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The U.S. Sought Passenger Data, but Airlines Said No

Airlines refused to collect passenger data that could aid in the coronavirus fight.
For 15 years, the U.S. government has been pressing airlines to prepare for a possible pandemic by collecting passengers’ contact information so that public health authorities could track down people exposed to a contagious virus.

The airlines have repeatedly refused, even this month as the coronavirus proliferated across the United States. Now the country is paying a price.

As the coronavirus spread into the United States earlier this year, the business news federal government was not able to get in touch with or monitor airline passengers who might have been exposed to the disease or were bringing it into new communities.


Airline executives and lobbyists have protested that it would be expensive and time-consuming for them to start collecting basic information like email addresses and phone numbers for all passengers.

March was a month of head-snapping turns in financial markets: The S&P 500 suffered its worst one-day drop since 1987 before later recording its best three-day run since 1933, oil prices crashed, interest rates plunged and Wall Street’s more esoteric markets seized up.

The roller coaster came as investors found themselves overwhelmed by a shutdown of the world economy. Early in the month, the record-breaking, 11-year bull market ended, and trading was halted more than once to prevent a crash.

An enormous fiscal and policy response at the end of the month Press Release Distribution Services for business helped undo some of the worst of the damage. The S&P 500 recouped more than half of its losses in the final week of the month after lawmakers passed a $2 trillion spending package and the Federal Reserve said it would buy an unlimited amount of government-backed debt to keep markets functioning.

But even as stocks rebounded well off their lowest point, March was the worst month for the S&P 500 since October 2008, when investors feared a collapse of the economy in the wake of the global financial crisis. The S&P 500 fell 12.5 percent this month. The index is down 20 percent so far this year.

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