This is CNBC’s live blog covering all the latest news on the coronavirus outbreak. All times below are in Eastern time. This blog will be updated throughout the day as the news breaks.
- Global cases: More than 911,300
- Global deaths: At least 45,400
- US cases: At least 200,000
- US deaths: At least 4,400
The data above was compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
6 pm: Photos of New York City quieted by coronavirus
The Wall St. Bull is seen standing on a nearly empty Broadway in the financial district, as the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak continues, in New York City, New York, U.S., March 23, 2020.
Mike Segar | Reuters
New York City has become the epicenter of coronavirus in the U.S with over 47,000 cases. The pandemic has forced millions of New Yorkers into their homes as local and state government enforce another 30 day stay-at-home order to try and flatten the curve.
What remains is a surreal and eerie state of quiet and calm across a city that is typically unaccustomed to life without the noise and chaos that makes up the very fabric of New York. Now between the intermittent screams of sirens as ambulances rush new patients to overwhelmed hospitals, the only noise one might hear are the sounds of birds singing. While New York may still be the city that never sleeps, it is also a city that has been subdued, muted and left immobile. —Adam Jefferey
5:45 pm: University of California eases admission requirements to help students
The University of California announced Wednesday that it will suspend admission testing requirements for students seeking to enroll in fall 2021, among other temporary measures, to help students during the coronavirus pandemic.
“By removing artificial barriers and decreasing stressors — including suspending the use of the SAT — for this unprecedented moment in time, we hope there will be less worry for our future students,” said John A. Perez, chair of the UC Board of Regents.
The global pandemic has caused cancellations of standardized testing across the U.S. The College Board canceled all SAT sessions in March and May. The ACT also rescheduled its April 4 test date to June 13, causing disruptions for high school juniors who were seeking to take the exam before college applications this fall. —Jasmine Kim
5:30 pm: Georgia to enact ‘shelter-in-place’ order
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp said Wednesday that he will be implementing a “shelter-in-place” order for the entire state. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, also issued statewide orders Wednesday mandating all residents stay at home during the coronavirus outbreak.
Georgia, Florida and Pennsylvania join the majority of states — including the hardest-hit, New York, New Jersey, California and Washington — in implementing restrictions on people’s movements in an attempt to keep the virus from spreading further. —Hannah Miller
5:16 pm: Coronavirus could kill more Americans than WWI, Vietnam or Korean wars, White House projection shows
President Donald Trump has compared the coronavirus pandemic to fighting a war — and that outbreak could end up killing more Americans this year than some wars waged by the United States, including the Vietnam and Korean conflicts, and World War I.
And projections issued Tuesday by the White House suggest that the coronavirus has a chance of becoming the third leading cause of current U.S. deaths, after heart disease and cancer, this year.
White House officials estimate that the COVID-19 outbreak will kill between 100,000 and 240,000 Americans this year, even with social distancing, business closures and other mitigation efforts.
On the low end of the projection, with 100,000 deaths, the toll would exceed the more than 90,000 total American service battle deaths and nontheater deaths experienced in the Vietnam conflict, and be around double the same type of U.S. deaths in the Korean War.
And it could match the 116,516 American deaths in World War I.
If 240,000 Americans die from the coronavirus this year, as the projection indicates is possible, it would be nearly half of the total number of Americans who died in the Civil War. That four-year conflict led to more U.S. deaths than any other single war. —Dan Mangan, Tucker Higgins, John Schoen
5:01 pm: Uninsured Americans could be facing nearly $75,000 in medical bills if hospitalized for coronavirus
Thanks to lawmakers, coronavirus tests are now free for all Americans. But if you do test positive for COVID-19 and require treatment, the hospital bills could easily cost Americans tens of thousands of dollars, even if you have insurance.
Those who are hospitalized with coronavirus can expect to pay anywhere from $42,486 to $74,310 if they are uninsured or if they receive care that’s deemed out-of-network by their insurance company, according to recent analysis by independent nonprofit FAIR Health.
For those with insurance who are using in-network providers, out-of-pocket costs will be a portion of $21,936 to $38,755, depending on the cost-sharing provisions of their health plan.
To determine the estimates, FAIR Health drew on its database of over 30 billion private health-care claim records, and on estimates of Medicare and Medicaid costs, to project U.S. costs for COVID-19 patients requiring inpatient stays using diagnosis-related groups associated with pneumonia. —Megan Leonhardt
4:33 pm: Politicians are already calling for a 4th coronavirus relief plan
4:18 pm: Mt. Sinai Health launches app to track outbreak across the New York City
A team of data scientists, physicians and engineers at New York City’s Mount Sinai Health System has created an app that aims to track the spread of COVID-19 in the city, considered the epicenter of the nation’s outbreak.
The hospital’s patients and city residents will be able to monitor their symptoms through a web-based app, called STOP COVID NYC, Mount Sinai said in a press release. To sign up, the hospital is encouraging residents to text “COVID” to 64722. Users will need to complete an initial survey with questions about demographics, exposure and symptom history, followed by short daily surveys about their symptoms through text messages sent to their phones.
The data could alert health care providers about growing clusters of cases in the specific communities in the city, which would help them better allocate resources throughout the five boroughs, the hospital said. The coronavirus has infected more than 76,000 people in New York, far more than any other state in the U.S. —Noah Higgins-Dunn
4:07 pm: Dow falls 900 points as Wall Street fears longer economic shutdown than expected
Stocks sank on Wednesday as Wall Street kicked off the second quarter on a sour note amid concerns the coronavirus will keep the economy shut down longer than expected.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 973 points lower, or 4.4%. The S&P 500 slid 4.4% along with the Nasdaq Composite. The major averages hit their session lows in the final minutes of trading, with the Dow briefly falling more than 1,100 points.
President Donald Trump said Tuesday evening the U.S. should prepare for a “very, very painful two weeks” from the rampant coronavirus. White House officials are projecting between 100,000 and 240,000 virus deaths in the U.S. —Fred Imbert, Maggie Fitzgerald
4:01 pm: Gov. Cuomo to close NYC playgrounds as coronavirus death rate starts to climb
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he is closing all playgrounds in New York City as coronavirus deaths start to climb across the state.
“People say, ‘well when is it over, two weeks, three weeks, four weeks?’ This model projects you’re going to have a high death rate through July. If this model is correct, this could go through the summer,” Cuomo said at a press conference in Albany on Wednesday.
He said he’s been warning residents for weeks that he would close the playgrounds and parks if people didn’t abide by new rules designed to reduce density and help curb the outbreak. Local parks will remain open so people can get outside and exercise, he said.
“I warned people that if they didn’t stop the density and the games in the playgrounds — you can’t play basketball, you can’t come in contact with each other — that we would close the playgrounds,” he said. —Berkeley Lovelace, Dan Mangan, Noah Higgins-Dunn
3:30 pm: Private equity will get a liquidity cushion with payroll tax holiday, as some investments face a cash crunch
Private equity firms are fretting that they may be excluded from a small business loan program established as part of the $2 trillion stimulus bill.
But they have already taken note that they qualify for another key provision in the legislation: the “payroll tax holiday.”
The CARES Act, which was signed into law last week, is aimed at offering economic relief as the coronavirus pandemic grinds business to a halt. It offers a number of relief mechanisms for small businesses that serve as the backbone of U.S. employment. One is $350 billion in loans aimed at small businesses. Another is a payroll tax holiday to allow companies to defer their share of Social Security payroll taxes in 2020. —Lauren Hirsch
3 pm: Energy CEOs will meet with Trump Friday at the White House as oil prices tumble
Chief Executives from at least seven energy companies are set to meet with President Donald Trump on Friday at the White House to discuss energy policy, according to sources familiar with the matter.
The meeting comes as U.S. oil producers struggle to breakeven on the back of tumbling crude prices. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude lost more than half of its value in March — its worst month on record — and currently trades around $20.94 per barrel. At the beginning of the year, prices topped $60.
The meeting will include CEOs from Exxon, Chevron, Occidental Petroleum, Devon Energy, Phillips 66, Energy Transfer Partners and former Continental Resources CEO Harold Hamm. —Pippa Stevens, Brian Sullivan
2:50 pm: US coronavirus cases top 200,000
Confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S. surpassed 200,000 Wednesday, doubling since Friday as the country rolls out broader testing and outbreaks pop up in more and more cities.
The coronavirus has now infected 203,608 people in the U.S., killing at least 4,476 people, according to Johns Hopkins University. —William Feuer
2:40 pm: U.S. oil industry pumps near record volumes even as demand and prices collapse
The U.S. continues to pump near record amounts of oil, but U.S gasoline demand continues to drop as the whole world sees less need for fuel.
The latest weekly data from the Energy Information Administration showed the U.S. oil industry was still pumping 13 million barrels of crude oil per day, just under record production highs.
At the same time, demand for gasoline fell to 6.7 million barrels a day from 8.8 million the week earlier. This time last year, drivers were using about 9.2 million barrels a day of gasoline. U.S. gasoline demand translates to the equivalent of 10% of global oil demand. —Patti Domm
2:20 pm: Global coronavirus cases will hit 1 million and 50,000 deaths in a few days, WHO officials say
World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus attends a daily press briefing on COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, at the WHO heardquaters in Geneva on March 11, 2020.
Fabrice COFFRINI | AFP | Getty Images
World Health Organization officials are “deeply concerned” about the “rapid escalation and global spread” of the coronavirus outbreak, saying global infections will eclipse 1 million with 50,000 deaths in a few days.
“Over the past five weeks, we have witnessed a near exponential growth in the number of new cases, reaching almost every country, territory and area,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a news briefing at the organization’s Geneva headquarters Wednesday. “Three months ago we knew almost nothing about this virus.”
“This is a pandemic for the first time caused by a coronavirus and whose behavior is not really known and we have to stand in unison to find this very dangerous virus,” Tedros said. —Noah Higgins-Dunn
2:08 pm: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis issues stay-at-home order
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis issued an executive order Wednesday requiring residents to remain at home. Only certain parts of Florida had stay-at-home orders prior the the statewide order. The new policy goes into effect Thursday night at midnight.
“Even though there’s a lot of places in Florida with very low infection rates, it makes sense to make this move now,” DeSantis said at a press briefing Wednesday.
He said that he had consulted with President Donald Trump about implementing a stay-at-home order and that the CDC’s decision to extend its guidelines 30 more days also influenced his decision. —Hannah Miller
1:50 pm: American Airlines apologizes for mistakenly offering dozens of pilots voluntary leave
American Airlines apologized to its pilots on Wednesday after mistakenly offering thousands of aviators voluntary leave options as part of the company’s effort to cut costs to fight coronavirus’ toll on travel demand.
American had “either by miscalculation or miscommunication wrongly indicated” that a minimum of 1,200 pilots who fly Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 narrowbody aircraft could take short-term leave, according to an email to pilots from Kimball Stone, American’s senior vice president of flight operations, which was reviewed by CNBC. “The proffer for short term leaves … ended yesterday morning, and as we began the award process we discovered that we could offer nowhere near that number of leaves based upon the current April schedule. In fact, Manpower Planning did not believe we would be able to accommodate any A320 or B737 leaves for the month of April.” —Leslie Josephs
1:42 pm: Learning from our mistakes prepared us to deal with the coronavirus, Sheryl Sandberg says
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said the company’s lessons learned from numerous mistakes over the past couple of years has prepared it to deal with the crises caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
“Some of the troubles we had and some of the mistakes we made over the past years, we worked so hard to correct those and set ourselves up, they’re serving us well,” Sandberg said on the Skim’d from The Couch podcast.
From 2017 through 2019, Facebook dealt with a conga line of scandals.
Now, in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, Sandberg said Facebook is doing its best to move as quickly as possible. —Sal Rodriguez
1:34 pm: This tax break may resurface in the next coronavirus bill – and CPAs are dreading it
The next coronavirus relief bill might resurrect the state and local tax deduction – and overburdened accountants are less than thrilled.
In an interview with The New York Times, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., raised the prospect of retroactively reinstating the so-called SALT itemized deduction in a fourth coronavirus relief bill to put more cash in the pockets of Americans.
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act capped the amount of state and local tax deductions itemizers could claim on their tax returns to $10,000 starting in 2018 – a change that hit high earners in high-tax states in the wallet.
SALT deductions include income and property taxes. New Yorkers who itemized deductions in 2017 and claimed a SALT write-off took an average deduction of $23,804, according to the Tax Policy Center.
The White House isn’t planning for another COVID-19 bill, so the prospect of such legislation is uncertain at the moment. —Darla Mercado
1:29 pm: Nancy Pelosi wants to move forward with infrastructure bill after House returns on April 20
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wants to kick off the next phase of the U.S. coronavirus response with an infrastructure bill after the chamber’s planned April 20 return, she said.
“I think we come back April 20, God willing and coronavirus willing, but shortly thereafter we should be able to move forward,” she told reporters as House Democrats unveiled provisions they hope the next government relief bill will include.
The California Democrat, along with House Majority Whip James Clyburn, D-S.C., and key committee chairs Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., and Frank Pallone, D-N.J., outlined a sprawling infrastructure proposal they say will help the U.S. recover from the pandemic’s destruction. The plan, based on a five-year, $760 billion framework unveiled in January, includes money for community health centers, improvements to drinking water systems, expanded access to broadband and upgrades to roads, bridges, railroads and public transit agencies. —Jacob Pramuk
1:19 pm: Italy sees fewer coronavirus deaths, but new cases grow
A general view of a almost deserted street during coronavirus crisis on March 20, 2020 in Palermo, Italy.
The death toll from an outbreak of coronavirus in Italy has climbed by 727 to 13,155, the Civil Protection Agency said, a significantly smaller increase than seen on Tuesday and the lowest daily tally since March 26.
However, the number of new cases rose more sharply than a day earlier, growing by 4,782 against a previous 4,053, bringing total infections since the outbreak came to light on Feb. 21 to 110,574. —Reuters
1:12 pm: Tips for how to change, cancel or even book upcoming travel plans
Taking a trip is the last thing on many people’s minds.
Roughly 94 million Americans have canceled or plan on canceling travel plans due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to a recent survey by personal finance site WalletHub.
- Go directly to the source: If you would like a refund on an upcoming trip, reach out to the airline carrier or hotel directly.
- Follow up, but nicely: If you are canceling your plans but not getting the type of compensation you would prefer, follow up in an email, phone call or message through the app.
- Accept credit: Rather than trying to get a refund, consider taking a credit for future travel.
- Shop for deals: Already, many airlines and hotels are slashing prices to spur demand.
- Consider travel insurance: Buying travel insurance is another way to account for the uncertainty that something could happen before your next trip.
“There is pretty unprecedented flexibility from all travel providers right now,” said Melanie Lieberman, travel editor for The Points Guy. —Jessica Dickler
1:01 pm: Media networks have paid billions for sports they won’t receive this year — but the fighting for refunds hasn’t started yet
Like many Americans, the television industry is putting survival over all else during the coronavirus quarantines.
As the crisis wears on, cable operators and the largest programmers have called a temporary truce and set aside a polarizing question for the time being: Refunds on undelivered programming, such as the National Basketball Association and the Olympics.
Distributors agree to pay programmers a certain amount of money based on the shows they promise to deliver. Live sports and the networks dedicated to them — like Disney‘s ESPN and Warner’s TNT — are a big reason why many Americans keep paying $80 or $100 per month for TV service.
But this year, distributors — and consumers — paid for something they didn’t receive. What happens next is unclear and likely will hinge on whether or not professional sports seasons are postponed or canceled completely. —Alex Sherman
12:50 pm: Dow tumbles 900 points
Stocks sank as Wall Street kicked off the second quarter on a sour note thanks to persistent concerns over the spread of the novel coronavirus.
President Donald Trump said Tuesday evening the U.S. should prepare for a “very, very painful two weeks” from the rampant coronavirus. White House officials are projecting between 100,000 and 240,000 virus deaths in the U.S. —Fred Imbert, Maggie Fitzgerald
12:38 pm: China hid extent of coronavirus outbreak, US intelligence reportedly says
The Chinese government has deliberately underreported the total number of coronavirus cases and deaths in the country, the U.S. intelligence community told the White House, a new report says.
Bloomberg, citing three U.S. officials, reported that the intelligence community said in a classified report that China’s public tally of COVID-19 infections and deaths is purposefully incomplete.
The secret report concludes that China’s numbers are fake, two of the officials told Bloomberg. The White House received the report last week, according to the news outlet. —Kevin Breuninger
12:27 pm: These states could be hit with the biggest jobs losses from the coronavirus pandemic
When the Coronavirus pandemic eventually subsides, the economic impact will be felt unevenly from one part of the country to another.
The regions feeling the biggest impact may also see the fastest growth when they recover, according to an analysis Wednesday from IHS Markit
“The states and metros hit hardest will generally be among the fastest growing over the ensuing recovery as activity that fell most sharply during the downturn has the greatest room for growth as conditions normalize,” IHS Markit economist Karl Kuykendall wrote in the report. —John Schoen
12:18 pm: Dollar Tree CEO says supply chains stressed — but $1 billion of goods in ‘pipeline somewhere’
Dollar Tree CEO Gary Philbin said the retailer’s supply chains have “been stressed” from a spike in coronavirus-related demand, but he sought to reassure customers that more products are on their way.
“As our trucks show up to stores we probably have enough for a day or a day and a half, but more is coming,” Philbin said on CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street.” “We’ve called out, and we have $1 billion in the pipeline somewhere.”
Employees at Dollar Tree’s 24 distribution centers in the country have been working seven days a week to send shipments to stores, Philbin said. Dollar Tree, which also owns Family Dollar, has about 15,000 stores in the U.S. and Canada.
“Our vendor partners have ramped up. It’s coming. It’s just that it’s not going to be enough for the next few weeks, but there is enough coming overall,” Philbin said. “The levels on shelves are going to get better and better as we go through this.” —Kevin Stankiewicz
12:10 pm: Number of global cases reaches 885,000
11:59 am: Spring break canceled in New York
A portion of Park Avenue, between 28th Street and 34th Street closed to motorists to promote ‘Social Distancing’ amid Coronavirus(Covid-19) Pandemic on March 30, 2020.
John Nacion | NurPhoto | Getty Images
New York is canceling spring break for public and charter schools across the state. Remote learning will continue during these weeks of April amid the coronavirus pandemic. Spring break for New York City public schools was scheduled to be from April 9 to 17.
“Districts must continue to provide remote instruction for students, meals for students, and child care for essential workers every weekday between April 1, 2020 and April 14, 2020, even if the district is scheduled to be on spring break during that time,” the New York State Education Department said in a memo.
Michael Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of Teachers, sent an email to New York City teachers saying that they will be off from April 9 to April 12 for religious holidays. Mulgrew also added that the week of April 13 will be a “special week of family service and support.” —Jasmine Kim
11:53 am: Citigroup CEO Michael Corbat says bank is ‘working around the clock’ on small business relief program
Citigroup CEO Michael Corbat said the bank is “working around the clock” on an online portal for the new $349 billion small business relief program.
The program, which Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has said will be up on Friday, is meant to enable struggling businesses to retain employees by applying for loans that are forgiven if used for workers’ payroll. It was a key part of the $2 trillion coronavirus relief bill signed by President Trump last week.
The bank is “making sure that we’ve got the digital interface set up so that people can apply online, we can get the documentation we need online for the vast majority of these loans, and we can get this money into small businesses hands as quickly as we can,” Corbat said Wednesday in an interview with CNBC’s Jim Cramer. —Hugh Son
11:41 am: Wimbledon 2020 tennis championships canceled due to coronavirus
The 2020 Championships Wimbledon have been canceled due to public health concerns linked to the coronavirus epidemic.
The Championships were scheduled to be held from Monday, June 29 through Sunday, July 12. The 134th tournament will now be held between June 28 and July 11, 2021.
“This is a decision that we have not taken lightly, and we have done so with the highest regard for public health and the wellbeing of all those who come together to make Wimbledon happen,” Ian Hewitt, chairman of the Main Board of the All England Club, said.
The Wimbledon website says that people who paid for tickets in the Wimbledon Public Ballot will be refunded. They’ll have a chance to buy tickets for The Championships in 2021. —Todd Haselton
11:27 am: Carnival cruise passengers plead for entry into Florida port
More than 1,400 passengers on the Carnival-owned MS Zaandam are pleading with Florida to allow them in. But officials, including Gov. Ron DeSantis, say the state simply does not have the resources to take on an extra burden amid a growing health crisis.
“We cannot afford to have people who are not even Floridians dumped into South Florida using up those valuable resources,” DeSantis told Fox News on Monday.
Four people have died on the ship, at least two from the coronavirus, nine others have tested positive and 179 others are experiencing flu-like symptoms. The vessel left Buenos Aires, Argentina, on March 7 and was scheduled to end its voyage in Chile on March 21. Passengers were supposed to have disembarked in Chile but were turned away. —NBCNews
11:14 am: More than 1,000 New York City police officers have the coronavirus
More than 1,000 New York City police officers have contracted COVID-19 as emergency calls in the city hit record highs.
Of the New York Police Department’s more than 36,000 employees, 1,048 officers and 145 civilian employees have tested positive for COVID-19 as of Tuesday, NYPD said in a statement. The department added that 5,657 uniformed officers, or more than 15% of the force, called out sick on Tuesday.
Officials from the Fire Department of New York told NBC News that 282 members, including firefighters, EMTs and civilians, have tested positive for COVID-19. At the same time, 911 call volume is hitting record daily highs, the Fire Department said.
There were 6,527 medical calls to 911 placed on Monday and over the past few days, the FDNY has had to “hold” hundreds of calls, according to NBC News. This means that lower priority sick calls have to wait for ambulances. —William Feuer
11:07 am: Criminals posing as Treasury Department officials in new email stimulus scam
Criminals posing as U.S. Treasury officials are sending emails requesting that victims provide personal information in order to receive COVID-19 stimulus money, according to a U.S. Secret Service alert obtained by CNBC on Wednesday.
“As with other aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic, fraudsters are exploiting the relief and stimulus to victimize the public. The U.S. Secret Service is observing a rise in stimulus relief fraud over the past several days and expect the fraud attempts to continue throughout the pandemic,” the alert said.
The alert, sent to law enforcement and banking officials, said the phony emails, which appear to come from the U.S. Treasury, state that, “You are among the First Email ID Batch to receive payment of $450,000 on this exercise, the purpose of these funds is to give relief to the global citizens of the world due to coronavirus pandemic…”
The email goes on to say, “You have been assigned a Senior supervisor Agent who will handle your filing and also monitor the processing of your funds release.”The email asks for personal information including the recipient’s name, address, date of birth, and profession. —Scott Zamost
10:36 am: Home Depot asks employees to check temperature before work, limits customer traffic
An employee wears an orange Home Depot Inc. apron at a store in New York.
Mark Kauzlarich | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Home Depot is distributing thermometers to employees who work in stores and distribution centers. The home improvement retailer is asking employees to use the forehead thermometers at home to check for a fever, a symptom of COVID-19.
Home Depot will also limit the number of customers to 100 people at a time. Other customers will be asked to wait outside and remain socially distanced from one another, company spokeswoman Sara Gorman said. Its stores average 100 square feet.
Home Depot has about 400,000 store employees in the U.S. —Melissa Repko
10:12 am: March’s ISM manufacturing index signals contraction as coronavirus hits economy
U.S. manufacturing activity contracted in March as the coronavirus outbreak continues to pressure the economy, data released Wednesday by the Institute for Supply Management showed.
The ISM manufacturing index fell to 49.1 last month from 50.1 in February. Activity was driven down by a steep decline in new orders and production, the data showed.
“The coronavirus pandemic and shocks in global energy markets have impacted all manufacturing sectors,” said Timothy Fiore, chair of the Institute for Supply Management, in a statement. —Fred Imbert
10:02 am: Coronavirus is a ‘common invisible enemy’ and coordinated efforts are needed, NATO’s chief says
The ongoing health crisis is a “common invisible enemy” and a synchronized response is needed, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told CNBC.
Since it was first detected in China towards the end of last year, the coronavirus has infected close to 880,000 people and killed at least 43,500, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. It has overwhelmed health systems, sent countries into lockdown and prompted monetary and fiscal measures from authorities.
He said the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) main task was to ensure terrorist organizations and other adversaries were not taking advantage of the pandemic, but it also had a role to play in supporting civilian efforts to tackle the spread of the disease. —Abigail Ng
9:52 am: Comcast CEO Brian Roberts pledges $500 million for employees whose jobs are impacted by coronavirus
Roberts said Comcast would put aside $500 million in pay and benefits for employees “where operations have been paused or impacted.” He also said he would join Comcast’s senior executives — Chief Financial Officer Mike Cavanagh, Comcast Cable CEO Dave Watson, NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell and Sky CEO Jeremy Darroch — in donating 100% of their salaries to charities to support coronvirus relief efforts.
Comcast has seen its broadband usage spike as Americans largely stay at home during COVID-19 quarantines. —Alex Sherman
9:41 am: Reported cases in US outpacing other countries
9:33 am: Dow tumbles 800 points to start second quarter as Trump warns of ‘very painful two weeks’
Stocks fell sharply on Wednesday as Wall Street begins the second quarter on a sour note amid mounting concerns over the coronavirus outbreak.
President Donald Trump said Tuesday evening the U.S. should prepare for a “very, very painful two weeks” from the rampant coronavirus. White House officials are projecting between 100,000 and 240,000 virus deaths in the U.S.
The Dow fell 410 points or 1.8%, while the S&P 500 lost 1.6% to close out their worst first-quarter performances of all time. The Dow fell more than 23% in the first quarter; that was also its biggest quarterly fall since 1987. The S&P 500 fell 20% in the first quarter, its worst first quarter ever and its biggest quarterly loss since 2008. —Fred Imbert, Maggie Fitzgerald
9:27 am: Travelers through TSA checkpoints dropped to 10-year low Tuesday
The Transportation Security Administration said 146,348 passengers went through a TSA checkpoint on Tuesday, setting a new record low for the past 10 years. About 2.03 million travelers were screened on the same day a year earlier. —Melodie Warner
9:09 am: Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson coronavirus relief golf match could happen in May
Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson look on prior to The Match: Tiger vs Phil at Shadow Creek Golf Course on November 23, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Harry How | Getty Images
NFL icons Tom Brady and Peyton Manning will join superstars Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson in a golf match organized by AT&T’s WarnerMedia and the PGA Tour, a person familiar with the negotiations confirmed to CNBC.
The match pitting Mickelson-Brady against Woods-Manning would be a rare sporting event in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, which has spurred game cancellations and suspensions across professional sports.
The person, who requested to not be identified as negotiations are still being finalized, said the event would likely happen in May and would benefit charity. —Jabari Young
8:58 am: UK banks scrap dividends as recession fears build across Europe
Some of the U.K.’s biggest lenders have agreed to scrap billions of pounds of payments to shareholders following pressure from the Bank of England (BOE).
Barclays, Santander, Lloyds, NatWest, Standard Chartered and HSBC confirmed late on Tuesday that they will not be paying out dividends in 2020, after the central bank’s Prudential Regulatory Authority (PRA) urged British commercial banks to preserve capital in order to help support the economy during the likely recession arising from the coronavirus pandemic.
The BOE has also urged banks to ditch bonuses for top executives. —Elliot Smith
8:26 am: Dow futures fall 800 points
8:19 am: US companies cut 27,000 jobs before the worst of the coronavirus shutdown hit
Companies reduced payrolls by 27,000 in early March before the worst of the coronavirus-induced economic freeze, according to a report from ADP and Moody’s Analytics.
Actual losses for the month were far worse as indicated by the millions of people who already have filed unemployment claims. Wednesday’s report covers the period through March 12.
Economists surveyed by Dow Jones had forecast a loss of 125,000 jobs. However, the March ADP count as well as Friday’s nonfarm payrolls report cover periods before the government instituted social distancing measures that have shut down large parts of the U.S. economy.
The March ADP number comes after a February gain of 179,000, revised lower from the initially reported 183,000. —Jeff Cox
7:19 am: Mortgage applications to buy a home plummet 24%
More borrowers are refinancing to save money on monthly payments, while potential homebuyers are backing away fast from purchases as the coronavirus outbreak puts the brakes on home sales.
Driven entirely by refinancing, total mortgage application volume increased 15.3% last week from the previous week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s seasonally adjusted index. Volume was 67% higher than one year ago, when interest rates were higher.
Mortgage applications to purchase a home fell 11% last week and were 24% lower than a year ago. Real estate agents and homebuilders have reported a sharp drop in buyer interest, and open houses and model homes are shuttering. Some potential buyers are doing virtual tours, but the demand is not even close to normal spring volume. —Diana Olick
6:36 am: Spain has more than 100,000 cases, record daily death toll
A man wearing a face mask is wheeled into La Paz hospital on March 23, 2020 in Madrid, Spain.
Denis Doyle | Getty Images
Spain now has 102,136 coronavirus cases, its health ministry reported, with the number of fatalities over the last 24 hours increasing by a record 864 people. That brought the country’s death toll to 9,053. The total number of cases rose by 7,719 from Tuesday. —Holly Ellyatt
6 am: UK urges hospitals to increase testing
The U.K.’s health minister has asked hospitals to use spare laboratory space to test front-line and self-isolating National Health Service staff for coronavirus, amid concerns of a lack of testing for health-care workers, and potentially unnecessary staff absences.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock called for more testing of health providers as pressure grows on the government over its small amount of testing compared with other countries, like Germany. Another government minister, Michael Gove, said the U.K. had to go “further, faster” to increase testing. —Holly Ellyatt
5:03 am: Indonesia set to open emergency hospital on uninhabited island
An Indonesian health official monitors as passengers from an international flight have their temperature checked as they pass a thermal scanner monitor upon arrival at the Adisucipto International Airport on January 23, 2020 in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.
Ulet Ifansasti | Getty Images
Indonesia plans to open a coronavirus emergency hospital on the uninhabited island of Galang by next week, Reuters reported. The authorities have repurposed a former Vietnam War-era refugee camp to quickly help improve health-care capacities.
Indonesia has recorded 1,677 cases of coronavirus as of Wednesday, and 157 deaths — the highest mortality rate in Southeast Asia. It’s believed the infection rate among Indonesia’s population of 260 million could be substantially higher, while official data from mid-March shows the country had only about 12 hospital beds per 10,000 people. —Holly Ellyatt
Read CNBC’s coverage from CNBC’s Asia-Pacific and Europe teams overnight here: Spain now has more than 100,000 cases, sees record daily death toll