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Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images

The Federal Reserve unanimously decided to cut interest rates by half-a-percentage point — a large amount — in an emergency response to the spread of coronavirus and its impact on the economy.

Why it matters: The last time the Fed announced an interest rate cut outside a regularly scheduled meeting was in the midst of the financial crisis. The rare move shows the Fed's effort to stem any impact the coronavirus poses to the record-long economic recovery.

Between the lines: Market-watchers say a rate cut is not an adequate response to the coronavirus outbreak, though it could "soften collateral damage to spending and confidence," as the Wall Street Journal puts it.

  • "Certainly, rate cuts will not help re-stock emptying grocery shelves. Monetary policy is hopeless when supply simply cannot feed demand," Seema Shah, chief strategist at asset management firm Principal Global Investors, said in a statement.

How it's playing: Stocks fell slightly after Powell's comments, giving back some of Monday's big gains. As of Tuesday morning, the S&P was teetering back into correction territory, or 10% below its record high.

What they're saying: "We do recognize a rate cut won't reduce rate of infection. We don't think we have all the answers," Fed chairman Jerome Powell told reporters on Tuesday.

  • "The ultimate solutions to this challenge will come from others, particularly health professionals. We can and will do our part, however, to keep the U.S. economy strong."

Driving the news: The sudden move Tuesday came on the heels of exhortations on Twitter by President Trump for the Fed to act — and after the Fed telegraphed on Friday that it would move soon to react to the rapidly unspooling coronavirus outbreak.

  • After the Fed's announcement, Trump said the cut wasn't enough: "More easing and cutting!" the president tweeted.
  • "We're never going to consider any political considerations whatsoever," Powell told reporters, in response to a questions about whether the rate cut was motivated by Trump's goading.

Go deeper

33 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Biden's latest executive order: Buy American

President Joe R. Biden speaks about the economy before signing executive orders in the State Dining Room at the White House on Friday, Jan 22, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

President Joe Biden will continue his flurry of executive orders on Monday, signing a new directive to require the federal government to “buy American” for products and services.

Why it matters: The executive action is yet another attempt by Biden to accomplish goals administratively without waiting for the backing of Congress. The new order echoes Biden's $400 billion campaign pledge to increase government purchases of American goods.

Tech digs in for long domestic terror fight

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

With domestic extremist networks scrambling to regroup online, experts fear the next attack could come from a radicalized individual — much harder than coordinated mass events for law enforcement and platforms to detect or deter.

The big picture: Companies like Facebook and Twitter stepped up enforcement and their conversations with law enforcement ahead of Inauguration Day. But they'll be tested as the threat rises that impatient lone-wolf attackers will lash out.

The pandemic could be worsening childhood obesity

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The 10-month long school closures and the coronavirus pandemic are expected to have a big impact on childhood obesity rates.

Why it matters: About one in five children are obese in the U.S. — an all-time high — with worsening obesity rates across income and racial and ethnic groups, data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey show.