Health and Science

FDA OKs 'emergency use' coronavirus test, global cases top 300,000

Key Points
  • The coronavirus has infected more than 303,180 and killed at least 12,944 worldwide, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
Coronavirus fears hit hospitals
Coronavirus fears hit hospitals

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  • Global cases: More than 303,180
  • Global deaths: At least 12,944
  • U.S. cases: At least 24,148
  • U.S. deaths: At least 285

The data above is from Johns Hopkins University.

6:00 pm: Cases top 300,000 worldwide as US becomes one of worst hit countries

The number of people who have tested positive for the deadly coronavirus, or COVID-19, has topped 300,000 as the pandemic continues to spread around the world, with the situation in the U.S., Italy and Spain deteriorating even as the pandemic has stabilized in China, where the virus first emerged. 

At least 303,180 people have tested positive for the virus worldwide as of Saturday at 5:13 pm ET, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The number of cases in the U.S. has surged to at least 24,148, making it one of the worst hit countries in the world. Only China, Italy and Spain are harder hit than the U.S. - Spencer Kimball, Emma Newburger

5:24 pm: Best Buy shifts business model amid coronavirus outbreak

Best Buy announced a few business updates as the electronics company adjusts to demand surrounding the coronavirus outbreak.

"We are seeing a surge in demand across the country for products that people need to work or learn from home, as well as those products that allow people to refrigerate or freeze food," Best Buy CEO Corie Barry said in a statement. "As we meet the demand for these necessities, we are adjusting how we operate in many ways to improve safety."

Starting Sunday, Best Buy is shifting to a curbside service only for all of its stores on a interim basis. Customers also will still be able to order online or on Best Buy's app and have their items shipped directly to their homes.

However, all in-home installation and repair services have been suspended. Instead, the company will do in-home consultations virtually. Best Buy noted that all of its employees have been told they do not have to work if they do not feel comfortable or to stay home if they are feeling sick, knowing they will be paid.

"All field employees whose hours have been eliminated will be paid for two weeks at their normal wage rate based on their average hours worked over the last 10 weeks," the company said. - Jade Scipioni 

4:41 pm: US should rally G7, NATO and other global allies together in fight against coronavirus, Kempe says

The U.S. should bring together its global allies in a coordinated fight against the coronavirus pandemic, Atlantic Council CEO Frederick Kempe wrote in a CNBC op-ed.

"As the current chairman of the G-7, the United States could convene a 'Coalition Countering COVID-19' that would rally the seven leading industrial democracies, the European Union, NATO and, perhaps most importantly, the G-20," Kempe wrote. 

"It would thus also involve China as a central and collaborative actor against a common foe," wrote Kempe. - Kevin Stankiewicz 

4:28 pm: New York-Presbyterian Hospital seeing nearly 50% increase in potential COVID-19 patients

New York-Presbyterian Hospital is experiencing a sharp increase in COVID-19 cases, according to a letter to staff reviewed by NBC News. "Today NYP has about 300 COVID-19 antigen-positive inpatients, with about 200 awaiting test results," reads the letter from Dr. Craig Smith, surgeon-in-chief at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center. "This approaches a 50% increase in one day." 

The NYP hospital system is anticipating peak COVID-19 volume within 22-32 days, Smith wrote. At that point, the hospital system will need between 700 to 934 intensive care unit beds, which exceeds the hospital system's current capacity, Smith wrote.

"This has been a very active day, during which the hard data has become alarming," he wrote. "I wish I could use a more comforting word." - Kevin Stankiewicz 

3:20 pm: Trump: 'I don't know' if my businesses will receive assistance

President Donald Trump said he wasn't sure if his business would receive financial assistance as part of coronavirus relief packages being considered by Congress.

"I don't know. I mean, I just don't know what the government assistance would be for what I have," Trump said at a White House briefing. "I have hotels. Everybody knew I had hotels when I got elected. They knew I was a successful person when I got elected so it's one of those things."

The U.S. travel and tourism industry has asked for $150 billion in relief to offset a dramatic decline in travel due to the coronavirus. - Kevin Stankiewicz 

3:17 pm: FDA grants 'emergency use' coronavirus test that can deliver results in 45 minutes

Diagnostics company Cepheid said it has received emergency authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to use its rapid molecular test for point-of-care patients that can detect the virus that causes COVID-19 in 45 minutes.

This is the first coronavirus test that can be conducted entirely at the point-of-care for patients and deliver results in less than an hour. Typically, tests are sent to central reference labs that can take several days to deliver results.

Cepheid uses a testing machine called GeneXpert that can run a full test in 45 minutes. There are currently more than 23,000 automated GeneXpert systems worldwide, with nearly 5,000 of them in the U.S., Cepheid said in a statement. —Jade Scipioni

3:01 pm: Pence will get tested after staffer tests positive

Vice President Mike Pence said Saturday he will get tested for the coronavirus after a member of his office tested positive. Pence said he and his wife, Karen Pence, will both be tested later on Saturday.

The staff member's positive diagnosis was announced Friday.

"Neither President Trump nor Vice President Pence had close contact with the individual," Katie Miller, the vice president's press secretary, said in a statement Friday. "Further contact tracing is being conducted in accordance with CDC guidelines." —Kevin Stankiewicz

2:51 pm: NYC-area, Philly airports lift halt to air traffic following some staffing issues

Flights into major New York City-area airports were briefly halted, as the coronavirus continues to cause staffing issues at air-traffic control facilities around the country, the Federal Aviation Administration said. —Leslie Josephs

2:33 pm: Scammers, feeding off investor fears, mimic fraud from the 2008 financial crisis

Coronavirus scams are emerging, and many look remarkably similar to frauds from the 2008 financial crisis.

Government agencies like the Federal Trade Commission and Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. issued warnings this week for Americans to be vigilant as con artists attempt to steal from consumers spooked by an onslaught of bad news related to COVID-19.

In many ways, the current crisis and its 2008 predecessor are quite different — this one caused by a pandemic that has infected more than 250,000 worldwide and the other by broad and systemic failures in the financial system. —Greg Iacurci

2:20 pm: Coronavirus cases cause ground stop at New York City-area airports, FAA says

Two JetBlue planes sit at the John F. Kennedy Airport in New York on March 13, 2020. in New York City. President Donald Trump cancels all flights between Europe and the United States this Friday, due to the expansion of the Covid-19.
Pablo Monslave | Getty Images

Air traffic into major New York City-area airports was halted, the Federal Aviation Administration said, as coronavirus continues to cause staffing issues at FAA facilities around the country.

An air traffic controller-trainee based at a control center on Long Island tested positive for the virus, COVID-19, the FAA said. The trainee hadn't been in the facility since March 17 but the agency is working with local health authorities to sanitize and clean affected areas. The center is operational, it said.

Flights were delayed or canceled after FAA closed other air-traffic-control facilities around the country, including towers at Chicago's Midway International Airport and McCarren International Airport, after technicians and others tested positive for the virus. —Leslie Josephs

2:02 pm: NYC restaurants face mass layoffs as coronavirus cripples economic life

Restaurants and bars in the nation's largest city, world-renowned for its food and nightlife, are shutting down indefinitely and laying people off en masse as the state takes drastic measures to stop the spread of the deadly coronavirus.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo effectively closed bars and restaurants to the public across New York this week, issuing an order that limits them to takeout and delivery only, in an effort to stop people from congregating by enforcing "social distancing" in one of the states hardest hit in the U.S. by the virus.

The governor took even more drastic measures Friday when he ordered nonessential businesses to send 100% of their workforce home. Restaurants and bars are still allowed to provide carryout and delivery services, which are considered essential, according to the governor's office. —Spencer Kimball

1:50 pm: Amazon will 'double hourly' overtime pay for warehouse workers

Amazon said its doubling hourly wages for its associates working overtime in its U.S. warehouses as demand continues to grow due to the coronavirus.

"All hourly associates working in the U.S. Ops network will receive double their regular hourly rate for every overtime hour worked in a workweek," Amazon said in a statement to CNBC. "This temporary increased overtime pay is effective March 15, 2020, and will continue through May 9, 2020."

Reuters was first to report the news. Amazon said hourly workers will qualify to receive double pay after 40 hours. The announcement following similar one on Monday, when the e-commerce giant hiked the hourly rate for associates from $15 to $17. —Jade Scipioni

1:36 pm: NJ Governor orders nonessential retail businesses to close, issues stay-at-home order for nearly all residents

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy
Scott Mlyn | CNBC

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed an executive order mandating that "nearly all" state residents stay at home, NBC New York reported.

"All gatherings are canceled," Murphy tweeted. "ALL non-essential retail businesses must indefinitely close their physical stores to the public effective 9:00 p.m. [Saturday night].

In New Jersey, 1,327 people have tested positive for COVID-19, Murphy said Saturday, 442 more cases than the previous day. To date, 16 people have died from the virus, Murphy said. —Terri Cullen

1:25 pm: Italy's number of cases, deaths continue to soar

Italy's grim tally of coronavirus cases and deaths continues to soar, with officials on Saturday announcing new day-to-day highs: 793 dead and 6,557 cases.

The country, at the heart of western Europe's rampaging outbreak, now counts 53,578 known cases.

More than 60 percent of the latest deaths occurred in the northern region of Lombardy, whose hospitals have been reeling under a staggering caseload that has left intensive care beds hard to find and respirators in dire supply. The new increases come nearly two weeks into a national lockdown in a desperate bid to contain the contagion. —Associated Press

1:23 pm: UAE shuts beaches, parks, pools, cinemas, and gyms

The United Arab Emirates is shutting beaches, parks, pools, cinemas, and gyms from Sunday for two weeks over coronavirus concerns, the state news agency WAM said on Saturday.

Restaurants and cafes will be allowed to operate for the same period at 20% of capacity, and as long as customers are at least two meters apart, and for delivery services, subject to review. —Reuters

1:02 pm: Kudlow says coronavirus relief package worth more than $2 trillion

Larry Kudlow, director of the U.S. National Economic Council, speaks during a television interview at the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S. on Thursday, Jan. 30, 2020.
Alex Edelman | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The stimulus package under negotiation in the Senate to combat the economic damage from the coronavirus pandemic will likely total more than $2 trillion, White House Economic Advisor Larry Kudlow said on Saturday. The package is equal to about 10% of U.S. economic output, Kudlow told reporters as he went to a meeting with Republican senators on Capitol Hill. "We're just trying to cover the right bases," Kudlow said. —Emma Newburger 

12:55 pm: Relief package must include expanded Social Security payments, Sens. Warren and Wyden say 

The next coronavirus economic relief package must include increased payments for Social Security recipients, U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, wrote Saturday in a CNBC op-ed. "These Americans are scared about their heightened risk for severe illness — and scared about the future as they watch their retirement savings disappear as the pandemic shocks the U.S. economy," they wrote.

The senators are calling for $200 increase in the monthly benefit payments through the end of 2021. In addition to Social Security recipients, Warren and Wyden wanted monthly payment increases for Veterans and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) beneficiaries. —Kevin Stankiewicz 

12:06 pm: USA Track joins swimming in pushing for Olympic postponement

U.S. Olympic leaders face a growing rebellion after the USA Track and Field chief added to the call for a postponement of the Tokyo Games because of the mushrooming coronavirus crisis.

CEO Max Siegel sent a two-page note to his counterpart at the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee, Sarah Hirshland, asking the federation to advocate for a delay. It came late Friday, only a few hours after USA Swimming's CEO sent a similar letter.

The national committees in Norway and Brazil also have each went public with requests to postpone. —The Associated Press 

11:44 am: Stitch Fix temporarily closes two distribution centers due to coronavirus

Katrina Lake, CEO of Stitch Fix
Adam Jeffery | CNBC

Stitch Fix announced Friday that it will temporarily close two of its distribution centers, one in California and the other in Pennsylvania, due to the coronavirus.

"As a result, please bear with us if your Fix arrives a little later or your return is processed later than planned while we manage through these changes. We will be doing our best to communicate with you individually in these cases, please know our team is working hard to make sure your experience is still the best it can possibly be," Stitch Fix CEO Katrina Lake said in a statement.

The online personal styling service has four other facilities in the U.S. The company also said it plans to pay its employees impacted by the closures in the near term and "will continue to evaluate doing so if the closures are extended." Founded in 2011, Stitch Fix went public in 2017. —Amanda Lasky, Jade Scipioni 

10:50 am: Facebook's response to coronavirus could improve its reputation 

Facebook's response to the coronavirus could create goodwill for the social media giant after a series of scandals since 2016, many of its own creation, dented its reputation. Facebook's efforts to help governments, emergency response organizations, small businesses, its employees and its users are going a long way to repairing the company's fractured relationships. —Salvador Rodriguez 

10:17 am: Google launches coronavirus information site to help find testing  

Google dropped its much-anticipated website for coronavirus testing on Friday night. The platform allows users to fill out a questionnaire and learn how to obtain a test for the virus. It also provides resources for safety and prevention and a donation option to the UN Foundation's COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for the World Health Organization. —Emma Newburger  

10:05 am: Congress is working on a $1 trillion rescue package, but it might not be enough for US businesses

Congress is scrambling to put together a third coronavirus relief package − and lobbyists are flooding the phones. 

Lawmakers this weekend are pushing to meet the White House's Monday deadline of coming to an agreement on a rescue package likely to top $1 trillion. Executives have zeroed in on language in Senate Republicans' initial proposal allocating a portion of those funds to Big Business.

The proposed bill funnels $50 billion to airlines, $8 billion to cargo air carriers, and $150 billion for other "distressed businesses" — a category it leaves notably undefined. But companies have no interest in leaving the definition of "severely distressed business" up to Treasury. —Lauren Hirsch 

10:04 am: S&P 500 could post record highs early next year, JPM says 

The S&P 500 could return to record highs by early next year if U.S. efforts to contain the coronavirus outbreak work and the government can quickly move forward with fiscal stimulus to cushion the impending economic blow, JPMorgan's chief U.S. equity strategist said Friday. Dubravko Lakos-Bujas wrote in a note to clients he expects the S&P 500 to reach 3,400 in early 2021. That would top an all-time high of 3,386 set on Feb. 19. —Fred Imbert 

Making sense of the market's big swings
Making sense of the market's big swings

9:19 am: German cases rise by more than 2,000

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany has risen by 2,705 within a day to reach 16,662, the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases said on Saturday.

It said a total of 47 people had died after testing positive, an increase of 16 from a tally of 31 published on Friday. —Reuters

8:30 am: WHO offers tips for living under quarantine

Don't smoke, limit drinking, exercise and try not to watch too much news.

These are some of the recommendations from the World Health Organization to stay physically and mentally healthy while living under quarantine. The new coronavirus that originated in Wuhan, China less than three months ago has spread to more than 300,000 people in nearly every country across the world. 

More than 100 million people across the world are living under some form of social confinement as public officials struggle to contain the COVID-19 outbreak that's already claimed more than 12,000 lives. —Dawn Kopecki

8:15 am: Hospitals seek emergency credit and $100 billion in US aid

Medical workers and other officials gather outside of the Brooklyn Hospital Center where testing for the coronavirus has started on March 19, 2020 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City.
Spencer Platt | Getty Images

U.S. hospitals are setting up coronavirus wards and tents, seeking emergency credit lines and lobbying Washington for a $100 billion stabilization fund to help meet an expected onslaught of patients as the pandemic sweeps the nation.

"We believe hospitals and health systems should be top priority number one for the Congress, at this moment," said Robyn Bash, vice president for government relations at the American Hospital Association. 

The AHA estimates that some hospital systems are losing up to $1 million a day, and the costs are mounting. In many states hospitals have been forced to cancel all elective surgeries, along with non-emergency procedures which generate higher revenues for their facilities. At the same time, they are ramping up staffing to handle the expected influx of acute care patients and spending on as much acute care equipment as they can find.  —Bertha Coombs

7:43 am: Confirmed cases in Spain nears 25,000 as more than 1,300 people die

The Spanish health ministry said Saturday that 1,326 people had now died from the coronavirus in the country, a rise of 324 on the day before.  The total number of confirmed cases now stands at 24,926. 

It comes after Isabel Diaz Ayuso, the president of the region of Madrid, said Friday that the majority of people in Spain's capital city will get the coronavirus. Speaking to state radio Thursday, she said eight out of 10 people in the city would contract COVID-19.

Spain is second only to Italy for coronavirus-related cases and deaths in Europe, which has become the epicenter of the outbreak. The WHO has advised all countries to adopt a mix of interventions based on an analysis of the local situation and context, with containment as a major pillar. —Katrina Bishop and Sam Meredith

6:21 am: Iran's death toll tops 1,500 as confirmed cases in the country continue to rise

The number of people who have died from the coronavirus in Iran has reached 1,556 — a rise of more than 100, a health ministry spokesman said on Saturday, Reuters reported.

Speaking on state TV, Kianoush Jahanpour said the total number of confirmed cases was now at 20,610.

Iran has the fifth-highest number of cases of the virus in the world, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. It comes behind China, Italy, Spain, and Germany.

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani said Saturday that the country had to "do everything necessary to return economic production to normal," Reuters reported. Rouhani said that social distancing measures would likely be lifted in two-to-three weeks. —Katrina Bishop

2:40 am: Starbucks to shut most cafes in US and Canada

Starbucks said it will close most company-operated cafes across North America for two weeks, and service will be limited to drive-throughs, in helping to slow the spread of the virus, according to a Reuters report.

Cafes in or near hospitals and health care centers will be exempted from closing, it said. —Weizhen Tan