Two new studies that looked at the share of total infections that are asymptomatic are raising questions about how widely the virus might have already spread throughout the seemingly healthy population.
This is CNBC’s live blog covering all the latest news on the coronavirus outbreak. This blog will be updated throughout the day as the news breaks.
- Global cases: More than 5.71 million
- Global deaths: At least 356,124
- U.S. cases: More than 1.69 million
- U.S. deaths: At least 100,442
The data above was compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
Walmart’s tech team will keep working remotely, even as pandemic subsides
Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg via Getty Images
1:19 p.m. ET — Walmart is the latest company to announce that some employees who been working remotely during the coronavirus pandemic don’t have to return to the office anytime soon — or potentially, ever.
The big-box retailer has a team of about 10,000 software engineers, data scientists and other tech workers that build tools that power its stores and e-commerce business. Many of them work in Silicon Valley.
In an email, Walmart’s Global Chief Technology Officer Suresh Kumar told the tech team that “working virtually will be the new normal, at least for most of the work we lead.”
Instead of having employees come to the office each day, he said office space “will be used primarily for collaboration, to sync up and strengthen camaraderie.” —Melissa Repko
Rise of remote working set to hit oil demand, analysts warn
1:00 p.m. ET — Some companies have already announced that work-from-home policies will become permanent after the pandemic abates, and if that trend continues the impact on oil demand could be significant.
“The biggest threat to oil demand is the rise of remote working,” Bernstein said in a recent note to clients.
Business air travel could also take a hit as employees become accustomed to holding meetings over Zoom and other video-conferencing platforms.
“Right now you’re challenging that notion that business travel is the cost of doing business,” said Dan Klein, head of scenario planning at S&P Global Platts.
The firm is forecasting between 1 million barrels per day and 1.5 million bpd of demand loss from fewer commuters, and between 1.5 million bpd and 2 million bpd of demand loss from a slowdown in business air travel. The International Energy Agency expects global oil demand to drop by 8.6 million bpd this year to 91.2 million bpd. — Pippa Stevens
English Premier League to return June 17
Fans wear disposable face masks prior to the Premier League match between Burnley FC and Tottenham Hotspur at Turf Moor on March 07, 2020 in Burnley, United Kingdom.
Michael Regan | Getty Images
12:43 p.m. ET — As more professional sports organizations move towards reopening, England’s Premier League will resume its season on June 17, according to a BBC report.
The soccer league was suspended on March 13 because of the pandemic, but teams were able to hold small group training starting last week.
The first games to be played are Aston Villa v Sheffield United and Manchester City v Arsenal. They will not include spectators. —Hannah Miller
Sen. Tim Kaine says he has tested positive for antibodies
11:32 a.m. ET — Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., said he and his wife have tested positive for antibodies to the coronavirus.
“We each tested positive for coronavirus antibodies this month,” Kaine said in a statement. “While those antibodies could make us less likely to be re-infected or infect others, there is still too much uncertainty over what protection antibodies may actually provide. So we will keep following CDC guidelines — hand washing, mask-wearing, social distancing. We encourage others to do so as well. It shows those around you that you care about them.”
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., was the first senator to announce that he had tested positive for the coronavirus in late March, just days before the Senate passed the first round of stimulus relief. Kaine was among the senators who voted in person to pass the relief package in the Senate, according to congressional records. —Yelena Dzhanova
NYC reports lowest daily positive testing rate since outbreak began
A screen grab of Mayor Bill de Blasio holding a copy of the New York Post during a coronavirus press conference.
11:13 a.m. ET — New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said 6% of residents tested positive for Covid-19 on Tuesday, the lowest daily rate the city has reported since the beginning of the outbreak in March. De Blasio said the city aims to remain below 15% daily positive Covid-19 tests.
“This is a very good day, 6% positive, and we’re doing more and more testing,” de Blasio said Thursday. “The more New Yorkers we’re reaching, the better picture we’re getting at what’s happening in this city, the fewer people we’re finding test positive as a percentage. That’s a great sign for the future of this city.”
De Blasio said the city will likely begin its phase one reopening in the coming weeks, which will allow for various retail businesses, like those that sell clothing, electronics, furniture, sporting goods and office supplies, to reopen for curbside or in-store pickup.
He said the city estimates that 200,000 to 400,000 residents will return to work in the first phase of reopening. Those businesses will be required to implement various modifications, such as enforced social distancing practices and increased use of personal protective equipment, he said. —Noah Higgins-Dunn
Delta offers employees buyouts, early retirement in race to cut costs
10:41 a.m. ET — Delta Air Lines has started offering thousands of employees buyout or early retirement packages, an effort to slash costs. The Atlanta-based carrier, the least unionized of the major U.S. airlines, had around 91,000 employees as of the end of last year. A package for its more than 13,000 unionized pilots is forthcoming, CEO Ed Bastian told employees in a memo.
Devastated by the coronavirus crisis, airlines are scrambling to reduce their headcount as they face paltry demand during what is normally the busiest time of year. U.S. airlines are prohibited from laying off employees through Sept. 30 under the conditions of $25 billion in federal aid, but executives at several carriers are warning employees of potentially deep cuts by October if there aren’t enough volunteers.
American Airlines told employees on Wednesday night it wants to reduce its management and administrative ranks by 30%, a cut of around 5,000 jobs. Delta didn’t provide a target for how many jobs it wants to lose under the voluntary measures. —Leslie Josephs
Popeyes’ U.S. same-store sales soar more than 40% despite pandemic
Popeyes Chicken Sandwich
Source: Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen
10:38 a.m. ET — As the restaurant industry struggles to stay afloat, Popeyes Lousiana Kitchen is bucking the trend.
The fried chicken chain reported domestic same-store sales growth of more than 40%, as of the third full week of May. Popeyes’ U.S. same-store sales were flat in the second half of March, a time when many other restaurant companies were reporting double-digit declines.
Ever since Popeyes launched its popular chicken sandwich in August, the chain’s same-store sales growth has far outpaced that of its competition.
Restaurant Brands International’s two other chains, Tim Hortons and Burger King, also have seen sales improve in May, although their domestic same-store sales continue to decline year to year. —Amelia Lucas
Casinos could be risky as Las Vegas prepares to reopen, Dr. Scott Gottlieb says
10:02 a.m. ET — Some of Las Vegas’ largest casinos are set to reopen next Thursday, but Dr. Scott Gottlieb said that is a risky move.
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak said the state’s outbreak has seen a “consistent and sustainable downward trajectory,” but reopening casinos threatens to bring travelers who could be carrying the virus. The announcement to reopen casinos and other businesses in the state comes as state and local officials across the country try to restart the economy in a bid to avoid economic devastation while also controlling the spread of the virus.
“You look at Las Vegas reopening its casinos,” Gottlieb said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.” “Those are the kinds of settings where I think you have more risk, where you have a lot of people crowding together, coming and going in indoor settings for sustained periods of time.” —William Feuer
Disclosure: Scott Gottlieb is a CNBC contributor and is a member of the boards of Pfizer and biotech company Illumina.
Cineworld expects to reopen movie theaters in July, boosts liquidity
Source: Anthony22 | WIkimedia Commons
9:54 a.m. ET — The owner of U.S.-based Regal Cinemas, which is aiming to reopen its doors in July, has received a waiver from its lenders on a debt covenant and has raised additional liquidity that will allow it to operate until the end of the year.
Cineworld’s new funding includes $110 million of liquidity through an increase of its revolving credit facility and $45 million through the U.K.’s Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme. The company is seeking an additional $25 million through the U.S. government’s Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act.
Cineworld has a $3.5 billion debt pile and all of its nearly 800 locations in 10 countries have been shuttered during the coronavirus pandemic. It suspended its dividend payments last month.
The additional liquidity “will provide it with sufficient headroom to support the Group even in the unlikely event cinemas remain closed until the end of the year,” Cineworld said. —Sarah Whitten
Dow climbs for a third day as jobless claims signal economy may be bottoming
9:38 a.m. ET — The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose for a third day as the latest unemployment data signaled the worst of the economic damage from the coronavirus pandemic may be over. The 30-stock Dow traded 114 points higher, or 0.4%. The S&P 500 gained 0.2%. The Nasdaq Composite lagged, with a 0.2% drop.
The Labor Department said 2.1 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week. Continuing claims, which represent a better unemployment picture, plunged by nearly 4 million in their first decline since the coronavirus outbreak.
Read updates on stock market activity from CNBC’s Fred Imbert and Thomas Franck. —Melodie Warner
Abercrombie & Fitch first-quarter sales fall 34% as coronavirus hampers business
Pedestrians are reflected in the window of an Abercrombie & Fitch store in New York.
Craig Warga | Bloomberg | Getty Images
9:29 a.m. ET — Abercrombie & Fitch’s sales tanked 34% during the first quarter because of forced store closures during the coronavirus pandemic. The company joins other apparel and mall-based retailers such as Macy’s and L Brands struggling to entice consumers to shop during the Covid-19 crisis. Sales at the company’s namesake Abercrombie brand were down 30% and its Hollister sales were down 36%.
About 50% of Abercrombie’s stores globally are reopened, the company said. As Abercrombie’s stores turn the lights back on, productivity is returning to about 80% in the U.S. and 60% in the Europe, Middle East and Africa region, according to CEO Fran Horowitz. The company is not offering a second-quarter or full-year outlook. —Lauren Thomas
JC Penney reopens 150 additional stores during coronavirus pandemic, after bankruptcy filing
9:09 a.m. ET — J.C. Penney said it has reopened 150 more stores in 27 states, bringing the total number of locations it has reopened during the Covid-19 crisis to 304. It said five locations are doing curbside pickup only.
The company, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on May 15, said in a press release that feedback from consumers has been “overwhelmingly positive” as it reopens for business. It says nearly 500 shops should be reopened by June 3.
The company is set to permanently shut about 240 locations as part of its bankruptcy restructuring. —Lauren Thomas
2.1 million file jobless claims, but total unemployed shrinks
8:54 a.m. ET — Another 2.1 million Americans filed first-time claims for unemployment benefits last week, the lowest total since the coronavirus crisis began. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones had been looking for 2.05 million.
Continuing claims, or those who have been collecting for at least two weeks, numbered 21.05 million. That number dropped by 3.86 million from the previous week.
The insured unemployment rate, which is a basic calculation of those collecting benefits vs. the total labor force, fell sharply to 14.5% from 17.1% the previous week.
Since the pandemic was declared in mid-March, more than 40 million have filed claims.
Read the full report on weekly jobless claims from CNBC’s Jeff Cox. —Melodie Warner
CVS Health to have 1,000 Covid-19 test sites at end of week
8:30 a.m. ET — CVS Health said it will reach its goal of having 1,000 Covid-19 test sites in the U.S. this week.
The company said it will open the additional locations on Friday, bringing its total to 1,000 sites across 30 states and Washington, D.C. The pharmacy chain announced the expansion in late April as retail leaders, including CVS CEO Larry Merlo, visited the White House and met with President Donald Trump.
CVS is offering self-swab tests at some stores’ drive-thru pharmacy windows. To get a test, people must meet criteria set out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and states, and register in advance on CVS’ website. Tests are sent to a third-party lab to be processed. —Melissa Repko
Virus will continue to circulate even with a vaccine, Dr. Scott Gottlieb says
7:50 a.m. ET — Even once a vaccine is discovered, the coronavirus will probably continue to circulate, becoming a “second flu,” former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said.
“Even if we get through this, we get a vaccine, this is probably going to continue to circulate,” he said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.” “It might be sort of a second flu, if you will, and from a productivity standpoint, if we have two flu seasons that’s not really sustainable, so we’re going to need to figure out a way to reduce the morbidity not just from coronavirus in the long-run, but also flu as well.”
There are currently no treatments for Covid-19 approved by the FDA, though several have been granted emergency use authorization, which allows physicians to prescribe the treatment in life-threatening situations and for research purposes. —Will Feuer
Disclosure: Scott Gottlieb is a CNBC contributor and is a member of the boards of Pfizer and biotech company Illumina.
EU needs to agree on more stimulus soon, top official insists
7:10 a.m. ET — The European Union needs to agree on additional coronavirus-related stimulus in coming months, a top EU official told CNBC.
The comment by Valdis Dombrovskis, executive vice president of the European Commission, comes after the bloc proposed a ground-breaking plan to help the region Wednesday.
The European Commission, the executive arm of the EU, proposed to raise 750 billion euros ($826 billion) in public markets and distribute that money in the form of grants and loans to the 27 members of the EU. However, some countries are reluctant to approve the idea as it would mark the first time the EU tapped financial markets together on such a large scale. The proposal requires the agreement of EU members before it can be implemented.
In the meantime, there are other short-term measures available across Europe. The European Central Bank is buying government bonds as part of its 750 billion euro program and there are 540 billion euros available in unemployment schemes, business investments and loans to governments. —Silvia Amaro
Global tourism expected to slump most since 1950s
A general view of almost deserted Pantheon square during Italy’s lockdown due to Covid-19 pandemic.
Andrea Staccioli | Getty Images
7:04 a.m. ET — International tourism is expected to fall as much as 70% this year, United Nations World Tourism Organization Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili told newspaper Handelsblatt.
He said this would be the biggest drop since records for the metric began in the 1950s.
The drop in business could put 110 million jobs around the world at risk, he said. He added that there could be a boom in travel to rural areas while tourism in typically desirable, and densely packed, destinations drops.
The estimated 70% drop is based on the assumption that countries will begin to open their borders in August. While most European countries appear to be on track to reopen to international travel at the beginning of the summer, countries in other areas, including the Americas, are still grappling with uncontrolled outbreaks and the borders remain closed. —Will Feuer