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Dow plunges 500 points, enters correction on coronavirus fears

Stocks tumbled Thursday as fears mount that the deadly coronavirus could be spreading to the U.S. as the number of worldwide cases top 81,000.

The Dow Jones industrial average tumbled 500 points, pushing it into a correction for the first time since December 2018. A correction is generally defined as a decline of 10% from a recent high.

This week’s losses have wiped out the Dow’s gains for the year. Heading into Thursday, the average is down 7% this week, on track for its worst weekly percentage performance since the depths of the financial crisis in 2008.

The Standard and Poor’s 500 dropped 2.2%, also putting the index into a correction after hitting an all-time high on Feb. 19. The Nasdaq, which slumped 2% Thursday, is off 10% from its Feb. 19 all-time high.

President Donald Trump announced late Thursday the U.S. was stepping up its efforts to combat the virus outbreak. Shortly after Trump spoke, the government announced that another person in the U.S. was infected — someone in California who appears not to have the usual risk factors of having traveled abroad or being exposed to another patient.

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