By CATHERINE THORBECKE, ABC News

(NEW YORK) — The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell nearly 700 points, or over 2.6%, as news of a significant amount of new COVID-19 cases across the U.S. appears to have investors spooked.

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq were also both down approximately 2.5% by midday.

Florida reported its highest one-day increase of coronavirus cases on Wednesday, an increase of more than 5,500 cases in the last 24 hours, bringing its statewide total to 109,000.

Meanwhile, 26 states are reporting rising numbers of new COVID-19 cases as the outbreak in the U.S. rages on. The increase in confirmed cases comes as many states begin to reopen following pandemic-related closures of businesses and social gatherings.

The sharp drop in financial markets on Wednesday also comes on the heels of a gloomy International Monetary Fund economic outlook released earlier in the day.

The IMF predicted global growth in 2020 to fall by by 4.9%, more than their initial forecast. It predicted growth in the U.S. to plummet by 8%.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a more negative impact on activity in the first half of 2020 than anticipated, and the recovery is projected to be more gradual than previously forecast,” the economists wrote in their report.

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