Johns Hopkins COVID-19 Resource Center: 318K+ people have recovered from virus

MILWAUKEE -- The Johns Hopkins University & Medicine Coronavirus Resource Center is reporting on Wednesday, April 8 that more than 318,000 have recovered from the coronavirus. That is a silver lining amid the pandemic -- which has touched more than 150 countries around the world.

As of Wednesday evening, there have been nearly 88,000 deaths as a result of COVID-19. In the U.S. alone, the deaths total 14,529 as of about 5 p.m. New York City accounts for nearly a third of those deaths. Other "hot spots" around the United States include the states of New Jersey, Michigan, and Illinois.

Stock market surges

Stocks shot to a 3.4% gain on Wall Street Wednesday as investors chose to focus on the optimistic side of data about the coronavirus outbreak’s trajectory.

It’s the latest about-face in this brutally volatile stretch for the U.S. stock market, which has flip-flopped from gains to losses for six straight days. Just a day before, stocks had been headed for a similar gain only for it to vanish in the last minutes of trading.

The wall Street street sign is seen on March 23, 2020 in New York City. - Wall Street fell early March 23, 2020 as Congress wrangled over a massive stimulus package while the Federal Reserve unveiled new emergency programs to boost the economy includ

The market's upward swings have recently been bigger than the down moves, though, amid signs that deaths and infections may be nearing a peak or plateau in some of the world’s hardest-hit areas. That's led some investors to envision the other side of the economic shutdown that is gripping the world as authorities try to slow the spread of the virus. The S&P 500 has jumped nearly 23% in the last two and a half weeks, building on earlier gains driven by massive amounts of aid promised by governments and central banks for the economy and markets.

Many analysts say they’re skeptical of the rally given how much uncertainty still remains. The death toll continues to rise, millions of people are still losing their jobs by the week and the economic pain is worldwide. France’s central bank said its economy entered a recession with a 6% drop in the first three months of the year.

But optimism rose in the market Wednesday after Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. infectious diseases expert, said the White House is working on plans to eventually reopen the country. President Donald Trump later said it “will be sooner rather than later.”

“It’s positive that people are talking about reopening the economy,” said Jeff Buchbinder, equity strategist for LPL Financial. “The White House has been talking about that. The more we can focus on what the economy will look like several months out, the better it will be for markets.”

The S&P 500 climbed 90.57 points, or 3.4%, to 2,749.98. For some investors, its rally of more than 20% since March 23 means a new “bull market” has been born. Others, though, want to see the gains hold for six months before confirming a new bull market.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 779.71 points, or 3.4%, to 23,433.57 and the Nasdaq was up 203.64, or 2.6%, to 8,090.90.