Health and Science

Starbucks' China sales drop, US coronavirus cases jump to 197

Coronavirus cases top 100,000—Here's what medical professionals say about the outbreak
Coronavirus cases top 100,000—Here's what medical professionals say about the outbreak

The coverage on this live blog has ended — but for up-to-the-minute coverage on the coronavirus, visit the live blog from CNBC's Asia-Pacific team. 

  • Global cases: More than 97,800, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
  • Global deaths: At least 3,347, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
  • US cases: At least 197, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
  • US deaths: At least 12, according to the CDC and state health officials.

All times below are in Eastern time. 

7:05 pm: EBAY cracks down on coronavirus-related supplies

Ebay said it would block new listings and begin to remove listings for face respirator masks, hand sanitizer/gel and disinfecting wipes because of regulatory restrictions in the U.S. Ebay's mask ban includes N95/N100 and surgical masks.

"We will continue to monitor the evolving situation and quickly remove any listing that mentions COVID-19, coronavirus, 2019nCoV (except books) in the title or description," the company said in a statement. — Miller

6:57 pm: How coronavirus is affecting millennials 

Millennials are being called the "worried" generation and are changing their spending habits more than others amid the new coronavirus outbreak, a new study shows.

Fifty-four percent of millennials say the new coronavirus has already significantly or somewhat impacted their purchase decisions, First Insight found in surveying 500 people on Feb. 28. That's compared with 33% of baby boomers, 42% of Gen X, and 49% of Gen Z, it said."

Generally, everyone is concerned about it, everyone believes there will be a financial impact," First Insight CEO Greg Petro told CNBC. "But millennials' behavior is changing more dramatically than any other generation. Members of this generation were children when 9/11 happened. And many of them were trying to get jobs in 2008, in the midst of the Great Recession, he said. —Thomas

6:34 pm: Costco reports sales boost from customers stocking up as US coronavirus cases climb

Costco reported stronger sales than analysts were expecting Thursday, thanks, in part, to a boost the company received from consumers stocking up at its stores to prepare for a more widespread outbreak of a new coronavirus.

"February sales benefited from an uptick in consumer demand in the fourth week of the reporting period," the company said. "We attribute this to concerns over the coronavirus."

Costco said the impact boosted its monthly same-store sales for February by roughly 3%. For the month ended March 1, same-store sales were up 12.1%. —Thomas

6:23 pm: Starbucks says its business in China is recovering and it hasn't seen an impact on US sales yet

An employee checks the temperature of a customer at the entrance of a Starbucks Corp. coffee shop in Shanghai, China, on Monday, March 2, 2020.
Qilai Shen | Bloomberg | Getty Images

 In January, with cafes across China closing, Starbucks predicted a big blow to its fiscal second-quarter earnings.

In an SEC filing, Starbucks warned its same-store sales in China during the quarter are likely to be down 50% and revenue will be cut by between $400 million and $430 million. However, more than 90% of the company's stores in China, where the outbreak began, are open again.

"In short, we see encouraging signs of recovery in China, our U.S. business momentum continues, and we are prepared to respond to implications of COVID-19 in every market around the world," Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson said. —Higgins-Dunn

(Correction: The store closures will lower second-quarter revenue in China by between $400 million and $430 million. A previous version of this story misstated the time period.)

6:16 pm: Apple rejecting iOS coronavirus apps

Apple is cracking down on apps related to the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak that aren't from recognized institutions like governments or hospitals, iPhone developers told CNBC

Four independent developers told CNBC that Apple rejected their apps. One developer got a written response from Apple, saying "apps with information about current medical information need to be submitted by a recognized institution," according to a screenshot seen by CNBC.

Apple has been specifically evaluating coronavirus apps to prevent the spread of misinformation. —Leswing

5:56 pm: Santa Clara County confirms 7 community transmission cases

Santa Clara County public health officials have confirmed six new cases there, bringing the total number of infections in the northern California county to 20. Seven of the 20 cases have "no known travel or direct contact with other known cases," James Williams, director of emergency management, told reporters at a press conference.

Santa Clara County Public Health Department Director Dr. Sara Cody said the county is recommending the cancellation of mass gatherings and other big events to help slow the spread of the outbreak. There were 53 cases in California as of Wednesday, according to the state health department, with dozens of new cases announced by public health officials Thursday. 

"Our cases to date indicate to us that the risk of exposure to the virus in our community is increasing," she said, adding that the number of cases are expected to rise.

Employers are being asked to suspend all non-essential employee travel, keep employees from working more than arms-length from each other, allow more flexible sick leave policies and increase tele-commuting. —Kopecki

4:46 pm: San Francisco health officials say COVID-19 is 'spreading in the community'

San Francisco health officials announced the first two cases of COVID-19 in the city, and said they were unable to determine the source of the infections.

The first patient is a man in his 90s who has underlying health conditions and is in "serious condition," San Francisco public health director Dr. Grant Colfax told reporters Thursday. The second person is a woman in her 40s who is in "fair" condition.

"We do not know at this point how they were exposed to the virus, which suggests it is spreading in the community," he said in a statement. "We expected that to happen and are further investigating the circumstances of these patients' exposure." —Feuer

4:27 pm: Almost 300 million kids missing school because of the coronavirus, UNESCO says

A worker sanitizes a classroom desk of a closed school as a precaution against the spread of the coronavirus in Beirut, Lebanon March 3, 2020.
Mohamed Azakir | REUTERS

The COVID-19 outbreak has disrupted the education of nearly 300 million students across the world and could threaten their future educational rights, according a UNESCO report released Wednesday.

The U.N. organization that monitors global education said the number of children missing school globally is unprecedented. 

"While temporary school closures as a result of health and other crises are not new unfortunately, the global scale and speed of the current educational disruption is unparalleled and, if prolonged, could threaten the right to education," UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay said in a statement. —Bursztynsky 

3:44 pm: Seattle-area officials announce 20 new cases, 1 death

Seattle and King County officials announced 20 new cases of the virus, bringing total confirmed cases in the county to 51. That brings the total in Washington state to 70, according to the state Department of Health. The new infections outside of Seattle drove the U.S. case count to 197.

Local health officials also confirmed a new fatality, bringing the total number of deaths in the U.S. to 12. "This is a critical moment in the growing outbreak of COVID-19 in King County," Seattle and King County said in a statement. —Feuer

3:06 pm: Kroger limits flu-related product purchases

Kroger said in a statement to CNBC that it will be limiting the number of sanitary, cold and flu-related products to five each per order. The nation's largest grocer attributed the change in policy to high demand and a desire to serve all of its customers. —Lucas

2:41 pm: San Francisco confirms city's first two cases

San Francisco Mayor London Breed announced the city's first two cases.  "These individuals are contained," Breed said.

The first patient is a man in his 90's who is in "serious condition" with underlying health conditions, San Francisco Public Health Director Dr. Grant Colfax said. The second person is a woman in her 40's who is in "fair" condition. Neither patient has a known connection to an infected individual or travel history to an outbreak area. "They are indicative of community transmission of COVID-19," he said. —Feuer

People wearing protective masks use hand sanitizer while sitting in Union Square in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Wednesday, March 4, 2020.
Bloomberg | Getty Images

2:00 pm: Congress passes $8.3 billion emergency package

The Senate gathered enough votes to pass a multibillion-dollar spending package to combat the spread of the deadly coronavirus. The bill will now head to the White House, where President Donald Trump is expected to sign it. 

The $8.3 billion emergency funding plan sailed through the House a day earlier in a 415-2 vote, just hours after it was unveiled by Senate and House appropriations leaders. 

The bill, which includes more than $3 billion in vaccine research and $2.2 billion in prevention and preparedness efforts, far exceeds the $2.5 billion proposal that the White House put forward last week. —Breuninger 

1:31 pm: Foreign investors are piling into this US real estate play as safe haven

Investors are looking for the calm in the coronavirus storm, and U.S. residential real estate appears to be it, specifically single-family rental homes.

These investors are not, however, coming to the U.S. to tour the homes themselves. They're buying them online. 

Roofstock, a 5-year-old California-based fintech company, lists single-family rental homes for sale on its website, most with tenants already in place. It also offers management services, so the investor never has to visit the property. In the last few weeks it has seen traffic from investors in Asia on its site jump 500%. CEO Gary Beasley said it is a direct result of the coronavirus. —Olick 

Southwest CEO on lowered guidance due to coronavirus
Southwest CEO on lowered guidance due to coronavirus

12:57 pm: Dow plunges more than 900 points, 10-year Treasury hits all-time low

Stocks plunged following a massive relief rally in the previous session, as markets remained choppy in the face of the fast-spreading coronavirus.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped about 962 points, or 3.5%. The S&P 500 dropped a similar 3.4% and the Nasdaq Composite fell 3%. Stocks hit their session lows as the rate on the 10-year Treasury note fell to an all-time low below 0.9%. —Li, Franck

12:47 pm: CDC says U.S. cases rise by 20 in a day

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed 20 new cases of COVID-19 over 24 hours, bringing the United States total to at least 149.

At least 49 of those cases are people who were evacuated from Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the outbreak, or the Diamond Princess cruise ship, the CDC said, adding that the data was current as of 4 p.m. Wednesday.  At least 30 are travel-related infections, while 17 were caused by person-to-person spread. U.S. health officials are also investigating 53 other cases with no clear source of the infection, the CDC said.

According to Johns Hopkins University, there are at least 162 cases of the coronavirus in the U.S. 

The CDC said it's tested 1,526 people for the flu-like virus as of Wednesday. That does include testing being done at state and local public health laboratories, which began this week, the agency said. —Lovelace

12:43 pm: Gundlach says Fed panicked and short-term rates are 'headed toward zero'

"Bond King" Jeffrey Gundlach said he believes the Federal Reserve panicked in cutting interest rates earlier this week and that short-term U.S. rates are headed for zero.

"If we look at history, once the Fed does a panic, inter-meeting rate cut, particular when it's 50 basis points ... they typically cut pretty quickly again," Gundlach said. "So I'm in the camp that the Fed is going to cut rates again, perhaps even in two weeks.

"We will see short rates headed toward zero." —Franck

Gundlach: I expect Fed to cut rates again, maybe in two weeks
Gundlach: I expect Fed to cut rates again, maybe in two weeks

12:32 pm: A Princess Cruises ship is — again — the source of a potential coronavirus outbreak

Princess Cruises will test fewer than 100 people aboard the Grand Princess cruise ship, which California health officials said is the site of another COVID-19 outbreak.

The ship, which was on a two-week voyage to Hawaii, was ordered to return early to San Francisco, California Gov. Gavin Newsom said, adding that passengers and crew have developed symptoms. 

Shares of parent company Carnival Corp. slumped by more than 12% in intraday trading.

The ship was due to arrive in San Francisco Wednesday, Newsom said, but is currently off the coast of California, according to Seascanner, which tracks the location of ships. It has a capacity of 2,600 guests and 1,150 crew members. —Feuer

11:53 am: Wall Street wants more than Fed rate cuts

Between Congress's fiscal stimulus and the Federal Reserve's easing, Wall Street sentiment is clear: Government spending is way more important in trying to combat the virus and, in turn, calm investors.

The emergency 50 basis point Fed cut, while perhaps a reassuring signal the central bank is willing to act with speed to support the economy, isn't able to correct big supply shocks caused by the virus, said Nathan Sheets, chief economist at PGIM Fixed Income.

"The Fed's stimulus doesn't fix broken supply chains or persuade people who are worried about being exposed to the virus to leave their homes and spend," Sheets wrote in an email to CNBC. "But it should provide a safety net of sorts by helping ensure that financial conditions remain supportive, lifting sentiment more generally, and helping to ensure that there is ample liquidity in the system."

"Bottom line is that the Fed's action is helpful, but it's not a panacea," he added. —Franck

11:41 am: WHO calls on all nations to 'pull out all the stops' to fight outbreak

The World Health Organization called on all nations to "pull out all the stops" to fight the COVID-19 coronavirus as it continues to spread outside of China.

"This epidemic can be pushed back but only with a coordinated and comprehensive approach that engages the entire machinery of government," WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during a press briefing at the agency's headquarters in Geneva. "We're calling on every country to act with speed, scale and clear-minded determination."

Tedros said world health officials are "deeply concerned" about the increasing number of countries reporting cases, especially those with weaker health-care systems. He's also worried that some countries aren't taking this seriously enough or have decided that there's nothing they can do to curb local outbreaks. —Lovelace, Higgins-Dunn

11:17 am: Dunkin' forms crisis team, pauses mug refill program

At the UBS investor conference in Boston, Dunkin' outlined the precautions it is taking in the U.S. due to the outbreak. The coffee chain has formed a crisis team that meets daily to address the outbreak. The team updates leadership twice a week and all franchisees once a week. Meetings and travel have been cut back, and its mug refill program has been paused.

Dunkin' President of Americas Scott Murphy also said the chain has seen more customers opting for drive-thru, digital order pick-up and even delivery in some cases. China, where Dunkin' has roughly 70 stores, represents less than 1% of its sales internationally. Southeast Asia, South Korea and Japan are home to about 5,200 Dunkin' cafes and account for more than half of its international presence. —Lucas

11:10 am: Total cases in U.K. rise to 115

The total number of confirmed cases of coronavirus across the United Kingdom has risen to 115, up from 85 on Wednesday, the health ministry said. —Reuters

10:56 am: Apple iPhone partner Foxconn's February revenue tanks on slowdown

Apple supplier Foxconn's February revenue fell 18.13% to NT 216 billion (approximately $7.26 billion), the largest year-over-year drop since March 2013 when it fell more than 19%, according to the company. Revenue fell 40.35% month over month.

Foxconn cut production in China over fears of the fast-spreading coronavirus outbreak. The company said Tuesday that output has returned to 50% of capacity but that it expects to be back to full seasonal capacity by the end of March. —Bursztynsky

10:41 am: Amazon tells Seattle-area employees to work from home as coronavirus spreads

Amazon is asking employees at its Seattle and Bellevue offices to work from home until the end of the month after an employee tested positive for the coronavirus.

The company informed employees of the change late Wednesday, one day after Amazon confirmed that an employee who works in one of its Seattle offices tested positive for COVID-19. Amazon is headquartered in Seattle and has offices in Bellevue, where it employs more than 2,000 people. 

An Amazon spokesperson told CNBC in a statement: "We are recommending that employees in Seattle/Bellevue who are able to work from home do so through the end of the month." —Palmer

10:12 am: Facebook closes a Seattle office after contractor tests positive for coronavirus

A Facebook worker based in one of its Seattle offices tested positive for the coronavirus, and the company is encouraging all 5,000 employees in the area to work from home the rest of the month. Facebook said it is closing its Stadium East office until Monday, the end of the incubation period for the contractor, who was last in the office on Feb. 21. The company is encouraging all Seattle-based employees to work from home until March 31, based on King County's updated guidance. Earlier this week, a Seattle-based employee of Amazon tested positive for COVID-19. Amazon asked employees who are experiencing symptoms to stay home and seek medical attention. —Steinberg

9:42 am: Dow tanks 700 points at the open

Stocks plunged immediately after markets opened for trading, following a massive relief rally in the previous session. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped about 765 points at the open. The S&P 500 dropped 2.1%, while the Nasdaq Composite traded 2.3% lower. The market moves came amid a roller-coaster week on Wall Street, which saw the 30-stock Dow swinging 1,000 points or higher twice in the past three days. The Dow posted its second-biggest point gain on Wednesday as major wins from former Vice President Joe Biden during Super Tuesday sparked a relief rally, especially in the health-care sector. —Li, Huang

9:32 am: BJ's is stocking up on 'stock-up' items

BJ's Wholesale Club says the impact from coronavirus on its business is too fluid to gauge so it's not baked into its financial forecasts right now. The company has canceled a leadership meeting that was planned for next week in Orlando, Florida, and it is stepping up cleaning and hygiene at its facilities. The company expects to see shipping delays for a "minor portion" of its summer seasonal items but warned the full impact on its supply chain is uncertain. "In the short-term we're working to manage our inventory appropriately to respond to short-term member demands for some stock-up items such as cleaning supplies and canned goods," CEO Lee Delany said on the company's fiscal fourth-quarter call. Shares are down about 5% after BJ's same-store sales growth failed to boost profits.—Lasky

9:20 am: Governors urge Congress to approve emergency funds

The bipartisan National Governors Association sent a letter to Congress on Wednesday urging the Senate to pass an $8.3 billion emergency supplemental request to help local and state governments fight the coronavirus' spread. States have seen their costs escalate as they help federal health officials combat COVID-19, according to the letter, which was signed by 38 governors. The spending package passed the House earlier Wednesday and is awaiting Senate action. "Congress must assure states and territories that necessary resources will be provided to address the multitude of costs associated with a public health emergency," the governors wrote. The current bill allocates $2.2 billion for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with nearly $1 billion meant for state and local preparedness response. —Higgins-Dunn

9:09 am: NYC confirms two new cases contracted through community spread

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio confirmed two new cases of COVID-19 — a man and a woman with no connection to other people recently diagnosed with the virus.The new cases bring the city's total to four, according to de Blasio. The city is also checking at least five other people for the virus, according to city's website. Earlier Thursday, de Blasio told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" that local health officials had found "4 people as of this morning who have tested positive." 

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8:49 am: Outbreak will cost Southwest up to $300 million in the first quarter

Southwest Airlines warned investors that the outbreak will cost the U.S. carrier up to $300 million during the first quarter. "In recent days, the company has experienced a significant decline in customer demand, as well as an increase in trip cancellations, which is assumed to be attributable to concerns relating to reported cases of COVID-19," the airline said. It said its revenue per available seat mile, a key measure of performance, was slashed. The company now says it will fall to somewhere between a 1% gain and a 2% decline. It previously said its year-over-year revenue per seat mile would rise 3.5% to 5.5%. —Kopecki

7:17 am: South Africa confirms its first case

South Africa's health ministry confirmed its first case of coronavirus. "The patient is a 38-year-old male who traveled to Italy with his wife. They were part of a group of 10 people and they arrived back in South Africa on March 1, 2020," the health ministry said. —Reuters

7:09 am: US to purchase 500 million masks for health-care professionals

The Department of Health and Human Services said it plans to purchase 500 million N95 respirator masks for health-care workers over the next 18 months. HHS said the masks will be purchased as part of the Strategic National Stockpile. Private-sector orders will be filled first, HHS said, but these "guaranteed orders" will encourage manufacturers to increase production. HHS said earlier this week the U.S. has about 1% of the required respirator masks that would be needed for medical professionals if the coronavirus outbreak were to erupt into a pandemic here. —Feuer

Italy's coronavirus death toll surpasses 100 as the world tackles the outbreak
Italy's coronavirus death toll surpasses 100 as the world tackles the outbreak

6:49 am: HSBC employee in London reportedly tested positive for coronavirus

An employee in HSBC’s research department in London has tested positive for coronavirus, three sources told Reuters on Thursday. The employee informed the bank over the weekend, and staff who came into contact with him have been told to work from home, a source familiar with the matter said. —Ellyatt

6:05 am: Iran reports 3,513 infections and 107 deaths

Iran has updated its latest coronavirus numbers, with 3,513 people infected with the virus and 107 deaths, Health Ministry spokesman Kianush Jahanpur announced on state TV on Thursday, Reuters reported. —Ellyatt

5:28 am: Iran sets up checkpoints between cities, and closes schools and universities

Iran’s health minister says authorities will begin manning checkpoints to limit travel between major cities amid the virus outbreak, The Associated Press reported. Schools and universities are to be shut until March 20. —Ellyatt

5:18 am: Hit to airlines could reach $113 billion, trade group says

The International Air Transport Association said the financial impact of the coronavirus on the global air transport industry could be more than $100 billion. The IATA now sees 2020 global revenue losses for the passenger business of $63 billion to $113 billion, depending on how far the virus spreads. British carrier Flybe announced early Thursday that it was going into administration — a form of bankruptcy protection from creditors. —Reuters

Read CNBC's coverage from the Asia-Pacific overnight: Iran sets up checkpoints between cities; closes schools and universities

—CNBC's Jessica BursztynskyYun Li, Eustance HuangAmanda LaskyHolly EllyattSaheli Roy Choudhury , Marty Steinberg, Amelia Lucas, Tom Franck, Annie Palmer, Diana Olick, Kif Leswing  and Reuters contributed to this report.