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 510,000
- Global deaths: At least 22,993
- US cases: At least 75,233
- US deaths: At least 1,070
The data above was compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
4:41 pm: Trump plan calls for classifying risk county by county
President Donald Trump laid out his vision for what he called the “next phase” in the war on the coronavirus pandemic that is sweeping the country.
In a letter to the nation’s governors, Trump said he and his administration planned to develop criteria to “help classify counties with respect to continued risks posed by” the deadly coronavirus. He said the use of “robust surveillance testing” will allow local governments to track the spread of the virus.
Counties would be divided into three low, medium and high “risk” levels, the president wrote. These categories will be accompanied by “new guidelines for state and local policymakers to use in making decisions” about whether to maintain, decrease, or increase their social distancing guidelines.
The president has made no secret of his desire to see U.S. businesses reopen, even as the virus is infecting thousands of people every day across the country. Trump has set upon the date of Easter, April 12, as the one by which he hopes to see large parts of the country “roaring” back into business.
Public health experts say that attempting to reopen businesses and loosen social distancing restrictions in a matter of weeks could mean tens of thousands of additional infections that could have been prevented by an extended campaign of mitigation. Trump, however, has suggested that experts who recommend extending the campaign are motivated by a desire to defeat him politically, and not by the desire to protect Americans from the life-threatening COVID-19 disease. —Christina Wilkie
4:22 pm: GM extending plant shutdowns
General Motors has confirmed that it is extending the temporary closures of its North American plants due to the coronavirus pandemic. In a message to employees, Phil Kienle, vice president of the automaker’s North America manufacturing and labor relations, said that the company “will continue to evaluate our operating plan going forward.”
GM’s plants, which shut down last week due to COVID-19, were supposed to remain shuttered through March 30. A GM spokesman was not immediately available for comment. The message comes hours after Ford Motor and Fiat Chrysler announced plans to resume production at their North American plants beginning in April. —Mike Wayland
4:10 pm: Dow clinches biggest 3-day surge since 1931
Stocks surged for a third straight day as investors shrugged off the release of record-breaking initial jobless claims while the Senate passed a massive economic stimulus bill amid the coronavirus outbreak.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped more than 1,300 points, or 6.2%. The Dow also capped off its biggest three-day surge since 1931. Over the past three days, the Dow is up more than 20%.
Boeing, Chevron and Walgreens drove the Dow’s gains, with each stock rising more than 10%. Utilities and real estate were the best-performing sectors in the S&P 500, both closing more than 7% higher. —Fred Imbert
3:50 pm: Major cruise lines could be left out of the bailout
Cruise lines are among the businesses that have suffered the most fallout from the coronavirus outbreak. And the major ones could get left out of the bailout fund included in the $2 trillion stimulus bill the Senate passed Wednesday night.
The bill allocates $500 billion to distressed businesses that can apply for loans or guarantees from a fund overseen by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. To be eligible for that relief, however, a company must be “created or organized in the United States or under the laws of the United States” and “have significant operations in and a majority of its employees based in the United States.”
Several major cruise lines, however, are not incorporated in America. Carnival, for example, is incorporated in Panama, although it has a U.S. entity and a headquarters in Miami. Its shares trade on the New York Stock Exchange. Cruise lines also typically employ many foreign workers on their ships, who can be exempt from U.S. minimum wage requirements.
As of Thursday morning, there were indications that cruise lines themselves were uncertain whether the language in the bill excluded them from relief.
“My interpretation is that cruise lines may not qualify, but I’m taking a closer look to see whether that is really the case,” said Aaron Cutler, a partner in the government relations and public affairs department at influential international law firm Hogan Lovells. —Lauren Hirsch
3:20 pm: How the NBA is planning to save its season
Rudy Gobert #27 of the Utah Jazz reacts after dunking during the third quarter of the game against the Boston Celtics at TD Garden on March 06, 2020 in Boston, Massachusetts.
Omar Rawlings | Getty Images
There is no doubt the coronavirus pandemic will leave its imprint on the sports world, but no league may suffer more than the National Basketball Association.
After being the first U.S. league to suspend games due to the coronavirus outbreak, the NBA is currently contemplating how to resume play, if possible, as the league wants to salvage revenue, which the Washington Post reported could total $1 billion in losses.
In his interview with ESPN last week, NBA commissioner Adam Silver said he wants to “believe we’re going to be able to salvage at least some portion of the season.”
According to NBA executives and agents who discussed the matter with CNBC on condition of anonymity, the league remains focused on a return after suspending operations following Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert testing positive for COVID-19 earlier this month. Las Vegas has emerged as the best location to resume the season, according to league executives.
If the season can’t resume, the NBA will need to consider revenue consequences of a canceled season, and how it will affect players’ salaries, which are tied to games being played.
“The players are going to experience a fair amount of salary pain,” said Richard Sheehan, a professor of finance at the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business Sheehan. —Jabari Young
3:10 pm: San Francisco’s Muni Metro, light rail service to be replaced by buses
The SFMTA announced additional service changes during San Francisco’s coronavirus shelter-in-place order.
Starting March 30, all Muni Metro and light rail routes will be replaced by buses. Riders will be able to take buses for the J, KT, L, M, and N lines using the same bus stops as the early morning Metro bus service. All Muni Metro subway stations will also be closed, except for the ones downtown which will remain open for BART customers.
“In response to changing ridership, these service adjustments will help us to focus resources on routes outside of the downtown area that are connecting people to essential jobs and services,” SFMTA said in an online post.
“Closing the Muni Metro underground system will allow us to redirect custodial resources to other, higher-use facilities and minimizes risk to our station agents. Based on our ridership data and observations, we do not expect these changes to impact the ability of our riders and operators to maintain social distance.”
SFMTA plans on doing maintenance work on vehicles and infrastructure during this time. You can find the full list of changes here. —Riya Bhattacharjee
3:00 pm: Fauci says US ‘can start thinking about’ getting back to normal when outbreak slows
2:45 pm: CEO of largest NY health provider — only science can dictate coronavirus drug treatments
“You can’t let politics dictate, what people would like to see dictate,” Dowling said on CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street.” “You’ve got to let the science dictate, because if you don’t, you’ll do damage to people.”
Dowling, whose 23-hospital system is the largest health-care provider in New York state, said it is OK to be optimistic about the experimental treatments underway, “but you’ve got to wait until you can prove” that it is effective in treating COVID-19.
In fact, Dowling said he was personally optimistic about some of the trials underway at Northwell Health’s hospitals. The health system is working with Regeneron and Gilead Sciences to test the efficacy of existing drugs.
Northwell Health does not have “definitive results yet,” Dowling cautioned.
“But I am pretty certain that within the next week or two we’re going to find out that one or more of these drugs do make a difference and that would obviously change the landscape when that happens,” said Dowling.
2:20 pm: Worldwide cases top 500,000, doubling in just over a week
COVID-19 cases surpassed 500,000 across the world, doubling in just over a week as the pandemic accelerates.
The total number of global cases now stands at 510,108 as of 1:30 p.m. ET on Thursday, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. The virus emerged in Wuhan, China, in December. It has since spread to most countries around the world, according to the World Health Organization.
Confirmed COVID-19 cases topped 200,000 last week, and passed 300,000 on Saturday, according to Hopkins data. The virus has infected an additional 100,000 people around the world since Tuesday, when worldwide infections passed 400,000. The virus has now killed more than 22,290 people around the world. Roughly 120,000 people have recovered from COVID-19, according to Hopkins. —Will Feuer
2:09 pm: Coronavirus may be deadlier than 1918 flu
Some scientists estimate that millions will ultimately die before COVID-19 runs its course. There’s a lot that infectious disease specialists and scientists still don’t know about the virus. Exactly how deadly and contagious COVID-19 is, is still a matter of debate.
We break down what we know about the virus and how it compares with some of history’s deadliest pandemics and diseases. First, you’ll have to bone up on a bit of epidemiology.
The 1918 flu was one of the most horrific pandemics of the 20th century, hitting those ages 20 to 40 especially hard, according to WHO. COVID-19′s R naught of 2 is slightly more infectious than the 1918 flu.
The 1918 flu, which was known as the Spanish flu, didn’t actually originate in Spain. It had a mortality rate of 2.5% and killed more people — 30 million to 50 million — than the 20 million who died in World War I. If the 4.5% mortality rate of COVID-19 drops, it won’t be as bad as the 1918 flu. If it continues on its current trajectory, it will be almost twice as deadly. —Berkeley Lovelace
1:48 pm: Italy death toll rises by 662 in a day, now totals more than 8,000
The death toll from an outbreak of coronavirus in Italy has grown by 662 to 8,165, the Civil Protection Agency said.
However, there appeared to be an error in the agency’s data because it reported no deaths on Thursday in the third-worst-affected region, Piedmont, which would be unprecedented in recent days.
Separately, Piedmont authorities said their death toll had risen by 50 in the last 24 hours.
On Wednesday 683 people died. That followed 743 deaths on Tuesday, 602 on Monday, 650 on Sunday and a record of 793 on Saturday — the highest daily figure since the contagion came to light on Feb. 21.
The total number of confirmed cases in Italy rose to 80,539 from a previous 74,386, the Civil Protection Agency said — the highest number of new cases since March 21.
Of those originally infected nationwide, 10,361 had fully recovered on Thursday compared to 9,362 the day before. There were 3,612 people in intensive care against a previous 3,489.
The hardest-hit northern region of Lombardy reported a steep rise in fatalities compared with the day before and remains in a critical situation, with a total of 4,861 deaths and 34,889 cases.
That compared with 4,474 deaths and 32,346 cases reported up to Wednesday. —Reuters
1:23 pm: States with the most job losses so far because of the coronavirus
The record-breaking spike in U.S. jobless claims data varied in its impact on American workers depending on state as governors across the country instituted different combinations of restrictions and closures to help slow the spread of COVID-19. —Thomas Franck, John W. Schoen
1:09 pm: WeWork reassures investors it has enough cash to weather coronavirus downturn
WeWork is telling investors it has enough cash on hand to execute its long-term plans and weather the near-term challenges posed by COVID-19.
In a seven-slide deck for investors, WeWork said it had $4.4 billion in cash and cash equivalents as of the end of 2019. The company is expected to release full-year financial results after the market closes on Thursday.
In a letter obtained by CNBC, WeWork’s executive chairman, Marcelo Claure, and CEO, Sandeep Mathrani, say that the company “has a strategic plan and a sound financial position.”
WeWork is the second SoftBank-backed company to reassure investors that its cash position will get it through an increasingly uncertain and volatile year. —Deirdre Bosa, Laura Batchelor
12:57 pm: Nancy Pelosi predicts more direct payments during the coronavirus crisis
US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaks with reporters during her weekly press conference at the US Capitol March 26, 2020, in Washington, DC.
Alex Edelman | AFP | Getty Images
As the House prepares to pass a historically massive $2 trillion coronavirus relief bill, Speaker Nancy Pelosi outlined more steps she wants to take to blunt damage to the economy and health-care system.
After the Senate passed the package, believed to be the biggest rescue plan in U.S. history, on Wednesday night, the House hopes to follow suit Friday in what Pelosi predicted would be a “strong, bipartisan” vote. The California Democrat set the stage for more congressional legislation as the pandemic rampages throughout the country.
Pelosi indicated she would push to send more money directly to Americans on top of the cash payments set out in the Senate-passed bill. The proposal would give up to $1,200 to qualified individuals and $2,400 to couples, which starts to phase out for people making more than $75,000. —Jacob Pramuk
12:46 pm: Cuomo says ‘reckless’ $2 trillion coronavirus bill fails to help New York’s revenue loss
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo called the $2 trillion relief package aimed at easing the economic impact of the coronavirus “irresponsible” and “reckless,” saying it doesn’t do enough for his state’s huge loss in revenue.
“The congressional action in my opinion simply failed to address the governmental need,” Cuomo said at a press conference in Albany.
Cuomo said that the $5 billion New York would receive from the bill doesn’t come close to covering state’s projected revenue shortfall, which could total $15 billion.
“I’m disappointed, I said I was disappointed. I find it irresponsible, I find it reckless,” Cuomo said. “When this is over, I promise you I’m going to give them a piece of my mind.” —Noah Higgins-Dunn, Kevin Breuninger
12:39 pm: US suspends plans to buy oil after funding is left out of $2 trillion stimulus package
The U.S. Department of Energy is suspending its plans to buy crude for the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve after the requested $3 billion in funding for the project was left out of the $2 trillion stimulus package.
“Given the current uncertainty related to adequate Congressional Appropriations for crude oil purchases associated with the March 19, 2020 solicitation, the Department is withdrawing the solicitation,” an amendment filed Wednesday said. “Should funding become secure for the planned purchases, the Department will reissue the solicitation,” it added.
The original request for proposal, filed on March 19, outlined plans to purchase the first 30 million barrels of American-made crude oil for the SPR out of a total of 77 million barrels.
But funding to execute the plan was left out of the $2 trillion stimulus package which the White House and Senate agreed to Wednesday night, and which the House is expected to vote on Friday. Initially,$3 billion had been requested for the project. —Pippa Stevens
12:28 pm: New York coronavirus cases soar to 37,258 as state scrambles for ventilators
New York coronavirus cases continue to surge, topping 37,258 as the state scrambles to find enough hospital beds and ventilators to handle the coming onslaught of patients, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.
More than 5,300 residents have already been hospitalized and the state is projecting that will climb to 140,000 over the next two to three weeks, he said. At least 1,517 people have been discharged, he added. The state has already spent $1 billion trying to stymie the outbreak and estimates that business closures will cost roughly $10 to $15 billion in lost revenue.
“To be angry is a luxury, we don’t have time to be angry. Let’s just deal with the facts,” Cuomo said at a press conference in Albany. —Berkeley Lovelace Jr.
12:20 pm: ‘They’re putting us all at risk:’ What it’s like working in Amazon’s warehouses during the outbreak
As the coronavirus outbreak has worsened, many Americans have hunkered down in their homes and are turning to online marketplaces like Amazon to get essentials like toilet paper, food and hand sanitizer delivered to their door.
While physical stores run out of stock and cities are on lockdown, Amazon’s warehouse workers, delivery drivers and contract employees have been praised for their fearlessness in continuing to go to work during a crisis. Amazon has called its employees “heroes fighting for their communities” and CEO Jeff Bezos said workers efforts were “being noticed at the highest levels of government.”
Warehouse workers and other Amazon employees don’t view their jobs with the same rose-colored optimism. A dozen Amazon workers told CNBC they’re terrified to go to work during a pandemic, while others have expressed frustration over how their employer has responded to the threat of the coronavirus at their workplaces. Many of the workers asked to remain anonymous so as not to upset their employer. —Annie Palmer
12:12 pm: Hedge fund billionaire Paul Tudor Jones gets emotional about his daughter getting coronavirus
Paul Tudor Jones, one of Wall Street’s most influential investors, got personal about his daughter’s recovery from the coronavirus and how he aims to help New York City’s most vulnerable denizens.
In a surprising revelation, Tudor Jones told CNBC, “My heart goes out to the people that are going to be our first-responders. My heart goes out to the people that are going to be affected. My own daughter has CV-19 right now. She’s recovering from it.” —Matthew J. Belvedere
12:01 pm: Treasury chief Mnuchin says record unemployment claims ‘aren’t relevant’ right now
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin waved aside jaw-dropping new jobless claims by more than 3 million Americans, saying that the record-setting unemployment filing numbers “right now aren’t relevant.”
Mnuchin said “the good news” is a $2 trillion relief bill working its way through Congress that is aimed at alleviating income losses and other financial fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.
Mnuchin said that the aim of that package is that many people who have recently lost their jobs as a result of the coronavirus outbreak will get hired back by their employers with this relief.
Asked what his reaction was to seeing the 3.28 million new unemployment claims reported for the past week on CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street,” Mnuchin said, “To be honest, I think these numbers right now aren’t relevant whether they’re bigger or shorter in the short term.” —Dan Mangan
11:53 am: ‘Virus-proofing’ the family deli — How a small business owner fights to slow the spread of the Coronavirus
Shoppers at Felice Italian Deli in Clearwater, Florida are provided hand sanitizer and asked to don gloves before entering and the establishment has now started ‘touchless-transactions.’ Gabriella D’Elia is ahead of the game in Florida, but she hopes being proactive will save lives and help flatten the curve … one customer at a time. —Ray Parisi
11:49 am: Craft distillers and brewers making sanitizer are lobbying Congress and FDA to keep producing
Crew members apply labels to bottles for hand sanitizer at Eight Oaks Farm Distillery in New Tripoli, Pennsylvania, on March 19, 2020.
Branden Eastwood | AFP | Getty Images
Whiskey sales have fallen at least 50% at the New Liberty Distillery in Philadelphia because of the shutdown of bars, restaurants and state-owned liquor stores due the coronavirus outbreak. The pain can be even greater for many others, said owner Robert Cassell.
“Some distilleries, that number is probably closer to 80% because they’re smaller operations that rely on the direct-to-consumer [channel],” said Cassell, who is also the president of the Pennsylvania Distillers Guild.
Hoping to use their facilities to help battle the coronavirus outbreak and keep employees on the payroll, the guild has partnered with the state of Pennsylvania to produce 100,000 bottles of hand sanitizer using alcohol that would normally fill bottles of spirits. Bottlers of sanitizer have been in short supply as people look to prevent the spread of the highly contagious virus. —Frank Holland
11:41 am: Streets in India sit eerily empty amid coronavirus lockdown
This aerial photograph taken on March 25, 2020 shows a deserted road, as a nationwide lockdown continues after the coronavirus outbreak on March 25, 2020 in Kolkata, Eastern India.
Debajyoti Chakraborty | NurPhoto | Getty Images
Streets in India normally bustling with people and traffic stayed empty Wednesday as the country of 1.3 billion people endured the first day of a national lockdown brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the new measure Tuesday, saying that people would have to remain in their homes for the next 21 days with only essential services remaining open. The move is designed to curb the virus’s spread and keep the country’s already-fragile health system from buckling under a surge of critically ill patients. —Adam Jeffery, Hannah Miller
11:24 am: Markets take 3 million claims in stride and now brace for ‘tsunami of negative news’
The first crushing wave of 3.28 million workers seeking unemployment benefits is expected to be followed by millions more in the coming weeks as the impact of virus-related shutdowns ripples across the U.S. economy.
Economists had expected anywhere between 1 million and 4 million new claims to be filed for the week ending March 21, as the impact of the first state shelter-in-place orders affected workers. The 3.28 million is a record and dwarfs the past record of nearly 700,000 claims filed in one week in 1982.
Stocks rose after the claims report. Treasury yields, which move opposite price, edged higher but were still lower on the day.
“This week’s jobless claims surge was well advertised before the print,” said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at National Securities. “People were talking about the potential of this to be as high as 6 or 7 million. The focus by the market now is on the fact we’re likely to get a historically large fiscal stimulus bill signed in the House by Friday. This is just the beginning of a tsunami of negative news … Everything on the economic data front is going to start looking horrendous.” —Patti Domm
11:17 am: Senators will leave Washington until April 20 — but the coronavirus crisis could force them to return
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the chamber would adjourn for nearly a month after it passed a historically huge $2 trillion coronavirus relief package late Wednesday night.
But as the outbreak takes a toll on American health and financial well-being, the unprecedented crisis may force Congress to act again sooner than the Senate’s planned return date of April 20. McConnell acknowledged the reality Wednesday night, promising the chamber would stay “nimble” as the pandemic spreads.
“If circumstances require the Senate to return for a vote sooner than April the 20th, we will provide at least 24 hours of notice,” he said. —Jacob Pramuk
11:00 am: The ‘patchwork’ efforts by US to curb spread of coronavirus are not enough, former Obama advisor says
The “patchwork” efforts by local and state officials across the U.S. to curb the spread of the coronavirus are not enough, former Obama White House health policy advisor Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel told CNBC.
State and local officials have implemented a variety of “shelter-in-place” orders, shuttering nonessential businesses, bars and restaurants to contain the spread of the coronavirus. Without a national lockdown, the states that have issued shelter-in-place type orders are shouldering a brunt of the economic damage, Emanuel said. Worst yet, those efforts are being undermined by other regions that aren’t doing the same.
“If we don’t have a full national lockdown … You are going to have these rollercoasters. You contain it in some area. Then we try to ease it up, then it just blossoms again and we are never going to get it under control in the whole country,” Emanuel, vice provost for global initiatives at the University of Pennsylvania, said in an interview on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.” —William Feuer
10:40 am: Gig workers for companies like Uber, Lyft would get unemployment benefits under Senate stimulus bill
Gig workers won a landmark protection in the $2 trillion stimulus bill that passed in a unanimous 96-0 vote in the Senate Wednesday. The bill now moves to the House, which is expected to vote Friday.
The bill would allow gig workers, such as Uber and Lyft drivers, as well as freelancers and the self-employed to be eligible to apply for unemployment benefits. It would also add $600 per week for up to four months compared to what beneficiaries normally receive.
The protection also marks a win for the companies that employ gig workers and rely on them for their businesses to function. —Lauren Feiner
10:08 am: Dow rallies 600 points, heads for 3-day winning streak
Stocks traded sharply higher on Thursday even after the release of record-breaking initial jobless claims sparked by the coronavirus pandemic. The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 650 points, or more than 3%. The S&P 500 gained nearly 3% while the Nasdaq Composite advanced 2.6%. Those gains put the major averages on track for a three-day winning streak. —Fred Imbert, Pippa Stevens, Eustance Huang
9:41 am: Coronavirus stimulus checks will come within three weeks, Mnuchin says
US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin speaks during the daily briefing on the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, at the White House on March 25, 2020, in Washington, DC.
Mandel Ngan | AFP | Getty Images
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Thursday that people will start getting relief checks within three weeks, as the country reels from the coronavirus pandemic.
Mnuchin spoke to CNBC the morning after the Senate passed a $2 trillion stimulus package intended to blunt economic damage from the spread of the coronavirus. The House is expected to vote on the legislation Friday.
The massive relief bill offers direct cash payments of up to $1,200 for individuals and $2,400 for couples, with $500 added for every child, based on 2019 tax returns for those who filed them and 2018 information if they have not. The benefit begins to phase out for individuals making $75,000 in income and ends completely for those making $99,000 or more. —Kevin Breuninger
9:35 am: Stocks jump for a third day, shaking off a record surge in jobless claims because of the coronavirus
Stocks opened higher on Thursday even after the release of record-breaking initial jobless claims sparked by the coronavirus pandemic. The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 500 points, or more than 2%. The S&P 500 gained more than 1.5% along with the Nasdaq Composite.
Boeing, JPMorgan Chase and Intel drove the Dow’s gains, rising at least 3%. Industrials and health care were the best-performing sectors in the S&P 500 as the both traded more than 2% higher. —Fred Imbert, Pippa Stevens, Eustance Huang
9:30 am: Trump’s claim that malaria drug can treat coronavirus gives hope, but little evidence, it will work
Hopes for a coronavirus treatment were boosted after President Donald Trump announced at a White House press briefing last week that two anti-malaria drugs were a “game-changer” that have shown “very, very encouraging results.″
But scientists and infectious disease experts say Trump’s claims about the drugs — chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine — may be a bit premature. While some small studies give doctors reason to hope, large clinical trials are needed to determine whether the drugs are truly effective in fighting COVID-19, they say.
To pass the FDA’s muster, and win approval for widespread use, chloroquine and azithromycin will need to undergo rigorous clinical trials with thousands of participants — not a couple dozen, according to the agency’s guidelines. —Berkeley Lovelace Jr.
9:18 am: Senate’s $2 trillion coronavirus package includes payroll tax delay for employers
The Senate’s $2 trillion stimulus package designed to contain the economic damage from coronavirus will postpone payroll taxes for employers, a key source of revenue for Social Security and Medicare.
The bill passed late Wednesday will allow companies to pay their 2020 payroll taxes through the end of 2022. They will have to pay 50% by the end of 2021.
The Senate legislation, which has been described as the largest rescue bill in history, must be approved by the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives and signed by the president in order to become law. The House is expected to vote on the matter on Friday. —Tucker Higgins
8:57 am: Udacity offers free tech training to laid-off workers
On Thursday the Mountain View, California-based company revealed that in the wake of layoffs and furloughs by major U.S. corporations, including Marriott International, Hilton Hotels and GE Aviation, it will offer its courses — known as nanodegrees — for free to individuals in the U.S. who have been let go because of the coronavirus. The average price for an individual signing up for a nanodegree is about $400 a month, and the degrees take anywhere from four to six months to complete, according to the company. —Susan Caminiti
8:47 am: Ford plans to restart production at ‘key’ auto plants starting in early April
8:30 am: Weekly jobless claims soar to 3.28 million
Americans displaced by the coronavirus crisis filed unemployment claims in record numbers, with the Labor Department reporting a surge to 3.28 million for the week ended March 21.
The number shatters the Great Recession peak of 665,000 in March 2009 and the all-time mark of 695,000 in October 1982. Businesses across the country have shut down amid a policy of social distancing aimed at keeping the virus’s growth in check. Individual states have reported websites crashing amid a rush to file. —Jeff Cox
8:19 am: German employment index hits lowest since Jan 2010
The Ifo economic institute’s German employment barometer fell in March to its lowest level since January 2010, the Handelsblatt newspaper reported, adding that the drop is the biggest since records began in 2002.
“German companies are putting the brakes on personnel planning,” Ifo expert Klaus Wohlrabe said of the data, which the Munich institute calculates monthly for Handelsblatt based on the employment intentions of around 9,000 companies.
“A rise in unemployment will be unavoidable despite short-time work,” Wohlrabe said, referring to a government-backed scheme that allows firms to put workers on shorter hours. —Reuters
8:18 am: Swiss coronavirus cases top 10,000, with 161 deaths
Switzerland has 10,714 confirmed coronavirus infections and 161 people have died of the disease, the Federal Office of Public Health said. The numbers were up to date as of 0715 GMT, it said. —Reuters
8:01 am: Dow futures down 300 points as traders brace for jobless claims report
People gather at the entrance for the New York State Department of Labor offices in Brooklyn, which closed to the public due to the coronavirus disease outbreak March 20, 2020.
Andrew Kelly | REUTERS
U.S. stock futures fell in early morning trading as investors looked ahead to the national weekly initial jobless claims data, which are expected to show a record-breaking spike.
Dow futures indicated an opening drop of more than 300 points at the market open. S&P 500 futures and Nasdaq-100 futures pointed to opening losses of more than 1%. National weekly initial jobless claims data will be out 8:30 a.m. ET. Economists are projecting record-shattering numbers. —Fred Imbert, Pippa Stevens, Eustance Huang
7:45 am: Fed chief Powell’s message to Americans: ‘The Federal Reserve is working hard to support you’
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell told Americans the central bank is working hard to support them during these unprecedented financial conditions.
“The Federal Reserve is working hard to support you now, and our policies will be very important when the recovery does come, to make that recovery as strong as possible,” Powell said on NBC’s “Today.”
“Really the message is this: This is a unique situation, its not like a typical downturn. We’ve asked people to step back from economic activity really to make an investment in our public health. They’re doing that for the public good and this bill that’s just passed is going to try to provide relief and stability to those people,” Powell added. —Maggie Fitzgerald
7:23 pm: US cases posting steeper rise than most
In the U.S., the rapid increase in the distribution of coronavirus test kits has likely accelerated the pace of reported and confirmed cases. Cumulative case counts also don’t account for how many patients have recovered or for lags in reporting cases and differences in reporting methods.
Still, researchers say that even incomplete data is critical to current efforts to “flatten the curve” of the spread of the pandemic — from the steep rise in the initial phases to a more gradual increase as efforts to contain the outbreak take effect. —John Schoen
7:00 am: Here’s what’s in the $2 trillion US stimulus bill
The Senate approved an unprecedented stimulus bill, estimated to cost $2 trillion, as Congress tries to lessen the pandemic’s human and economic toll. The chamber passed the legislation Wednesday night as workers face widespread layoffs, hospitals and states starve for resources and businesses small and large worry about their survival. The House aims to pass it by Friday. The bill is designed to offer relief to individuals, the health care system and even an entire corporate sector ravaged by the outbreak. Here’s what’s in it. —Jacob Pramuk
6:57 am: Spain reports over 8,000 new cases as death toll rises
In this handout from the Comunidad de Madrid, health workers prepare to receive the first patients with coronavirus at Ifema exhibition complex on March 22, 2020 in Madrid, Spain.
Comunidad de Madrid | Getty Images
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Spain has risen by 8,578 in the last 24 hours, the country’s health ministry announced. That takes the total number of cases in Spain to 56,188.
The death toll in Spain rose to 4,089 on Thursday, up from 3,434 the previous day. Spain’s death toll has surpassed China’s, where the official number of fatalities stands at 3,291. —Holly Ellyatt
5:59 am: Iran starts intercity travel ban
Iran has started an intercity travel ban, an Iranian official said in a televised news conference, Reuters reported. The ban comes a day after Iran’s government spokesman warned the country might face a surge of COVID-19 cases. Officials have been critical of Iranians who have ignored appeals to stay at home and cancel travel plans for the Persian New Year holidays that began on March 20. Iran has recorded 27,017 confirmed cases of the virus, and has reported just over 2,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. —Holly Ellyatt
5:40 am: UK retail sales failed to grow in February
A lady shopper with a striped bag outside the window of fashion brand Superdry, on 18th April 2017, in London, England.
Richard Baker | In Pictures via Getty Images
British retail sales failed to grow at all in February, marking their weakest performance since 2013, official figures show. When compared with the same month a year earlier, retail sales in the U.K. for February 2020 remained flat; the lowest year-on-year growth rate since March 2013, the Office for National Statistics said. The lackluster data reflects poor sales even before most retailers were forced to close because of the lockdown due to the coronavirus. —Holly Ellyatt
5:30 am: US envoy blames China for endangering world with coronavirus
The U.S. ambassador to London said China had put the world in danger by suppressing information about the coronavirus outbreak.
“First it tried to suppress the news,” Ambassador Woody Johnson wrote in an article for U.K. newspaper The Times. “Had China done the right things at the right time, more of its own population, and the rest of the world, might have been spared the most serious impact of this disease,” the ambassador said. —Holly Ellyatt