Meanwhile, Covid-19 cases continue to surge throughout the American South and West, leading some state officials to rethink reopening strategies. Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey on Wednesday reversed his stance against mandating mask-wearing and allowed local officials to set their own regulations. Oregon Gov. Kate Brown announced Wednesday that most of the population will have to wear masks starting June 24 amid a spike in some counties.
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 8.36 million
- Global deaths: At least 449,397
- U.S. cases: More than 2.16 million
- U.S. deaths: At least 117,717
The data above was compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
McDonald’s to hire 260,000 workers this summer
While the coronavirus pandemic has roiled the restaurant industry and left millions out of work, fast-food restaurants — including McDonald’s — have been quicker to recover. Other restaurant chains looking for more hands include Subway, Yum Brands’ Taco Bell and Dunkin.’ —Amelia Lucas
Trump says some wear masks to show disapproval
U.S. President Donald Trump holds a protective face mask with a presidential seal on it that he said he had been wearing earlier in his tour at the Ford Rawsonville Components Plant that is manufacturing ventilators, masks and other medical supplies during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in Ypsilanti, Michigan, May 21, 2020.
Leah Millis | Reuters
3:34 p.m. ET — President Donald Trump told The Wall Street Journal that some Americans might wear face masks to “signal disapproval of him.”
Trump also told the Journal that a big issue he has with masks is that people fidget with them.Trump has often been seen without a mask despite recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization that people wear them as a way to slow the spread of the virus.
Scientists say the virus can spread through respiratory droplets that pass when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Studies suggest the masks may serve as a helpful barrier. —Berkeley Lovelace
Kroger wants to build on digital gains after bounce during pandemic
Assistant store manager Jesus Alvarez rings up groceries from behind a new plexiglass barrier at Ralphs Kroger grocery store after California issued a stay-at-home order in an effort to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Los Angeles.
Lucy Nicholson | Reuters
3:21 p.m. ET — Kroger has been trying to catch up to rivals like Walmart and Amazon that have made strides in e-commerce.
With the pandemic, the supermarket chain attracted more online grocery sales and new customers — momentum that it now wants to build on.The supermarket chain’s online grocery sales jumped by 92% in the fiscal first quarter, which ended May 23.
In recent weeks that upward trend has continued, Kroger’s Chief Financial Officer Gary Millerchip said in an earnings call Thursday.
Same-store sales growth in the fiscal second quarter so far have been in the mid-teens. Digital sales were up triple digits in the first three weeks of the second quarter. —Melissa Repko
White House task force silent as cases rise
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence stands among television soundmen, radio reporters and other media personnel all wearing protective masks because of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic as he listens to Donald Trump speak during an event in honor of National Nurses Day in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, U.S., May 6, 2020.
Tom Brenner | Reuters
2:53 p.m. ET — As coronavirus cases begin to rise in nearly two dozen states since Memorial Day, President Donald Trump’s coronavirus task force has remained mostly out of sight from the public.
White House task force meetings still take place but are less frequent and closed to the press. But public health experts and infectious disease specialists say a strong, coordinated message on the virus from President Donald Trump and the White House is more important than ever as states face a surge in cases.
“The lack of a coordinated and strategic response from the White House is a particularly great concern now,” said Marc Lipsitch, a professor of epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health, “as lulls in transmission in some states that have achieved good control are not being fully utilized to get prepared for a potential resurgence in fall.” —Berkeley Lovelace
Ford plans to expand remote work
Ford started resuming vehicle production in the U.S. on May 18, 2020 with new coronavirus safety protocols such as health assessments, personal protective equipment and facility modifications to increase social distancing.
2:34 p.m. ET — Ford Motor is surveying roughly 30,000 U.S. workers about whether or not they would like to return to their office locations or continue working remotely once the company starts calling back salaried workers beginning in September.
The survey, which started Thursday, will ask employees whether they would prefer to return to their workplace; have a blended schedule that allows them to work from home and an office; or work remotely on a permanent basis.
A Ford spokeswoman said the company plans to “accommodate as many employees requests as possible,” however decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis between employees and their managers.
“As we make plans to bring back the remote workforce, many team members favored these new ways to work and found them empowering, flexible and cost effective,” the company said in an emailed statement.
More employees working from home, the company said, also will assist in ensuring there’s enough personal protection equipment for place dependent workers who must be physically present to do their job.
About 100,000 of the automaker’s 190,000 employees have already returned to physical locations. The remaining workers are expected to begin returning to workplaces starting in September through the end of the year. The company is surveying employees outside of the U.S. as well. —Mike Wayland
Homebuyers flee to suburbs as coronavirus changes how people live
Potential homebuyers arrive for an open house in Arcadia, Calif.
Jonathan Alcorn | Bloomberg | Getty Images
After enduring months of stay-at-home orders, potential homebuyers are gaining interest in moving to suburban areas.
Home searches in suburban zip codes increased 13% in May, according to data from realtor.com. That was more than double the pace of growth in urban areas, CNBC’s Diana Olick reports.
With millennials making up the majority of homebuyers, the shift to the suburbs is also helping the home construction industry recover from the pandemic more quickly than expected. —Hannah Miller
McDonald’s will bring back seven menu items cut during the pandemic
McDonalds and other local stores remain shuttered due to COVID-19 at Times Square on April 13, 2020 in New York, NY.
Eduardo Munoz | Getty Images
2:15 p.m. ET — McDonald’s shrank its U.S. menu to keep operations running smoothly during the pandemic, but the chain is planning to bring back seven items throughout July as it gradually reopens dining rooms.
Returning items include desserts like its vanilla cones and chocolate chip cookies and two variations on its Quarter Pounder burger.
Dozens of other menu items, like salads and yogurt parfaits, will remain unavailable to customers for the foreseeable future, although the chain has not ruled out bringing them back.
As of Monday, about 7% of McDonald’s U.S. dining rooms were reopened to customers. —Amelia Lucas
New York governor considering a quarantine on travelers from Florida as cases rise
2 p.m. ET — Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he’s considering imposing a quarantine on travelers arriving to New York from states like Florida where coronavirus cases have spiked. “I haven’t made a decision yet, but I have had experts advise me of that. It is a real concern,” Cuomo said at his daily press briefing when asked about whether he would impose a quarantine or take extra health precautions at the state’s airports.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis mandated through an executive order in late March that travelers from the tri-state area self-isolate for 14 days. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott also signed a similar executive order on March 26. The Covid-19 outbreak has since eased in New York but has shown signs of accelerating in Florida, which posted a three-day moving average of 2,384 cases on Tuesday, an all-time high, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. —Noah Higgins-Dunn
Subway announces plans to hire 50,000 workers across North America
A Subway sandwich artist making a sandwich.
Andrey Rudakov | Bloomberg | Getty Images
1:45 p.m. ET — Subway said that its North American franchisees would hire 50,000 workers as it revives its $5 footlong promotion.
The privately held sandwich chain joins Yum Brands’ Taco Bell, Dunkin’ and Panda Express in publicly announcing plans to hire tens of thousands of workers. The summer months typically spark fast-food hiring as consumers spend more and teenagers look for work, but the hiring announcements this year arrive as the coronavirus pandemic has led millions of restaurant workers to lose their jobs.
Earlier this week, Subway announced that it was bringing back its promotion for a $5 footlong, sparking backlash and Federal Trade Commission complaints from its franchisees, according to Restaurant Business Online. —Amelia Lucas
Voluntary leaves shrink U.S. airline staffing to lowest since August 2017
Gate agents assist travelers at a Delta Air Lines Inc. bag drop counter at the San Diego International Airport (SAN) in San Diego, California, U.S., on Monday, April 27, 2020.
Bing Guan | Bloomberg | Getty Images
1:20 p.m. ET — Staffing at U.S. passenger airlines in mid-April nearly fell 7% from a month earlier to the lowest since levels August 2017, mostly due to a slew of temporary and voluntary leaves at Delta Air Lines, according to new data from the Department of Transportation.
Carriers that have accepted portions of $25 billion in federal coronavirus payroll aid are prohibited from laying off or cutting the pay rates of their workers through Sept. 30 but airlines like Delta, United, American and others have encouraged employees to take voluntary unpaid or partially-paid time off.
More recently, airlines have urged workers to take voluntary separation and early retirement packages in a bid to cut costs as coronavirus continues to hurt demand.
In mid-April, staffing at U.S. passenger carriers fell by 31,000 from a month earlier to 428,569 full-time equivalent workers, the DOT data show. It said that was also the first year-over-year drop since April 2013. —Leslie Josephs
Carbon emissions bounce back to near 2019 levels as countries reopen
Policemen try to ease the traffic jam at an intersection in a rainy rush hour in Nanjing in east China’s Jiangsu province Monday, June 15, 2020.
Barcroft Media | Getty Images
12:50 p.m. ET — Carbon emissions are surging back to pre-pandemic levels as states and countries reopen, a rebound scientists have warned about since the start of lockdowns and a grim reminder that the world is still grappling with accelerating climate change.
By mid-June, as countries further relaxed restrictions, emissions rebounded to about 5% below 2019 levels. Emissions in China have already fully returned to pre-pandemic levels, according to an update in a May study published in Nature Climate Change.
In the U.S. and Europe, vehicle traffic was cut in half during lockdowns. But more people are getting back on the road and there are signs that people are choosing to drive rather than taking public transit to avoid the virus. —Emma Newburger
Virus will impact luxury sector for at least 2 years, Chanel CFO says
11:40 a.m. ET — Chanel CFO Philippe Blondiaux told Reuters the coronavirus will impact the luxury sector for at least the next 18 to 24 months. The company had to close shops and stop manufacturing temporarily as a result of the pandemic, in step with competitors such as Louis Vuitton.
Chanel is unique in the sector for its hesitance with embracing online sales, arguing costumers prefer a more personable experience. Blondiaux told Reuters the company has stuck to that strategy despite having to stop much of its in-store sales.
Blondiaux told Reuters the next 12 to 18 months will be “particularly tough” for Chanel due to a drop in international travel, even though reopened shops have seen a strong recovery. Around 85% of stores have reopened, he said. —Alexander Harring
Delta hesitant about adding flights after summer peak
11:30 a.m. ET — Delta Air Lines is planning to increase capacity this summer but its CEO says it will hold off on additional service after the peak summer travel season to assess demand.
Delta expects to add around 1,000 flights a day in each July and August. Its August domestic capacity would still be down between 55% and 60% from normal levels. Delta earlier this month said its capacity in the second quarter is down 85% from a year ago.
After adding the flights, Delta plans to “take a pause, and we’ll see how demand looks post-Labor Day before we decide to add further domestic flights back,” CEO Ed Bastian told shareholders.
Air travel demand in the U.S. has increased as states reopen and the peak travel season gets underway but is still far off the norm. An average of 415,135 people a day were screened at U.S. airports in the first 16 days of June, according to the Transportation Security Administration. That’s close to four times the number screened in the same period of April, at the depths of the demand crisis, but down more than 83% from the same period a year ago. —Leslie Josephs
Manhattan apartment deals fall while Florida’s grow
11:20 a.m. ET — Apartment deals in Manhattan plunged more than 80% in May from last year amid Covid-19 concerns and restrictions, according to a report from Miller Samuel and Douglas Elliman. South Florida, on the other hand, saw an increase in the month, notably for stand-alone homes which surged 45% in Miami-Dade County since last year, the report said.
In New York City, high-end apartments saw the most dramatic impact with contracts for apartments priced at more than $5 million down by 90%, CNBC’s Robert Frank reports. New York City brokers will be able to start showings and open houses again on Monday, when the city enters phase two of reopening.
The reopening has many brokers feeling optimistic that real estate deals will bounce back quickly because of pent-up demand when the lockdown ends.
“The spring selling season was basically surgically removed and placed into the summer and fall,” said Jonathan Miller, CEO of real estate appraiser Miller Samuel. “So it won’t be surprising if we see a big release of that pent-up demand. The big unknown is what happens after that initial rush.” —Suzanne Blake
Daily new cases in Florida spike
Chile tightens lockdown measures after a spike in cases
10:20 a.m. ET — Chile is strengthening lockdown measures in its capital of Santiago after confirming that coronavirus cases have surpassed 200,000, according to a report from Reuters.
In a government briefing, officials said residents of Santiago will now only be able to leave their homes twice a week instead of five times a week. Parts of the city have been under lockdown for three months.
Chile currently has 220,628 Covid-19 cases and 3,615 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The country saw a spike in cases as officials said accounting errors had led to the omission of 31,412 cases from the country’s total tally. —Hannah Miller
After Sweden’s ‘herd immunity’ experiment, just 6% have antibodies
10:11 a.m. ET — Sweden, which has taken a less restrictive approach than others in an effort to develop “herd immunity” to coronavirus in its population, said about 6% of its people have developed Covid-19 antibodies, Reuters reported.
Herd immunity, which is usually achieved via vaccination, is attained when around 60% of citizens are deemed immune. Without a vaccine for coronavirus, however, countries have relied on exposure to and recovery from Covid-19, hoping it leads to long-term immunity.
Sweden’s response has differed from others as the country’s leading epidemiologists said herd immunity could be reached without a full lockdown, opting for mainly voluntary measures. The 6% figure is lower than expected, “but not a lot lower,” Chief Epidemiologist Anders Tegnell said in a news conference.
Sweden’s government advocated personal hygiene, social distancing, working from home if possible, and it banned mass gatherings and visits to senior care homes in response to the pandemic. Schools stayed open for people under 16, however, and bars and restaurants continued to serve customers if they were seated.
Tegnell, after pushing for a no-lockdown strategy, later conceded more should have been done to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in the country. The decision to bypass a strict lockdown has prompted Nordic countries to exclude Sweden when easing travel restrictions in the region. —Alexander Harring and Holly Ellyatt
Parts of the U.S. ‘on the cusp of losing control,’ Dr. Scott Gottlieb says
9:32 a.m. ET — As new coronavirus cases and hospitalizations continue to surge in some parts of the country, the hardest-hit cities are “on the cusp of losing control,” former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb told CNBC. Cases and hospitalizations have been climbing in several states in the American South and the West in recent weeks.
“These are outbreaks. We’re seeing doubling times now falling under 10 days,” Gottlieb said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.” “These are on the cusp of getting out of control. I think these states still have a week or two to take actions to try to get these under control.”
Disclosure: Scott Gottlieb is a CNBC contributor and is a member of the boards of Pfizer, genetic-testing start-up Tempus and biotech company Illumina.
New cases surge in the Middle East and Asia
U.S. jobless claims still staggeringly high
Odirus Charles holds a sign that reads, ‘ I Am angry as hell Fix Unemployment Now,’ as he joins others in a protest on May 22, 2020 in Miami Beach, Florida.
Joe Raedle | Getty Images
8:30 a.m. ET — Another 1.5 million Americans filed for initial unemployment benefits last week, with continuing claims coming in at 20.5 million. Both figures fell just slightly from the prior period, but are still staggeringly high.
Initial jobless claims have now come in above 1 million each week for 13 consecutive readouts, CNBC’s Jeff Cox reports. Jobless claims notched a record of 6.6 million back in April.
Economists polled by Dow Jones had expected the latest figure to come in at 1.3 million. —Sara Salinas
Bank of England adds £100 billion more to bond-buying program
8:05 a.m. ET — The Bank of England has announced an additional £100 billion ($124.5 billion) for its bond-buying effort to shore up the U.K. economy amid pandemic. The new commitment brings the program total to £745 billion.
The central bank also kept interest rates consistent at 0.1%, though investors had been looking for negative rates. The U.K., like the U.S. and others, has seen unprecedented economic downturn amid coronavirus shutdowns, spurring historic and aggressive efforts by the BOE. Read more on the central bank’s announcement from CNBC’s Elliot Smith. —Sara Salinas
Genetic engineering firm eyes scalable testing
Kremlin denies U.K.’s claim that Russia is exploiting the pandemic
A man with an umbrella in Red Square against the background of St Basil’s Cathedral. From June 1 through 14, Moscow citizens are allowed to take walks and practise sports outside, including those older than 65 and suffering from chronic illnesses, according to schedules varying from house to house.
Sergei Savostyanov | TASS | Getty Images
7:22 a.m. ET — The Kremlin has rebuffed an accusation by the U.K. that Russia, as well as Iran and China, is trying to exploit opportunities created by the coronavirus, reportedly calling the claim “absurd.”
“We categorically disagree with such statements,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said earlier Thursday, Reuters reported. “As far as disinformation is concerned, we consider such accusations absurd.”
The response came after U.K. Foreign Minister Dominic Raab told Sky News that certain governments were using the challenges thrown up by the global pandemic to “exploit” the coronavirus and take advantage of “a perceived opportunity” it brings, such as the opportunity to sow disinformation. —Holly Ellyatt
England’s test and trace system identifies 45,000 contacts in second week
A boy runs past a mural supporting the NHS, by artist Rachel List, on the gates of the Hope & Anchor pub in Pontefract, Yorkshire, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Danny Lawson | Getty Images
7:06 a.m. ET — England’s test and trace system identified about 45,000 people who came into contact with someone who tested positive for the coronavirus in its second week of operation, according to data from Britain’s health ministry.
Since the project began on May 28, tracers have identified more than 95,000 contacts, according to the data, and successfully contacted more than 85,000 of them.
The national effort to detect and quickly squash new chains of infection as the country continues to reopen has been hobbled by early delays, according to The New York Times. A coordinated test, trace and isolate effort, proponents say, will be key to keeping infections low and targeting government responses to new clusters as the world continues to ease restrictions. —Will Feuer
Read CNBC’s previous coronavirus live coverage here: Beijing says outbreak under control; Sweden’s virus strategy shifts