Health and Science

Birx warns mortality will peak in NY, New Orleans and Detroit next week

Why Zoom has found big success during social distancing
How Zoom rose to the top during social distancing

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  • Global cases: At least 1,181,825
  • Global deaths: At least 63,902
  • US cases: At least 300,915
  • US deaths: At least 8,162

The data above was compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

6:21 pm: Trump says Navy captain letter asking for help on coronavirus-stricken ship 'was terrible'

A since-fired Navy captain's plea for help with a coronavirus outbreak on his vessel "was terrible," President Donald Trump said.

The officer, Capt. Brett Crozier of the USS Theodore Roosevelt, wrote a letter earlier this week to military leadership asking for help with a coronavirus outbreak on the warship. The letter, which was dated March 30, was sent via nonsecure unclassified email and also outside the chain of command. It leaked to the media. 

"I thought it was terrible what he did, to write a letter. This isn't a class on literature. This is a captain of a massive ship that's nuclear-powered," Trump said at a news briefing. "The letter was a five-page letter from a captain, and the letter was all over the place. That's not appropriate. I don't think that's appropriate." —Will Feuer

6:13 pm: Trump says he will immediately ask for more small business money if relief fund runs out

President Donald Trump said that he will "immediately" seek more funding from Congress if the employee retention programs included in the $2 trillion coronavirus relief bill run out of money. 

"This is money that's really going directly to the people who need it, the small businesses who need it, and the workers that need it," Trump said during a White House briefing on COVID-19. "When we open, we want to open strong with businesses that are going."

The legislation signed late last month allocated $350 billion for a loan program for businesses with fewer than 500 employees. Businesses can apply to have the portion of the up-to-$10 million loans used on payroll forgiven. —Tucker Higgins

5:43 pm: Dr. Birx warns three US hotspots will all reach peak mortality in the next week

Coronavirus Response Coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx speaks during the daily briefing on the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, at the White House on April 4, 2020, in Washington, DC.
Jim Watson

Dr. Deborah Birx, White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator, warned the hardest hit U.S. hotspots could reach their mortality peaks, simultaneously, in the next week. 

"The Detroit area, the New York area, the Louisiana area ... They're all on the upside of the curve of mortality," Birx said at a White House briefing. "By the predictions that are in that, they're predicting in those three hotspots, all of them hitting together in the next six to seven days." 

New York leads the country in terms of coronavirus cases, with more than 113,000 confirmed cases, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. At least 63,000 of those cases are in the New York City area. Michigan has more than 14,000 confirmed cases of the virus, and Louisiana has more than 12,000. 

"What we're seeing today are the people who were infected two or three weeks ago," Birx said. "If mitigation in New York worked, and we believe it is working, the cases are going to start to go down, but the mortality will be a lag behind that because of the co-morbidities and other conditions." —Sara Salinas

4:40 pm: Trump says 1,000 military personnel are deploying to New York City

President Donald Trump announced that 1,000 military personnel are deploying to New York City to help fight the coronavirus. 

"We're taking people now out of our military. We've been doing it but now we're doing it on a larger basis," the president said at a White House press briefing. —Emma Newburger

4:11 pm: US cases cross 300,000

3:59 pm: Coronavirus patients spend night on Navy hospital ship meant for non-infected New York patients

Multiple coronavirus patients spent Friday night aboard the USNS Comfort after federal officials said the Navy hospital ship was only supposed to treat non-infected patients. The Comfort is supposed to only receive patients who don't have the virus to relieve stress on the city's hospitals. Hospital leaders in New York City, however, have criticized the Comfort's deployment as "a joke" for not accepting COVID-19 patients and failing to provide tangible relief to strained hospitals. The 1,000-bed hospital ship, which arrived in New York Monday, has treated 27 patients as of Saturday, according to a Navy spokesperson. —Will Feuer

2:50 pm: Daily coronavirus death toll in France slows to 441

Doctors tend to a patient arriving on a wheelchair at the reception of the Emergency Room, set up in a tent, in a courtyard of the Henri Mondor Hospital in Creteil, near Paris, on March 30, 2020, on the fourteenth day of a lockdown aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) in France.
Bertrand Guay | AFP | Getty Images

A total of 441 people died from coronavirus infections in France over the past 24 hours, down from a high of 588 the previous day, the health ministry director said.

The death toll in French hospitals and nursing homes since the start of the outbreak now stood at 7,560, Jerome Salomon told a news conference. The total number of coronavirus cases in France stood at 68,605, a 6.6% increase compared with the previous day.

Salomon added that 28,143 people were in hospital for COVID-19 infection. That number showed a net 711 more admissions compared with the previous day after 2,111 people were discharged.

A total of 6,838 serious coronavirus cases were in intensive care units, he said. In the past 24 hours, 502 new cases were admitted in intensive care, compared with 641, the previous day and 729 on Thursday. —Reuters

2:11 pm:  Dubai imposes two-week lockdown

Dubai announced a two-week lockdown starting on Saturday at 8 p.m. (1600 GMT) to disinfect the emirate and contain the spread of the coronavirus, state news agency WAM said, the citing Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management.

Dubai warned that mobility would be restricted and legal action taken against violators, WAM said, adding that supermarkets and pharmacies as well as food and drug delivery services would continue to operate as normal.

The oil-rich federation has reported an uptick in coronavirus cases with several hundred people diagnosed since April 1 and a total number of cases of 1,505. —Reuters

12:55 pm: Retail is used to existential crises — but bankruptcies can't save it now

Retail has for years faced the challenges of slowing foot traffic, changing shopping patterns and online competitors that has caused an industry upheaval some analysts have deemed the "retail apocalypse." 

But as the coronavirus pandemic has ground U.S. business to a halt, the pain has spread far and wide to upstart retail brands, landlords, lenders and suppliers. With everyone in duress, landlords and creditors with the ability to pull the trigger that could put a retailer into bankruptcy have become gun shy. —Lauren Hirsch

12:45 pm: Amazon wants a test supply for its workers Inc has been in contact with the CEOs of two coronavirus test makers as it considers how to screen its staff and reduce the risk of infection at its warehouses, according to internal meeting notes seen by Reuters.

The chief executives of Abbott Laboratories and Thermo Fisher Scientific have told Amazon they would like to work with the e-commerce company, though the U.S. government is taking up all of their testing capacity at present, the notes said. Read the full Reuters exclusive here—Reuters

12:30 pm: Canada's Trudeau won't retaliate over US blocking mask imports

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his country was not planning to retaliate over U.S. President Donald Trump's move to block 3M Co's exports of N95 respirator masks for use by doctors and nurses.

Trudeau said during his daily address that he expected to speak with Trump in the coming days and that Canadian officials were having "very constructive" discussions with the U.S. administration. —Reuters

11:55 am: How to protect yourself while grocery shopping

With most Americans living under stay-home orders during the coronavirus pandemic, trips to the grocery store are one of the few reasons people can venture out. However, with the virus continuing to spread, many may wonder how they can best protect themselves from getting sick if they do need to go shopping. Leaving the kids at home and wiping down the grocery cart handle before touching it are two simple ways to stay safer, but here's a comprehensive look at many other actions shoppers can take—Amelia Lucas

11:45 am: China donates 1,000 ventilators to help New York

The Chinese government has facilitated the donation of 1,000 ventilators to New York set to arrive at JFK Airport today, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Saturday. 

"This is a big deal and it's going to make a significant difference for us," Cuomo said during a press briefing. The state of Oregon is also sending 140 ventilators to New York, which has become an epicenter of the coronavirus. —Emma Newburger

11:40 am: The lights are dark in Las Vegas

Most of the exterior building lights at Paris Las Vegas, including on its 50-story replica Eiffel Tower, are turned off except for the marquee as parts of the Las Vegas Strip go dark as a result of the statewide shutdown on March 19, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Ethan Miller | Getty Images

Las Vegas has been one of the hardest hit cities after Nevada ordered all hotels, casinos, bars and restaurants closed and canceled all conventions, conferences and sporting events in an effort stop the spread of the virus. 

The coronavirus doused most of the lights along the Vegas Strip, leaving thousands of workers across these industries unemployed or furloughed. Check out a slide show of the impact that coronavirus is having on Sin City as it grapples with the economic fallout from this pandemic. —Adam Jeffery

11:00 am: CDC director says coronavirus won't be a one-time foe

The coronavirus represents a "potential global catastrophe" on its way to the Southern Hemisphere, according to Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In an interview with Stat News, he discusses whether the virus will prove to be seasonal and what that could mean for the global response.

He also touches on why the CDC has been largely absent from public briefings over the past month and warns that COVID-19 will be around longer than the next few weeks. "But I would say [if] we're lucky enough to have that we need to get very prepared because next late fall and early winter, like most respiratory viruses, coronavirus 19 will be an enemy that we're going to have to face again," he said. —Will Feuer

10:35 am: NYC mayor pleads for more doctors and nurses: 'The worst is actually ahead'

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on Saturday continued his calls for a national enlistment program for doctors and nurses to handle a surge in coronavirus cases in strained healthcare systems in New York and across the country.

New York City confirmed 305 new deaths on Friday, marking the biggest one-day jump so far and bringing the city's death toll to at least 1,867. The city has at least 57,159 cases, comprising nearly a quarter of confirmed cases in the U.S.

"We still don't have the support we need, particularly from the federal government," de Blasio said on MSNBC. "The worst is actually ahead."

The FDNY released data earlier in the week showing that approximately one in four of its EMS workers is out sick. The city on Friday evening sent out a wireless emergency alert asking for medical workers to volunteer to support health facilities fighting the virus.

De Blasio emphasized that states need to pressure the Trump administration into enlisting more medical personnel to work in overwhelmed hospitals. He urged states in the meantime to create their own enlistment structures to move medical workers into emergency rooms as quickly as possible. —Emma Newburger

9:50 am: Clocking in for a shift? The boss wants to know your temperature

The nation's largest employers are turning to thermometers as a new line of defense against the coronavirus.

At Walmart and Amazon facilities across the country, hundreds of thousands of employees will soon get their temperature taken when they report to work. Home Depot is giving its employees thermometers and asking them to check for a fever at home. Starbucks is sending thermometers to stores to allow employees to do voluntary self-monitoring.

Their decision to add temperature screenings — one of the most extensive and invasive measures rolled out by U.S. employers — reflects the growing severity and rising death toll.

Medical professionals and health experts, however, warn temperature checks are an imperfect tool. —Melissa Repko

9:35 am: JPMorgan reportedly pressured traders to come to work; 20 have tested positive

Since early March, when New York began to close nonessential business and encourage social distancing, JPMorgan has pressured traders at its New York City headquarters to report for duty as the coronavirus spreads throughout the ranks, The Wall Street Journal reported. Traders and salespeople told the Journal they feel pressure to come in and managers have reminded them that their compensation is tied to performance.

In the past three weeks, about 20 employees on the trading floor have tested positive, and another 65 are in quarantine, according to the Journal. The Journal reported that a JPMorgan spokesperson said more than 80% of the firm's traders are working remotely and those in the office are spaced six feet apart.

"We recognize how stressful this is for those employees on the front lines who are supporting global markets," a spokesman said, according to the Journal. JPMorgan declined to comment on the report. —Will Feuer

9:03 am: US cases continue to rise faster than other countries

8:58 am: These 'disease hunters' developed a novel technique for tracking pandemics after 9/11, but lost funding right before COVID-19

When Dr. Farzad Mostashari was the assistant commissioner for the New York City Department of Health in the early 2000s, he did something unprecedented.

To keep tabs on the spread of disease in the region, Mostashari asked New York hospitals for access to a feed of their data, including the symptoms reported by some of the sickest patients. His team put together a website that collected anonymized information from emergency rooms across the state, and made it open for anyone to query.

Nearly two decades later, on March 11, 2020, his work suddenly gained new relevance. The World Health Organization declared the novel coronavirus a global pandemic, and predicted that the SARS-CoV-2 virus could kill more than a million people worldwide.

In early March, Mostashari started looking for incidents of patients complaining of flu-like symptoms that were outside the normal range for early spring. On March 4, he saw a spike in the data from New York that concerned him. For the next three days, he checked and rechecked the website to make sure it wasn't a blip. By the fourth day, he knew something was wrong.

"Holy s---," he recalled thinking. "Flu was going down, but patients were starting to come into the emergency department with a ferocity I hadn't seen in 15 or 20 years."  —Christina Farr

6:16 am: Spain's daily coronavirus death toll falls for second day in row

Spain's death toll from the coronavirus rose to 11,744 Saturday from 10,935 the previous day, the Health Ministry said on Saturday.

It is the second day in a row that the number of new deaths has fallen. A total of 809 people died from the disease over the past 24 hours, down from 932 the previous day, the figures showed.  

Spain now has 124,736 confirmed cases, up from 117,710 on Friday (that's a n increase of 7,026). — Holly Ellyatt

6:10 am: Iran's coronavirus death toll rises to 3,452, health ministry says

Iran's death toll from the coronavirus outbreak climbed to 3,452 on Saturday, with 158 more deaths recorded over the past 24 hours, Health Ministry Spokesman Kianoush Jahanpur said, Reuters reported.

The total number of cases diagnosed with the disease reached 55,743, of whom 4,103 are in critical condition, he said on state TV. Iran is the country worst affected by the pandemic in the Middle East. — Reuters

5:12 am: France overtakes China as number of confirmed cases rises above 83,000

France now has more cases of the coronavirus than China, as the number of confirmed cases reached 83,029, according to data from Johns Hopkins University on Saturday.

China, where the outbreak was first identified in December, has 82,526 confirmed cases, although the actual figure could be far higher. — Holly Ellyatt

3:57 am: UK unlikely to relax lockdown measures till end May, top epidemiologist says

The United Kingdom won't be able to lift its stringent social-distancing rules until the end of May, according to a British epidemiologist, Neil Ferguson, who is also a leading government advisor, Reuters reported Saturday.

"We want to move to a situation where at least by the end of May that we're able to substitute some less intensive measures, more based on technology and testing, for the complete lockdown we have now," Ferguson reportedly told BBC Radio. Ferguson is a professor at the faculty of medicine in the School of Public Health at Imperial College London.

"There is a great deal of work underway to look at how we can substitute some of the very intense social distancing currently in place with a regime more based on intensive testing, very rapid access to testing, contact tracing of contracts," he said, according to Reuters. "But in order to substitute that regime for what we're doing now, we need to get case numbers down."

The United Kingdom currently has 38,690 reported cases of COVID-19, and the death toll has surpassed 3,600, according to the latest data from Johns Hopkins University. The government has put the country under virtual lockdown since March 23. All nonessential public buildings and places are closed, and all social events including weddings and baptisms have been stopped.—Joanna Tan

2:32 am: Xi leads national day of mourning as China honors those killed during pandemic

Chinese President Xi Jinping led his country and its leaders in mourning on Saturday, as the nation observed three minutes of silence in honor of those killed during the pandemic, according to state news agency Xinhua. 

Xi stood with leaders of the country, including Premier Li Keqiang and members of the Communist Party of China, at the Zhongnanhai leadership compound in Beijing at 10 a.m. local time, Xinhua reported.

State-owned Global Times, a tabloid run by the ruling Communist Party's official People's Daily, posted footage of Xi and the leaders standing together with their heads bowed in silence. Each wore a white flower pinned to their chest pockets and were facing the Chinese flag that flew at half-mast. Across the nation, people could be seen standing in public squares, while air defense sirens blared and horns on cars, trains and ships were sounded.

Read CNBC's coverage from CNBC's Asia-Pacific and Europe teams overnight here: France has more cases than China now, but Spain's daily death toll has fallen.