Health and Science

Georgia governor says some businesses can reopen, California town to test every resident

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How this coronavirus testing booth protects patients and medical staff

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  • Global cases: More than 2.4 million
  • Global deaths: At least 169,794
  • US cases: More than 782,100
  • US deaths: At least 41,816

The data above was compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

8:45 pm: US Treasury releases $2.9 billion in airline support, finalizes payroll agreements

The U.S. Treasury Department said on Monday it has disbursed $2.9 billion in initial payroll assistance to 54 smaller passenger carrier and two major passenger airlines, while it finalized grant agreements with six major airlines.

The Treasury is initially giving major airlines 50% of funds awarded and releasing the remainder in a series of payments. In total, Treasury is awarding U.S. passenger airlines $25 billion in funds earmarked for payroll costs. Airlines must repay 30% of the funds in low-interest loans and grant Treasury warrants equal to 10% of the loan amount.

Treasury said Monday it has finalized grant agreements with Allegiant AirAmerican AirlinesDelta Air LinesSouthwest AirlinesSpirit Airlines and United Airlines. —Reuters

8:05 pm: California gets tech to support students' remote learning during pandemic

Gavin Newsom, governor of California, speaks during a news conference in Sacramento, California, on Tuesday, April 14, 2020.
Rich Pedroncelli | AP | Bloomberg via Getty Images

California Gov. Gavin Newsom and his wife, documentary filmmaker Jennifer Siebel Newsom, announced that the state secured tens of thousands of laptops, iPads and other technology support for students learning at home during the Covid-19 pandemic, due to stay-at-home health orders throughout the state.

In a statement, Newsom said donors of the technology included: Amazon, Apple, T-Mobile, Verizon. Meanwhile, Jack Dorsey via #startsmall, the Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative and investors Ann and John Doerr donated a million dollars each to support remote learning in the state.

T-Mobile and Google also previously partnered to donate 100,000 wireless internet hotspot devices for use throughout California. —Lora Kolodny


7:45 pm: Restaurants raising cash as coronavirus keeps diners away

Darden shares are under pressure in extended trading, recently down about 3%. After the close, the owner of Olive Garden said it was raising $400 million via a stock offering to help raise cash. The underwriters also have the option to buy another $60 million in shares. Earlier in the day, Cheesecake Factory said that private equity firm Roark Capital was making a $200 million investment.

What other firms could be next in line? Keep an eye on that. Roark recently riased $1.4 billion in a new fund.

Darden had already sought other ways to ensure it has liquidity. It suspended its dividend and has implemented many other cost cuts. It also got a $270 million loan two weeks ago. Some good news for Darden, its cash burn rate has dropped to $20 million per week from the $25 million figure it stated on April 7. On that date too, the company said it had $1 billion in cash on hand.

On the flip side, Darden said today that same-store sales are down 45% quarter to date. That compares with a quarter-to-date decline of 35% it reported two weeks ago. —Robert Hum

7:30 pm: San Francisco begins mapping Covid-19 cases by ZIP code

San Francisco Mayor London Breed said that her city is now mapping and reporting confirmed Covid-19 cases by ZIP code, as well as by gender, age, race and ethnic group.

As of April 20, San Francisco had completed 11,254 tests, confirmed about 13% or 1,216 positive Covid-19 cases among residents, and reported 20 total deaths due to the virus. According to its latest analysis, people who lived in crowded homes, or who had limited ability to reduce their outings, and those with pre-existing health issues and lower income were at higher risk of a Covid-19 infection in San Francisco. Residents who were 31 to 40 years old represented 23% of confirmed Covid-19 cases. People who identified as Hispanic or Latino comprised 25%, and men represented 60% of confirmed Covid-19 cases overall, the study found.

San Francisco's South of Market neighborhood had the highest number of cases per 10,000 residents, according to the new data tracker.

Breed said on Twitter that the map reflects: "existing health disparities and inequality that existed within our city before COVID-19." —Lora Kolodny


7:08 pm: Disney is furloughing workers while other media giants aren't

The entrance to the Magic Kingdom at Disney World is seen on the first day of closure as theme parks in the Orlando area suspend operations for two weeks in an effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Paul Hennessy | SOPA Images | LightRocket via Getty Images

On Monday, Disney began furloughing workers, temporarily stopping pay to as many as 100,000 workers, according to an estimate by the Financial Times.

Over the last few weeks Disney has laid out its plans to impose unpaid leave, first for some non-union employees, then in a subsequent deal with 43,000 union workers. The media giant will pay 100% of health insurance costs for workers currently covered for up to 12 months. While the majority of those furloughs are at the theme parks, they also extend to all of Disney's other divisions, including the movie studio and TV division. Disney's also asked its senior executives to accept a pay cut, with no set end.

Disney won't comment on the number of furloughs.

Disney's extensive furloughs stand in sharp contrast to the other two media giantsComcast, which owns NBCUniversal, and AT&T, which owns WarnerMedia – which haven't yet announced any furloughs or layoffs.

These are the three largest media conglomerates, in a category above all the others: Disney's market cap is $185 billion, Comcast's is $169 billion, and AT&T's is $222 billion. They do face some similar challenges: all three have movie studios that are suffering from the closure of theaters and all are seeing their ad revenue plummet as live sports has been halted. And all three are working to get ahead of the cord-cutting trend and have new services designed to own that direct-to-consumer relationship.

But the finances of these companies are incredibly different. Parks and Resorts is Disney's largest division, responsible for 35% of its revenue in 2019. That division includes not only theme parks and resorts, but also a cruise line. In contrast, Comcast derived only 5.4% of its revenue from parks such as Universal Studios, and AT&T doesn't own any parks. —Julia Boorstin

6:58 pm: Mark Cuban on Shake Shack initially taking small business loan: 'You're going to kill your brand'

Publicly traded companies like Shake Shack are damaging their reputations by trying to access money meant for small businesses, billionaire entrepreneur Mark Cuban said

Shake Shack initially secured a $10 million loan through the Paycheck Protection Program, but announced Sunday it would be returning the money after accessing other kinds of capital through the public markets.

"Shake Shack didn't give the money back because they didn't want the money," Cuban said on CNBC's "Fast Money." "They saw what the public outcry was." 

Cuban said he would tell public companies like Shake Shack that took money from the program that"you're going to kill your brand." —Kevin Stankiewicz

6:49 pm: Updated map of US cases, which now total 782,159

6:41 pm: The plunge in oil prices is the last thing Boeing and Airbus need right now

Grounded Boeing 737 MAX aircraft are seen parked in an aerial photo at Boeing Field in Seattle, Washington, July 1, 2019.
Lindsey Wasson | Reuters

The coronavirus pandemic, the threat of airline bankruptcies and a global recession. Now a historic oil glut and price crash are adding to the woes of Boeing and Airbus.

The duopoly that dominates most of the world's aircraft production spent more than a decade racking up record orders for planes they boasted could save millions in fuel. 

"One thing that kept the industry aloft during the great financial meltdown [in 2008] is fuel prices actually rose," said Richard Aboulafia, an aviation analyst at vice president at Teal Group, referring to record oil prices that year.

Rising oil prices can help boost sales of more fuel-efficient aircraft, the opposite of sales trends for larger personal vehicles like SUVs.

The Airbus A320neo and the Boeing 737 Max, each manufacturer's best-selling narrow-body airplanes were developed after the Great Recession when fuel prices were again rising and airlines were on the hunt for models that would help them cut fuel costs.

But manufacturers have lost that selling point, adding to a slate of challenges that are expected to last at least into 2021, if not later, and a sharp turnaround from earlier this year when airlines couldn't get new single-aisle airplanes fast enough. —Leslie Josephs

6:20 pm: TSA coping with Covid-19 as travel dwindles

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) reported that, as of Monday April 20, 448 of its employees had tested positive for Covid-19, with 82 fully recovered and 4 having died due to the novel coronavirus. Miami International Airport Supervisory TSA Officer Victor Chung passed away on Sunday, as a result of complications from Covid-19 the TSA said.

With travel dwindling, the TSA has adjusted the way it conducts security screenings at airports, in an attempt to keep its employees, and travelers, as safe as possible from the novel coronavirus. For example, the TSA now asks that travelers wash their hands before and after going through a security line, keeps them six feet apart, and allows them to pack hand sanitizer in containers up to 12 ounces in carry-on luggage. —Lora Kolodny

6 pm: Stock futures rise slightly as oil prices stabilize

Stock futures bounced slightly in overnight trading on Monday.

Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 25 points. S&P 500 futures added 0.3%.

The gains came as the more actively-traded June oil contract rebounded by 2%. The May contract, which triggered Monday's stock sell-off with a bizarre move below zero into negative prices, remained negative.

IBM dipped 2.3% in extended trading after the company reported a 3.4% decline in revenue in the first quarter from a year ago amid the spread of coronavirus. Coca-Cola, Netflix and Chipotle are on deck to report earnings on Tuesday. —Yun Li

5:35 pm: Tennessee preps to reopen, conducts more prison mass testing

Protesters rally at the Tennessee state capitol to speak out against the state's handling of the COVID-19 outbreak Sunday, April 19, 2020, in Nashville, Tenn.
Mark Humphrey | AP

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee announced Monday that businesses across the majority of the state will begin reopening as early as next week.

The Republican governor says his mandatory safer-at-home order will expire on April 30, which will pave the way for 89 out of the state's 95 counties to begin opening businesses.

However, Lee's announcement does not apply to the state's counties with the largest cities, including Davidson, Hamilton, Knox, Madison, Shelby and Sullivan counties — areas that are not overseen by Tennessee's Department of Health but have their own public health districts.

"While I am not extending the safer at home order past the end of April, we are working directly with our major metropolitan areas to ensure they are in a position to reopen as soon and safely as possible," Lee said.

Some businesses will be allowed to reopen as early as April 27, but it's unclear exactly which ones will be granted such clearance. Lee told reporters that such details would be finalized by his economy recovery team later this week. —Associated Press

5 pm: Georgia's governor says some shuttered businesses can reopen Friday

The Battery is a lively venue featuring shops, bars and restaurants from local chefs at Truist Park, home of the Atlanta Braves MLB team as the facility is currently closed while sports are on quarantine during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in Atlanta, Georgia on April 18, 2020.
David J. Griffin | Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp on Monday rolled out aggressive plans to reopen the state's economy, saying many businesses shuttered to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus may reopen their doors as early as Friday.

Kemp announced that gyms, hair salons, bowling alleys and tattoo parlors are among businesses that may reopen Friday — as long as owners follow strict social distancing and hygiene requirements. By Monday, movie theaters may resume selling tickets and restaurants limited to takeout orders can go back to limited dine-in service.

"In the same way that we carefully closed businesses and urged operations to end to mitigate the virus's spread, today we're announcing plans to incrementally and safely reopen sectors of our economy." Kemp said,

In addition to calls from President Donald Trump, Kemp has heard scattered public calls in Georgia to lift restrictions. —Associated Press

4:25 pm: New research suggests Covid-19 is less deadly, but more widespread

An ambulance arrives in a beachside parking lot being used with R.V's as an isolation zone for people with COVID-19, on April 1st, 2020, at Dockweiler State Beach in Los Angeles, California.
John Fredricks | NurPhoto | Getty Images

A new study suggests that Covid-19 has a lower fatality rate, but is more widespread in Los Angeles County than previously thought, according to the University of Southern California and the L.A. Department of Public Health.

USC and the Department of Public Health released the preliminary results of antibody testing conducted for their joint study on Monday. Based on the first round of testing, the research team estimates that approximately 4.1% of the county's adult population has antibody to the virus and that approximately 221,000 adults to 442,000 adults in the county have had the infection.This new estimate is 28 to 55 times higher than the 7,994 confirmed cases of Covid-19 reported to the county in early April. The number of coronavirus-related deaths in the county has now surpassed 600, according to the Department of Public Health.

"Though the results indicate a lower risk of death among those with infection than was previously thought, the number of Covid-related deaths each day continues to mount, highlighting the need for continued vigorous prevention and control efforts," said Dr. Paul Simon, chief science officer at L.A. County Department of Public Health and co-lead on the study, in a statement. —Hannah Miller

4:05 pm: Dow drops more than 500 points to start the week after historic oil plunge

Stocks fell sharply Monday, retreating after back-to-back weekly gains, as a historic decline in U.S. crude prices raised concerns about the economic damage being done by coronavirus shutdowns. A delay in funding the for the depleted small business rescue loan program also weighed on sentiment.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 592.05 points lower, or 2.5%, 23,650.44. The S&P 500 slid 1.8% to 2,823.16. The Nasdaq Composite pulled back 1% to 8,560.73. (Click here for the latest market news.) 

Boeing fell more than 6% to lead the Dow lower while Chevron and Exxon Mobil dropped more than 4% each. Energy, real estate and utilities were the worst-performing sectors in the S&P 500, falling more than 3% each. —Fred Imbert

3:54 pm: New York nurses union sues state and two hospitals over 'war zone' conditions

The New York State Nurses Association filed suit against the state and two hospital systems, alleging dangerous conditions that put health workers at risk and inflamed the country's largest coronavirus outbreak.

The union, which represents 42,000 nurses across New York, alleged that the New York Department of Health failed to provide health workers with adequate protective equipment and directed health workers infected by Covid-19 to return to work sooner than advised by the state. The suit was filed in New York County Supreme Court.

"More than seven in ten of our nurses are reporting exposure to COVID-19 and most are still untested. These lawsuits were filed to protect our nurses, our patients and our communities from grossly inadequate and negligent protections," NYSNA Executive Director Pat Kane said in a statement. "We cannot allow these dangerous practices to continue." —Will Feuer

3:45 pm: New Jersey orders troubled nursing home to cease taking new patients after coronavirus deaths overwhelm facility

The New Jersey Department of Health is ordering Andover Subacute Rehabilitation Center to "cease all admissions" and hire additional staff related to nursing and infectious disease after more than 70 suspected Covid-19 deaths overwhelmed the facility. 

The state's health commissioner, Judith Persichilli, announced during a press briefing that the nursing home must hire "a consultant administrator, a consultant director of nursing and an infection control professional." The facility is to report its progress and staff selection for approval to the department by the end of the day. 

New Jersey state surveyors inspected 21 long-term care facilities "looking at infection control, staffing, availability of personal protective equipment and implementation of an outbreak response plan," said Persichilli. All facilities that have been issued a deficiency report will be required to submit directed plans of correction to the Department of Health.

The state reported 6,986 hospitalizations, including confirmed Covid-19 patients and people under investigation, and 177 new deaths.

"Overall in our mortalities, 40% are associated with long-term care facilities," said Persichilli. —Jasmine Kim

3:04 pm: Warner Bros. shuffles movie slate as theaters remain closed, production halts

Gal Gadot stars as Wonder Woman in Warner Bros. "Wonder Woman 1984."
Warner Bros.

Warner Bros. is making some strategic changes to its movie release schedule in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. With cinemas shuttered and productions of upcoming films suspended, the studio has moved a number of its release dates.

While Christopher Nolan's "Tenant" and the second "Wonder Woman" films will remain in their July and August dates, "King Richard," a biopic starring Will Smith as Venus and Serena Williams' father, has been pushed from November 2020 to November 2021. The change could give the film better chances at becoming an Oscar contender, since it's unclear how the awards season will shake out in the wake of Covid- 19.

The "Sopranos" prequel film "The Many Saints of Newark" has also been pushed from its 2020 release date and will now hit theaters in 2021.

Warner Bros. superhero slate has also been shuffled. "The Batman" has moved to Oct. 1, 2021 from June 25, 2021; "The Flash" will now arrive on June 2, 2022 instead of July 1, 2022; and "Shazam 2" has been moved to Nov. 4, 2022 instead of April 1, 2022.

Additionally, the untitled Elvis Presley biopic from Baz Luhrmann has been moved to Nov. 5, 2021 from Oct. 1, 2021 and "In the Heights," "Scoob" and "Malignant" remain without release dates. —Sarah Whitten

2:53 pm: California town Bolinas is testing all 1,600 residents for Covid-19

For the first time since the coronavirus pandemic hit the U.S., an entire town will be tested, regardless of whether or not someone is showing symptoms.

The testing is part of a research project put together by the Marin County community of Bolinas and the University of California, San Francisco. Tents are set up next to the town's fire department, and Monday morning volunteers and researchers will collect samples from all 1,600 residents of the community near Stinson Beach.

The organizers of the project want to know how widespread COVID-19 is in the small town of Bolinas and how they can use that information to help other communities. —NBC Bay Area

2:44 pm: An oil futures contract expiring Tuesday went negative in bizarre move

U.S. crude prices dropped more than 100% and turned negative for the first time in history. The price of the nearest oil futures contract, which expires Tuesday, was the hardest hit, detaching from later month futures contracts, which continued to trade above $20 per barrel.

West Texas Intermediate crude for May delivery fell more than 100% to settle at negative $37.63 per barrel. Meanwhile international benchmark, Brent crude, which has already rolled to the June contract, traded 8.9% lower at $25.58 per barrel. The June WTI contract, which expires on May 19, fell about 18% to trade at $20.43 per barrel. The July contract was roughly 11% lower at $26.18 per barrel. —Eustance Huang, Pippa Stevens

2:23 pm: Senate has no deal on the next coronavirus relief bill, but sets up possible Tuesday vote

The Senate did not reach a deal on the next coronavirus relief bill in time for a brief Monday session, but set up a vote as soon as Tuesday afternoon to replenish a key small business aid program. 

"At this hour, our Democratic colleagues are still prolonging their discussions with the administration, so the Senate regretfully will not be able to pass more funding for Americans' paychecks today," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said during the pro forma session Monday.

He said the Senate would meet again at 4 p.m. Tuesday to try to pass legislation to replenish the program.  

The House will meet as early as Wednesday to consider an emergency bill, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said Sunday. —Jacob Pramuk

McConnell: No vote on expanding PPP today

1:55 pm: Oil is getting crushed with one futures contract down 98% to record low under $1

U.S. crude prices plunged to their lowest level in history as traders continue to fret over a slump in demand due to the coronavirus pandemic. The price of the nearest oil futures contract, which expires Tuesday, was the hardest hit, detaching from later month futures contracts with a drop of more than 90%. This suggests that some believe there could be a recovery later in the year.

West Texas Intermediate crude for May delivery tanked 95%, or $17.37, to trade at 90 cents per barrel, its lowest level on record. Meanwhile international benchmark, Brent crude, which has already rolled to the June contract, traded 6.2% lower at $26.35 per barrel. The June WTI contract, which expires on May 19, fell about 10% to $22.54 per barrel. The July contract was roughly 5% lower at $28 per barrel. —Eustance Huang, Pippa Stevens

1:39 pm: France death toll crosses 20,000

France officially registered more than 20,000 deaths from coronavirus infections, becoming the fourth country to go beyond that threshold after Italy, Spain and the United States, and the pace of increase of fatalities sped up again after several days of slowing.

But the number of people in intensive care fell for the 12th consecutive day, suggesting the national lockdown put in place more than a month ago is having positive effects in containing the disease.

France's public health chief Jerome Salomon told a news briefing the coronavirus-linked fatalities were up 2.8%, at 20,265, versus an increase of 2.0% Sunday. —Reuters

1:37 pm: Why coronavirus is unlikely to lead to martial law in the US

Why coronavirus is unlikely to lead to martial law in the US

1:29 pm: WHO says partisan politics and lack of global solidarity is fueling coronavirus pandemic

The World Health Organization's top official said partisan politics and lack of global solidarity is helping to fuel the coronavirus pandemic, urging countries to work together as Covid-19 continues to spread throughout the world.

"The cracks between people and the cracks between parties is fueling it," WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during a press conference at the agency's Geneva headquarters. "Don't use this virus as an opportunity to fight against each other or score political points. It's dangerous. It's like playing with fire."

Without global solidarity, the worst of the pandemic is still "ahead of us," said Tedros. —Berkeley Lovelace Jr. 

1:09 pm: Cannabis companies pay federal taxes but are shut out of small business loans

Different strains of cannabis are displayed for sale at the Harborside dispensary in Oakland, California, U.S., on Monday, March 23, 2020.
David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

April 20 is traditionally the biggest sales day of the year for the cannabis industry, but after seeing strong sales at the start of state shutdown orders, some stores have seen a sales slump.

Particularly hard hit are shops in states heavily dependent on tourists, or where only medical marijuana has been deemed essential, not recreational.

Sales in Colorado reportedly fell 21 percent in the second half of March from a year earlier, and Nevada sales fell 15 percent.

"Some businesses are running into choppy waters," said Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore.

However, these businesses cannot access federal aid because they are illegal in the eyes of the federal government. So Blumenauer and three colleagues from both parties are pushing for the next round of Small Business Administration loans to include the cannabis industry.

"There are a quarter of a million people working in state-legal cannabis businesses, they pay almost $2 billion in taxes," he said, adding that the industry actually pays a disproportionate amount in taxes "because the crazy federal government rules don't allow them to deduct all their business expenses." —Jane Wells

12:57 pm: Norwegian Air says 4,700 jobs at risk after unit bankruptcies and axed contracts

Norwegian Air reported on Monday that four Swedish and Danish subsidiaries have filed for bankruptcy and that it had ended staffing contracts in Europe and the United States, putting some 4,700 jobs at risk.

The airline is seeking to convert debt to equity, money from shareholders and Norwegian state guarantees in a bid to survive the coronavirus crisis.

Earlier Monday Virgin Atlantic said it would survive the pandemic only if it receives financial support from the British government, while Virgin Australia is set to enter voluntary administration, according to sources close to the matter.

Norwegian Air said the four subsidiaries in Sweden and Denmark were companies that employed pilots and cabin crew. The canceled agreements involve firms that provide crews based in Spain, Britain, Finland, Sweden and the United States.

Combined, it said, some 4,700 pilots and cabin crew members would be affected while about 700 pilots and 1,300 cabin crew based in Norway, France and Italy remained unaffected. —Reuters

12:49 pm: Insurers are denying coronavirus claims. Restaurants are fighting back

An employee of Carmelina's in the North End of Boston tapes up paper in the windows of the restaurant, which is temporarily closing during the coronavirus pandemic, on March 25, 2020.
David L. Ryan | The Boston Globe via Getty Images

As the coronavirus pandemic upends the restaurant industry, insurers are denying restaurant companies' claims for payouts that could help their businesses survive. 

States across the country have mandated that eateries serve food only via takeout, delivery or drive-thru lanes to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Some restaurants have chosen to shutter temporarily for the safety of their employees and customers, while others have tried to adapt. Restaurant transactions plunged 41% in the week ended April 5 from a year earlier, according to the NPD Group.

Restaurateurs, like many other business owners, thought the situation would be covered by business interruption insurance, which covers the loss of income suffered by a business after a disaster. But following the SARS outbreak, regulators approved an exception in such policies for viruses and bacterial outbreaks.

Even when an exception is not spelled out in the policy, insurers are denying claims using the argument that the virus does not constitute physical damage to the property.

But political pressure is mounting on insurers to reverse course.

President Donald Trump has signaled that he believes that business interruption policies without specific pandemic exceptions should cover claims related to the coronavirus pandemic. —Amelia Lucas

12:33 pm: New York coronavirus deaths still 'horrifically high' even as outbreak appears to slow, Gov. Cuomo says

Coronavirus deaths in New York remain "horrifically high" even though some projections of the state's outbreak suggest it may be on the verge of a "descent," Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.

Some 478 New Yorkers died from the virus on Sunday, a decline from the daily death toll at the disease's peak when nearly 800 residents a day were dying, Cuomo said. A total of 507 people in the state died on Saturday, and 540 deaths were recorded Friday.

There were 1,380 new Covid-19 hospitalizations in New York on Sunday, a slight tick down from 1,384 on Saturday, Cuomo said at his daily news conference.

He stressed the importance of testing, announcing that the state is "starting the largest antibody testing ever done today."

"Testing is going to require everyone to work together," Cuomo said, noting that the effort will require close cooperation between states and the federal government. —Kevin Breuninger

12:20 pm: In Spain, coronavirus death counts prompt anger, confusion

A coronavirus patient is lifted into an Ambuiberica ambulance by her son and emergency technician Marisa Arguello de Paula during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Llodio, Spain, April 19, 2020.
Vincent West | Reuters

Spain already has one of the world's highest death tolls from the coronavirus pandemic. But data indicating the true number of fatalities could be much higher is fueling public anger and could cause problems for Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez's fragile government.

Spain's total deaths rose to 20,852 on Monday. But the figure fails to account for those who were more than likely died by the virus but never tested.

Fernando Simon, the national coronavirus emergency response chief, has acknowledged that the "real number of deaths is hard to know".

The country has been in strict lockdown since March 14, although restrictions have been eased slightly since last week.

But most people remain cooped up in their homes. And sometimes families burying their dead are not even certain what their loved ones died of. In a nursing home near Barcelona, an 85-year-old woman died on April 8 of "possible" Covid-19, said her daughter Amparo, citing a doctor's death certificate.

Amparo, 56, who declined to give her last name, said her mother was not tested. She accused political leaders of not protecting citizens and dismissed the official tally as useless.

"Additional people have died because (politicians) have not made sufficient testing possible so that we can know the reality," she said. "We have left them to die alone."

The government has defended its count — which only includes those tested — and said that tracking confirmed deaths allows it to better study the outbreak's evolution, in line with the World Health Organization practice that only counts confirmed cases. Suspected deaths should be analyzed at a later stage, the government says. —Reuters

12:09 pm: In-office Zooms, more breaks, testing – Dr. Scott Gottlieb offers advice to reopening businesses

Fmr. FDA chief Gottlieb on practical steps businesses can take to reopen safely

Dr. Scott Gottlieb told CNBC that employers need to have specific plans in place for how to safely return workers to the office or shop floor.

That could even mean conducting Zoom video calls in the office to avoid having large meetings, the former head of the Food and Drug Administration said on "Squawk Box."

"In an office, you could split your employees, have half of them work at home, half of them come into the office on alternating days," Gottlieb added. "You should continue to encourage telework where you can." 

Gottlieb said it's more difficult to maintain social distancing in manufacturing plants and other commercial environments, so employers should accommodate personal protective equipment. "Let people wear masks if they want to."

"People need break rooms. They need to come off the shop floor and go into a break room but you might want to have more breaks over the course of the day and stagger them more regularly, so that smaller groups can take breaks so you don't have as much congregating," he advised. —Kevin Stankiewicz

12:01 pm: These markets could see the sharpest drop in home prices during coronavirus pandemic

Homebuying has weakened dramatically in the last month, as Americans hunker down to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.

While some are still shopping online, doing virtual tours, the spring season was essentially over before it started. Although sales are way down, home values may not suffer as much, except in certain markets.

Home prices were very hot at the beginning of this year and heading into the crisis, and the expectation is that while the gains in values will likely slow, prices will not fall nationally. That's because unlike during the subprime mortgage crisis, when there was a serous glut of homes for sale, there is now an increasingly severe shortage. Home values fell as much as 50% in some markets a decade ago, but market dynamics are far different now, and the supply-demand imbalance favors stronger prices.

In the first two weeks of March, new listings were up 5% annually on average. By the second week of April, they were down 47%, according to April is usually the strongest month for new listings. —Diana Olick

11:53 am: Shake Shack CEO says chain has ensured 'long-term stability' after returning $10 million PPP loan

Shake Shack CEO Randy Garutti on returning $10M government loan

Shake Shack CEO Randy Garutti said that the company returned its $10 million loan from the Paycheck Protection Program after accessing other kinds of capital through the public markets.

"We've ensured our long-term stability, now it's time for us to help our friends in the industry do the same," Garutti said on CNBC's "Squawk on the Street."

The burger chain disclosed in a regulatory filing on Friday that it had received $10 million from the federal program. Shake Shack also said Friday that it is planning on selling up to $75 million in shares to strengthen its cash position.

Garutti said that the company initially applied for a PPP loan to keep as many of its employees as possible. Shake Shack has furloughed more than 1,000 employees and closed 17 company-operated U.S. locations, as of Friday. 

On Sunday evening, Garutti and Shake Shack's founder and chairman Danny Meyer, who owns roughly 7.8% of the company's shares, said that the chain would be returning the $10 million. —Amelia Lucas

11:40 am: After a crazy 12 months, the S&P 500 is about back to where it started

A dizzying 12-month period in the markets has seen threats from a trade war, a global economic slowdown or even a recession and, oh yeah, a global pandemic unmatched in a century, all of which have amounted to a whole lot of nothing, at least for the shares of big U.S. companies.

During the period, the S&P 500 is little changed — down about 1% heading into Monday trading — despite a series of threats that also has included political upheaval and the end to the longest rally in U.S. history. The year's sum has been the result of a gradual rise to a new record Feb. 19, followed by the quickest slide in market history, then by a 28% rebound.

Other markets measures haven't been so lucky.

The Russell 2000, which consists of smaller companies, is off about 22%. An exchange-traded fund that tracks markets in emerging economies such as China, India and Brazil, is off 20%, while another ETF that follows international stocks outside the U.S. has fallen more than 16%. Even Main Street's favorite market indicator, the Dow Jones Industrial Average, is down more than 10% over the past year. —Jeff Cox

10:36 am: US restaurants on track to lose $240 billion by the end of 2020, survey says

A closed sign hangs on the door with a view of the empty restaurant during the coronavirus pandemic on April 14, 2020 in New York City.
Rob Kim | Getty Images

U.S. restaurants are on track to lose $50 billion in April, with losses amounting to an estimated $240 billion by the end of 2020, as the coronavirus crisis ravages the industry, according to a National Restaurant Association survey released Monday.

Two-thirds of U.S. restaurant workers — or 8 million people — have been laid off or furloughed with the closing of 4 in 10 restaurants, but at least 60% of operators say existing federal relief programs will not help them prevent more layoffs, the survey found. —Reuters

10:31 am: Retailers are begging for the government's help — but Treasury might not listen

Retail is reeling, as stores shutter and thousands of people lose their jobs while the coronavirus spreads. Now, the Treasury Department must decide whether the risk of the industry toppling is worth putting taxpayer money where many others would not. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has shown little appetite for risk and losses, even as he attempts to support a cratering economy.

Many mid-sized retailers do not qualify for programs the government has begun to roll out to save ailing companies. They are too big to qualify for the Main Street lending program aimed at companies with fewer than 10,000 employees or $2.5 billion in sales. Their debt is too distressed to qualify for the Primary Market Corporate Credit Facility aimed at larger companies.

That means companies like Macy's, which has roughly $25 billion in sales but whose credit was downgraded to junk before the pandemic, may be out of luck if they want government relief. The retailer is working with investment bank Lazard to restructure its debt, according to people familiar with the matter who spoke on condition of anonymity because the information is confidential. They added that the company is not focusing on bankruptcy. —Lauren Hirsch

10:15 am: New York City extends cancellation of summer festivals, concerts, and parades through June

Parade participants during the WorldPride NYC 2019 March on June 30, 2019 in New York City.
Roy Rochlin | Getty Images

New York City is canceling concerts, festivals and parades, including the 2020 Pride march, through June as the city seeks to drive down its coronavirus infection rate, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Monday.

On Friday, De Blasio canceled nonessential events through May and a city-sponsored concert series that was scheduled start June 22. In extending the cancellations through June, de Blasio said it was a decision "we have to make." Most of the events will be rescheduled, he said. 

The new cancellations include the 50th annual gay pride parade marking the 1969 uprising at the Stonewall Inn. —Will Feuer

10:08 am: Facebook just released its symptom tracking map

Facebook released its first map that tracks coronavirus symptoms county by county and plans to update it daily throughout the outbreak.

Facebook partnered with Carnegie Mellon University to create an opt-in survey designed to help identify Covid-19 hotspots before the cases are confirmed. The map breaks down the percentage of people per county who have self-reported coronavirus symptoms, such as loss of smell, cough and fever.

It shows, for example, that 1.45% of people in New York County have reported coronavirus symptoms. But a huge portion of the map does not have enough participants to show any data.

More than 1 million people responded to the survey within the first two weeks, according to Facebook. CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the company will roll out the survey globally this week, which will help it provide a more complete picture. —Jessica Bursztynsky

9:46 am: Mohamed El-Erian sees US economy contracting up to 14% this year

Mohamed El-Erian 190326
Anjali Sundaram | CNBC

The U.S. economy could experience a double-digit percentage contraction in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, Mohamed El-Erian told CNBC on Monday, suggesting a much steeper decline than most other economists.

"I think we may be at minus 10% to minus 14% growth for the U.S.," the Allianz chief economist said on "Squawk Box." "This is a big hit."

El-Erian said the distinct nature of this economic hit — a health crisis — means traditional frameworks may not be applicable, acting as a further obstacle for a rebound. "The benefits you would expect normally, lower oil price means more dollars in consumers' pockets, even that doesn't work in this economy. So I'm a little bit more worried than what the consensus of economists out there is right now." —Kevin Stankiewicz

9:35 am: Dow drops more than 400 points as oil prices fall on energy demand concerns 

Stocks fell sharply Monday to start the week as investors weighed the latest coronavirus news along with a sharp decline in U.S. crude prices. The market was coming off its first back-to-back weekly gains in more than two months.

Dow Jones Industrial Average futures fell 531 points, pointing to a Monday opening drop of around 500 pointsS&P 500 futures dropped 1.8% while Nasdaq 100 futures lost 1.2% 

Equities were following a decline in U.S. oil prices, which raise concerns about how deep the economic slowdown will be this quarter and also hit the prices of energy stocks. —Fred Imbert

9:29 am: Outbreak at wind power plant in North Dakota shuts down production 

An outbreak of Covid-19 at a wind power facility in North Dakota has forced it to temporarily close, the latest example of how the pandemic is impacting the renewable energy sector. 

Over the weekend, North Dakota's Department of Health said there were 110 confirmed cases of coronavirus in people connected to the LM Wind Power plant in Grand Forks — a total that includes employees and "their close contacts." The site, which produces rotor blades for wind turbines and employs 900 people, closed Wednesday after eight workers tested positive for coronavirus. 

In a statement, a spokesperson for GE — which owns LM Wind Power — said the Grand Forks facility would be temporarily closed for at least two weeks in order to "conduct an extensive disinfection process." Employees will continue to be paid "as usual" during this time, they added. —Anmar Frangoul 

9:17 am: The pandemic will likely leave a lasting legacy on retail: Fewer department stores 

A "Temporarily Closed" sign hangs in the window of Nordstrom Inc. store in the Midtown neighborhood of New York, U.S., on Friday, March 20, 2020.
Gabby Jones | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Before Covid-19 hit, the U.S., department stores were in trouble because they had failed to keep up with shoppers' changing tastes. These retailers had been investing in ways to win back customers.

Now, their stores are closed to halt the spread of the virus. And no one knows exactly how long this will be the case. 

For J.C. Penney, the bankruptcy clock is ticking after it skipped a mid-April interest payment. Its turnaround plans have been sidelined by the coronavirus pandemic, which has forced the closure of all of its stores. Macy's, with liquidity drying up, has tapped advisors at investment bank Lazard and law firm Kirkland & Ellis to explore options that include new financing. Nordstrom in early April raised $600 million by placing some of its real estate assets into a separate company and borrowing against the new entity by issuing bonds. 

High-end department store chain Neiman Marcus on Wednesday missed a payment on some of its bonds, according to a letter sent to the retailer's board from Marble Ridge Capital, which owns a significant portion of the $137.7 million in bonds that mature in October 2021. Neiman Marcus now has until the middle of May to make the interest payment. After that, pending no payment, the company could be pushed into bankruptcy court by its bondholders. —Lauren Thomas 

9:09 am: Novartis, US drug regulator agree to malaria drug trial against Covid-19 

Novartis has won the go-ahead from the Food and Drug Administration to conduct a randomized trial of malaria drug hydroxychloroquine against Covid-19, the Swiss drugmaker said Monday.

Novartis plans to start recruiting 440 patients for its phase 3 or late-stage trial within weeks at more than a dozen U.S. sites. Results will be reported as soon as possible, the company added.

Use of the drug, also approved to treat lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, has soared after having been promoted by President Donald Trump, with some worried the administration's advocacy for an unproven medicine for Covid-19 has short-circuited the FDA's oversight process. —Reuters 

9:03 am: Southeast Asia could be the next hot spot — these charts show why 

The number of coronavirus infections in Southeast Asia has risen quickly in recent weeks, with mounting worries among experts that the region could turn into a hot spot for the fast-spreading disease.

The region has reported more than 28,000 cases as of Sunday, according to data by Johns Hopkins University. Collectively, Indonesia, the PhilippinesMalaysia and Singapore account for 87.9% of total cases reported in Southeast Asia, the data showed. —Yen Nee Lee

8:53 am: United Airlines posts $2.1 billion pretax loss as coronavirus roils business, seeks more federal aid

United Airlines reported a $2.1 billion loss for first quarter as the coronavirus pandemic drove travel demand down to the lowest level in decades.

The airline said it has applied for up to $4.5 billion in government loans on top of about $5 billion federal payroll grants and loans it expects to receive to weather the crisis.

United is the first major U.S. airline to detail the results of the virus on its earnings in the first three months of the year. The disease and harsh measures to stop it from spreading such as stay-at-home orders has ravaged air travel demand and prompted carriers to slash most of their flights. —Leslie Josephs 

8:48 am: Germany and others need to fund the post-virus recovery across Europe, Spanish minister says 

MADRID, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 26: Minister of Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation Nadia Calvino attends 'Reino de España a la Trayectoria Empresarial' awards, in honour of Placido Arango 'In Memoriam' at El Prado Museum on February 26, 2020 in Madrid, Spain.
Carlos Alvarez

Germany needs to understand it will have to fund the post-pandemic recovery across Europe, Spain's economy minister told CNBC on Monday, just days ahead of another pivotal meeting for the European Union.

The 27 European countries that make up the EU remain at loggerheads over how to mitigate the economic shock from Covid-19, despite putting together a half trillion euro package for more immediate spending needs earlier this month. Their main concern now is to present a second plan that will deal with the vast amount of virus-related debt that is expected to creep up across the region.

Nadia Calvino, Spanish economic affairs minister and deputy prime minister, told CNBC on Monday that Germany has a budget surplus that it is "quite determined" to use. "Now, what we need is for them to understand that we need to also fund the recovery of the rest of the (EU) countries, that we need to fund the recovery of the whole of Europe," she added. —Silvia Amaro

7:38 am: Putin says Russia has not yet reached its peak

Russian President Vladimir Putin said the country has managed to curb the Covid-19 crisis but the peak of the outbreak is still ahead.

The number of Russian confirmed coronavirus cases surpassed 47,000 on Monday with a death toll of 405. (See additional entry below about Russia.) Reuters

7:25 am: Burger chain Shake Shack to return $10 million government loan

Shake Shack said it will return the $10 million small business loan it received from the U.S. government, making the burger chain the first major firm to hand back money aimed at helping small businesses ride out the coronavirus crisis.

The company was able to raise additional capital, CEO Randy Garutti and founder Danny Meyer said in a blog post. Last week, it raised about $150 million in an equity offering.

The government's $2.2 trillion aid package is aimed at helping small companies keep paying their employees and their basic bills during the shutdowns so that they are able to reopen quickly when public health allows.

Shake Shack said the money it received could be reallocated to the independent restaurants "who need it most, (and) haven't gotten any assistance." —Reuters

6:50 am: US markets haven't priced in a 'significant second wave,' says Citi Private Bank

The US is 'not prepared' to reopen its economy yet: Citi Private Bank

Major U.S. stock indexes may have recovered from their recent lows, but Citi Private Bank warned that the worst may not be over.

"In the event that we have a very significant second wave of disease in the United States that cause a further shutdown of the economy ... that clearly is not priced into the market," David Bailin, the bank's chief investment officer, told CNBC's "Squawk Box Asia."

"The other thing that may not be priced into the market is the fact that this virus may take another 18 to 24 months to really cycle through the globe, and ultimately have a vaccine," he added. —Yen Nee Lee

6:07 am: Putin is distancing himself from Russia's outbreak, but it could still damage him politically

People in medical masks in Red Square in central Moscow amid the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. Russian President Vladimir Putin has declared a week off work and urged people to stay home to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. Cafes, restaurants, shopping malls and parks are closed in Moscow.
Sergei Bobylev

Russia's handling of the coronavirus epidemic is coming under increasing scrutiny and could potentially damage the credibility and legitimacy of President Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin, experts say.

Russia was arguably slow to recognize that the epidemic was coming to the country, even as it spread rapidly among its neighbors and in Italy, Spain, Germany, and France.

On Sunday, Russia saw its largest daily rise in new confirmed cases, with its crisis response center reporting 6,060 new cases, bringing the total number of cases to 42,853. The number of reported deaths remains low, however, with total fatalities at 361. —Holly Ellyatt

5:37 am: Spain's confirmed cases surpass 200,000, health ministry says

Healthcare workers wheel a patient to a triage tent at the Maimonides Medical Center in the Brooklyn borough of New York, the United States, April 19, 2020.
Michael Nagle | Xinhua News Agency | Getty Images

The number of people diagnosed in Spain has surpassed 200,000, the country's health ministry said.

The ministry said the number of cases rose to 200,210 from 195,944 cases on Sunday. The total number of deaths has reached 20,852, up from 20,453 the previous day.

Spain has overtaken Italy, which has 178,972 confirmed cases, as the worst-hit country in Europe, and second worst-hit country in the world after the U.S., which has almost 800,000 confirmed cases, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. —Holly Ellyatt

4:30 am: Austria calls for suspension of EU rules on state aid amid coronavirus crisis

EU rules on state aid to be suspended for countries like Austria that have shown solidarity with hard-hit member states during the coronavirus pandemic, Austrian Finance Minister Gernot Bluemel said Monday.

"This solidarity cannot be a one-way street. We also want to be able to show solidarity with our own companies, and we, therefore, demand that this crisis be used for solidarity in that we suspend the EU state aid regime for the duration of the crisis," Bluemel told a news conference, Reuters reported. —Holly Ellyatt

Read CNBC's coverage from CNBC's Asia-Pacific and Europe teams overnight here: Spain's confirmed cases surpass 200,000, health ministry says