The waterfall decline in March as a result of the COVID-19 and subsequent shelter-in-place orders was offset to some degree in April by the colossal support from the Federal Reserve and a series of Congressional relief programs totaling trillions of dollars. The S&P 500 index rallied 12.6 percent in April.
It was not without pain, however, as the price of a barrel of oil in the futures market traded at minus $38 for the first time in history as the collapse in demand caused storage facilities to operate near capacity.
As a reminder, the unprecedented government-mandated shutdowns in many states were due to virus models that estimated as many as 2.2 million deaths in the U.S. alone. Therefore, in order to prevent the healthcare system from being overwhelmed, according to the experts, drastic measures were needed. The goal was to “flatten the curve,” which has caused devastating collateral damage to the economy and untold personal and financial hardships.