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Expert says virus could kill millions, seniors get special shopping hours

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 219,400
  • Global deaths: At least 8,946
  • US cases: At least 9,159
  • US deaths: At least 150

All data above is provided by Johns Hopkins University.

11:30 am: Disney warns that coronavirus is making it hard to predict future performance

Disney is warning investors that the coronavirus pandemic has affected so many of its business segments that it’s becoming more challenging for the company to estimate its future performance.

“We have closed our theme parks; suspended our cruises and theatrical shows; delayed theatrical distribution of films both domestically and internationally; and experienced supply chain disruption and ad sales impacts,” the company said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission Thursday. —Sarah Whitten

11:21 am: Bank of England cuts rates again and ramps up bond buying to combat coronavirus impact

The Bank of England (BOE) cut interest rates to 0.1% and ratcheted up its bond-buying program, in an effort to offset the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak.

At an emergency meeting, the central bank’s monetary policy committee voted unanimously to lower borrowing costs by 15 basis points and to increase the BOE’s bond-buying program to £645 billion ($752 billion US), up £200 billion.

The BOE had previously cut rates to 0.25% from 0.75% on March 11. —Sam Meredith

11:11 am: New York Gov. Cuomo orders 75% of non-essential workforce to stay home as cases surge to 4,152

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered 75% of the workforce in non-essential services to stay at home, approved mortgage relief and took other measures Thursday as the number of coronavirus cases across the state surged to 4,152 — with 1,769 new infections confirmed overnight.

Due to the spike in COVID-19 cases, Cuomo ordered 75% of the workforce in non-essential services to stay at home, a 25% increase from a day earlier. Essential services include businesses dealing with food, pharmacies, healthcare, shipping, and supplies.

“These are major shifts in life, in the most emotional, stressful conditions that you can imagine,” Cuomo said during a press briefing in Albany. —Berkeley Lovelace Jr., Noah Higgins-Dunn

11:08 am: What to do if you can’t make your rent or mortgage payments

Millions of U.S. households are expected to face financial burdens in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. If you are facing reduced hours or job loss and are worried about making your rent or mortgage payment this month, stay calm — President Donald Trump said Wednesday that the Department of Housing and Urban Development will suspend “all foreclosures and evictions” through the end of April.

That said, you will still want to discuss your options with your mortgage lender or landlord if you have experienced a disruption in your income. CNBC’s Make It offers advice on how to deal with landlords and lenders. —Alicia Adamczyk

11:02 am: Restaurant reservations grind to a halt

Restaurant reservations made through OpenTable ground to a halt in five U.S. cities on Tuesday as restaurant dining room restrictions go into place, according to data from the company. Honolulu’s restaurant bookings have fallen the least, with a decline of 55% compared to a year ago. The Bookings Holdings platform only tracks reservations, not takeout or delivery. —Amelia Lucas

10:49 am: L Brands stops taking new lingerie orders online

The owner of Victoria’s Secret and Bath & Body Works said Thursday it is suspending all “new” online orders for lingerie in the U.S. and Canada from March 17 through March 29.

L Brands said, instead, its Bath & Body Works business online will be prioritizing hand sanitizer and soap sales. It said this business is being fulfilled by a third party.

L Brands said all workers will receive pay and benefits during the shutdown. It had already announced earlier in the week it was closing all of its stores temporarily. But it is trying to get some Bath & Body Works locations back up and running sooner. — Lauren Thomas

10:31 am: Uber stock skyrockets after company says it has plenty of cash to get through crisis

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi during the Bloomberg Global Business Forum in New York, September 25, 2019.

Shannon Stapleton | Reuters

Uber stock rose as much as 35% Thursday after the company held a call with investors before trading began and said the company has plenty of cash on hand to get through the coronavirus crisis and is seeing growth in other areas of the business as rides fall dramatically as people stay home.

CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said the company’s rides segment is seeing a 60% to 70% decline in areas hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic, but has also seen growth in its food delivery business Uber Eats.

“We believe we’re already seeing worst of the impact and the recovery in some places,” Khosrowshahi said on a call with analysts. “Once things start moving, Uber will too.” —Jessica Bursztynsky

10:27 am: Trump wants direct payments of $1,000 for adults, $500 for kids in stimulus bill, Mnuchin says

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin laid out details of the Trump administration’s plan to send Americans relief money as part of a massive stimulus package to blunt the impact of the novel coronavirus crisis. Mnuchin said in a Fox Business Network interview that the plan would send payments directly to Americans totaling $500 billion.

That money would be divided into two large tranches.

“The first one would be $1,000 per person, $500 per child. So for a family of four, that’s a $3,000 payment,” Mnuchin said. “As soon as Congress passes this, we get this out in three weeks. And then, six weeks later, if the president still has a national emergency, we’ll deliver another $3,000,” Mnuchin said. —Kevin Breuninger

10:23 am: Coronavirus could kill millions in the US: ‘Do the math,’ CDC advisor says

The new coronavirus could kill millions across the U.S., said Dr. Kathleen Neuzil, director of the Center for Vaccine Development at the University of Maryland’s School of Medicine.

“It would not surprise me,” she told CNBC when asked whether the U.S. could see millions of deaths. “We need to prepare for the worst.”

Neuzil sits on the Centers for Disease Control’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and is part of the leadership team of infectious disease experts working with NIH to test a coronavirus vaccine and therapies to treat those sick with COVID-19.

“We have 350 million people in the United States, and you do the math,” she said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.” If 70 million people are eventually infected with this virus and again if there are multiple waves of this virus, then you can do the math and then you can get there.” —Will Feuer

10:11 am: Stop & Shop, other grocers have special shopping hours for seniors

Long lines form at a grocery store in Waltham, MA on March 13, 2020 as citizens stock up amid growing coronavirus cases.

Suzanne Kreiter | Boston Globe | Getty Images

Early each morning, customers at Stop & Shop who are older or more vulnerable to the coronavirus will have a new way to fill up their refrigerator and pantry: An hour and half when they can shop before other customers arrive.

Stop & Shop, Target, Walmart, and Amazon-owned Whole Foods are among the grocers testing the new approach to try to protect people with a higher risk of getting sick as confirmed cases of COVID-19 rise across the U.S. As Americans prepare for prolonged stays inside of their homes, grocery stores have drawn large crowds and frenzied shoppers.

By designating special time slots, retailers aim to make it easier for senior citizens and shoppers with medical conditions to safely navigate stores and buy food and household necessities. —Melissa Repko

10:07 am: Democrats warn that one or two direct payments to Americans won’t be enough

Democrats are gearing up for a fight over whether direct payments to Americans struggling with the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic will be enough. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is among those arguing for expanded unemployment insurance as a source of relief.

“A single $1,000 check would help someone pay their landlord in March but what happens after that?” the New York Democrat said on the chamber floor Wednesday. “A thousand dollars goes by pretty quickly if you’re unemployed. In contrast, expanded unemployment insurance — beefed-up unemployment insurance — covers you for a much longer time and would provide a much bigger safety net.”

An aide for Schumer did not immediately answer whether the senator opposed to the concept of direct payments entirely, or just the form currently outlined. —Lauren Hirsch, Kevin Breuninger

10:01 am: Ex-Trump advisor Gary Cohn warns the US will have ‘massive unemployment very, very quickly’

Gary Cohn

Kristoffer Tripplaar | The Washington Post | Getty Images

The U.S. unemployment rate will rise swiftly and dramatically as the coronavirus brings the American economy to a stop, former top White House economic advisor Gary Cohn told CNBC. “I believe that we are going to have massive unemployment very, very quickly,” Cohn said on “Squawk Box.”

Cohn’s comments came shortly after the Labor Department said jobless claims rose to 281,000 last week, an increase of 70,000 from the week prior.

The former Goldman Sachs president is not alone in forecasting a continued jump in unemployment. Pantheon Macroeconomics’ Ian Shepherdson earlier told CNBC he thought next Thursday’s jobless claims could soar to around two million. —Kevin Stankiewicz

9:56 am: GM, Ford studying whether auto factories can be used to make medical supplies

General Motors and Ford Motor are studying whether they can use their auto factories to support production of ventilators and other medical equipment to help combat the coronavirus pandemic sweeping across the nation.

GM CEO Mary Barra spoke with the Trump administration Wednesday about the automaker’s decision to pause production, the company said in a statement. “She also indicated GM is working to help find solutions for the nation during this difficult time and has offered to help, and we are already studying how we can potentially support production of medical equipment like ventilators,” according to the statement.

Ford also confirmed the company has had preliminary discussions with the government and is looking into the feasibility of producing medical equipment. —Noah Higgins-Dunn, Phil LeBeau

9:53 am: Flattening the coronavirus curve — What this means and why it matters

The World Health Organization has repeatedly underlined the importance of “flattening the curve” in order to tackle the coronavirus outbreak, calling on countries around the world to impose sweeping public health measures.

In epidemiology, the curve refers to the projected number of new cases over a period of time.

In contrast to a steep rise of coronavirus infections, a more gradual uptick of cases will see the same number of people get infected, but without overburdening the health-care system at any one time.

The idea of flattening the curve is to stagger the number of new cases over a longer period, so that people have better access to care. —Sam Meredith

9:50 am: Three pillars of Trump’s case for reelection are collapsing all at once

President Donald Trump speaks at an evening “Keep America Great Rally” at the Wildwood Convention Center on January 28, 2020 in Wildwood, New Jersey.

Spencer Platt | Getty Images

In just over a month, the three pillars underpinning President Donald Trump’s argument for reelection have all collapsed. Trump’s reelection campaign was designed under the premise that the economy would be strong through November, but that’s not true anymore.

Trump also planned to make socialism a central focus of his attacks. But without Bernie Sanders to run against, this argument becomes a lot less potent.

Finally, Trump campaigned on “draining the swamp” of big government. Now he wants Americans to trust in big government to fight coronavirus and save the economy. —Christina Wilkie

9:44 am: Bank of America says the recession is already here: ‘Jobs will be lost, wealth will be destroyed’

Bank of America warned investors that a coronavirus-induced recession is no longer avoidable — it’s already here.

“We are officially declaring that the economy has fallen into a recession … joining the rest of the world, and it is a deep plunge,” Bank of America U.S. economist Michelle Meyer wrote in a note. “Jobs will be lost, wealth will be destroyed and confidence depressed.”

The firm expects the economy to “collapse” in the second quarter, shrinking by 12%. GDP for the full year will contract by 0.8%, it said. —Pippa Stevens

9:32 am: Stocks fall slightly a day after the Dow closed below 20,000 for first time since 2017

Stocks opened lower, building on the previous session’s steep losses as the coronavirus crisis rages on.

“Markets are clearly in a state of panic and forced liquidations – but risks remain skewed to the upside and this should become much more apparent once some of the solvency issues are addressed,” Adam Crisafulli, founder of Vital Knowledge, said in a note.

The moves followed yet another violent day on Wall Street on Wednesday. The Dow dropped 1,338.46 points, or 6.3%, on Wednesday and clinched its first close below 20,000 since February 2017. The Dow was down more than 2,300 points at the lows of the session. The S&P 500 dropped 5.2% to 2,398.10 and closed nearly 30% below a record set last month as both indexes sank further into bear markets. —Fred Imbert, Thomas Franck

9:30 am: Olive Garden’s parent Darden Restaurants pulls earnings outlook and dividend

A take-out order from a Darden Restaurants Inc. Olive Garden.

Daniel Acker | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Darden Restaurants reported quarterly earnings and revenue that topped analysts’ expectations. The company also withdrew its fiscal 2020 outlook and suspended its quarterly dividend, citing the uncertainty it faces as states mandate the closure of dining rooms due the coronavirus epidemic.

Darden has fully drawn down its $750 million credit facility “out of an abundance of caution.”

“With the drawdown of our revolver, and cash on the balance sheet, we will have approximately $1 billion in cash on hand,” CFO Rick Cardenas said in a statement. “We believe this positions us well to deal with potential near term volatility under the current market conditions.” —Amelia Lucas

9:26 am: Investor Ray Dalio estimates the corporate losses in the US will top $4 trillion

Investor Ray Dalio told CNBC the coronavirus outbreak will cost U.S. corporations up to $4 trillion, and “a lot of people are going to be broke.”

“What’s happening has not happened in our lifetime before … What we have is a crisis,” Dalio said in a “Squawk Box” interview. “There will also be individuals who have very big losses. … There’s a need for the government to spend more money, a lot more money.”

The total U.S. GDP at the end of 2019 was more than $21 trillion. The founder of the Bridgewater Associates hedge fund also estimated the global corporate losses will amount to $12 trillion due to the pandemic.

Dalio said the fiscal stimulus package should be $1.5 trillion to $2 trillion at a minimum, depending on the form of the financial relief such as loan guarantees and credits. —Jeff Cox

8:41 am: Airbnb hosts lose out as cancellations pile up

Airbnb hosts are beginning to feel the impact of the coronavirus pandemic following a change by the company to its cancellation policy that has allowed guests traveling over the next month to receive full refunds on their bookings, overriding existing policies put in place by hosts to protect themselves in such situations. 

That change has already cost Airbnb hosts in California, Florida, Kansas, Utah, Michigan and the state of Washington to lose thousands of dollars in reservations, numerous hosts told CNBC. 

Now, as cancellations continue and new bookings dry up, many hosts around the country have empty calendars for the coming weeks and are facing uncertain futures as the due dates for their mortgages, utilities bills, homeowners association fees and property taxes draw near. —Salvador Rodriguez

8:37 am: Weekly jobless claims jump ahead of surge in coronavirus layoffs

Jobless claims rose to 281,000 last week, reflecting only the first indications of the impact the coronavirus will have on the U.S. employment picture. 

That number reflected a significant rise from the previous week’s 211,000.

Companies are just starting to announce coronavirus-related layoffs, many of those in the hospitality industry, so the real damage probably won’t start showing through until next week’s count, which will entail the period through this Saturday. —Jeff Cox

8:08 am: Stock futures point to more losses

Futures contracts tied to the major U.S. stock indexes pointed to more losses at the open, building on the previous session’s steep losses as the coronavirus crisis rages on.

As of 7:58 a.m. ET, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were down more than 500 points, implying an opening loss of more than 400 points. S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 futures also fell.

“Markets are clearly in a state of panic and forced liquidations – but risks remain skewed to the upside and this should become much more apparent once some of the solvency issues are addressed,” Adam Crisafulli, founder of Vital Knowledge, said in a note.  —Fred Imbert, Thomas Franck

7:54 am: One person dies every 10 minutes in Iran

An Iranian woman wears a protective face mask, following the coronavirus outbreak, as she walks in Tehran, Iran March 5, 2020.

Nazanin Tabatabaee | West Asia News Agency via Reuters

COVID-19 kills one person every 10 minutes in Iran, the health ministry spokesman tweeted, as the death toll in the Middle East’s worst-affected country climbed to 1,284.

“Based on our information, every 10 minutes one person dies from the coronavirus and some 50 people become infected with the virus every hour in Iran,” Kianush Jahanpur tweeted. —Reuters

7:28 am: Spain’s death toll climbs more than 200 overnight

Spain’s health ministry said its national death toll soared by 209 to 767 fatalities from the previous day as the total number of coronavirus cases climbed by a quarter to 17,147. On Wednesday, there were 13,716 cases in Spain. —Reuters

7:25 am: Virus 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. The latest weekly unemployment numbers are expected out at 8:30 a.m. ET Thursday. —Jeff Cox

7:08 am: Italy’s lockdown will be prolonged, prime minister says

Two carabinieres are seen at a checkpoint during the coronavirus outbreak 18, 2020 in Milan, Italy. Italian Government continues to enforce the nationwide lockdown as measures to control the coronavirus spread. (Photo by Pier Marco Tacca/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Pier Marco Tacca | Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Italy’s lockdown is set to be extended beyond the current end-date of April 3, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said as its death toll rises at a record rate. Speaking to Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, Conte said measures taken to close schools and universities and to restrict movement throughout Italy would have to be prolonged.

“The total blockade will go on,” Conte said. “The measures taken, both the closure of [public] activities and the ones concerning schools, can only be extended,” he told the paper. —Holly Ellyatt

6:33 am: Europe’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier has coronavirus

Michel Barnier, who leads the EU’s Brexit negotiations, has said he has contracted the virus.
Announcing the news on Twitter, he said he was “doing well and in good spirits.” —Holly Ellyatt

6:20 am: Burberry’s sales plunge 80%

Burberry was already closed inside of Macy’s earlier in the week.

Source: Lauren Thomas, CNBC

Luxury brand Burberry said sales in the final weeks of March would plunge by up to 80% as the impact of coronavirus on consumers, already seen in China, has spread to Europe and the U.S. The British brand said like-for-like sales in the final weeks of its financial year to March 28 would be down 70% to 80%, and as a result fourth-quarter sales would be 30% lower, Reuters reported. —Holly Ellyatt

6:14 am: Medtronic says it has increased ventilator production by 40%

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