Here’s the latest news on how the COVID-19 crisis is affecting the economy. For more on financial resources available during the pandemic, click here.
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‘Pharma-bro’ Martin Shkreli seeks temporary release from prison to ‘assist in research work on COVID-19’
Martin Shkreli, the disgraced former pharmaceutical industry executive who gained notoriety for hiking up the price of a life-saving drug, is seeking a temporary release from prison to assist in COVID-19 research.
Shkreli did not make a formal application to federal court in Brooklyn where he was convicted of securities fraud, but wrote about seeking a three-month “furlough” from prison in a scientific paper posted by Prospero Pharmaceuticals Tuesday.
“I am asking for a brief furlough (3 months) to assist in research work on COVID-19. Being released to the post-COVID world is no solace to even the incarcerated,” Shkreli wrote.
He added that he believes he is “one of the few executives experienced in ALL aspects of drug development” and will do the work unpaid.
TSA screening levels at the ‘lowest since the days after 9/11’
In another signal that the outbreak has clobbered the air travel industry, the U.S. Transportation Security Administration said Monday a record low number of travelers were screened at checkpoints nationwide.
The agency screened only 108,310 travelers on Monday, compared to 2,384,091 on the same day last year.
A TSA spokesperson told ABC News, “It’s safe to say it’s the lowest since the days after 9/11.”
Delta announces plans to give away 200,000 pounds of food
As demand for air travel plummeted amid the pandemic, Delta announced Tuesday it plans to donate more than 200,000 pounds of food to hospitals, food banks and other organizations.
The airline announced it had cut back its service offerings on board and at Delta Sky Clubs in an effort “to reduce touchpoints between customers and employees.”
“As a result, Delta has been left with food that would have expired before it could be served to customers,” the company said in a statement.
It added that its employee teams are engaging with organizations that can immediately use the food, and “efforts to identify and support organizations globally will be ongoing as we maneuver through these unprecedented times.”
In Georgia, food has been donated to the Georgia Food & Resource Center and in Missouri to the state’s Carthage Crisis Center.
In Nice, France, Delta said it donated prepackaged snacks to hospitals and health care workers.
US financial markets surge Tuesday, building off Monday’s steep rally
U.S. financial markets surged again Tuesday, adding to Monday’s rally as investors appeared to welcome signs that the coronavirus pandemic may be nearing its peak in parts of the U.S.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average spiked more than 750 points or 3.4% at Tuesday’s open. The S&P 500 was up 3% and the Nasdaq rose 2.5%.
On Tuesday, U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams said he feels “a lot more optimistic,” adding, “There is a light at the end of this tunnel.”
While he acknowledged that it will be a difficult week, Adams said on “Good Morning America” that the pandemic has already begun to plateau in some places.
“The good news is that when you look at Italy, when you look at Spain, when you look at Washington and California, and even New York and New Jersey, they have truly started to flatten their curves,” he noted. “They’ve seen cases level off and start to come down, and that’s what I want people to understand — that it’s going to be a hard and tough week, but the American people have the power to change the trajectory of this epidemic if we come together like we have after past tragedies in this country.”
Optimism that the number of U.S. cases has flattened spurred a steep rally on Wall Street. On Monday, the Dow closed up 1,627 points or 7.7%. The S&P 500 spiked 7% and the Nasdaq was up 7.3%.
ABC News’ Aaron Katersky contributed to this report.
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