Health and Science

Russia's coronavirus cases near 300,000; Trump threatens to withdraw from WHO

Moderna reports early signs of progress during phase 1 Covid-19 vaccine trial
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Moderna reports early signs of progress during phase 1 Covid-19 vaccine trial

World leaders met virtually Monday at the World Health Organization's 73rd World Health Assembly to discuss and set priorities for the next year.

At the assembly, South Korean President Moon Jae-in called for greater authority to be vested in the WHO to deal with emerging diseases, while HHS Secretary Alex Azar called the WHO's response to the coronavirus a failure that "cost many lives."

Biotech company Moderna released data on its closely watched phase 1 human trial for its coronavirus vaccine candidate. The data appears to be positive and shares of the company skyrocketed, lifting the overall market. 

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 U.S. team.

  • Global cases: More than 4.8 million
  • Global deaths: At least 318,534
  • Most cases reported: United States (More than 1.5 million), Russia (290,678), Brazil, (255,368), United Kingdom (247,709), Spain (231,606).

The data above was compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Russia's coronavirus cases now near 300,000

09:30 a.m. (London time): Russia reported a further 9,263 infections on Tuesday, bringing its total number of confirmed cases to 299, 941. Russia now has the second-highest number of cases in the world, after the U.S.

The daily rise in cases was below 10,000, a daily threshold that was crossed repeatedly earlier in May, for the fourth day in a row, Reuters noted.

Russia's coronavirus response center said the death toll had now reached 2,837, after a further 115 people died in the last 24 hours. — Holly Ellyatt

New car sales in Europe fall 76% in April amid coronavirus lockdowns

08:00 a.m. (London time): European car sales fell dramatically in April as coronavirus lockdowns shut car dealerships and brought a halt to manufacturing, EU-wide industry data showed on Tuesday.

New car registrations in the EU fell 76.3% in April, from the same month a year ago, according to data from the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA).

"The first full month with COVID-19 restrictions in place resulted in the strongest monthly drop in car demand since records began," the ACEA said, adding that the number of new cars sold fell from 1,143,046 units in April 2019 to 270,682 units last month. — Holly Ellyatt

Thai Airways shares surge after government reportedly approves bankruptcy court restructuring

2:18 p.m. (Singapore time) — Shares of Thai Airways in Bangkok skyrocketed nearly 12% after the country's cabinet approved a plan for the airline to go to bankruptcy court for debt restructuring, Reuters reported Tuesday citing the Thai prime minister.

"The government has reviewed all dimensions ... we have decided to petition for restructuring and not let Thai Airways go bankrupt. The airline will continue to operate," Prayuth said, according to Reuters.

The airline industry has been among the worst hit globally, with authorities around the world heavily restricting international travel as part of efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. — Eustance Huang

India now has more than 100,000 cases and over 3,000 deaths

12:30 p.m. (Singapore time) – There were at least 101,139 reported cases of infection in India and as many as 3,163 people have now died from Covid-19, according to information posted on the health ministry's website. That makes India one of the worst-affected countries in Asia-Pacific, though more than 39,000 people are said to have recovered from the disease.

Despite being in a nationwide lockdown since late March, the number of reported cases continued to increase. Those restrictions have already been extended multiple times and are now set to last through to the end of the month. Still, in some low-risk areas, restrictions are expected to be gradually eased. – Saheli Roy Choudhury

Doctors and medical staff wait for their turn during the collection of samples for Covid-19 testing at LNJP Hospital, during nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus, on May 9, 2020 in New Delhi, India.
Sonu Mehta | Hindustan Times | Getty Images

Trump threatens to permanently cut off WHO funding, withdraw U.S. membership

11:33 a.m. (Singapore time) — President Trump threatened to permanently cut off funding to the World Health Organization and withdraw U.S. membership if the agency "does not commit to major substantive improvements within the next 30 days."

Trump said in a letter dated Monday that the only way forward for the WHO is "if it can actually demonstrate independence from China."

"I cannot allow American taxpayer dollars to continue to finance an organization that, in its present state, is so clearly not serving America's interests," Trump wrote. — Saheli Roy Choudhury

Tweet: This is the letter sent to Dr. Tedros of the World Health Organization. It is self-explanatory!

Leading coronavirus vaccine candidate maker expects to raise $1.34 billion in new stock offering

11:10 a.m. (Singapore time) — Moderna said it priced an offering of 17.6 million new shares at $76 each. The offering, which is expected to raise $1.34 billion, comes after the biotech company reported positive data in a early-stage human trial for its coronavirus vaccine candidate. The upbeat trial data sent the stock soaring nearly 20% higher to close at $80 a share. — Christine Wang

Japan's Abe 'looks like a lame duck' as his government comes under fire for its virus response

10:38 a.m. (Singapore time) — Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has seen his approval rating decline, with 55% of respondents in a recent Nikkei/TV Tokyo poll saying they do not have a favorable view of the government's handling of the coronavirus outbreak. That comes despite Japan's "effective response compared with many other countries," said Teneo Intelligence's Tobias Harris.

Harris told CNBC that part of the reason behind the decline in Abe's approval ratings has been due to the perception that he reacted "too slowly to the pandemic." Unlike its peers in the region, Japan initially resisted declaring a nationwide state of emergency until the middle of April, when it reportedly had more than 9,000 infections and nearly 200 deaths in the country. — Eustance Huang

How some Asian economies managed to contain the virus outbreak

10:04 a.m. (Singapore time) — Taiwan hasn't reported any new cases of the coronavirus disease for more than a week — that's a feat that few globally have achieved even as more countries and territories prepare to roll back containment measures.

Part of Taiwan's efforts includes the use of big data and technology, which helped authorities identity potential cases and isolate those with a higher risk of infection, according to a report published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. That allowed the self-ruled island, located just across a narrow strait from mainland China, to avoid locking down its economy.

Read here for more on what Taiwan did to contain its outbreak, and how Hong Kong and Vietnam managed to achieve similar results. — Yen Nee Lee

U.S. retail sales could drop more than 6% this year

8:51 a.m. (Singapore time) — Market research company Euromonitor said U.S. retail sales could be down at least 6.5% in 2020. Factors that can alter its forecast for the year include the duration of the pandemic, the government's response, and the rate at which shoppers feel comfortable enough to return to malls and stores. 

Euromonitor said companies that could fare best this year include grocery retailers, e-commerce names, third-party delivery platforms and big food brands. Those that are predicted to struggle most include apparel retailers, department store operators, luxury chains and direct-to-consumer brands.  — Lauren Thomas, Saheli Roy Choudhury

Citi says Amazon grew job postings in April while Alphabet and Facebook cut back

8 pm ET — Amazon increased its job openings 19% year over year in April while other internet companies like Alphabet, eBay, Facebook and GrubHub cut back, according to an analysis by Citi analysts led by Jason Bazinet. At Amazon, growth in the number of job postings, a proxy for costs, slowed from 35% in March. —Jordan Novet

Coronavirus vaccine adviser Moncef Slaoui to divest $12 million of Moderna holdings

Former GlaxoSmithKline pharmaceutical executive Moncef Slaoui, who will serve as chief adviser on the effort to find a vaccine for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, speaks as President Donald Trump listens during a coronavirus disease response event in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington.
Kevin Lamarque | Reuters

7:20 pm ET — Former Moderna executive Moncef Slaoui, tapped to lead the White House coronavirus vaccine project, will divest himself of approximately $12.4 million worth of stock options he has in the company. 

Slaoui "directed the divestiture of his equity holdings in Moderna and that sale should be effective tomorrow morning," an HHS spokeswoman said Monday. Moderna's stock soared Monday on news of a promising coronavirus vaccine candidate, jumping from a Friday close of $66.69 a share to $80 at the conclusion of Monday's trading. —Christina Wilkie

Small businesses get back to work, adapt to heightened safety measures

Franchisees ready for a new normal as businesses reopen
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Franchisees ready for a new normal as businesses reopen

6:39 pm ET — Business owners in states that are reopening are dealing with a laundry list of questions. While worrying about safety issues for workers and guests, there is also liability concerns and hoping that consumers will come back.

CNBC's Kate Rogers and Betsy Spring report that some business owners are getting creative to adapt to the new normal

Daniel Halpern, who owns a number of TGI Friday's restaurants across the country, is preparing to reopen his first store for dining in Georgia this Tuesday. Halpern said his locations will have personal protective equipment, sanitizing equipment and there will be temperature checks for workers and guests.

"I think we have a lot of repair to do," he said. "Delivery sales and takeout certainly have grown significantly, and we hope that that continues, but I think we're going to slowly but surely build our in-store guests through time and trust."

For James Cummings, who has 46 Great Clips locations, that meant taking protective measures and creating a new position, the hair traffic controller.

"It's like a receptionist on steroids or a bouncer at the club," Cummings said. "It's making sure we get this right — training our employees on the new processes, educating the customers on the new expectations — and doing that in a thoughtful, professional way. Moving forward through this together, not rushing and making a mistake." —Chris Eudaily

Moderna plans to issue $1.25 billion in fresh equity following 20% stock surge

The entrance to Moderna's headquarters in Cambridge, MA.
Brian Snyder | Reuters

5:30 pm ET — Biotech company Moderna announced plans to issue at least $1.25 billion in shares of common stock after releasing the results of its phase 1 clinical trial earlier today.

Moderna said it expects to primarily use the proceeds to fund the manufacturing and distribution of its vaccine candidate once it obtains necessary regulatory approvals. Morgan Stanley is running the deal and the company is giving the underwriters a 30-day option to purchase up to an additional $187.5 million in common stock. —Jasmine Kim

Will be a long road ahead for Moderna: Former FDA commissioner
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Will be a long road ahead for Moderna: Former FDA commissioner

Trump says he takes unproven hydroxychloroquine to prevent coronavirus infection

5:05 pm ET — President Trump said he's been taking the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine for over a week to prevent coronavirus infection even though it is not yet a proven treatment.

"I happen to be taking it," Trump said during a roundtable event at the White House. "A lot of good things have come out. You'd be surprised at how many people are taking it, especially the front-line workers. Before you catch it. The front-line workers, many, many are taking it."

He added: "I'm taking it, hydroxychloroquine. Right now, yeah. Couple of weeks ago, I started taking it. Cause I think it's good, I've heard a lot of good stories." —Berkeley Lovelace Jr.

Pres. Trump: I'm taking hydroxychloroquine to prevent coronavirus infection
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Pres. Trump: I'm taking hydroxychloroquine to prevent coronavirus infection

States reopen gyms, expand retail services

A person disinfects an elliptical machine at a gym in New Orleans, Louisiana, on Saturday, May 16, 2020. Louisiana entered its phase 1 of reopening on Friday after Governor John Bel Edwards loosened restrictions on certain business in the state.
Bryan Tarnowski | Bloomberg via Getty Images

5 pm ET — The governors of Florida, South Carolina, Texas and Kansas allowed gyms to reopen in their states on Monday.

With gyms often categorized as businesses with a high risk for virus transmission in recovery plans, reopening them signals a big step forward for these states. Other states expanded their retail services, with New Jersey stores now allowed to offer curbside pickup and Minnesota malls open to foot traffic. Louisiana also reopened its casinos at 25% capacity. For more on states' reopening plans, click here. —Hannah Miller

California governor says pro sporting events without spectators, in-store retail could begin early June

People sit on a hill overlooking Dodger Stadium on what was supposed to be Major League Baseball's opening day, now postponed due to the coronavirus, on March 26, 2020 in Los Angeles.
Mario Tama | Getty Images

4:40 pm ET — California Gov. Gavin Newsom said the state could continue easing its statewide stay-at-home order to allow for professional sporting events without spectators and in-store retail to resume as early as the first week in June.

He said the decision would be based on the state's ability to maintain the rate of transmission of Covid-19 and no additional stress is added to hospitals and intensive-care units.Newsom previously lifted restrictions on curbside retail pickup as part of California's phased reopening plan, but he said it's up to local jurisdictions to decide whether it's safe to follow the eased guidelines. —Noah Higgins-Dunn

Detroit automaker plants cautiously reopen

Ford started resuming vehicle production in the U.S. on May 18, 2020 with new coronavirus safety protocols such as health assessments, personal protective equipment and facility modifications to increase social distancing.
Ford

4:20 pm ET —The Detroit automakers started producing vehicles in the U.S. for the first time since late-March, when their plants were shuttered to protect workers and assist in flattening the curve of Covid-19.

The reopening of plants for General Motors, Ford Motor and Fiat Chrysler  is being closely monitored by other industries as well as government officials as a test of whether social distancing and coronavirus safety protocols for densely populated work areas such as assembly plants can successfully reopen without a resurgence of the disease.

The restart of production will test the automakers' capital-strained supply chains, coronavirus safety protocols and consumer demand. All three must be in tact for any hope of a steady recovery for the U.S. auto industry.

The Detroit automakers and others have taken steps to assist with all three issues. They've implemented extensive safety protocols for workers and attempted to provide time for suppliers to come back online. For demand, they're offering 0% financing of up to 84 months as well as big discounts on vehicles. —Michael Wayland

San Francisco lifts some retail restrictions

An Original Joe's restaurant employee wearing a protective mask hands a take-out order to a customer through a car window in San Francisco, California, on Thursday, May 14, 2020.
David Paul Morris | Bloomberg via Getty Images

3:53 pm ET — San Francisco has lifted some restrictions on retail locations. Shops can now offer curbside pickup, but won't be able to allow customers inside stores for several more weeks, according to the city's Director of Public Health Dr. Grant Colfax.

Places of worship, theaters, personal care providers and restaurants are at least a month away from reopening, Colfax said at a press briefing. However, he did say that summer camps opening in the area could be a "real possibility." —Hannah Miller 

Dow gains 1,000 points on vaccine hopes

3:50 pm ET — The