Health and Science

Coronavirus updates: NYC mayor wants 'shelter-in-place' order, US cases number over 7,500

Just how bad are things likely to get?
Just how bad are things likely to get?

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.

All times below are in Eastern time.

  • Global cases: More than 214,000
  • Global deaths: At least 8,732
  • US cases: At least 7,769
  • US deaths: At least 118

All data above is provided by Johns Hopkins University.

7:17 pm: Google is still showing mask ads next to coronavirus stories after promising to take them down

Days after Google promised to remove ads for medical face masks, promotions are still appearing next to online content related to the coronavirus, much to the ire of U.S. lawmakers.

Senators. Mark Warner, D-Va., and Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., sent a letter to Federal Trade Commission Chairman Joseph J. Simons on Tuesday, criticizing Google for continuing to serve ads next to stories about COVID-19 on various sites. Federal health officials have repeatedly told the public to refrain from purchasing masks so they can be reserved for people who need them, like health-care workers responding to the crisis. —Megan Graham, Jennifer Elias

7:11 pm: General Motors studying whether auto factories can be used to make medical supplies

General Motors is studying whether it can use its auto factories to "support production" of ventilators and other medical equipment to help combat the coronavirus pandemic sweeping across the nation.

CEO Mary Barra spoke with told the Trump administration about the automaker's decision to pause production, the company said in a statement.

"She also indicated GM is working to help find solutions for the nation during this difficult time and has offered to help, and we are already studying how we can potentially support production of medical equipment like ventilators," according to the statement. —Phil LeBeau, Noah Higgins-Dunn

7:03 pm: Why there will soon be tons of toilet paper, and what foods may be scarce, according to supply chain experts

Stuck rationing toilet paper because you didn't stockpile during the coronavirus panic over the last few days? Don't worry, according to supply chain experts.

"All the grocery stores are going to have pallets of toilet paper sitting in the aisles, and nobody is going to buy it, because who needs to buy toilet paper when you've got a year's worth sitting in your garage?" Daniel Stanton, a supply chain expert and author of "Supply Chain Management for Dummies," tells CNBC Make It. —Jade Scipioni

6:51 pm: Inside Macy's Herald Square before all stores shut temporarily because of coronavirus

Mostly just Macy's workers pace the main floor, around the beauty department, on March 17.
Source: Lauren Thomas, CNBC

Macy's was the last major department store chain in America to lay out a plan for its stores this week to curb the spread of the new coronavirus. 

That's as dozens of retailers began shutting their doors temporarily since last Friday to try to encourage consumers, and workers, to stay home. 

On Tuesday afternoon, hundreds of Macy's stores across the country were still open for business, including its sprawling flagship location in Herald Square in Manhattan. Late Tuesday, the company announced plans to close the roughly 750 stores it operates nationwide, sending roughly 130,000 employees, including those that work for Bloomingdale's and Bluemercury, home. —Lauren Thomas

6:45 pm: Senate Democrats raise alarms over the security of Google's coronavirus screening site

Five Democratic senators raised alarms about potential privacy and cybersecurity issues related to Google's efforts to help the White House manage the COVID-19 pandemic.

The group of senators, Bob Menendez and Cory Booker of New Jersey, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Kamala Harris of California, signed letters addressed to Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai and Vice President Mike Pence. 

In the letter to Pichai, the senators said they "appreciate the Administration's efforts to utilize Google's technology to disseminate up-to-date information about COVID-19" but feared neither had assessed all the implications of such a system. —Lauren Feiner

6:32 pm: Dow futures down 100 points as Wall Street's equity rout continues

Futures contracts tied to the major U.S. stock indexes pointed to another lower open on Thursday at the beginning of extended trading.

Dow Jones Industrial Average futures dropped 100 points shortly after the opening of extended trading, implying a flat open at the start of trading on Thursday.

S&P 500 and Nasdaq futures also pointed to slight gains, though futures contracts trading can change rapidly overnight. —Thomas Franck

6:00 pm: NYC mayor pushes for 'shelter-in-place' order as coronavirus cases surge to almost 1,900

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said he's pushing Gov. Andrew Cuomo to approve a "shelter-in-place" order for the city as coronavirus cases surge to almost 1,900 across the five boroughs.

De Blasio, speaking to NY1 local television station, said he had a "very good conversation" with Cuomo about an hour ago.

Earlier in the day, Cuomo said he wouldn't approve a "shelter-in-place" order for New York City after de Blasio told residents to prepare for one. "That is not going to happen, shelter in place, for New York City," Cuomo said on The Daily podcast by The New York Times. "For any city or county to take an emergency action, the state has to approve it. And I wouldn't approve shelter in place." —Dawn Kopecki, Berkeley Lovelace Jr.

5:45 pm: Updated map of US coronavirus cases, which total 7,769 so far

5:30 pm: Bill Gates thinks places that 'shut down' for coronavirus could reopen in six to 10 weeks

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates urged people to remain calm in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.

In an Ask Me Anything session on the discussion forum Reddit, Gates was asked about how long "this" will last.

"If a country does a good job with testing and 'shut down' then within 6-10 weeks they should see very few cases and be able to open back up," he responded. —Jordan Novet

5:00 pm: Business-jet maker Textron Aviation furloughs thousands of US workers

Business-jet maker Textron Aviation said it will furlough thousands of U.S. employees, as the rapid spread of coronavirus hurts the aviation industry and other sectors.

The maker of Cessna and Beechcraft airplanes said it will furlough workers on a staggered schedule from March 23 through May 29. The company declined to say how many it is furloughing but a spokeswoman said it applies to "most" of its U.S. workers, which number 12,000. —Leslie Josephs

4:46 pm: NYSE to temporarily close trading floor, move to electronic trading because of coronavirus

Traders work during the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on March 18, 2020.
Johannes Eisele | AFP via Getty Images

The New York Stock Exchange said it will temporarily close its trading floor and move fully to electronic trading due to the coronavirus pandemic.

All-electronic trading will begin on March 23, the exchange said. The facilities to be closed are the NYSE equities trading floor and NYSE American Options trading floor in New York, and NYSE Arca Options trading floor in San Francisco.

The closure was in part as a result of a positive coronavirus test of someone who works at the NYSE, CNBC's Bob Pisani learned. The exchange this week had begun medical testing of entrants to the Big Board. —Yun Li

4:30 pm: Netflix CEO Reed Hastings talked with an EU official about how to keep the internet running smoothly

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings spoke with EU Internal Market and Services Commissioner Thierry Breton by phone to discuss how to keep the internet running smoothly as the coronavirus pandemic forces more daily activities to move online.

Breton disclosed the conversation in a tweet, suggesting users "#SwitchToStandard definition when HD is not necessary." —Lauren Feiner

4:00 pm: Dow recovers some late losses, closes down 1,300

The Dow Jones Industrial Average recovered some of its losses, ending the trading session 1,300 points down. The index had dropped as much as 2,051 points, or 9.6%, earlier in the day. The S&P 500 ended the session down 5.2%, and the Nasdaq Composite fell 4.7%. —Sara Salinas

3:58 pm: US suspending visa services worldwide

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks at a press conference at the State Department in Washington DC, on March 17, 2020.
Nicholas Kamm | AFP | Getty Images

The United States is suspending all routine immigrant and non-immigrant visa services in most countries worldwide due to coronavirus outbreak, a spokeswoman for the State Department said.

The spokeswoman did not mention which or how many countries are halting services. She said U.S. missions abroad will continue to provide emergency visa services "as resources allow," and that the services to U.S. citizens will remain available.

Missions will resume routine visa services as soon as possible, the spokeswoman said, without giving a date. —Reuters

3:55 pm: Senate passes relief plan to expand paid leave

US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky, holds a press briefing about legislation in response to the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, March 17, 2020.
Saul Loeb | AFP | Getty Images

The Senate has the votes to pass a bill expanding paid leave and unemployment benefits in response to the coronavirus pandemic, part of a staggering response expected in the coming weeks to avoid economic calamity.

The bill provides enhanced unemployment insurance, ensures that businesses that have fewer than 500 employees offer two weeks of paid sick leave to their workers, and includes increased funding for food assistance programs and guarantees free testing for the coronavirus. —Jacob Pramuk

3:46 pm: JPMorgan Chase says it will close 20% of its branches

JPMorgan Chase will temporarily close about 20% of its branches and reduce staffing in the ones remaining open.  JPMorgan, the biggest U.S. bank by assets, is the first of the U.S. megabanks to announce widespread closures of branches because of the coronavirus.

"We are planning to temporarily close about 20% of our branches," the bank told employees. "This will help us protect our employees as we provide essential services to our customers and the communities we serve."

The New York-based bank has 256,981 employees and 4,976 branches. —Hugh Son

3:28 pm: Facebook will launch a coronavirus information center

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the company will roll out a coronavirus information center that will show up at the top of every users' news feed. The center has been built in collaboration with health partners, Zuckerberg said. It will roll out to users in the U.S. and Europe over the next 24 hours and globally over the following days.

"The broad consensus is that the biggest role we can help play is encouraging people to take the social distancing orders seriously," Zuckerberg said. "The goal here is to put authoritative information from organizations like the GDC and WHO in front of everyone who uses our services." 

The company also announced that it will make Workplace, its enterprise communications software, available for free to governments and emergency service organizations for the next 12 months. —Salvador Rodriguez 

3:19 pm: Census Bureau suspends 2020 census field operations for two weeks

The U.S. Census Bureau is suspending all 2020 census field operations for two weeks starting on Wednesday until April 1, Steven Dillingham, the bureau's director, said in a statement

"Beginning today, in support of guidance on what we can all do to help slow the spread of coronavirus, 2020 Census field operations will be suspended for two weeks until April 1, 2020," Dillingham said. —Reuters

3:12 pm: Automakers to temporarily close all US factories

Workers leave FCA Chrysler Warren Truck Assembly after the Detroit three automakers have agreed to UAW demands to shut down all North America plants as a precaution against coronavirus, on March 18, 2020 in Detroit, Michigan.
Jeff Kowalsky | AFP | Getty Images

Detroit's Big Three automakers plan to temporarily close all U.S. factoriesFord said it plans to close its factories in the U.S., Canada and Mexico after Thursday evening and through March 30. General Motors said it's closing all North American factories at least until March 30 and will evaluate the situation on a weekly basis after that. Fiat Chrysler, which didn't immediately respond to a request for comment, also plans to close its U.S. factories, according to people familiar with the matter.

The closures would affect 25 final-assembly factories between the three automakers and 150,000 union workers, according to the UAW and each automaker. General Motors has 11 factories, the most between the Big Three, followed by Ford's eight factories and Fiat Chrysler's six. —Phil LeBeau, Noah Higgins-Dunn

3:07 pm: Danny Meyer's Union Square Hospitality Group lays off 80% of workforce

Patrons eat at Tom's Restaurant in the Prospect Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn on March 16, 2020 in New York City.
Victor J. Blue | Getty Images

Danny Meyer's Union Square Hospitality Group laid off about 2,000 workers, citing a "near complete elimination of revenue" due to the pandemic.

"Never could I have fathomed a time where the only path forward would be to lay people off so they can receive unemployment, while this company fights to see another day when we can return to our full staffing levels," CEO Danny Meyer said in a statement.

The National Restaurant Association estimates that between 5 million to 7 million restaurant jobs will be lost over the next three months—Amelia Lucas

3:03 pm: Experts recommend suspending fertility treatments

The American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) recommended the fertility industry suspend certain treatments because amid the outbreak, according to a statement from the organization. ASRM advised health professionals to hold off on in vitro fertilization procedures, intrauterine inseminations and elective procedures. The group also recommended that doctors rely on telehealth rather than in-person interactions. —Hannah Miller

2:51 pm: Biggest US mall owner closes all properties

The biggest mall owner in the U.S., Simon Property Group, announced it will be closing all of its malls and outlet centers in the country, effective at 7 p.m. until March 29. "The health and safety of our shoppers, retailers and employees is of paramount importance," CEO David Simon said in a statement. Simon is the first U.S. mall owner to take such a broad-sweeping effort, as retailers altogether have temporarily closed thousands of locations in recent days. —Lauren Thomas

2:45 pm: WHO officials warn Trump against calling coronavirus 'the Chinese virus'

World Health Organization officials warned against calling COVID-19 the "Chinese virus" as U.S. President Donald Trump has done, saying that it could unintentionally lead to racial profiling.

"Viruses no know borders and they don't care about your ethnicity, the color of your skin or how much money you have in the bank. So it's really important we be careful in the language we use lest it lead to the profiling of individuals associated with the virus," Dr. Mike Ryan, the executive director of WHO's emergencies program, said at a press conference.

Earlier Wednesday, Trump defended the term, saying, "it's not racist at all." 

"Because it comes from China," Trump told reporters. "That's why."

"I want to be accurate." —Dawn Kopecki, Dan Mangan

2:39 pm: Congress working to advance $1.3 trillion proposal

House and Senate working to advance $1.3 trillion Treasury proposal
House and Senate working to advance $1.3 trillion Treasury proposal

2:32 pm: Delta says March revenue fell by nearly $2 billion, will slash capacity by unprecedented 70%

Delta Air Lines said it plans to cut its flying by an unprecedented 70%, on a year-over-year basis, after March revenue fell nearly $2 billion short of the same month last year as COVID-19 devastates demand.

The carrier is also halting capital spending, including for new aircraft, and parking "at least" half of its fleet.

April's revenue drop could be even worse, Delta warned. The reduced flying will last "until demand starts to recover," CEO Ed Bastian told employees. —Leslie Josephs

2:21 pm: Merck CEO calls on all Americans to take precautions

Kenneth Frazier, chairman and CEO of U.S. pharmaceutical giant Merck, is appealing to every American to take coronvavirus precautions for the benefit of society.

"Right now, we have the power as citizens to .... slow the spread of this virus," Frazier told CNBC, stressing the best practices of hand-washing and social-distancing as things everyone must do.

"That's what we can do in the next week, month, etc., to ensure we actually don't have the kind of situation that we see in Italy," he said on "Squawk on the Street." —Kevin Stankiewicz

2:08 pm: Hotels face drop in occupancy, revenue

A worker cleans an escalator on Las Vegas Boulevard in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., on Tuesday, March 17, 2020.
Joe Buglewicz | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Major hotel chains are temporarily closing properties and seeing occupancy rates tumble as travelers stay at home during the coronavirus outbreak.

Global hospitality research company STR said that for the week of March 8-14, hotel occupancy was down 24.4% to 53% year-over-year. Meanwhile, revenue per available room, a key industry metric, fell 32.5% to $63.74. —Harriet Baskas

2:05 pm: WHO warns some children develop 'severe disease and critical disease'

The World Health Organization said parents need to prepare their kids to guard against COVID-19 after a new study showed that babies and very young children can sometimes develop severe symptoms.

A recent study showed that a number of children in China have developed severe and critical disease, including one death, Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, head of WHO's emerging diseases and zoonosis unit, told reporters during a news conference. "What we need to prepare for is the possibility that children can also experience severe disease."

The new study,  which was published online in the journal Pediatrics, looked at 2,143 cases of children with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 that were reported to the Chinese Centers for Disease Control and Prevention between Jan. 16 and Feb. 8. More than 90% of the cases were asymptomatic, mild, or moderate cases. However, nearly 6% of the children's cases were severe or critical, compared with 18.5% for adults. —Berkeley Lovelace

1:55 pm: Medicine is changing dramatically in this critical period, and Silicon Valley hopes changes are here to stay

In the midst of crisis, the U.S. health system is dramatically changing

Doctors have been told by the federal government that they can have a FaceTime or Skype call with seniors enrolled in Medicare. Hospitals are setting up chatbots, symptom checkers and telemedicine tools virtually overnight to triage patients so the healthy ones can stay home. Some providers have transitioned almost entirely to virtual consults, and hospitals are offering training sessions for those who aren't yet using telemedicine in their practice. 

For many of them, including the UC San Francisco cardiologist Ethan Weiss, the experience has been a pleasant surprise. 

Telemedicine was "waaaaaaaaay better than I thought," he told CNBC. —Christina Farr

1:51 pm: The water in Venice, Italy's canals is running clear amid the COVID-19 lockdown

The COVID-19 pandemic has crippled Italy and is ricocheting its way around the globe. But amid the fear and sickness, Italy's country-wide quarantine has had at least one uplifting consequence: Venice's usually dark, murky waterways have turned noticeably more clear

Fish are visible in the water and swans are swimming in the canals too. —Cat Clifford

1:45 pm: These retailers are closing stores to slow coronavirus outbreak

A picture taken on March 14, 2020 shows the Apple Store closed in Grote Houtstraat in Haarlem. - Apple is closing all of its stores outside China until March 27 in a bid to slow the spread of the new coronavirus outbreak, CEO said.
Olaaf Kraak | AFP | Getty Images

Major retailers across the U.S., including Macy's, Apple and Nike, are shutting down their stores or reducing hours in response to the coronavirus pandemic. 

The decisions, while smart for customers, workers and the community at large, will no doubt weigh heavily on the already-stressed industry. One analyst has estimated this could result in a record year for permanent retail store closures, which could mount to over 15,000. —Lauren Thomas

1:41 pm: Dow tumble reaches 2,000 points as fears about economic damage from coronavirus grow

Stocks tumbled — triggering yet another trading halt and reaching a new coronavirus crisis low as the markets remained highly volatile with the government response to the outbreak still unfolding.

The S&P 500 was down 8.9% after a marketwide "circuit breaker" was tripped up just before 1 p.m. ET. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 2,000 points, or more than 9%. The Nasdaq Composite slid 7.9%. —Fred Imbert, Yun Li

1:36 pm: PM Boris Johnson says England to shut schools due to coronavirus pandemic

The U.K. government said it plans to shut schools in England as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking at the government's daily press conference on the coronavirus outbreak, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: "Looking at where we are now, we think now that we must apply further downward pressure on that upward curve by closing the schools."

"So, I can announce today … that after schools shut their gates from Friday afternoon, they will remain closed for the vast majority of pupils until further notice." —Sam Meredith, Holly Ellyatt

1:28 pm: 'Hell is coming' — Bill Ackman has dire warning for Trump, CEOs if drastic measures aren't taken now

Billionaire investor Bill Ackman: I went into lockdown almost a month ago to save my father from coronavirus
Billionaire investor Bill Ackman: I went into lockdown almost a month ago to save my father from coronavirus

Bill Ackman urged President Donald Trump to shut down the country for 30 days to contain the fast-spreading coronavirus, calling it the only option to rescue the economy.

"What's scaring the American people and corporate America now is the gradual roll-out," Ackman said on CNBC's "Halftime Report." "We need to shut it down now... This is the only answer."

"America will end as we know it. I'm sorry to say so, unless we take this option," he said. —Yun Li

1:24 pm: How the Trump cash infusion would help millions of Americans

To prevent millions of Americans from running out of money amid the coronavirus, the government has announced plans to send out checks to them soon

When Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin made the announcement about the cash infusion on Tuesday, universal basic income proponents felt validated. Now, the group of those calling for such a policy, if only in a temporary rendition, is quickly growing. Already some 1 in 2 Americans say they support a program in which the federal government sends out regular checks to everyone, regardless of their earnings or employment. —Annie Nova

1:17 pm: Tesla memo says essential employees, including production, should still come to work

Tesla's North America HR leader Valerie Workman sent an email to employees encouraging them to come work, promising they would not be "docked" points in performance reviews if they chose to stay home, and explaining why the Fremont factory and other facilities are up and running amid a COVID-19 pandemic in and beyond California. 

The email says Tesla has received conflicting guidance from different levels of government amid the pandemic.

Tesla is reportedly running its Fremont, California, car plant despite "shelter in place" orders initiated across Alameda County (and other counties in the San Francisco Bay Area) to curb the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak. —Lora Kolodny

1:11 pm: Cuomo says New York needs 110,000 hospital beds for coronavirus patients in 45 days and we only have 53,000

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that President Donald Trump is sending a floating hospital to help the state manage an onslaught of coronavirus cases expected to surge in the next 45 days

"Right now, in New York specifically, the rate of the curve suggests that in 45 days we could have up to an input of people who need 110,000 beds that compares to our current capacity of 53,000 beds, 37,000 ICU units, ventilators, which compares to a capacity currently of 3,000 ventilators. That's our main issue," Cuomo said at a press conference in Albany.

The number of people infected with the coronavirus in New York state nearly doubled to more than 2,300, Cuomo said. Of those cases, nearly 23% are hospitalized. —Amanda Macias, Noah Higgins-Dunn, Will Feuer

1:05 pm: Jim Cramer says Boeing 'will run out of money' if it is not 'saved'

Jim Cramer: Boeing 'will run out of money' if it is not 'saved'
Jim Cramer: Boeing 'will run out of money' if it is not 'saved'

CNBC's Jim Cramer called on the federal government to follow through and provide assistance to Boeing and the aerospace industry as the coronavirus continues to upend the American economy. 

"It's not a plea for me. It's a plea for the 2 million workers who are in the supply chain," Cramer said on "Squawk on the Street."

Boeing on Tuesday said it was seeking at least $60 billion to assist the aerospace industry as it struggles with declining demand due to the coronavirus. President Donald Trump said the same day that he would support Boeing, which also is a top U.S. defense contractor. —Kevin Stankiewicz

12:57 pm: Oil plummets 18% in 3rd worst day on record, sinks to more than 18-year low

Oil plummeted 18% to a more than 18-year low as the coronavirus pandemic continues to sap demand for crude and as rising worries about a global recession lead to fears of longer-term demand destruction.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude fell 18%, or $4.83, to $22.12 per barrel, its lowest level in more than 18 years. WTI is on pace for its third-worst day on record.

International benchmark Brent crude shed 11.6%, or $3.33, to trade at $25.40, its lowest level since 2003. —Pippa Stevens

12:51 pm: Trump administration wants to send $500 billion in payments to Americans in two rounds

The administration's proposed stimulus package to combat economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic will include two rounds of direct payments to taxpayers totaling $500 billion, according to a document obtained by NBC.

The White House hopes to send out its first round of checks on April 6, and the second on May 18. It will base payments on income level and family size, according to the document.

Beyond direct payments, the government is looking to set aside $50 billion for the ailing airline industry, as well as $150 billion for "other distressed sectors." It was not immediately clear which industries would be covered, but the tourism and hotel industries are among those that have also asked the government for relief. —Lauren Hirsch

12:42 pm: Dow tumbles 1,500 points to session lows as Wall Street's unprecedented volatility continues

Stocks tumbled as the markets remained highly volatile with the government response to the coronavirus fallout still unfolding. A violent reversal in Treasury yields in response to a potential $1 trillion stimulus package helped to unnerve investors.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 1,547 points, or more than 7%. The S&P 500 fell 6.4% while the Nasdaq Composite slid 5.3%. —Yun Li, Fred Imbert

12:36 pm: The coronavirus crisis could inflict record-setting damage on the US jobs market

The first wave of bad economic news directly related to the coronavirus crisis is likely to come from the jobs market, and that could be delivered sooner rather than later.

Virtually all of the economic data releases out now cover periods before the COVID-19 spread began to zero in on the U.S.  Some of those reports have hinted at a slowdown heading into the worst of the virus period, but the extent of the damage has been hard to gauge.

That will change over the next week or so when the Labor Department releases the tallies for weekly jobless claims. —Jeff Cox

12:28 pm: Mnuchin says taxpayers must file by April 15, can delay payments for 90 days

The Treasury Department won't extend the tax filing deadline for 2019 returns, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on CNBC.

While the Treasury is giving taxpayers a 90-day reprieve on paying amounts owed from last year, you are still required to get your 2019 income tax return submitted by April 15, Mnuchin said on a phone call with CNBC's Jim Cramer. —Darla Mercado

12:22 pm: What the 1918 influenza pandemic can teach governments about coronavirus

How the US government responds to a pandemic
How the US government responds to a pandemic

From the closing of borders to mandatory quarantines, governments around the world are taking drastic steps to try to contain the coronavirus pandemic.

Past outbreaks provide a blueprint for governments navigating the challenges of COVID-19, which has spread to more than 200,000 people worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Pandemics such as the 1918 influenza offer one key takeaway: Clear communication from the federal government is key. —Elizabeth Schulze

12:18 pm: Amazon sellers brace for layoffs and worse after coronavirus-related products get priority

Amazon sellers are expecting the worst after the company said this week it will prioritize shipments of household staples, medical supplies and other coronavirus-related product over everything else.

In addition to household staples and medical supplies, Amazon told sellers it's prioritizing categories such as baby products, health and household, beauty and personal care, grocery, industrial and scientific and pet supplies.

Amazon's decision will help serve shoppers who need to buy toilet paper, disinfectant wipes and other coronavirus-related items, but it threatens to put third-party sellers who don't offer those products in a major bind for at least the next few weeks. Many small retailers rely on Amazon to sell their products online, and the hit to sales has caused some to furlough or lay off employees to soften the blow. —Annie Palmer

11:59 am:  Restaurant industry asks for $145 billion government recovery fund

The National Restaurant Association is asking the federal government for financial relief for the industry as it forecasts sales declines of $225 billion over the next three months.

In a letter to President Donald Trump, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Major Leader Mitch McConnell, the lobbying group asked for a $145 billion recovery fund from the Treasury Department for the restaurant and food-service industry. Other proposals included federally backed business interruption insurance, tax measures and disaster unemployment insurance. —Amelia Lucas

11:48 am: Gov. Cuomo says he won't approve coronavirus 'shelter-in-place' order for New York City after mayor tells residents to prepare

A man with a mask pushes a cart with a sign reading corpse cartte at Times Square in Manhattan on March 17, 2020 in New York City.
Johannes Eisele | AFP | Getty Images

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he won't approve a "shelter-in-place" order for New York City, a day after Mayor Bill de Blasio told residents to prepare for one.

"That is not going to happen — shelter in place, for New York City," Cuomo said on The Daily podcast by The New York Times. "For any city or county to take an emergency action, the state has to approve it. And I wouldn't approve 'shelter in place.'" —Will Feuer

11:39 am: Mnuchin vows to prevent 20% unemployment in coronavirus response

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told CNBC the U.S. will not have 20% unemployment — a figure he reportedly warned Republican senators about in a private briefing — if they follow the Trump administration's coronavirus plan.

"I've seen that number in the press," Mnuchin told CNBC's Jim Cramer in a television interview. "I didn't in any way say I think we're going to have that." —Kevin Breuninger

11:31 am: America's malls are asking the government for help as retailers, restaurants shut stores

The International Council of Shopping Centers, which represents America's malls and shopping center owners such as Simon Property Group and Kimco, has sent a letter to the Trump administration seeking aid. The request comes as retail and restaurant store closures are mounting.

"These closures are placing an insurmountable strain on our members, and we believe federal government action is urgently needed," ICSC CEO Tom McGee said. —Lauren Thomas

11:24 am: Sell-off on Wall Street accelerates, Dow now down 1,400 points

A man wearing a mask walks by the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on March 17, 2020 at Wall Street in New York City.
Johannes Eisele | AFP | Getty Images

Stocks tumbled as the markets remained highly volatile with the government response to the coronavirus fallout still unfolding. A violent reversal in Treasury yields in response to a potential $1 trillion stimulus package unnerved investors.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 1,400 points, or more than 6.5%. The S&P 500 fell 6.1% while the Nasdaq Composite slid nearly 5%. —Yun Li, Fred Imbert

11:20 am: Honda, BMW close plants in US and Europe

Honda North America and BMW are closing plants throughout the U.S. and Europe this week due to an anticipated decline in demand for cars related to the global coronavirus outbreak. Honda said it will be closing four U.S.-based plants for six days starting Monday due to an anticipated decline in market demand.

Approximately 27,600 Honda associates in North America will be affected by this temporary suspension of production, but the company said it will continue full pay for all its associates. In Europe, BMW announced it has started to shutter its dealerships and plants, which will close by the end of this week. The interruption to the plants is scheduled to run until mid-April, the company said. —Noah Higgins-Dunn

11:15 am: Coronavirus will infect half the global population, EIU predicts

The new coronavirus will infect half of the global population and have a fatality rate of up to 3%, analysts said.

"We assume that the virus will infect around 50% of the world population; 20% of the cases will be severe, and 1-3% will result in deaths," analysts from the Economist Intelligence Unit said in a note.

As a result of the pandemic, the EIU predicted global growth would stand at just 1% for 2020 — down from its outlook of 2.3% before the outbreak began. It would mark the lowest rate in global gross domestic product growth since the global financial crisis, analysts noted. —Chloe Taylor

11:01 am: Coronavirus lives for hours in air particles and days on surfaces, new US study shows

A microscopic view of novel coronavirus.
Ffikretow | Getty Images

The new coronavirus can survive for several hours in air particles and last days on surfaces, according to a new federally funded study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Researchers from the National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, UCLA and Princeton University examined how long COVID-19 survives in the air as well as on copper, cardboard, plastic and stainless steel and then compared it with SARS, the coronavirus that emerged in late 2002 and killed nearly 800 people.

They found that COVID-19 was detectable in aerosols for up to three hours, up to four hours on copper, and up to 24 hours on cardboard. The new coronavirus can also last up to three days on plastic and stainless steel, the scientists concluded, adding the amount of the virus left on those surfaces decreases over time. —Berkeley Lovelace Jr.

10:55 am: Volunteer threatened with lawsuit after 3-D printing an $11,000 valve for $1

In Italy, a good Samaritan could be facing legal action for providing a hospital with special valves needed for breathing equipment that keeps coronavirus patients alive, according to a report from Techdirt.

Cristian Fracassi used a 3D printer to make the valves after the original manufacturer could not provide them due to overwhelming demand. Fracassi had to design the valves himself after the manufacturer refused to provide the 3D files, and he ultimately donated more than 100 valves to the hospital, each one costing him around $1 to make.

The regular listing price of the valve is about $11,000, and the manufacturer has threatened to sue Fracassi for patent infringement, leaving him fearful of sharing the 3D file with other hospitals that need the valve. —Hannah Miller

10:43 am: With Europe now the coronavirus epicenter, fears rise over a break up of the euro zone

The euro zone, in which 19 countries share the same currency, has struggled to grow since the sovereign debt crisis of 2011.

At the time, highly ndebted nations, such as Spain, Portugal and Greece, could not get financing from financial markets and asked for external help to support their economies.

Their financial difficulties raised concerns for the bloc's future: analysts warned it was ill-equipped to deal with financial shocks and may not survive. Almost a decade later, the same debate is back on the table, with the euro area struggling to come together to combat the coronavirus crisis. —Silvia Amaro

10:35 am: Lawmakers scramble to move on the White House's push for a $1 trillion stimulus package

The White House and Congress are scrambling to hash out the details of a massive stimulus package to help a U.S. economy increasingly damaged by the coronavirus pandemic.

There had been hope on Capitol Hill that Congress could pass a deal this week, as President Donald Trump seeks a measure with over $1 trillion in spending.

But the -GOP-controlled Senate has yet to pass a second relief bill already passed by the Democratic-led House, creating uncertainty about stimulus. —Lauren Hirsch

10:29 am: Sen. Marco Rubio wants to offer small businesses money so they can keep paying employees

Marco Rubio
Joe Raedle | Getty Images

The Florida Republican told CNBC he wants to use a network of lenders for an existing program to help small businesses and employees.

"We are trying to figure out the most effective way to get cash into the hands of small businesses so that they can maintain payroll for at least a six-week period," he said.

Rubio is sponsoring Senate legislation to match Trump's call for $50 billion in loans from the Small Business Administration. —Matthew J. Belvedere

10:15 am: Russia deploying disinformation to sow panic in West, EU document says

Russian media have deployed a "significant disinformation campaign" against the West to worsen the impact of the coronavirus, generate panic and sow distrust, according to a European Union document seen by Reuters.

The Kremlin denied the allegations, saying they were unfounded and lacked common sense.

The EU document said the Russian campaign, pushing fake news online in English, Spanish, Italian, German and French, uses contradictory, confusing and malicious reports to make it harder for the EU to communicate its response to the pandemic. —Reuters

10:11 am: Coronavirus lockdown now? This guy explained quarantine strategies with a bucket of water and it's gone viral

A home-made movie showing a man in his backyard using a bucket of water to explain the British government's strategy for tackling the coronavirus has gone viral. Robert Isaacs, a podiatrist, posted a video of himself filling up a plastic bottle to help explain how the U.K.'s National Health Service could be overwhelmed if coronavirus cases in the country peak.

In the video, he fills a large bucket with water, which he says represents the British population. He then gradually pours this into the plastic bottle, which represents the NHS.

"There's been a few people talking about the government strategy on COVID and wondering why we're not shutting everything down now. Italy has done it, everyone else has done it. Why are we not doing it? Well, it is counter-intuitive, so it is sort of worth unwrapping, but it does make a certain amount of sense," he says.

Lucy Handley

10:03 am: White House seeks $45.8 billion to cover 'unanticipated' coronavirus costs for government

The Trump administration requested an additional $45.8 billion from Congress to cover "unanticipated" costs incurred by government agencies responding to the novel coronavirus crisis.

That request is separate from existing funding requests that could total more than $1 trillion as officials at every level of government work to contain the coronavirus.

Acting Director of the Office of Management and Budget Russell Vought said in a letter to the Senate that the additional money will be used "to address ongoing preparedness and response efforts." —Kevin Breuninger

9:59 am: Trump says US will close the border with Canada to nonessential traffic due to coronavirus

US President Donald Trump (L) talks with Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during the plenary session of the NATO summit at the Grove hotel in Watford, northeast of London on December 4, 2019.
Nicholas Kamm | AFP | Getty Images

President Donald Trump said the United States will temporarily close its border with Canada to nonessential traffic due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"We will be, by mutual consent, temporarily closing our Northern Border with Canada to non-essential traffic," Trump wrote in a tweet.


Trump's move came a day after the European Union agreed to close its external borders to noncitizens, and two days after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced similar restrictions on his country's borders. —Dan Mangan

9:50 am: Investor Bill Ackman advises Trump to shut down the country, saying stock market 'will soar'

Pershing Square's Bill Ackman called on the president to close the nation's borders and offer Americans a one-month tax holiday "Spring Break."

"The moment you send everyone home for Spring Break and close the borders, the infection rate will plummet, the stock market will soar, and the clouds will lift," Ackman wrote.

The investor warned that further delays to such a shutdown would continue to have disastrous costs to human life and pressed Trump to "please send everyone home now." —Thomas Franck

9:42 am: Japanese flu drug could be effective in treating coronavirus, report says

This photo taken on February 20, 2020 shows doctors looking at a lung CT image at a hospital in Yunmeng county, Xiaogan city, in China's central Hubei province.
STR | AFP | Getty Images

Chinese medical authorities have claimed a drug used in Japan to treat new strains of influenza appears to be effective for those infected with the coronavirus, Japan's state broadcaster NHK reported.

Zhang Xinmin, director of China's National Center for Biotechnology Development, said the favipiravir drug had produced positive outcomes during clinical trials in Wuhan and Shenzen. The report on Tuesday said 340 patients had taken part in the clinical trials.

"It has a high degree of safety and is clearly effective in treatment," Zhang told reporters. —Sam Meredith

9:38 am: Scotland says schools will close from Friday

Scotland will close its schools from Friday and people should not assume they will open again until the end of the summer term, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said.

Wales also said schools could close on Friday. —Reuters

9:35 am: Cannes Lions advertising festival postponed until October

Delegates wait in line at Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, Cannes, France, June 2019
Cannes Lions

The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, the ad industry's major awards festival and conference held in France each summer, is postponing its June conference due to the coronavirus, organizers announced.

The festival is now scheduled for Oct. 26-30. Conference organizers said earlier that passes, sponsorship arrangements, and bookings will roll over and remain valid. —Megan Graham

9:30 am: Dow plunges 1,300 points as a stretch of unprecedented volatility continues

Stocks tumbled as the markets remained highly volatile with the government response to the coronavirus fallout still unfolding.

Wall Street has been on an unprecedented roller-coaster ride amid the coronavirus turmoil, with the S&P 500 swinging 4% or more in either direction for seven consecutive sessions. This tops the previous record of six days from November 1929, according to LPL Financial. The S&P 500 is 25% off its record high through Tuesday's close. —Fred Imbert, Yun Li

9:22 am: Total US reported cases at 6,496, with the most in NY at 1,708

9:18 am: Ben Bernanke and Janet Yellen are urging the Fed to go beyond authority and buy corporate bonds

Former Federal Reserve chairs Ben Bernanke and Janet Yellen recommend that the central bank continue trying to shore up the economy against the coronavirus threat, even suggesting that it go beyond the powers it currently enjoys.

In a Financial Times essay, the two say the Fed should look for more authority that would give it the power to purchase corporate bonds on top of the Treasurys and mortgage-backed securities it already plans to buy. —Jeff Cox

9:11 am: What America can learn from China's use of robots and telemedicine

As countries around the world grapple with COVID-19, front line medical workers are deploying robots, telemedicine, and other technologies to help contain the pandemic. China and Spain have used drones to monitor people during lockdown campaigns, while South Korea has deployed them to help disinfect areas in Daegu, an epidemic hotspot.

Antwork, a group company of Japanese industrial drone maker Terra Drone, flew medical samples and quarantine materials in China's Xinchang in February during the height of the epidemic.

Earlier this month, a field hospital staffed by robots opened in the Hongshan Sports Center in Wuhan, China, where the pandemic began. Dubbed the Smart Field Hospital, the facility is a project involving Wuhan Wuchang Hospital, China Mobile, and CloudMinds, a maker of cloud robotics systems based in China and the U.S. The Smart Field Hospital is a trial aimed at relieving exhausted health-care workers even as the outbreak in China slowed in recent weeks. —Tim Hornyak

8:06 am: Medicare and Medicaid administrator explains Trump order to expand telemedicine

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma said the Trump administration's move to expand telemedicine is critical for all American seniors, even those who are experiencing health issues unrelated to the coronavirus. "They don't have to travel. They don't have to sit in a waiting room," she said on CNBC's "Squawk Box." For seniors who are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, it also allows them to communicate with their doctors without the risk of spreading it to others. "It is a game changer," she said. —Kevin Stankiewicz

8:00 am: Mayo Clinic CEO assures 'there's a significant supply of ventilators' 

Mayo Clinic CEO Gianrico Farrugia said the U.S. could have enough ventilators to treat critical COVID-19 patients if Americans take social distancing seriously enough. "There's a significant supply of ventilators. They may not always be in the right place," he said on CNBC's "Squawk Box." While it's impossible to predict how many the U.S. will need, Farrugia said the "less cases we have in the United States, the less ventilators we're going to need, and if we can space that over time then I do think we'll have enough ventilators." —Kevin Stankiewicz

Mayo Clinic CEO: We are more prepared for coronavirus with every day that goes by
Mayo Clinic CEO: We are more prepared for coronavirus with every day that goes by

7:42 am: Worldwide cases top 200,000

COVID-19 cases surpassed 200,000 worldwide as the new coronavirus continues to spread outside of China, the original epicenter of the outbreak.

The total number of cases now stands at 201,436 as of 7:30 a.m. ET, according to data compiled by John Hopkins. It counted 8,008 deaths and 82,071 recovered cases.—Will Feuer

7:24 am: Absolut Vodka-owner Pernod Ricard to help make hand sanitizer

French premium alcohol company Pernod Ricard, whose products include Absolut Vodka, is offering its services to fulfill worldwide demand for hand sanitizer. In the U.S., the company will convert manufacturing facilities in Kentucky, West Virginia and Texas to make the gel. It is taking similar measures in Spain, Ireland, and Sweden and plans to do so in the United Kingdom. In France, the premium liquor-maker is donating 70,000 liters of alcohol to Labratoire Cooper, a major supplier of hand sanitizer. —Lauren Hirsch

7:19 am: Stock futures drop amid unprecedented volatility

Stock futures pointed to big losses in premarket trading as the markets remained highly volatile with the government response to the coronavirus fallout still unfolding. A violent reversal in Treasury yields in response to a potential $1 trillion stimulus package helped to unnerve investors.

Around 6:42 a.m. ET, futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average indicated a more than 1,000-point loss at the open. —Fred Imbert, Yun Li

7:14 am: Mnuchin warns of 20% US unemployment

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, delivers remarks on the coronavirus relief package after the Senate Republican Policy luncheon in Russell Building on Tuesday, March 17, 2020.
Tom Williams | CQ Roll Call | Getty Images

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin warned Republican senators that the country's unemployment rate could hit 20% if they failed to act on a proposed coronavirus rescue package, a person familiar with the closed-door meeting said.

Mnuchin met with senators to persuade them to pass a $1 trillion stimulus package that would send cash to Americans within two weeks, and backstop airlines and other companies. A Treasury official said Mnuchin was not providing a forecast but trying to illustrate the potential risks of inaction. —Reuters

6:54 am: Ikea to temporarily close stores in Europe and North America

Swedish home retailer Ikea is to temporarily close stores in the Netherlands, Belgium, Portugal, the U.S. and Canada. Stores in Denmark are already temporarily closed, Reuters reported. U.K. and Ireland stores remain open, for now. — Holly Ellyatt

6:48 am: Iran's death toll from coronavirus jumps to 1,135

Iran's death toll from the coronavirus climbed to 1,135 with 147 new deaths in the past 24 hours, a health ministry official told state TV, Reuters reported. The total number of infected people across the country has reached 17,361.

"Unfortunately there were 1,192 cases of infected people in the past 24 hours. ... Please follow the guidelines and stay at home," Iran's Deputy Health Minister Alireza Raisi said. —Holly Ellyatt

6:09 am: Toyota to stop output at more plants in Europe

A 2020 Toyota Highlander goes down the line at the automaker's plant in southern Indiana.

Toyota said it planned to stop output at more vehicles plants in Europe. In a statement, the Japanese automaker said it had stopped operations at plants in the U.K. and Poland from Wednesday, and those at its Czech site would be halted Thursday. Operations at its French site are already suspended. Operations at its Turkey site would be suspended from Saturday but U.S. plants have not been affected so far, the company said. —Holly Ellyatt

6:02 am: Celebrities are 'touring' social media amid cancellations 

Coldplay's Chris Martin, superstar John Legend and French lyricist Christine and the Queens are among a host of musicians taking to touring online in a bid to boost morale and replace planned performances. The string of virtual performances comes as the entertainment industry suffers a huge hit from the escalating coronavirus outbreak. —Karen Gilchrist

5:30 am: EU will close external borders for 30 days

European leaders have agreed to close the European Union's external borders for 30 days. The travel restrictions at the border are temporary and aim to reduce most nonessential travel from other countries into the European Union. The new rules will apply to 26 members of the EU, plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. Ireland has not yet decided whether to implement the restrictions. —Silvia Amaro

Read CNBC's coverage from CNBC's Asia-Pacific and Europe teams overnight here: China reports 13 new cases; Pope gives advice to virus-hit Italy

Reuters and CNBC's Saheli Roy ChoudhuryWeizhen Tan contributed to this report.