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“Brutal virus selling” is a blunt but effective way to describe the market rout over the past six trading days. Asian and European markets are down again today, and U.S. futures suggest that stocks on Wall Street are poised to fall for a seventh consecutive session.

More than a dozen countries have reported their first cases over the past 48 hours. Today, that includes patients in New Zealand and in Nigeria, which is the first confirmed case in sub-Saharan Africa. Follow our live briefing for the latest developments.

The speed of the sell-off set a record, with the S&P 500 suffering its quickest correction — that is, a 10 percent fall from its recent peak — since the Great Depression. (For what it’s worth, until there is a 20 percent decline, the current bull market technically remains intact. It has risen 340 percent since the market last bottomed out in March 2009.)

But this might be more than a short-term hit to earnings, analysts and execs warned. Putting off purchases or postponing trips is one thing, but the longer the outbreak goes on — and the wider it spreads — the greater the chance that forgone economic activity may be lost forever. That is what is driving the sell-off now, some market watchers say. Facebook canceled its annual developer conference, and the parent companies of British Airways and EasyJet warned today that the virus would hit their profits.

“This is not a time for fear,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director general of the World Health Organization. Tell that to the markets, where the VIX index of volatility — otherwise known as the “fear gauge” — now looks like this:

What can be done? “The Fed can’t stand by as markets melt,” Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, wrote in a research note to clients. Futures trading now suggests that a rate cut at the Fed’s meeting next month is a sure thing; a month ago, traders predicted that such a move had a less than 10 percent chance of happening. Reducing already-low rates won’t cure the market — an actual vaccine for the coronavirus is what’s needed — but it’s better than nothing, Mr. Shepherdson said:

Rate cuts won’t prevent the economic hit from supply chain disruption or demand compression as a result of the virus. But they would make it cheaper for businesses to finance the extra working capital to carry them through a period of weaker demand, and they would signal to markets that the Fed is actively seeking to ease the pain.

Countries have begun to unveil huge economic stimulus programs, with South Korea distributing more than $13 billion in emergency funds for businesses and consumers, similar to an earlier $15 billion plan in Hong Kong. And China is relaxing its rules on how banks deal with bad loans, giving borrowers and lenders more of a cushion as economic activity grinds to a halt.

Coronavirus reading roundup: Derivatives are making market swings more severe; Saudi Arabia is pushing Opec to cut oil production again; U.S. health officials interacted with quarantined Americans without protective gear; Uniqlo reopened some stores in China; investors are buying the wrong “Zoom”; Alaska is pitching itself as an alternative tourist destination to Asia; and Hong Kong found a pet dog with a “low level” of the virus.

Mr. Sanders’s proposal has two prongs. The best-paid recipients of stock options would be taxed on those grants upon vesting, rather than when they’re exercised. Executives would also have to pay taxes on some types of deferred compensation sooner than current regulations allow.

  • Updated Feb. 26, 2020

    • What is a coronavirus?
      It is a novel virus named for the crownlike spikes that protrude from its surface. The coronavirus can infect both animals and people and can cause a range of respiratory illnesses from the common cold to more dangerous conditions like Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS.
    • How do I keep myself and others safe?
      Washing your hands frequently is the most important thing you can do, along with staying at home when you’re sick.
    • What if I’m traveling?
      The C.D.C. has warned older and at-risk travelers to avoid Japan, Italy and Iran. The agency also has advised against all nonessential travel to South Korea and China.
    • Where has the virus spread?
      The virus, which originated in Wuhan, China, has sickened more than 80,000 people in at least 33 countries, including Italy, Iran and South Korea.
    • How contagious is the virus?
      According to preliminary research, it seems moderately infectious, similar to SARS, and is probably transmitted through sneezes, coughs and contaminated surfaces. Scientists have estimated that each infected person could spread it to somewhere between 1.5 and 3.5 people without effective containment measures.
    • Who is working to contain the virus?
      World Health Organization officials have been working with officials in China, where growth has slowed. But this week, as confirmed cases spiked on two continents, experts warned that the world was not ready for a major outbreak.

It revives a proposal initially floated by Republicans in early versions of the 2017 tax overhaul, which was dropped within days amid fierce opposition from corporate lobbyists and C.E.O.s. The bill has no chance of passing the current Congress, but is seen as a statement of intent from Mr. Sanders, the front-runner in the race for the Democratic nomination.

The options change could lead to big tax bills for high earners, even if they haven’t sold any shares (either because they don’t want to or because the holdings are underwater). It would make a popular way of paying start-up employees much less attractive.

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