Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Stocks closed up more than 4% on Wednesday afternoon, erasing all of yesterday's losses. The S&P 500 is 7.5% below record levels seen in mid-February.

Driving the news: The gains in the stock market were led by health care stocks, which analysts say got a boost from a strong Super Tuesday performance by Joe Biden — a candidate whose policies would be more favorable to the sector than those of Bernie Sanders. UnitedHealth, the country's biggest health insurer, had its best day in 10 years.

Between the lines: The near-daily swings of 2% or more in the past week have been tied to improving or worsening prospects for the global economy and the coronavirus — plus the willingness for governments and central banks to step in and lessen the blow.

Go deeper

Updated 14 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 5 p.m. ET: 12,382,748 — Total deaths: 557,241 — Total recoveries — 6,796,045Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 5 p.m. ET: 3,163,505 — Total deaths: 133,847 — Total recoveries: 969,111 — Total tested: 38,032,966Map.
  3. Public health: The reality of the coronavirus bites.
  4. Trade: Trump says he's no longer considering phase-two trade deal with China because the pandemic damaged the two countries' relationship.
  5. 🎧 Podcast: Rural America has its own coronavirus problem.
19 mins ago - Health

Reality of the coronavirus bites

National Airport in D.C. Photo: Daniel Slim/AFP/Getty Images

It feels like mid-March in America again. The coronavirus is surging, deaths are climbing and the country is dreading a wave of disruptions, less than four months since the first round started.

The big picture: Lingering under all the happy talk of future plans is the reality of this virus — which thrives in potential super-spreader conditions like mass gatherings.

1 hour ago - Podcasts

Rural America has its own coronavirus problem

It's often easier to socially distance in rural America, but it can simultaneously be more challenging to get medical care.

Axios Re:Cap digs into the pandemic's urban-rural divide with microbiologist Amber Schmidtke, who has found that coronavirus-related morbidity is higher in many of Georgia's rural counties than in Atlanta.