Health and Science

US coronavirus cases top 398,000, LA mayor says face coverings required to enter essential businesses

Gottlieb: I think the curve is starting to flatten
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Gottlieb: I think the curve is starting to flatten

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 1,428,400
  • Global deaths: At least 82,000
  • US cases: More than 398,100
  • US deaths: At least 12,800

The data above was compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

9 pm: LA mayor says face coverings required to enter essential businesses

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti on Tuesday announced a worker protection order that requires all employees and customers at essential businesses in the city to wear cloth face coverings over their nose and mouths.

The rule goes into effect on Friday morning. Employers have to give workers these masks or reimburse workers for buying them, Garcetti said. Employers also have to make sure employees can get to a sanitary bathroom stocked with cleaning products so that workers can wash their hands every 30 minutes.The city is also encouraging all essential retailers to install Plexiglas barriers between customers and cashiers. It's not a requirement because there isn't a sufficient amount of Plexiglas for retailer, Garcetti said.

"Every Angeleno will share this responsibility with employers: To keep workers and everybody else safe, which is why we are requiring customers to wear face coverings to enter those businesses I mentioned," Garcetti said. "If you're shopping for groceries, picking up a prescription, or visiting any other essential business, and if you're not covering your face, by Friday morning, an essential business can refuse you service."

He added: "So cover up, save a life, it's that simple."

Garcetti said Robert Garcia, mayor of Long Beach, another city in Los Angeles County, is looking at language of the order so that it can be implemented across all of the county.  —Jordan Novet

8:40 pm: NBA players could refund millions to owners, sources say

National Basketball Association owners could get some financial relief in the form of of returned pay in any compensation deal with players, according to multiple people with knowledge of the situation.

In an hour-long call on Tuesday afternoon, executives at the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA), the players' union, cleared up misinformation and told agents that any compensation deal constructed by the NBPA and league owners will include refunds on all NBA contracts.

The NBA become the first league to suspend its season last month due to the coronavirus pandemic. The move triggered other pro sports leagues to follow.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver said decisions about any return is still weeks away, but with this possible repayment clause included as part to any revised compensation deal, the regular-season portion of the NBA could be over. —Jabari Young

8:20 pm: White House officials worry the coronavirus is hitting African Americans worse than others

White House officials worry that the COVID-19 outbreak is disproportionately hitting African Americans harder than other groups and are working with state and local officials to begin tracking how the coronavirus impacts different ethnicities.

Dr. Anthnony Fauci, who sits on President Donald Trump's coronavirus task force, said the COVID-19 outbreak is "shining a bright light" on how "unacceptable" the health disparities between blacks and whites are. "Yet again, when you have a situation like the coronavirus, they are suffering disproportionately," Fauci said of minorities.

"It's not that they are getting infected more often. It's that when they do get infected, their underlying medical conditions ... wind them up in the ICU," he said at a White House press conference Tuesday. —Berkeley Lovelace Jr.

8 pm: Trump blames WHO for getting coronavirus pandemic wrong, threatens to withhold funding

President Donald Trump blamed the World Health Organization for getting "every aspect" of the coronavirus pandemic wrong and threatened to withhold funding from the international organization.

"They did give us some pretty bad play calling ... with regard to us, they're taking a lot of heat because they didn't want the borders closed, they called it wrong. They really called, I would say, every aspect of it wrong," Trump said at a White House press conference Tuesday.

WHO officials declared the outbreak a pandemic on March 11, when there were just 121,000 global cases. In the U.S., there are more than 380,000 cases, according to Hopkins. —Dawn Kopecki, Berkeley Lovelace Jr.

7:25 pm: Trump blames internet companies, including Amazon, for Postal Service struggles

President Trump said on Tuesday that internet companies, including Amazon, are to blame for the decline of the U.S. Postal Service.

The comments, which came during Tuesday's coronavirus task force briefing at the White House, recall a series of attacks in 2018, when Trump repeatedly blamed Amazon for hurting the post office, once saying that Amazon uses the USPS as "their delivery boy."

The comments came after a reporter asked the president about comments from Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., suggesting that Trump had requested that $25 billion meant for the USPS be cut from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security, or CARES, act, which Trump signed into law on March 27. —Jordan Novet

7:04 pm: Jim Cramer predicts 'U' shape recovery, says economy 'will bounce back gradually'

Jim Cramer: Investors can 'put some money to work' on the next pullback
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Jim Cramer: Investors can 'put some money to work' on the next pullback

CNBC's Jim Cramer suggested investors take advantage of the recent market upside to sell some stock and build up some cash for the next dip.

"Without a V-shaped recovery, you have to be skeptical of these big moves higher," the "Mad Money" host said. "Because in a U-shaped recovery I'm expecting, the stock market will pull back again and that is when you can put some money to work."

A V-shaped recovery happens when a quick decline in economic activity is met by an abrupt rebound in activity, while a U-shaped recovery is one where the economy gradually climbs out of a recession environment, which can take up to two years.

Based on Monday's 7% market rally, investors are hoping that the economy has a V-shaped recovery, Cramer said, which is where business activity snaps back if the ongoing outbreak is quelled soon.

"'V' is what justifies yesterday's rally" but "I do not believe in the 'V' when it comes to this recovery," he said. —Tyler Clifford

6:55 pm: Trump ally Tom Barrack hires lobbyists for coronavirus-related issues as he warns of hurdles for the commercial mortgage market

One of President Donald Trump's closest allies hired a top lobbying firm to advise on challenges related to the coronavirus pandemic.

Colony Capital, a real estate investment firm run by Tom Barrack, recently hired lobbyists from Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck to focus on "issues related to COVID-19 relief packages," according to a lobbying disclosure report first reviewed by CNBC. 

The form lists Colony Capital as the client and that the effective date of the firm registering to lobby for Barrack's business was on March 20, just days before Trump signed the $2 trillion stimulus package. The lobbying form was officially signed on Tuesday and records indicate that Barrack's company has never hired lobbyists. 

Barrack, who has been a longtime friend of the president, published a Medium post on March 22 warning the administration and Congress that commercial mortgage market is in free fall in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic that has damaged the U.S. economy. —Brian Schwartz

6:46 pm: Updated map of cases in the US, which now total 387,547

6:34 pm: Levi Strauss CEO Chip Bergh: Coronavirus pandemic will separate retail's winners and losers

Levi Strauss CEO Chip Bergh said the coronavirus pandemic "will further separate the winners and losers" in the retail industry today.

"The brands that are going to win are going to be the ones that have deep connections," with consumers, Bergh told CNBC in an interview on Tuesday afternoon. "We are going to double down on the things that are working."

Levi Strauss, which has been around for 167 years, is going to use COVID-19 "as an opportunity to come out stronger on the other side," Bergh added. "We've been through it all ... the Spanish flu. No other apparel company can say that."

The company on Tuesday reported its first-quarter 2020 results, for the period ended Feb. 23. Levi Strauss said it saw a boost from Black Friday week. However, the coronavirus outbreak that started in China roughly during the middle of the quarter hit the period's net revenue in Asia by about $20 million. —Lauren Thomas

6:25 pm: Mayo Clinic CEO says convalescent plasma could be an effective treatment for coronavirus

Mayo Clinic leads convalescent plasma trial to treat coronavirus
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Mayo Clinic leads convalescent plasma trial to treat coronavirus

A coalition of health and industry partners is looking at convalescent plasma as a potential treatment for the coronavirus, Mayo Clinic CEO Dr. Gianrico Farrugia told CNBC.

"Scientists and physicians around the world are racing to find new treatments for COVID-19," Farrugia said on "Squawk on the Street." "The convalescent plasma initiative is one of these options."

The Food and Drug Administration announced Friday that Mayo Clinic would be leading the initiative in testing the effectiveness of convalescent plasma in COVID-19 patients. The treatment has been around for more than 100 years and was used during the 1918 flu pandemic, Farrugia said. The FDA approved the treatment for coronavirus patients in March. —Hannah Miller

6:12 pm: Stock futures flat after volatile session for markets

U.S. stock futures were flat in overnight trading, continuing a volatile week for stocks gripped by the coronavirus shutdown. 

Dow futures fell 20, indicating a loss of 0.3%. The S&P 500 was also set to open lower. The Nasdaq Composite pointed to modest gains at the open. —Maggie Fitzgerald

6:06 pm: Restaurant software provider Toast cuts 50% of staff as coronavirus forces eateries to close

Toast, a provider of point-of-sale software to the restaurant industry, announced that it's cutting about 50% of its staff as the coronavirus forces businesses across the country to close. That amounts to about 1,300 employees.

"During the month of March, as a result of necessary social distancing and government-mandated closures, restaurant sales declined by 80 percent in most cities," CEO Chris Comparato wrote in a blog post. "This is a massive disruption that hit the industry virtually overnight. Many restaurants that have temporarily closed may never reopen."

Coming into 2020, Toast was riding high, raising $400 million in February at a valuation of almost $5 billion after revenue more than doubled last year. But as cities from San Francisco to New York imposed shelter-in-place orders last month, restaurants were only able to serve food via delivery and takeout. —Ari Levy

5:45 pm: Airbnb promised cash refunds for coronavirus cancellations, but some guests say it's not that simple

Last month, Airbnb promised to issue full cash refunds to qualifying travelers whose trips had been impacted by the coronavirus, but some customers are complaining that Airbnb is making them jump through hoops to get their cash back.

The coronavirus has disrupted many industries, but none more so than the travel industry. As the pandemic spread, leading to lockdowns, travelers canceled business and personal trips in massive numbers. The U.S. Travel Association expects the industry to lose 4.6 million jobs this year. —Salvador Rodriguez

5:30 US needs more testing to 'move the economy forward,' says Johns Hopkins infectious disease expert

We need to expand access to rapid coronavirus testing and contact tracing: Johns Hopkins' Dr. Bollinger
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We need to expand access to rapid coronavirus testing and contact tracing: Johns Hopkins' Dr. Bollinger

The U.S. must increase its testing capabilities for the new coronavirus before the economy can restart, Dr. Robert Bollinger of Johns Hopkins University told CNBC on Tuesday. 

Specifically, the U.S. needs more rapid testing and a better system of contact tracing to determine who has been infected by COVID-19 and who has not, Bollinger said on "Power Lunch." 

Improvement in those areas, along with existing social distancing efforts, will "truly allow us to move the economy forward, get back to work," said Bollinger, an infectious diseases professor at Johns Hopkins' medical school. —Kevin Stankiewicz

5:15 pm: Amazon piloting disinfectant fog at New York warehouse after protests

An Amazon worker holds a sign at the Amazon building during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in the Staten Island borough of New York City, March 30, 2020.
Jeenah Moon | Reuters

Amazon is piloting the use of disinfectant fog starting on Tuesday at a warehouse in Staten Island, New York, within days of protests at the worksite over health concerns during the coronavirus pandemic.

The world's largest online retailer said it is testing the practice commonly used by airlines and hospitals to clean facilities further, on top of introducing temperature checks and masks for staff.

Last week, 15 workers at the New York warehouse known internally as JFK8 protested to demand the building's closure following a case of the coronavirus that was reported among staff. An additional demonstration took place Monday. —Reuters

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4:47 pm: Gov. Gavin Newsom says California's curve is 'bending and stretching'

California Gov. Gavin Newsom said on Tuesday that the state's curve of coronavirus cases is showing signs of "bending and stretching" as the increase in people admitted to the hospital on a daily basis has started to gradually decline. Newsom said that 2,611 of the state's 15,865 cases are in the hospital, a 4.1% increase from Monday, and 1,108 of those are in the ICU, a 2.1% daily increase.

He said the new figures are "not the double digit increases that we saw in hospitalization rates or ICU rates even a week or so ago." He said this and continued physical distancing has started to slow the increase of the state's curve, or number of infections, but will also extend a potential peak into mid-May. "Our modeling shows that we're not at peak in a week or two. We're seeing a slow and steady increase, but it's moderate," Newsom said at a press conference. "It's moderate because of the actions all of you have taken in terms of the physical distancing." −Noah Higgins-Dunn

4:33 pm: American Airlines suspends pilot training

American Airlines is suspending all pilot training amid health concerns surrounding COVID-19. Federally-mandated periodic training involves classroom and time in a flight simulator. "The health and safety of our team remains our top priority, so we've kept a close eye on this with special attention focused on how it may impact the areas where we conduct our flight training,"

American Airlines officials told pilots in a memo, which was seen by CNBC. Dennis Tajer, spokesman for the Allied Pilots Association, which represents some 15,000 American Airlines pilots, called it the "prudent call" that's "in the best interest of our crew members." American plans to resume training on May 11. —Leslie Josephs

4:15 pm: Twitter CEO sets aside $1 billion in Square equity for charity, coronavirus relief

Square and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has said he is donating $1 billion in Square equity to support relief efforts for the COVID-19 efforts.

"I'm moving $1B of my Square equity (~28% of my wealth) to #startsmall LLC to fund global COVID-19 relief," Dorsey said on Twitter.

Dorsey said that, after "we disarm" COVID-19, he will dedicate the money to universal basic income (UBI) and girls health and education.

"Why pull just from Square and not Twitter? Simply: I own a lot more Square," he said. "And I'll need to pace the sales over some time. The impact this money will have should benefit both companies over the long-term because it's helping the people we want to serve. —Todd Hasleton

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4 pm: Stocks close lower after roller-coaster session, Dow gives up 900-point surge

Stocks closed lower on Tuesday, giving up a massive rally from earlier in the day, as Wall Street assessed the latest news on the coronavirus outbreak.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 26 points lower, or 0.1%. The 30-stock average rose as much as 937.25 points, or 4.1%, at its session high. The S&P 500 ended the day 0.2% lower after jumping more than 3%. The Nasdaq Composite fell 0.3% following a 3% rally.

Some investors believed stock prices were getting ahead of the reality where coronavirus shutdowns are likely to weigh on the economy significantly beyond the second quarter. The major averages have rallied about 20% from their March 23 lows. —Fred Imbert

3:37 pm: France is fourth country to pass 10,000 coronavirus deaths

A couple wearing face masks in front of the Eiffel Tower.
Getty Images

France has officially registered more than 10,000 deaths from coronavirus infections, making it the fourth country to cross that threshold after Italy, Spain and the United States.

The rate of increase in the number of fatalities also rose for the second consecutive day, official figures showed.

Jerome Salomon, head of the public health authority, told a news conference the pandemic was still expanding in France, which is now in the fourth week of a national lockdown to try to curb its spread.

But he said the number of serious coronavirus cases being treated in intensive care units had risen by only 0.8% in the previous 24 hours — the eighth consecutive day that this rate has decelerated.

Salomon said the number of people who have died in French hospitals after contracting the coronavirus had risen to a cumulative total of 7,091. But if partial data on deaths in nursing homes is included, the death toll from the disease is now 10,328, he said.

The total number of confirmed coronavirus cases in hospitals is now 78,167, and the number of confirmed or possible cases in nursing homes is 30,902. —Reuters

3:07 pm: After New York-area cuts, United slashes flights in California as COVID-19 drives down demand 

United Airlines is cutting back service in California, one of its biggest markets, as travel demand continues to plunge. The Chicago-based airline will reduce its flights at Los Angeles International Airport from 33 a day to 13 and at San Francisco International Airport to 50 flights per day from 65. "This action also will require fewer employees to be on-site in those locations, making social distancing procedures easier to execute," Greg Hart, United's chief operations officer, told employees. The changes come just days after the airline announced even deeper cuts in New York, which has about 140,000 reported cases of COVID-19, more than any other state. —Leslie Josephs

2:55 pm: Patients with autoi