A masked Gov. Andrew CuomoAndrew CuomoThe Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Facebook – US death toll nears 100,000 as country grapples with reopening Watch Live: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo gives coronavirus update New Jersey governor warns of educator, health-care worker layoffs without federal aid MORE (D) rang the opening bell Tuesday as the New York Stock Exchange trading floor opened for the first time in two months.The markets opened to a surge of optimism following Memorial Day weekend as the country began to reopen and news of additional potential vaccine candidates has surfaced.The NYSE’s iconic trading floor has been shuttered since March 23, as cases of the coronavirus in New York skyrocketed, making the city the U.S. epicenter of the virus.The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 600 points, or 2.4 percent, while the S&P 500 rose 63 points, or 2 percent, rising above 3,000 for the first time since the early days of the pandemic.The upswing follows two key pieces of coronavirus-related news.Over the long weekend, U.S. biotech company Novavax announced that it was moving to a Phase 1 trial in Australia for a potential coronavirus vaccine. On Tuesday morning, drugmaker Merck announced that it was working with the IAVI nonprofit to develop a vaccine as well.Still, there was plenty of grim news to go around as the U.S. death toll for the virus approaches 100,000.Unemployment has skyrocketed to levels not seen since the Great Depression, and the Congressional Budget Office estimates that it will remain elevated through at least the end of 2021. The economy this year will shrink 5.6 percent, according to CBO’s projections.
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