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 242,000
- Global deaths: At least 9,800
- US cases: At least 13,000
- US deaths: At least 176
All data above is provided by Johns Hopkins University.
All times below are in Eastern time.
Blue Cross Blue Shield said they are expanding coverage for telehealth services, which includes waiving cost-sharing for all telehealth services for fully-insured members.
Scott Serota, president and CEO of the association noted in an emailed statement that the decision was made in the midst of the coronavirus epidemic: "The safety and security of our members – and of all Americans – remains our paramount priority during these unprecedented times." All 36 of the BCBS health plans and the BCBS Federal Employee Program are included in the announcement. —Christina Farr
7:05 pm: California estimates 25.5 million residents — 56% of the state — will get virus in next 8 weeks
California estimates that more than half of the state — 25.5 million people — will get the new coronavirus over the next eight weeks, according to a letter sent by Gov. Gavin Newsom to U.S. President Donald Trump.
"In the last 24 hours, we had 126 new COVID-19 cases, a 21 percent increase. In some parts of our state, our case rate is doubling every four days," Newsom wrote in a letter dated Wednesday. Newsom asked Trump to dispatch the USNS Mercy Hospital Ship to the Port of Los Angeles through Sept. 1 to help with the influx of expected cases.
The state reported nearly 699 confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET Wednesday night, according to the California health department. Newsom said the virus is spreading in the community in 23 counties across the state. It is the third hardest-hit state in the U.S., behind Washington state which has 1,376 cases as of 6 p.m. EDT Thursday and New York which has at least 5,000 cases.—Dawn Kopecki
President Donald Trump has canceled June's in-person meeting of leaders from the Group of Seven nations, which was set to take place at Camp David, as the world fights the spread of the coronavirus.
Instead, the summit will be conducted by video conference. Trump and the other G-7 chiefs held a video conference earlier this week, as well, as the coronavirus continues to spread in the United States and abroad. —Mike Calia, Dan Mangan
Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley stepped down from Boeing's board of directors after less than a year because she opposes government aid to help the aircraft manufacturer weather the coronavirus crisis, the company said.
Boeing earlier this week said it is seeking $60 billion in government aid for itself and its massive supply chain because of the virus. The manufacturer's suppliers include United Technologies, General Electric, Spirit Aerosystems and dozens of others. The administration hasn't yet said what Boeing, a top U.S. military contractor could receive. President Donald Trump this week threw his support behind the manufacturer, saying: "We have to protect Boeing." —Leslie Josephs, Dan Mangan
Doctors and patients are expressing concern that NBA players and celebrities are getting preferred access to tests for the COVID-19 coronavirus while the general public and people with symptoms have to wait.
Eight days ago, Utah Jazz Center Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19 moments before tipoff against the Oklahoma Thunder, ultimately leading the NBA to suspend the season and bringing coronavirus into the spotlight for many sports fans.
Since then, coronavirus diagnoses in the United States have skyrocketed. New York City alone has reported more than 3,600 cases and more than 13,000 people across the U.S. are confirmed to have COVID-19. Of that number, at least seven NBA players have tested positive for COVID-19, according to the NBA, including Brooklyn Nets All-Star Kevin Durant and three of his teammates. —Jessica Golden
5:45 pm: Senate GOP releases coronavirus relief plan with up to $1,200 in cash payments to individuals
Senate Republicans released their proposal for a third coronavirus relief package as Washington moves swiftly to try to head off economic disaster.
The 247-page legislation introduced by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell includes cash payments of up to $1,200 for individuals and $2,400 for couples. The sum would go up by $500 for every child.
The check totals would start to phase out above $75,000 in adjusted gross income based on 2018 tax returns. —Lauren Hirsch, Jacob Pramuk
The company is closing roughly 800 Bed Bath & Beyond stores until April 3, which do not have a health and personal care department. It said it will continue operating about 700 so-called essential stores, including its buybuy BABY, Harmon and other brands, as well as any Bed Bath & Beyond stores that do have a health and personal care department.
Bed Bath & Beyond said the temporary closures represent about 50% of its total real estate. It said impacted workers will still be paid and receive applicable benefits during this time.
"We have a remarkable team and robust contingency plans, supported by a strong balance sheet, to navigate this unprecedented challenge," CEO Mark Tritton said. —Lauren Thomas, Christina Cheddar Berk
New York City has 3,615 confirmed coronavirus cases, including an inmate at Rikers Island, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced.
The possibility of COVID-19 spreading throughout the densely populated U.S. prison system has been a major concern among public officials.
"This inmate was in a housing unit with other inmates, all have been checked for symptoms," de Blasio said at a press conference, adding that eight other prisoners have symptoms and have been moved to isolation in the communicable disease unit. —Feuer, Lovelace, Higgins-Dunn
Tesla said basic operations at the plant would continue "to support our vehicle and energy service operations and charging infrastructure, as directed by the local, state and federal authorities."
The company will also temporarily suspend production at its factory in New York besides that for parts and supplies it said are "necessary for service." Operations at other facilities will continue, the company said in a press release. —Lauren Feiner
The restrictions are expected to be revealed Friday, according to the report by the Reuters news agency, which cited two officials familiar with the matter.
Those sources said that the restrictions on the U.S.-Mexico border would be similar to the agreement with Canada that was announced Wednesday by President Donald Trump. —Dan Mangan
Stocks ended the trading session ahead, erasing steep losses from earlier in the day.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average traded 188 points higher, or just under 1%. The S&P 500 was up about 0.5% while the Nasdaq Composite outperformed with a 2.3% surge. Earlier in the session, the Dow was down 721 points, or more than 3%. The S&P 500 briefly fell more than 3% as well. —Sara Salinas, Fred Imbert, Thomas Franck
Toyota said it will extend a planned two-day shutdown of all North American plants until April. On Wednesday, the automaker said it planned to close facilities on March 23 and 24. The automaker will now reopen keep plants shuttered until April 6. Toyota has approximately 32,000 manufacturing employees in North America, including 23,000 in the U.S., a company spokesperson said. —Noah Higgins-Dunn
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the government will issue orders on Thursday forcing Israelis to stay at home to halt the spread of the coronavirus crisis.
"Under these orders, you, Israel's citizens, are required to stay at home. It is no longer a request, it is not a recommendation, it is an obligatory directive that will be enforced by enforcement authorities," Netanyahu said, adding that the orders will go into effect later in the day, for a week.
Certain workers would be exempt from the measures, Netanyahu said in the televised address, and Israelis would still be allowed to shop for food and medicine. —Reuters
Elon Musk and President Donald Trump are eyeing chloroquine as a possible treatment for COVID-19. So what is chloroquine, and why is it considered so promising by the scientific community?
The drug has been around since the 1940s and is known for being generally safe and well-tolerated in mild to moderate doses, although it can be toxic in high doses. It has been used to treat malaria, in addition to some autoimmune disorders. It is available as a generic, which means it could be a scalable and potentially affordable treatment.
Some of the early data is promising, and some biotech experts say it's worth putting more research dollars into studying the drug. But we're still far from having an approved treatment for COVID-19, and the evidence behind chloroquine is not firm. —Christina Farr
Apple is limiting bulk purchases of iPhones and other products as it faces supply constraints.
Apple's online store began limiting U.S. customers to two units of each iPhone model per person this week. Customers can still buy more than two iPhones in one order, but they would have to be different models -- for instance, two iPhone 11s and two iPhone 11 Pros.
The restriction applies to the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone XR, iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Max.
Other products, including iPad Pro models announced on Wednesday, also have purchase limits. —Kif Leswing
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is holding a press conference on the coronavirus outbreak that has infected more than 2,400 people in the city.
On Tuesday, de Blasio said he would decide in 48 hours whether to initiate a "shelter-in-place" order that would place tighter restrictions on residents wanting to leave their homes. De Blasio didn't provide details on what a shelter-in-place order would look like in New York City. You can watch de Blasio's press conference live here. —Noah Higgins-Dunn
Connecticut will move its 2020 primary to June 2 from the originally planned April 28 in response to the deadly coronavirus outbreak, Gov. Ned Lamont announced.
"In coordination with other states and our Secretary of the State, and in an effort to carry out Democracy while keeping public health a top priority, I have decided to move our presidential primary to June 2nd," Lamont tweeted. "I will provide more information later today."
Connecticut has 60 delegates up for grabs. —Yelena Dzhanova, Jacob Pramuk
French health authorities reported 108 new deaths from coronavirus, taking the total to 372 or an increase of almost 41%, the toll rising sharply yet again as the country was in its third day of a lockdown aimed at containing the outbreak.
During a press conference, health agency director Jerome Salomon added the number of cases had risen to 10,995, up from 9,134 on Tuesday, which is a rise of 20% in 24 hours.
The United Kingdom also reported a significant rise in death toll. The number of people in the U.K. who have died after contracting the coronavirus rose to 144, up 40% in a day, the health ministry said.
The number of positive cases increased by 643, or 25%, to 3,269. —Reuters with contribution from CNBC
U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the country could turn the tide against the coronavirus in the next 12 weeks if the right measures were taken.
He later added that he couldn't say whether the country would be on a downward slope by the end of June. The prime minister added that restrictive measures may have to go further in London, with evidence suggesting the virus is spreading much further in the capital city.
To date, the U.K. has at least 2,707 cases of the coronavirus nationwide, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. At least 137 people in the country have died from the disease, according to figures from Johns Hopkins. —Matt Clinch, Holly Ellyatt
Amazon has temporarily closed its Prime Pantry delivery service as it faces a surge in orders tied to the coronavirus outbreak.
A notice at the top of the Prime Pantry website reads: "Pantry is temporarily closed. We are busy restocking." The service gives Prime subscribers access to discounted grocery and household items, which they can then have delivered to their door.
Amazon said the closure was due to "high order volumes" and pointed to other areas of its site that offer similar items, including Amazon Fresh, Whole Foods and the Grocery and Household category. A spokesperson declined to comment on when Prime Pantry will reopen. —Annie Palmer
The shuttering of Compass comes days after its parent Trans States Airlines told employees that it would push up a planned closure of its eponymous airline to April 1 after its customer, United, cut its network. The company still operates the regional airline GoJet.
Earlier on Thursday, American Airlines' CEO Doug Parker told CNBC he has never seen anything like this industry fallout, even after 9/11 when airlines were briefly shutdown following terrorist attacks using commercial airplanes. —Leslie Josephs, Phil LeBeau
Senate Democrats are proposing that the federal government cancel student loan payments throughout the outbreak and forgive at least $10,000 of the debt for each borrower.
The plan by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., among other Democrats, also calls for halting the garnishment of wages, tax refunds and Social Security benefits for past-due borrowers.
"Families and student loan borrowers desperately need our help right now and we're only just at the beginning of the devastating economic impact of this crisis," said Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., in a statement. —Annie Nova
The new coronavirus could claim up to 24.7 million jobs, according to International Labour Organization (ILO) estimates.
The United Nations' labor agency suggested this was a worst-case, or "high," scenario of global unemployment but said internationally-coordinated policy response could mean a significantly lower impact. In this case, it estimated a "low" unemployment scenario of 5.3 million. It therefore calculated a "mid" scenario of 13 million jobs lost, 7.4 million of which would be in high-income countries. —Vicky McKeever
Stocks rebounded in midday trading, recovering earlier losses, as gains in Big Tech shares led to a sharp turnaround.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average traded 179 points higher, or 0.9%. The S&P 500 was up 0.8% while the Nasdaq Composite outperformed with a 2.9% surge. Shares of Netflix and Facebook rose 8.3% and 7.5%, respectively. Amazon gained 4.7%. —Fred Imbert, Thomas Franck
The State Department is expected to announce a level four travel advisory applying to all U.S. citizens for international travel amid the deadly coronavirus outbreak, NBC News reported, citing two officials with knowledge of the matter.
The advisory, the highest of its kind, would instruct all Americans abroad to either return to the U.S. or prepare to shelter in place. The level four advisory also dictates that Americans cannot travel abroad. Less than a week ago, the State Department upped the travel advisory to level three, which calls for U.S. citizens to reconsider travel. —Amanda Macias
Italy's death toll has hit 3,405, meaning the country now has more reported deaths than China.
The death toll in China, where the coronavirus originated in Wuhan, in Hubei province late last year, currently stands at 3,249, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
After sweeping through China in early 2020, the virus spread to Europe where Italy — and particularly the northern Lombardy region, which is home to financial hub Milan — became the epicenter. —Katrina Bishop
Staff at Charter Communications are continuing to report to the telecom's corporate offices, shirking government guidelines that Americans avoid gatherings of more than 10 people, according to a Tech Crunch report. Staff in offices around the country have shown symptoms of the flu-like illness, according to internal communications seen by TechCrunch, and employees told the outlet that several have tested positive.
Charter denied one of the positive tests reported by TechCrunch and said it announced new steps to help employees during the crisis, including three additional weeks paid time off for employees for "any COVID-19-related personal need." Charter will also give some workers the option to work remotely, though it did not say how many.
"These steps will enable our employees to continue providing essential communications services to 29 million customers, including institutions like hospitals, first responders and government facilities, which help flatten the curve and protect the country," the statement said. —Lauren Feiner
1:04 pm: Key Democrat Hoyer says House will look at 'all options' to tweak voting as virus hits Congress
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer expects the chamber will "adjust" its voting process to comply with CDC guidelines on stopping the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
"No decisions have been made on exactly what these changes will be, but we will be discussing all options," he said in a letter to House members.
His message, sent while the House is on a temporary recess, comes a day after two representatives announced they tested positive for the coronavirus disease COVID-19. Multiple other lawmakers went into self-isolation after contact with those congressmen, Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., and Ben McAdams, D-Utah. —Jacob Pramuk
12:53 pm: Retail group says White House should allow key businesses like truck rest stops, pet stores to stay open
A major retail trade group is asking the White House to clarify its guidance and help keep pet stores, truck rest stops and distribution centers open.
In a letter to President Donald Trump, the National Retail Federation's CEO Matthew Shay said some state and local officials are ordering retailers to shut down to prevent the spread of the coronavirus – but closing businesses that should stay open. They said the government should also clarify CDC instructions to limit gatherings to less than 50 people, saying they should not apply to big-box stores, grocers or wholesale clubs where there's space for people to spread out.
The group called for a broader definition – of "essential retail businesses." They listed retailers that should be exempt from mandated closures, including pet stores, distribution centers, farm stores with livestock feed, hardware stores, gas stations and highway rest areas for truck drivers. —Melissa Repko
Dr. Allen Ghorashi reduced his dental practice's hours this week because of the coronavirus, but he hoped he could still help patients who needed fillings, dental implants or other routine procedures.
He changed his mind after seeing the most recent guidelines from the American Dental Association urging dentists in the U.S. to postpone elective procedures and only offer emergency care. Ghorashi's practice, Valley Dental Group in Ramsey, N.J., will only see emergency patients for the next two weeks.
Dentist offices across the country are changing their practices to align with these guidelines. Others are shutting down completely. —Hannah Miller
European markets closed higher, after some volatility during the session, with investors monitoring the coronavirus outbreak and digesting new policy announcements from the European Central Bank (ECB) and the Bank of England (BOE).
The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed up 2.9% after rebounding either side of the flatline throughout the day. Telecoms stocks jumped 5% to lead gains while basic resources fell 0.4%. —Holly Ellyatt, Elliot Smith
12:32 pm: Coronavirus $1,000 relief check plan not even final yet and experts say fraudsters are already looking to cash in
The White House and lawmakers this week have announced ambitious plans to send Americans $1,000 checks to help offset the effects of coronavirus. But with details still to be hammered out, the proposal is not quite a done deal.
Yet the Federal Trade Commission is already warning consumers to beware of scammers looking to get their hands on that cash instead. "We predict that the scammers are gearing up to take advantage of this," writes Jennifer Leach, an associate director with the FTC.
Normally, the FTC says it would wait until the details of the proposed payment plan are finalized before issuing a warning, "but these aren't normal times," Leach writes. —Megan Leonhardt
President Donald Trump said that he would not oppose barring companies that receive federal assistance during the coronavirus pandemic from conducting stock buybacks.
"It takes many many people in this case to tango, but as far as I'm concerned conditions like that would be okay with me," Trump said during a White House press conference. —Tucker Higgins
12:13 pm: Tesla will take temperatures of Fremont factory employees and hand out masks, internal email says
Tesla is taking extra precautions at its Fremont car assembly plant to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, according to an e-mail the company's North American head of human resources, Valerie Workman, sent to employees overnight. Among other measures, employees will have their temperatures taken before they enter the factory.
The e-mail to employees from HR also said Tesla would rearrange operations as much as possible to enable "social distancing," allowing people to keep 6 feet apart from one another. Masks would also be distributed to workers throughout the day, the e-mail promised. —Lora Kolodny
President Donald Trump said he directed the Food and Drug Administration to investigate whether an existing drug given to malaria patients can also be used to treat the novel coronavirus.
The announcement at the daily coronavirus briefing came hours after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that the White House's massive economic stimulus proposal would include $500 billion for direct payments to Americans. —Berkeley Lovelace Jr., Kevin Breuninger
"It could have been stopped right where it came from, China," Trump said at a White House press conference, arguing that U.S. officials would have been able to act faster to prevent coronavirus from spreading in the United States if they were fully informed about it.
The coronavirus outbreak originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan, but in recent months has spread worldwide. —Dan Mangan
Major League Soccer extended the postponement of its matches in order to follow CDC guidance to postpone events involving more than 50 people over the next eight weeks. MLS said in a statement that it is focused on playing the entire 2020 season. The league is currently evaluating options such as pushing back the end of the season and playing the MLS Cup in December, which is when it was held prior to the 2019 season. —Hannah Miller
U.S. oil jumped 23%, putting it on track for its best day on record, clawing back more than half of the losses from Wednesday's steep slide.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude rose 23.4%, or $4.77, to trade at $25.12 per barrel. International benchmark Brent crude jumped 9.5%, or $2.37, to trade at $27.29 per barrel. —Pippa Stevens
"I like anything that protects the workers," Cramer said on "Squawk on the Street." "We cannot have the fat cats make money at the expense of the workers."
The "Mad Money" host was lamenting the moral hazards of the 2008 financial crisis, when companies got bailouts and chief executives got incentives as many workers lost their jobs. —Matthew J. Belvedere
Disney is warning investors that the coronavirus pandemic has affected so many of its business segments that it's becoming more challenging for the company to estimate its future performance.
"We have closed our theme parks; suspended our cruises and theatrical shows; delayed theatrical distribution of films both domestically and internationally; and experienced supply chain disruption and ad sales impacts," the company said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. —Sarah Whitten
The Bank of England (BOE) cut interest rates to 0.1% and ratcheted up its bond-buying program, in an effort to offset the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak.
At an emergency meeting, the central bank's monetary policy committee voted unanimously to lower borrowing costs by 15 basis points and to increase the BOE's bond-buying program to £645 billion ($752 billion US), up £200 billion.
The BOE had previously cut rates to 0.25% from 0.75% on March 11. —Sam Meredith
11:11 am: New York Gov. Cuomo orders 75% of non-essential workforce to stay home as cases surge to 4,152
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered 75% of the workforce in non-essential services to stay at home, approved mortgage relief and took other measures.
Cuomo said the state confirmed 1,769 new cases in the last day, bringing the number of confirmed cases in New York to 4,152 and pushing the total number of COVID-19 infections in the U.S. well over 10,000, based on the state's new case count and data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
Due to the spike in COVID-19 cases, Cuomo ordered 75% of the workforce in non-essential services to stay at home, a 25% increase from a day earlier. Essential services include businesses dealing with food, pharmacies, healthcare, shipping, and supplies. —Berkeley Lovelace Jr., Noah Higgins-Dunn
Millions of U.S. households are expected to face financial burdens in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. If you are facing reduced hours or job loss and are worried about making your rent or mortgage payment this month, stay calm — President Donald Trump said Wednesday that the Department of Housing and Urban Development will suspend "all foreclosures and evictions" through the end of April.
That said, you will still want to discuss your options with your mortgage lender or landlord if you have experienced a disruption in your income. CNBC's Make It offers advice on how to deal with landlords and lenders. —Alicia Adamczyk
Restaurant reservations made through OpenTable ground to a halt in five U.S. cities on Tuesday as restaurant dining room restrictions go into place, according to data from the company. Honolulu's restaurant bookings have fallen the least, with a decline of 55% compared to a year ago. The Bookings Holdings platform only tracks reservations, not takeout or delivery. —Amelia Lucas
The owner of Victoria's Secret and Bath & Body Works said it is suspending all "new" online orders for lingerie in the U.S. and Canada from March 17 through March 29.
L Brands said, instead, its Bath & Body Works business online will be prioritizing hand sanitizer and soap sales. It said this business is being fulfilled by a third party.
L Brands said all workers will receive pay and benefits during the shutdown. It had already announced earlier in the week it was closing all of its stores temporarily. But it is trying to get some Bath & Body Works locations back up and running sooner. —Lauren Thomas
Uber stock rose as much as 35% after the company held a call with investors before trading began and said the company has plenty of cash on hand to get through the coronavirus crisis and is seeing growth in other areas of the business as rides fall dramatically as people stay home.
CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said the company's rides segment is seeing a 60% to 70% decline in areas hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic, but has also seen growth in its food delivery business Uber Eats.
"We believe we're already seeing worst of the impact and the recovery in some places," Khosrowshahi said on a call with analysts. "Once things start moving, Uber will too." —Jessica Bursztynsky
10:27 am: Trump wants direct payments of $1,000 for adults, $500 for kids in stimulus bill, Mnuchin says
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin laid out details of the Trump administration's plan to send Americans relief money as part of a massive stimulus package to blunt the impact of the novel coronavirus crisis. Mnuchin said in a Fox Business Network interview that the plan would send payments directly to Americans totaling $500 billion.
That money would be divided into two large tranches.
"The first one would be $1,000 per person, $500 per child. So for a family of four, that's a $3,000 payment," Mnuchin said. "As soon as Congress passes this, we get this out in three weeks. And then, six weeks later, if the president still has a national emergency, we'll deliver another $3,000," Mnuchin said. —Kevin Breuninger
The new coronavirus could kill millions across the U.S., said Dr. Kathleen Neuzil, director of the Center for Vaccine Development at the University of Maryland's School of Medicine.
"It would not surprise me," she told CNBC when asked whether the U.S. could see millions of deaths. "We need to prepare for the worst."
Neuzil sits on the Centers for Disease Control's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and is part of the leadership team of infectious disease experts working with NIH to test a coronavirus vaccine and therapies to treat those sick with COVID-19.
"We have 350 million people in the United States, and you do the math," she said on CNBC's "Squawk Box." If 70 million people are eventually infected with this virus and again if there are multiple waves of this virus, then you can do the math and then you can get there." —Will Feuer
Early each morning, customers at Stop & Shop who are older or more vulnerable to the coronavirus will have a new way to fill up their refrigerator and pantry: An hour and half when they can shop before other customers arrive.
Stop & Shop, Target, Walmart, and Amazon-owned Whole Foods are among the grocers testing the new approach to try to protect people with a higher risk of getting sick as confirmed cases of COVID-19 rise across the U.S. As Americans prepare for prolonged stays inside of their homes, grocery stores have drawn large crowds and frenzied shoppers.
By designating special time slots, retailers aim to make it easier for senior citizens and shoppers with medical conditions to safely navigate stores and buy food and household necessities. —Melissa Repko
Democrats are gearing up for a fight over whether direct payments to Americans struggling with the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic will be enough. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is among those arguing for expanded unemployment insurance as a source of relief.
"A single $1,000 check would help someone pay their landlord in March but what happens after that?" the New York Democrat said on the chamber floor Wednesday. "A thousand dollars goes by pretty quickly if you're unemployed. In contrast, expanded unemployment insurance — beefed-up unemployment insurance — covers you for a much longer time and would provide a much bigger safety net."
An aide for Schumer did not immediately answer whether the senator opposed to the concept of direct payments entirely, or just the form currently outlined. —Lauren Hirsch, Kevin Breuninger
10:01 am: Ex-Trump advisor Gary Cohn warns the US will have 'massive unemployment very, very quickly'
The U.S. unemployment rate will rise swiftly and dramatically as the coronavirus brings the American economy to a stop, former top White House economic advisor Gary Cohn told CNBC. "I believe that we are going to have massive unemployment very, very quickly," Cohn said on "Squawk Box."
Cohn's comments came shortly after the Labor Department said jobless claims rose to 281,000 last week, an increase of 70,000 from the week prior.
The former Goldman Sachs president is not alone in forecasting a continued jump in unemployment. Pantheon Macroeconomics' Ian Shepherdson earlier told CNBC he thought next Thursday's jobless claims could soar to around two million. —Kevin Stankiewicz
General Motors and Ford Motor are studying whether they can use their auto factories to support production of ventilators and other medical equipment to help combat the coronavirus pandemic sweeping across the nation.
GM CEO Mary Barra spoke with the Trump administration Wednesday 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.
Ford also confirmed the company has had preliminary discussions with the government and is looking into the feasibility of producing medical equipment. —Noah Higgins-Dunn, Phil LeBeau
The World Health Organization has repeatedly underlined the importance of "flattening the curve" in order to tackle the coronavirus outbreak, calling on countries around the world to impose sweeping public health measures.
In epidemiology, the curve refers to the projected number of new cases over a period of time.
In contrast to a steep rise of coronavirus infections, a more gradual uptick of cases will see the same number of people get infected, but without overburdening the health-care system at any one time.
The idea of flattening the curve is to stagger the number of new cases over a longer period, so that people have better access to care. —Sam Meredith
In just over a month, the three pillars underpinning President Donald Trump's argument for reelection have all collapsed. Trump's reelection campaign was designed under the premise that the economy would be strong through November, but that's not true anymore.
Trump also planned to make socialism a central focus of his attacks. But without Bernie Sanders to run against, this argument becomes a lot less potent.
Finally, Trump campaigned on "draining the swamp" of big government. Now he wants Americans to trust in big government to fight coronavirus and save the economy. —Christina Wilkie
9:44 am: Bank of America says the recession is already here: 'Jobs will be lost, wealth will be destroyed'
Bank of America warned investors that a coronavirus-induced recession is no longer avoidable — it's already here.
"We are officially declaring that the economy has fallen into a recession ... joining the rest of the world, and it is a deep plunge," Bank of America U.S. economist Michelle Meyer wrote in a note. "Jobs will be lost, wealth will be destroyed and confidence depressed."
The firm expects the economy to "collapse" in the second quarter, shrinking by 12%. GDP for the full year will contract by 0.8%, it said. —Pippa Stevens
Stocks opened lower, building on the previous session's steep losses as the coronavirus crisis rages on.
"Markets are clearly in a state of panic and forced liquidations – but risks remain skewed to the upside and this should become much more apparent once some of the solvency issues are addressed," Adam Crisafulli, founder of Vital Knowledge, said in a note.
The moves followed yet another violent day on Wall Street on Wednesday. The Dow dropped 1,338.46 points, or 6.3%, on Wednesday and clinched its first close below 20,000 since February 2017. The Dow was down more than 2,300 points at the lows of the session. The S&P 500 dropped 5.2% to 2,398.10 and closed nearly 30% below a record set last month as both indexes sank further into bear markets. —Fred Imbert, Thomas Franck
Darden Restaurants reported quarterly earnings and revenue that topped analysts' expectations. The company also withdrew its fiscal 2020 outlook and suspended its quarterly dividend, citing the uncertainty it faces as states mandate the closure of dining rooms due the coronavirus epidemic.
Darden has fully drawn down its $750 million credit facility "out of an abundance of caution."
"With the drawdown of our revolver, and cash on the balance sheet, we will have approximately $1 billion in cash on hand," CFO Rick Cardenas said in a statement. "We believe this positions us well to deal with potential near term volatility under the current market conditions." —Amelia Lucas
Investor Ray Dalio told CNBC the coronavirus outbreak will cost U.S. corporations up to $4 trillion, and "a lot of people are going to be broke."
"What's happening has not happened in our lifetime before ... What we have is a crisis," Dalio said in a "Squawk Box" interview. "There will also be individuals who have very big losses. ... There's a need for the government to spend more money, a lot more money."
The total U.S. GDP at the end of 2019 was more than $21 trillion. The founder of the Bridgewater Associates hedge fund also estimated the global corporate losses will amount to $12 trillion due to the pandemic.
Dalio said the fiscal stimulus package should be $1.5 trillion to $2 trillion at a minimum, depending on the form of the financial relief such as loan guarantees and credits. —Jeff Cox
Airbnb hosts are beginning to feel the impact of the coronavirus pandemic following a change by the company to its cancellation policy that has allowed guests traveling over the next month to receive full refunds on their bookings, overriding existing policies put in place by hosts to protect themselves in such situations.
That change has already cost Airbnb hosts in California, Florida, Kansas, Utah, Michigan and the state of Washington to lose thousands of dollars in reservations, numerous hosts told CNBC.
Now, as cancellations continue and new bookings dry up, many hosts around the country have empty calendars for the coming weeks and are facing uncertain futures as the due dates for their mortgages, utilities bills, homeowners association fees and property taxes draw near. —Salvador Rodriguez
Jobless claims rose to 281,000 last week, reflecting only the first indications of the impact the coronavirus will have on the U.S. employment picture.
That number reflected a significant rise from the previous week's 211,000.
Companies are just starting to announce coronavirus-related layoffs, many of those in the hospitality industry, so the real damage probably won't start showing through until next week's count, which will entail the period through this Saturday. —Jeff Cox
Futures contracts tied to the major U.S. stock indexes pointed to more losses at the open, building on the previous session's steep losses as the coronavirus crisis rages on.
"Markets are clearly in a state of panic and forced liquidations – but risks remain skewed to the upside and this should become much more apparent once some of the solvency issues are addressed," Adam Crisafulli, founder of Vital Knowledge, said in a note. —Fred Imbert, Thomas Franck
COVID-19 kills one person every 10 minutes in Iran, the health ministry spokesman tweeted, as the death toll in the Middle East's worst-affected country climbed to 1,284.
"Based on our information, every 10 minutes one person dies from the coronavirus and some 50 people become infected with the virus every hour in Iran," Kianush Jahanpur tweeted. —Reuters
Spain's health ministry said its national death toll soared by 209 to 767 fatalities from the previous day as the total number of coronavirus cases climbed by a quarter to 17,147. On Wednesday, there were 13,716 cases in Spain. —Reuters
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. The latest weekly unemployment numbers are expected out at 8:30 a.m. ET. —Jeff Cox
Italy's lockdown is set to be extended beyond the current end-date of April 3, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said as its death toll rises at a record rate. Speaking to Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, Conte said measures taken to close schools and universities and to restrict movement throughout Italy would have to be prolonged.
"The total blockade will go on," Conte said. "The measures taken, both the closure of [public] activities and the ones concerning schools, can only be extended," he told the paper. —Holly Ellyatt
Michel Barnier, who leads the EU's Brexit negotiations, has said he has contracted the virus.
Announcing the news on Twitter, he said he was "doing well and in good spirits." —Holly Ellyatt
Luxury brand Burberry said sales in the final weeks of March would plunge by up to 80% as the impact of coronavirus on consumers, already seen in China, has spread to Europe and the U.S. The British brand said like-for-like sales in the final weeks of its financial year to March 28 would be down 70% to 80%, and as a result fourth-quarter sales would be 30% lower, Reuters reported. —Holly Ellyatt
Global medical device producer Medtronic has said it is making progress in increasing ventilator production worldwide. The company said it has increased production by more than 40% and "is on track to more than double its capacity to manufacture and supply ventilators in response to the urgent needs of patients and healthcare systems across the globe" confronting the coronavirus. —Holly Ellyatt
Read CNBC's coverage from CNBC's Asia-Pacific and Europe teams overnight here: UK prepares for lockdown; EU's chief Brexit negotiator has coronavirus