New York. New York Stock Exchange via AP

  • New York Stock Exchange employees wait to enter the building as the trading floor partially reopens, Tuesday, May 26, 2020. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan) Mark Lennihan

  • School children wearing masks get their hands sanitized and temperatures checked as they arrive to appear for state board examination during the coronavirus pandemic in Kochi, Kerala state, India, Tuesday, May 26, 2020. (AP Photo/R S Iyer) R S Iyer

  • EDS NOTE: GRAPHIC CONTENT - A patient, who died from the new coronavirus, lies on a table between other COVID-19 patients in a room at the Salgado Filho Municipal Hospital in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, early Sunday, May 24, 2020. (AP Photo/Leo Correa) Leo Correa

  • Workers disinfect as a precaution against the new coronavirus ahead of school reopening in a class at an elementary school in Gwangju, South Korea, Tuesday, May 26, 2020. (Park Chul-hong/Yonhap via AP) Park Chul-hong

  • A cemetery worker using a hazmat suit against the spread of the new coronavirus places a coffin with the remains of Lorenzo Humberto Levano Mejia, who died from COVID-19, for burial at El Angel cemetery, in Lima, Peru, Monday, May 25, 2020. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd) Rodrigo Abd

  • A person stands in an aisle of a converted field hospital at the Cape Town International Convention Centre, in Cape Town, South Africa, Tuesday, May 26, 2020. With dramatically increased community transmissions of coronavirus, Cape Town has become the center of the outbreak in South Africa and the continent. (AP Photo/Nardus Engelbrecht) Nardus Engelbrecht

  • Overseas Filipino workers, who got quarantined as they arrived in the country weeks ago, wait inside a bus where seat arrangements were done for social distancing measures before they head back to their provinces on Tuesday, May 26, 2020 in Manila, Philippines. As about 24,000 Filipinos who lost their jobs abroad are being transported by land, sea or air to their provincial homes, the president warned local officials not to refuse them entry out of coronavirus fears. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila) Aaron Favila

  • Overseas Filipino workers, who got quarantined as they arrived in the country weeks ago, pull their bags at a bus terminal while they wait for their free ride back to their provinces on Tuesday, May 26, 2020 in Manila, Philippines. As about 24,000 Filipinos who lost their jobs abroad are being transported by land, sea or air to their provincial homes, the president warned local officials not to refuse them entry out of coronavirus fears. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila) Aaron Favila

  • Police trainees join in a simulation exercise for proper social distancing at the LRT-2 train station on Tuesday, May 26, 2020 in Manila, Philippines. The exercise is held to prepare for the possible resumption of public transportation as the community lockdown to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus might be more relaxed next week. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila) Aaron Favila

  • Lawmakers observe social distancing to protect against coronavirus as they sit in the large domed hall of the Bavarian State Chancellery in Munich, Germany during a cabinet meeting, chaired by Markus Soeder, top center, (CSU) the Minister President of Bavaria on Tuesday May 26, 2020. (Peter Kneffel/DPA via AP) Peter Kneffel

  • Motorcycles wearing face masks to help curb the spread of the new coronavirus wait at a stoplight in Bangkok, Thailand, Tuesday, May 26, 2020. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit) Sakchai Lalit

  • A man wearing a protective mask strolls across a bridge in central London, Tuesday, May 26, 2020, during hot weather following the gradual easing of the COVID-19 lockdown, allowing more outdoor recreation and letting some shops and businesses reopen. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein) Frank Augstein

  • School children wearing masks line up to get their hands sanitized and temperatures checked as they arrive to appear for state board examination during the coronavirus pandemic in Kochi, Kerala state, India, Tuesday, May 26, 2020. (AP Photo/R S Iyer) R S Iyer

  • Children peer from their home as police guard the Villa Azul neighborhood while it is isolated by authorities for quarantine after at least 50 people tested positive for the new coronavirus, according to government health officials, on the outskirts of Buenos Aires, Argentina, Monday, May 25, 2020. Neighbors said that the virus spread at their local soccer field where games continued after the government mandated a lockdown in March to curb the spread of COVID-19. (AP Photo/Natacha... Natacha Pisarenko

  • Medical staff watch their colleagues demonstrating at La Timone hospital in Marseille, southern France, Tuesday May 26, 2020. French nurses and doctors demand better pay and a rethink of a once-renowned public health system that found itself quickly overwhelmed by tens of thousands of virus patients. (AP Photo/Daniel Cole) Daniel Cole

  • A station passageway is crowded with commuters wearing face mask during a rush hour Tuesday, May 26, 2020, in Tokyo.  Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe lifted a coronavirus state of emergency in Tokyo and four other remaining prefectures on Monday, May 25, ending the declaration that began nearly eight weeks ago.(AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko) Eugene Hoshiko

  • People wear face masks to protect against the new coronavirus as they ride bicycles in the central business district in Beijing, Tuesday, May 26, 2020. With declining virus case numbers, students have gradually returned to class and some international schools in Beijing are preparing to reopen on June 1. China's ceremonial parliament is meeting this week, with social distancing and other anti-virus measures being used. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein) Mark Schiefelbein

  • A man wearing a protective face mask passes the New York Stock Exchange, Tuesday, May 26, 2020, as employees arrive for the partial reopening of the trading floor. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan) Mark Lennihan

Published: 5/26/2020 7:07:02 PM

NEW YORK — The trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange reopened Tuesday in a largely symbolic step toward economic recovery, and stocks surged at the opening bell, even as the official U.S. death toll from the coronavirus closed in on 100,000, a mark President Donald Trump once predicted the country would never see.

With infections mounting rapidly in places like Brazil and India, a top global health official warned that the crisis around the world is far from over.

The NYSE trading floor in lower Manhattan opened for the first time in two months, though with plexiglass barriers, masks and a reduced number of traders to adhere to the 6-foot social-distancing rules. Those entering the NYSE will have their temperatures taken and were asked to avoid public transportation.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who has presided over the state with the highest death toll from the scourge, rang the bell to set off trading.

“They didn’t reopen the way it was,” he said during his daily briefing. “They reopened smarter.”

Stocks surged in morning trading, driving the S&P 500 to its highest level in 2 1/2 months on rising hopes for an economy recovery. The S&P 500 was up 2%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed more than 660 points, or 2.7%.

Several thousand brokers and others used to crowd the trading floor of the NYSE as recently as the 1990s. But in the years since, the rise of electronic trading from computer terminals grew to dominate the action on Wall Street. These days, there are about 500 floor traders at the NYSE.

The rally took place as the government reported that U.S. consumer confidence inched up this month, showing signs of stabilizing. Still, it remains near a six-year low in the face of the widespread business shutdowns that have sent the economy into recession and driven unemployment to levels last seen during the Great Depression.

Over the past few days, rental car giant Hertz and South America’s biggest airline, Latam, filed for bankruptcy, joining the likes of J. Crew, J.C. Penney and Neiman Marcus.

All 50 states have begun easing their stay-at-home restrictions and allowing businesses to open their doors again, even as some parts of the country see no drop-off in confirmed coronavirus cases. There is also some optimism about the race for a vaccine.

“These little baby steps that we start to see different states reopening, different policies that are being allowed that weren’t allowed two weeks ago — these are all clear signals that we’re moving in the right direction,” said Jonathan Corpina, senior managing partner at Meridian Equity Partners.

Worldwide, the virus has infected nearly 5.5 million people, killing over 346,000, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University. Europe has recorded about 170,000 deaths, while the U.S. was approaching 100,000 over a span of less than four months, more than the number of Americans killed in the Vietnam and Korean wars combined.

The true death toll is widely believed to be significantly higher, with experts saying many victims died of the virus without ever being tested for it.

Trump several months ago likened the coronavirus to the flu and dismissed worries it could lead to so many deaths. The administration’s leading scientists have since warned that as many as 240,000 could perish from the virus.

In hard-hit New York, Cuomo reported a one-day total Tuesday of 73 deaths, the lowest figure in months, and down from a peak of nearly 800.

“In this absurd new reality, that is good news,” he said.

In Italy, where the crisis is easing but the death toll is a staggering 33,000, the ancient ruins at Pompeii were reopened to the public Tuesday, and the Colosseum in Rome, one of the world’s biggest tourist attractions, will begin receiving visitors again on June 1, though entrance times will be staggered to reduce crowding and tickets must be bought online.

Still, the World Health Organization said that the world remains mired in only the first stage of the pandemic, putting a damper on hopes for a speedy global economic rebound.

“Right now, we’re not in the second wave. We’re right in the middle of the first wave globally,” said Dr. Mike Ryan, WHO’s executive director.

“We’re still very much in a phase where the disease is actually on the way up,” Ryan said, pointing to South America, South Asia and other parts of the world.

India, with a population of over 1.3 billion, saw a record single-day jump in new cases for the seventh straight day. It reported 6,535 new infections Tuesday, raising its total to over 145,000, including close to 4,200 deaths.

Most of India’s cases are concentrated in the western states of Maharashtra, home to the financial hub of Mumbai, and Gujarat. Infections have also climbed in the east as migrant workers stranded by lockdowns returned to their native villages from India’s largest cities.

In Brazil, where President Jair Bosonaro has raged against state and local leaders enforcing stay-at-home measures, WHO warned that before reopening the economy, authorities must have enough testing in place to control the spread of the virus.

Brazil has 375,000 coronavirus infections — second only to the 1.6 million cases in the U.S. — and has counted over 23,000 deaths, but many fear Brazil’s true toll is much higher.

Ryan said Brazil’s “intense” transmission rates means it should keep some stay-at-home measures in place, regardless of the damage to the economy.

“You must continue to do everything you can,” he said.

A U.S. travel ban was set to take effect Tuesday for foreigners coming from Brazil.

In Europe, Russian’s Vladimir Putin announced that the postponed military parade marking the 75th anniversary of Nazi Germany’s defeat in World War II will take place on June 24. Victory Day has become the most important holiday in Russia, traditionally marked on May 9 with a show of armed might in Red Square.

Putin said the country has passed the peak of the outbreak.

Russia reported a record one-day spike Tuesday of 174 deaths, bringing the country’s confirmed death toll to over 3,800. Russia’s coronavirus caseload surpassed 360,000 — the third-highest in the world — with almost 9,000 new infections registered.

The country’s comparatively low mortality rate has raised questions among experts. Russian officials vehemently deny manipulating any figures and attribute the low numbers to the effectiveness of the country’s lockdowns.

___

Associated Press journalists Menelaos Hadjicostis and Elaine Kurtenbach contributed to this report.

Follow AP pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak.




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