This is CNBC’s live blog covering all the latest news on the coronavirus outbreak. All times below are in Eastern time. This blog will be updated throughout the day as the news breaks.
- Global cases: More than 201,000
- Global deaths: At least 8,007
- US cases: At least 6,496
- US deaths: At least 114
All data above is provided by Johns Hopkins University.
12:57 pm: Oil plummets 18% in 3rd worst day on record, sinks to more than 18-year low
Oil plummeted 18% to a more than 18-year low on Wednesday as the coronavirus pandemic continues to sap demand for crude and as rising worries about a global recession lead to fears of longer-term demand destruction.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude fell 18%, or $4.83, to $22.12 per barrel, its lowest level in more than 18 years. WTI is on pace for its third-worst day on record.
International benchmark Brent crude shed 11.6%, or $3.33, to trade at $25.40, its lowest level since 2003. —Pippa Stevens
12:51 pm: Trump administration wants to send $500 billion in payments to Americans in two rounds
The administration’s proposed stimulus package to combat economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic will include two rounds of direct payments to taxpayers totaling $500 billion, according to a document obtained by NBC.
The White House hopes to send out its first round of checks on April 6, and the second on May 18. It will base payments on income level and family size, according to the document.
Beyond direct payments, the government is looking to set aside $50 billion for the ailing airline industry, as well as $150 billion for “other distressed sectors.” It was not immediately clear which industries would be covered, but the tourism and hotel industries are among those that have also asked the government for relief. —Lauren Hirsch
12:42 pm: Dow tumbles 1,500 points to session lows as Wall Street’s unprecedented volatility continues
Stocks tumbled on Wednesday as the markets remained highly volatile with the government response to the coronavirus fallout still unfolding. A violent reversal in Treasury yields in response to a potential $1 trillion stimulus package helped to unnerve investors.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 1,547 points, or more than 7%. The S&P 500 fell 6.4% while the Nasdaq Composite slid 5.3%. —Yun Li, Fred Imbert
12:36 pm: The coronavirus crisis could inflict record-setting damage on the US jobs market
The first wave of bad economic news directly related to the coronavirus crisis is likely to come from the jobs market, and that could be delivered sooner rather than later.
Virtually all of the economic data releases out now cover periods before the COVID-19 spread began to zero in on the U.S. Some of those reports have hinted at a slowdown heading into the worst of the virus period, but the extent of the damage has been hard to gauge.
That will change over the next week or so when the Labor Department releases the tallies for weekly jobless claims. —Jeff Cox
12:28 pm: Mnuchin says taxpayers must file by April 15, can delay payments for 90 days
The Treasury Department won’t extend the tax filing deadline for 2019 returns, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on CNBC.
While the Treasury is giving taxpayers a 90-day reprieve on paying amounts owed from last year, you are still required to get your 2019 income tax return submitted by April 15, Mnuchin said on a phone call with CNBC’s Jim Cramer Wednesday morning. —Darla Mercado
12:22 pm: What the 1918 influenza pandemic can teach governments about coronavirus
From the closing of borders to mandatory quarantines, governments around the world are taking drastic steps to try to contain the coronavirus pandemic.
Past outbreaks provide a blueprint for governments navigating the challenges of COVID-19, which has spread to more than 200,000 people worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University on Wednesday.
Pandemics such as the 1918 influenza offer one key takeaway: Clear communication from the federal government is key. —Elizabeth Schulze
12:18 pm: Amazon sellers brace for layoffs and worse after coronavirus-related products get priority
Amazon sellers are expecting the worst after the company said this week it will prioritize shipments of household staples, medical supplies and other coronavirus-related product over everything else.
In addition to household staples and medical supplies, Amazon told sellers it’s prioritizing categories such as baby products, health and household, beauty and personal care, grocery, industrial and scientific and pet supplies.
Amazon’s decision will help serve shoppers who need to buy toilet paper, disinfectant wipes and other coronavirus-related items, but it threatens to put third-party sellers who don’t offer those products in a major bind for at least the next few weeks. Many small retailers rely on Amazon to sell their products online, and the hit to sales has caused some to furlough or lay off employees to soften the blow. —Annie Palmer
11:59 am: Restaurant industry asks for $145 billion government recovery fund
The National Restaurant Association is asking the federal government for financial relief for the industry as it forecasts sales declines of $225 billion over the next three months.
In a letter to President Donald Trump, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Major Leader Mitch McConnell, the lobbying group asked for a $145 billion recovery fund from the Treasury Department for the restaurant and food-service industry. Other proposals included federally backed business interruption insurance, tax measures and disaster unemployment insurance. —Amelia Lucas
11:48 am: Gov. Cuomo says he won’t approve coronavirus ‘shelter-in-place’ order for New York City after mayor tells residents to prepare
A man with a mask pushes a cart with a sign reading corpse cartte at Times Square in Manhattan on March 17, 2020 in New York City.
Johannes Eisele | AFP | Getty Images
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday he won’t approve a “shelter-in-place” order for New York City, a day after Mayor Bill de Blasio told residents to prepare for one.
“That is not going to happen — shelter in place, for New York City,” Cuomo said on The Daily podcast by The New York Times. “For any city or county to take an emergency action, the state has to approve it. And I wouldn’t approve ‘shelter in place.'” —Will Feuer
11:39 am: Mnuchin vows to prevent 20% unemployment in coronavirus response
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told CNBC on Wednesday the U.S. will not have 20% unemployment — a figure he reportedly warned Republican senators about in a private briefing — if they follow the Trump administration’s coronavirus plan.
“I’ve seen that number in the press,” Mnuchin told CNBC’s Jim Cramer in a television interview. “I didn’t in any way say I think we’re going to have that.” —Kevin Breuninger
11:31 am: America’s malls are asking the government for help as retailers, restaurants shut stores
The International Council of Shopping Centers, which represents America’s malls and shopping center owners such as Simon Property Group and Kimco, has sent a letter to the Trump administration seeking aid. The request comes as retail and restaurant store closures are mounting.
“These closures are placing an insurmountable strain on our members, and we believe federal government action is urgently needed,” ICSC CEO Tom McGee said. —Lauren Thomas
11:24 am: Sell-off on Wall Street accelerates, Dow now down 1,400 points
A man wearing a mask walks by the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on March 17, 2020 at Wall Street in New York City.
Johannes Eisele | AFP | Getty Images
Stocks tumbled Wednesday as the markets remained highly volatile with the government response to the coronavirus fallout still unfolding. A violent reversal in Treasury yields in response to a potential $1 trillion stimulus package unnerved investors.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 1,400 points, or more than 6.5%. The S&P 500 fell 6.1% while the Nasdaq Composite slid nearly 5%. —Yun Li, Fred Imbert
11:20 am: Honda, BMW close plants in US and Europe
Honda North America and BMW are closing plants throughout the U.S. and Europe this week due to an anticipated decline in demand for cars related to the global coronavirus outbreak. Honda said it will be closing four U.S.-based plants for six days starting Monday due to an anticipated decline in market demand.
Approximately 27,600 Honda associates in North America will be affected by this temporary suspension of production, but the company said it will continue full pay for all its associates. In Europe, BMW announced it has started to shutter its dealerships and plants, which will close by the end of this week. The interruption to the plants is scheduled to run until mid-April, the company said. —Noah Higgins-Dunn
11:15 am: Coronavirus will infect half the global population, EIU predicts
The new coronavirus will infect half of the global population and have a fatality rate of up to 3%, analysts said Wednesday.
“We assume that the virus will infect around 50% of the world population; 20% of the cases will be severe, and 1-3% will result in deaths,” analysts from the Economist Intelligence Unit said in a note.
As a result of the pandemic, the EIU predicted global growth would stand at just 1% for 2020 — down from its outlook of 2.3% before the outbreak began. It would mark the lowest rate in global gross domestic product growth since the global financial crisis, analysts noted. —Chloe Taylor
11:01 am: Coronavirus lives for hours in air particles and days on surfaces, new US study shows
A microscopic view of novel coronavirus.
Ffikretow | Getty Images
The new coronavirus can survive for several hours in air particles and last days on surfaces, according to a new federally funded study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Researchers from the National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, UCLA and Princeton University examined how long COVID-19 survives in the air as well as on copper, cardboard, plastic and stainless steel and then compared it with SARS, the coronavirus that emerged in late 2002 and killed nearly 800 people.
They found that COVID-19 was detectable in aerosols for up to three hours, up to four hours on copper, and up to 24 hours on cardboard. The new coronavirus can also last up to three days on plastic and stainless steel, the scientists concluded, adding the amount of the virus left on those surfaces decreases over time. —Berkeley Lovelace Jr.
10:55 am: Volunteer threatened with lawsuit after 3-D printing an $11,000 valve for $1
In Italy, a good Samaritan could be facing legal action for providing a hospital with special valves needed for breathing equipment that keeps coronavirus patients alive, according to a report from Techdirt.
Cristian Fracassi used a 3D printer to make the valves after the original manufacturer could not provide them due to overwhelming demand. Fracassi had to design the valves himself after the manufacturer refused to provide the 3D files, and he ultimately donated more than 100 valves to the hospital, each one costing him around $1 to make.
The regular listing price of the valve is about $11,000, and the manufacturer has threatened to sue Fracassi for patent infringement, leaving him fearful of sharing the 3D file with other hospitals that need the valve. —Hannah Miller
10:43 am: With Europe now the coronavirus epicenter, fears rise over a break up of the euro zone
The euro zone, in which 19 countries share the same currency, has struggled to grow since the sovereign debt crisis of 2011.
At the time, highly ndebted nations, such as Spain, Portugal and Greece, could not get financing from financial markets and asked for external help to support their economies.
Their financial difficulties raised concerns for the bloc’s future: analysts warned it was ill-equipped to deal with financial shocks and may not survive. Almost a decade later, the same debate is back on the table, with the euro area struggling to come together to combat the coronavirus crisis. —Silvia Amaro
10:35 am: Lawmakers scramble to move on the White House’s push for a $1 trillion stimulus package
The White House and Congress are scrambling to hash out the details of a massive stimulus package to help a U.S. economy increasingly damaged by the coronavirus pandemic.
There had been hope on Capitol Hill that Congress could pass a deal this week, as President Donald Trump seeks a measure with over $1 trillion in spending.
But the -GOP-controlled Senate has yet to pass a second relief bill already passed by the Democratic-led House, creating uncertainty about stimulus. —Lauren Hirsch
10:29 am: Sen. Marco Rubio wants to offer small businesses money so they can keep paying employees
Joe Raedle | Getty Images
The Florida Republican told CNBC he wants to use a network of lenders for an existing program to help small businesses and employees.
“We are trying to figure out the most effective way to get cash into the hands of small businesses so that they can maintain payroll for at least a six-week period,” he said.
Rubio is sponsoring Senate legislation to match Trump’s call for $50 billion in loans from the Small Business Administration. —Matthew J. Belvedere
10:15 am: Russia deploying disinformation to sow panic in West, EU document says
Russian media have deployed a “significant disinformation campaign” against the West to worsen the impact of the coronavirus, generate panic and sow distrust, according to a European Union document seen by Reuters.
The Kremlin denied the allegations on Wednesday, saying they were unfounded and lacked common sense.
The EU document said the Russian campaign, pushing fake news online in English, Spanish, Italian, German and French, uses contradictory, confusing and malicious reports to make it harder for the EU to communicate its response to the pandemic. —Reuters
10:11 am: Coronavirus lockdown now? This guy explained quarantine strategies with a bucket of water and it’s gone viral
A home-made movie showing a man in his backyard using a bucket of water to explain the British government’s strategy for tackling the coronavirus has gone viral. Robert Isaacs, a podiatrist, posted a video of himself filling up a plastic bottle to help explain how the U.K.’s National Health Service could be overwhelmed if coronavirus cases in the country peak.
In the video, he fills a large bucket with water, which he says represents the British population. He then gradually pours this into the plastic bottle, which represents the NHS.
“There’s been a few people talking about the government strategy on COVID and wondering why we’re not shutting everything down now. Italy has done it, everyone else has done it. Why are we not doing it? Well, it is counter-intuitive, so it is sort of worth unwrapping, but it does make a certain amount of sense,” he says.
10:03 am: White House seeks $45.8 billion to cover ‘unanticipated’ coronavirus costs for government
The Trump administration requested an additional $45.8 billion from Congress to cover “unanticipated” costs incurred by government agencies responding to the novel coronavirus crisis.
That request is separate from existing funding requests that could total more than $1 trillion as officials at every level of government work to contain the coronavirus.
Acting Director of the Office of Management and Budget Russell Vought said in a letter to the Senate that the additional money will be used “to address ongoing preparedness and response efforts.” —Kevin Breuninger
9:59 am: Trump says US will close the border with Canada to nonessential traffic due to coronavirus
US President Donald Trump (L) talks with Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during the plenary session of the NATO summit at the Grove hotel in Watford, northeast of London on December 4, 2019.
Nicholas Kamm | AFP | Getty Images
President Donald Trump said the United States will temporarily close its border with Canada to nonessential traffic due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“We will be, by mutual consent, temporarily closing our Northern Border with Canada to non-essential traffic,” Trump wrote in a tweet.
Trump’s move came a day after the European Union agreed to close its external borders to noncitizens, and two days after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced similar restrictions on his country’s borders. —Dan Mangan
9:50 am: Investor Bill Ackman advises Trump to shut down the country, saying stock market ‘will soar’
Pershing Square’s Bill Ackman called on the president to close the nation’s borders and offer Americans a one-month tax holiday “Spring Break.”
“The moment you send everyone home for Spring Break and close the borders, the infection rate will plummet, the stock market will soar, and the clouds will lift,” Ackman wrote.
The investor warned that further delays to such a shutdown would continue to have disastrous costs to human life and pressed Trump to “please send everyone home now.” —Thomas Franck
9:42 am: Japanese flu drug could be effective in treating coronavirus, report says
This photo taken on February 20, 2020 shows doctors looking at a lung CT image at a hospital in Yunmeng county, Xiaogan city, in China’s central Hubei province.
STR | AFP | Getty Images
Chinese medical authorities have claimed a drug used in Japan to treat new strains of influenza appears to be effective for those infected with the coronavirus, Japan’s state broadcaster NHK reported.
Zhang Xinmin, director of China’s National Center for Biotechnology Development, said the favipiravir drug had produced positive outcomes during clinical trials in Wuhan and Shenzen. The report on Tuesday said 340 patients had taken part in the clinical trials.
“It has a high degree of safety and is clearly effective in treatment,” Zhang told reporters. —Sam Meredith
9:38 am: Scotland says schools will close from Friday
Scotland will close its schools from Friday and people should not assume they will open again until the end of the summer term, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said.
Wales also said schools could close on Friday. —Reuters
9:35 am: Cannes Lions advertising festival postponed until October
Delegates wait in line at Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, Cannes, France, June 2019
The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, the ad industry’s major awards festival and conference held in France each summer, is postponing its June conference due to the coronavirus, organizers announced Wednesday.
The festival is now scheduled for Oct. 26-30. Conference organizers said earlier that passes, sponsorship arrangements, and bookings will roll over and remain valid. —Megan Graham
9:30 am: Dow plunges 1,300 points as a stretch of unprecedented volatility continues
Stocks tumbled on Wednesday as the markets remained highly volatile with the government response to the coronavirus fallout still unfolding.
Wall Street has been on an unprecedented roller-coaster ride amid the coronavirus turmoil, with the S&P 500 swinging 4% or more in either direction for seven consecutive sessions. This tops the previous record of six days from November 1929, according to LPL Financial. The S&P 500 is 25% off its record high through Tuesday’s close. —Fred Imbert, Yun Li
9:22 am: Total US reported cases at 6,496, with the most in NY at 1,708
9:18 am: Ben Bernanke and Janet Yellen are urging the Fed to go beyond authority and buy corporate bonds
Former Federal Reserve chairs Ben Bernanke and Janet Yellen recommend that the central bank continue trying to shore up the economy against the coronavirus threat, even suggesting that it go beyond the powers it currently enjoys.
In a Financial Times essay, the two say the Fed should look for more authority that would give it the power to purchase corporate bonds on top of the Treasurys and mortgage-backed securities it already plans to buy. —Jeff Cox
9:11 am: What America can learn from China’s use of robots and telemedicine
As countries around the world grapple with COVID-19, front line medical workers are deploying robots, telemedicine, and other technologies to help contain the pandemic. China and Spain have used drones to monitor people during lockdown campaigns, while South Korea has deployed them to help disinfect areas in Daegu, an epidemic hotspot.
Antwork, a group company of Japanese industrial drone maker Terra Drone, flew medical samples and quarantine materials in China’s Xinchang in February during the height of the epidemic.
Earlier this month, a field hospital staffed by robots opened in the Hongshan Sports Center in Wuhan, China, where the pandemic began. Dubbed the Smart Field Hospital, the facility is a project involving Wuhan Wuchang Hospital, China Mobile, and CloudMinds, a maker of cloud robotics systems based in China and the U.S. The Smart Field Hospital is a trial aimed at relieving exhausted health-care workers even as the outbreak in China slowed in recent weeks. —Tim Hornyak
8:06 am: Medicare and Medicaid administrator explains Trump order to expand telemedicine
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma said the Trump administration’s move to expand telemedicine is critical for all American seniors, even those who are experiencing health issues unrelated to the coronavirus. “They don’t have to travel. They don’t have to sit in a waiting room,” she said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.” For seniors who are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, it also allows them to communicate with their doctors without the risk of spreading it to others. “It is a game changer,” she said. —Kevin Stankiewicz
8:00 am: Mayo Clinic CEO assures ‘there’s a significant supply of ventilators’
Mayo Clinic CEO Gianrico Farrugia said Wednesday the U.S. could have enough ventilators to treat critical COVID-19 patients if Americans take social distancing seriously enough. “There’s a significant supply of ventilators. They may not always be in the right place,” he said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.” While it’s impossible to predict how many the U.S. will need, Farrugia said the “less cases we have in the United States, the less ventilators we’re going to need, and if we can space that over time then I do think we’ll have enough ventilators.” —Kevin Stankiewicz
7:42 am: Worldwide cases top 200,000
COVID-19 cases surpassed 200,000 worldwide as the new coronavirus continues to spread outside of China, the original epicenter of the outbreak.
The total number of cases now stands at 201,436 as of 7:30 a.m. ET on Wednesday, according to data compiled by John Hopkins. It counted 8,008 deaths and 82,071 recovered cases.—Will Feuer
7:24 am: Absolut Vodka-owner Pernod Ricard to help make hand sanitizer
French premium alcohol company Pernod Ricard, whose products include Absolut Vodka, is offering its services to fulfill worldwide demand for hand sanitizer. In the U.S., the company will convert manufacturing facilities in Kentucky, West Virginia and Texas to make the gel. It is taking similar measures in Spain, Ireland, and Sweden and plans to do so in the United Kingdom. In France, the premium liquor-maker is donating 70,000 liters of alcohol to Labratoire Cooper, a major supplier of hand sanitizer. —Lauren Hirsch
7:19 am: Stock futures drop amid unprecedented volatility
Stock futures pointed to big losses in premarket trading as the markets remained highly volatile with the government response to the coronavirus fallout still unfolding. A violent reversal in Treasury yields in response to a potential $1 trillion stimulus package helped to unnerve investors.
Around 6:42 a.m. ET, futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average indicated a more than 1,000-point loss at the open. —Fred Imbert, Yun Li
7:14 am: Mnuchin warns of 20% US unemployment
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, delivers remarks on the coronavirus relief package after the Senate Republican Policy luncheon in Russell Building on Tuesday, March 17, 2020.
Tom Williams | CQ Roll Call | Getty Images
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin warned Republican senators that the country’s unemployment rate could hit 20% if they failed to act on a proposed coronavirus rescue package, a person familiar with the closed-door meeting said.
Mnuchin met with senators to persuade them to pass a $1 trillion stimulus package that would send cash to Americans within two weeks, and backstop airlines and other companies. A Treasury official said Mnuchin was not providing a forecast but trying to illustrate the potential risks of inaction. —Reuters
6:54 am: Ikea to temporarily close stores in Europe and North America
Swedish home retailer Ikea is to temporarily close stores in the Netherlands, Belgium, Portugal, the U.S. and Canada. Stores in Denmark are already temporarily closed, Reuters reported. U.K. and Ireland stores remain open, for now. — Holly Ellyatt
6:48 am: Iran’s death toll from coronavirus jumps to 1,135
Iran’s death toll from the coronavirus climbed to 1,135 with 147 new deaths in the past 24 hours, a health ministry official told state TV, Reuters reported. The total number of infected people across the country has reached 17,361.
“Unfortunately there were 1,192 cases of infected people in the past 24 hours. … Please follow the guidelines and stay at home,” Iran’s Deputy Health Minister Alireza Raisi said. —Holly Ellyatt
6:09 am: Toyota to stop output at more plants in Europe
A 2020 Toyota Highlander goes down the line at the automaker’s plant in southern Indiana.
Toyota said it planned to stop output at more vehicles plants in Europe. In a statement, the Japanese automaker said it had stopped operations at plants in the U.K. and Poland from Wednesday, and those at its Czech site would be halted Thursday. Operations at its French site are already suspended. Operations at its Turkey site would be suspended from Saturday but U.S. plants have not been affected so far, the company said. —Holly Ellyatt