The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped as many as 900 points in early trading Monday morning as fears the spread of COVID-19, better known as coronavirus, paralyzed the market.
As of 2:30 ET Monday, the Dow was still down about 900 points.
Gold prices also surged following reports of increases in COVID-19 in China and around the world.
Markets in South Korea and Italy led the decline on Monday, falling nearly as much as 4.6%.
Markets are down across Europe and Asia, while futures for U.S. benchmarks have also dropped sharply. Tokyo's markets are closed for a public holiday.
South Korea, Iran, and Italy reported a large jump in new cases, potentially disrupting the world economy more deeply than expected.
China's leaders promised more help for companies and the economy.
Economists note it will be hard to avoid a big hit to the global economy at least in the current quarter.