Coronavirus live updates: US cases cross 14,000, China economy shows signs of normalizing

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 245,000, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
  • Global deaths: At least 10,031, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
  • US cases: At least 14,250, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
  • US deaths: At least 205, according to the CDC and state health officials.

9:22 am: Hopes are high for a treatment, which could come much quicker than a vaccine

Scientists around the globe are racing to develop tests, treatments, and vaccines to combat the COVID-19 disease.

Near term, tests are the priority. Beyond testing, regulators are trying to get treatments approved as quickly and safely as possible to serve as a bridge to a vaccine, which is likely to take 12 months, according to the U.S. FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn.

Health-care experts broadly agree that a treatment is likely to come before a vaccine. “If a good treatment emerges, whatever it is, we expect regulators to prioritize expeditious review,” Laura Sutcliffe, a UBS health-care analyst said in a research note. —Julianna Tatelbaum

9:15 am: How one elite New York medical provider got its patients tested

As U.S. authorities scrambled to ramp up the nation’s capacity to test for coronavirus last week, at least 100 executives and other New Yorkers of means had easy access to testing, according to two sources familiar with the activities of a little-known medical service catering to the affluent.

These people paid a $5,000-a-year membership fee for a medical concierge service in New York City called Sollis Health, which worked with Enzo Clinical Labs Inc to test its members for COVID-19, according to the sources.

The arrangement gave members, which include people in finance, entertainment, advertising, and media industries, access to the tests at home at a time New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said the state had the capacity to test just a few hundred patients a day. The two sources declined to provide the identities of the people the company tested for coronavirus and Reuters could not establish them. —Reuters

9:00 am: GameStop considers itself ‘essential retail,’ tells stores to stay open

GameStop told its stores to stay open even in the event of state or city lockdowns in response to the coronavirus outbreak, according to a memo obtained by gaming website Kotaku. The memo said the videogame retailer considered itself an “essential retail” operation. —Peter Schacknow

8:18 am: US cases cross 14,000

8:06 am: China economy normalizing after coronavirus peaked

A staff worker wearing a protective mask and protective suit checks a visitor’s body temperature with a temperature gun by a monitor showing the current stock information at the Shanghai Stock Exchange Building on March 20, 2020 in Shanghai, China. Health authorities of China said the country has passed the peak of the COVID-19 epidemic on March 12.

Yifan Ding

China’s economy is beginning to show some signs of normalization following the full-blown shock caused by the coronavirus, but stark risks remain, International Monetary Fund officials said in a blog on the economic impact of the pandemic.

Most larger Chinese firms have reopened and many local employees have returned to work, but infections could rise again as national and international travel resumes, the IMF officials said.

Outbreaks in other countries and financial market gyrations could make consumers and firms wary of Chinese goods just as the economy is getting back to work, they said. —Reuters

8:00 am: Germany locks down Bavaria

The German state of Bavaria will impose general restrictions on going outside for two weeks, state premier Markus Soeder said. “It’s not easy to take these decisions,” Soeder said. “We take these decisions according to the best of our knowledge and conscience. There will be a Bavaria after corona, but it will be a stronger one if we don’t look away.” —Reuters

7:43 am: Upcoming job losses will be unlike anything the US has ever seen

When the damage the coronavirus inflicts on the U.S. jobs market becomes clearer, it could be unlike anything the country has ever seen.

Judging by a host of forecasts from economists, the avalanche of furloughs will easily break the record for most in a single month.

Upcoming weekly jobless claims will shatter the standards set even during the worst points of the financial crisis and the early-1980s recession. Those numbers are expected to be bad, in fact, that the Trump administration, according to several media reports, has asked state officials to delay releasing precise counts.

While the headline unemployment rate is highly unlikely to approach the 24.9% during the Great Depression, it very well could be the highest in almost 40 years, something unthinkable for a jobs market that had been on fire as recently as February. —Jeff Cox

7:32 am: New Orleans Saints coach Payton says he tested positive

Head coach Sean Payton of the New Orleans Saints looks on against the Carolina Panthers in the second quarter during their game at Bank of America Stadium on December 17, 2018 in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Grant Halverson | Getty Images

New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton says he has tested positive for the coronavirus, is resting comfortably at home and is making his test result public in hopes he can motivate people to do more to fight the pandemic.

Payton learned Thursday that he has tested positive for the coronavirus, he told ESPN before posting a photo of himself smiling as he sat on a couch next to his dog.

“Appreciate the well wishes,” Payton wrote on his Twitter page. “I’m feeling better and fortunate to not have any of the respiratory symptoms. 4 more days at home.”

Payton, 56, is the first employee of either an NFL team or the league to make such a diagnosis public. —Associated Press

7:30 am: AT&T hits the brakes on share buyback plan

AT&T just canceled plans to repurchase $4 billion of its own shares, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing. The company made the move to “focus on continued investment in serving our customers, taking care of our employees and enhancing our network, including nationwide 5G,” according to the filing.

The news follows several days of public outcry from President Donald Trump and several high-profile investors, including Mark Cuban, who said companies that have received government bailouts should not be allowed to buy back their own shares.

AT&T noted in the filing that the impact of the pandemic “could be material,” but the company said it cannot yet estimate the impact on its financial or operational results. —Elisabeth Butler Cordova

7:25 am: Altria CEO Howard Willard has tested positive

Marlboro cigarette maker Altria CEO Howard Willard has contracted coronavirus and is taking temporary medical leave, a regulatory filing showed on Friday.

Willard, 56, is the latest high-profile person to get the virus in a global pandemic that has infected more than 245,000 people and killed over 10,000 globally.

Chief Financial Officer William Gifford Jr will take over for Willard during his absence, the company said here in a memo to employees. —Reuters

7:20 am: Fine-dining restaurants scramble to start delivery as a way to survive

A delivery person wears a protective mask as the coronavirus continues to spread across the United States on March 15, 2020 in New York City.

Cindy Ord | Getty Images

7:14 am: Senate GOP bailout bill caps executive pay

Executives at companies that would receive bailout cash from the coronavirus-relief bill unveiled by Senate Republicans would see their annual compensation capped for two years. According to the language, no employee who makes more than $425,000 may get a raise in their salary for two years. —Lauren Hirsch

7:10 am: Two senators face questions over stock sales

Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC).

Getty Images

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr, R-N.C., is facing questions about his decision to sell between $630,000 and $1.7 million worth of stock one week before global financial markets began a historic slide in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

A second Republican senator, Georgia’s Kelly Loeffler, also sold large amounts of stock in late January and early February, when U.S. markets were hitting all-time highs. Both Burr and Loeffler have received non-public information about the global spread of coronavirus from Executive Branch officials, who have been briefing senators regularly since at least January. —Christina Wilkie

7:06 am: Spain’s death toll surpasses 1,000

A tourist wearing a protective mask takes a selfie outside the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona on March 11, 2020 after Spain banned all air traffic from Italy, closed schools and blocked fans from football matches after being caught off-guard by a near tripling of coronavirus infections in less than 48 hours.

Lluis Gene | AFP | Getty Images

Spain’s death toll from the coronavirus epidemic soared to 1,002 on Friday from 767 on the previous day, the country’s health emergencies chief Fernando Simon said. The number of registered cases in the country rose to 19,980 on Friday from 17,147 on Thursday, Simon said. —Reuters

6:05 am: Deutsche Bank warns it may be ‘materially’ impacted

Deutsche Bank has warned COVID-19 might significantly impact its ability to meet its financial targets this year. 

“While it is too early to predict the impacts on business or the bank’s financial targets that the expanding pandemic, and the governmental responses to it, may have, the bank may be materially adversely affected by a protracted downturn in local, regional or global economic conditions,” the bank said in a statement published Friday. “Given the uncertainty around extent, duration and market spillover of COVID 19, forward-looking assumptions do not currently consider any of its potential impacts,” it added. —Sam Meredith

4:16 am: Global death toll surpasses 10,000

The global death toll rose above 10,000, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The exact number stood at 10,031 on Friday morning with total confirmed cases at 244,523.

On Thursday, Italy overtook China to be the world’s deadliest hotspot with 3,405 deaths registered. —Matt Clinch

4:05 am: Norway’s central bank cuts interest rates again

Norges Bank cut its key policy rate to a record low of 0.25% from 1% and doesn’t rule out further reductions in interest rates, reported Reuters.

It was the Norwegian central bank’s second interest rate reduction due to COVID-19. The Norges Bank cut its policy rate by half a percentage point on March 13, when Governor Oeystein Olsen said the economy was in a state of emergency, according to the report. —Yen Nee Lee

Read CNBC’s coverage from CNBC’s Asia-Pacific and Europe teams overnight here: California issues stay home order, global death toll surpasses 10,000

—Reuters and CNBC’s Weizhen Tan, Matt Clinch, Sam Meredith, and Yen Nee Lee contributed to this report.

Source: Business -

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