After hitting all-time highs on excessive optimism, markets are pulling back.

At the moment, the Dow is down about 300 points, as the NASDAQ slips $115 points.

All after retail sales came in at a worse than expected decline of 1.1% in July — far worse than expectations for a drop of 0.3%.  All thanks to the coronavirus.

“The Delta variant seems to have hurt consumer confidence more than actual sales, but slowing growth is worth watching,” said Ted Rossman, senior industry analyst at CreditCards.com, as quoted by Fox Business. “The fall and winter could pose greater challenges to bar and restaurant operators, especially if COVID remains a significant issue.”

Not helping, Florida, Louisiana, Hawaii, Oregon and Mississippi just saw record high cases of the virus over the weekend.

In addition, new cases continue to surge around the world.

At the moment, according to Johns Hopkins, the number of global cases is now up to 208 million, with nearly 4.4 million deaths.  In the U.S. alone, there are 36.8 million cases to date, with 622,437 deaths recorded.

Even schools around the country are struggling with higher pandemic numbers, forcing some to rethink their opening strategies.  Unfortunately, with virus numbers on the rise — even in vaccinated countries — the world is bracing for many more cases – which could easily weigh on the global economy even more.

Investors may want to consider hedging for downside.