NYC funeral home blasted for storing corpses in vans
The torrent of major corporate earnings results continued Thursday, with McDonald’s, CNBC parent Comcast, Twitter, and Kraft Heinz among the many companies reporting before the opening bell on Wall Street. Sales and profits have taken a beating for most corporations in the first quarter of 2020 as the initial effects of the pandemic began to drastically change American consumer habits. Read on for more on how companies are dealing with the fallout from the Covid-19 outbreak.
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 3.2 million
- Global deaths: At least 227,971
- US cases: More than 1 million
- US deaths: At least 60,999
The data above was compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
1:42 pm: Trump says he’s ‘in charge’ of ‘fast track’ work to produce a vaccine
President Donald Trump said U.S. officials and scientists are working as quickly as possible to produce a coronavirus vaccine, and he asserted that he’s in charge of its development in “Operation Warp Speed.”
“I hope we’re going to have a vaccine and we’re going to fast-track a vaccine like you’ve never seen before if we come with a vaccine. I think they probably will,” he told reporters during a White House meeting with New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy.
“I’m not overpromising,” he added. “Whatever the maximum is, whatever you can humanly do, we’re going to do.”
When asked by a reporter who is in charge of the vaccine operation, Trump said, “honestly, I am.”
“I’m really in charge of it,” he said. “I think probably more than anything I’m in charge.” —Berkeley Lovelace
1:30 pm: ‘It’s safe to go back to work’ — Dow CEO sees its strict plant screenings as ‘best practices’
Dow Inc. CEO Jim Fitterling told CNBC that strict worker screening and the use of personal protective equipment have allowed the material science giant to continue to operate its plants and labs as safely as possible during the coronavirus outbreak.
“We’re working safely. We’re sharing those best practices with governments around the world,” Fitterling said on “Squawk on the Street.” “We think it’s safe to go back to work, and we’re going to start to demonstrate that.”
Dow is currently operating with around 14,000 workers in its production facilities, Fitterling said, noting that governments classified many parts of the company as essential “because we supply so materials that are in need today.”
Dow has 36,500 employees at more than 100 manufacturing sites in 31 countries.
Fitterling said that returning workers safely to plants and labs are the focus of the company’s efforts now.
“When we get spaces where they’re tighter, like offices, that will probably come later,” he said. “We want to make sure we’re taking care of the basic functions and the people that are working effectively from home can continue to do that.” —Kevin Stankiewicz
1:19 pm: UK is ‘past the peak,’ PM Boris Johnson says
Britain has officially passed the peak of its coronavirus outbreak, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said.
“I can confirm today that for the first time we are past the peak of this disease,” Johnson said in his first appearance at the government’s daily briefing since returning to work after falling ill with Covid-19.
“We’re past the peak and we’re on the downward slope.”
Johnson did not however lay out a roadmap for the U.K. to eventually lift its restrictions on public life, something which countries elsewhere in Europe have been gradually doing. —Ryan Browne
1:09 pm: Top US spy agency says coronavirus was ‘not manmade or genetically modified’
The top U.S. spy agency said for the first time that the nation’s collective intelligence community does not believe that the coronavirus was manmade or genetically modified.
“The Intelligence Community also concurs with the wide scientific consensus that the COVID-19 virus was not manmade or genetically modified,” the Office of Director of National Intelligence said in a rare statement.
“The IC will continue to rigorously examine emerging information and intelligence to determine whether the outbreak began through contact with infected animals or if it was the result of an accident at a laboratory in Wuhan,” it added.
The statement from the Office of Director of National Intelligence contradicts reports suggesting that the new coronavirus had been developed by Chinese scientists in a government biological weapons laboratory.
The U.S. intelligence community was tasked with examining whether the virus that caused the global pandemic emerged accidentally from a Chinese research lab, current and former U.S. intelligence officials told NBC News. —Amanda Macias
12:48 pm: New York City pauses 24-hour subway service to disinfect trains and buses overnight
New York City is suspending 24-hour subway service to disinfect subway cars during the coronavirus crisis, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Thursday.
“They (MTA) can disinfect all trains and buses every night, it can best be done by stopping train service from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. every night during the pandemic so they can actually perform this service,” Cuomo said at a news briefing.
The Metropolitan Transit Authority, which runs the city’s public transit system, will still provide buses as well as for-hire vehicles and “dollar vans” at no cost to essential workers during those hours, said Cuomo. —William Feuer, Noah Higgins-Dunn, Jasmine Kim
12:25 pm: Why the US is facing a hospital bed shortage
12:14 pm: Florida has overtaken California as the US jobless claims capital
Florida has overtaken California as the U.S. state with the most weekly unemployment claims as Tallahassee began to process in earnest its sizable backlog of filings.
Florida, which reported 432,465 jobless claims for the week ended April 25, topped California’s 328,042, marking the first time since the week ended March 21 that the Golden State didn’t lead the nation in the number of workers filing for unemployment benefits.
Though both states reported declines in the number of workers seeking insurance from the prior week, that Florida is now leading the chart is notable since its labor force is about half that of California’s. Texas and Georgia also saw a significant number of claims last week with each state reporting at least 250,000.
The relative surge Florida in claims is likely thanks to an improvement in the state’s ability to process filings. —John Schoen, Tom Franck
11:53 am: She fled Brooklyn to live in Oklahoma — “You’re just in this survival mode”
Lindsey Marvel, 38, moved to New York three years ago because, she said, “I’m literally going big or going home.”
Now she’s going home to Tulsa, Oklahoma to escape the ravages of the coronavirus pandemic that has hit New York harder than any place in the nation. The outbreak’s impact on her personal life, and on the city she loves, was simply too much.
“My neighbor died. Friends were seeing body bags from their windows, and you’re just in this survival mode. I just was terrified,” said Marvel, who lived alone in a rental apartment in Brooklyn. “Things in New York are not easy– and that’s some of the charm, you know—it’s not so easy—and it just became way too difficult.”
Marvel, an optometrist who left Tulsa 20 years ago, actually applied for a program last year called Tulsa Remote. In an effort to attract new employee talent, it offers a $10,000 grant and additional benefits to eligible remote workers who move to and work from Tulsa.
She was accepted, but declined because she just couldn’t bear to leave Brooklyn. She called back last week and asked if they’d still take her. They did. —Diana Olick
11:32 am: It’s ‘unconscionable’ that a New York City funeral home left corpses in vans, Mayor Bill de Blasio says
Workers secure a van full of bodies of deceased people, during the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at the Andrew Cleckley Funeral Home in the Brooklyn, New York, April 29, 2020.
Lucas Jackson | Reuters
It is “unconscionable” and “absolutely unacceptable” that a Brooklyn funeral home left corpses in storage vans as the city’s mortuary system is overwhelmed with coronavirus patients, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday.
“Why on earth did they not either alert the state who regulates them or go to the NYPD precinct and ask for help?” de Blasio said at a news briefing. “Do something rather than leave the bodies there. It’s unconscionable to me.”
The mayor was responding to reports that the Andrew T. Cleckley Funeral Services in Brooklyn left corpses to decay in unrefrigerated U-Haul and other rental trucks on a crowded city street on Wednesday. When CNBC reached the funeral home for comment, a man who did not identify himself hung up before any questions could be asked.
“I have no idea in the world how any funeral home could let this happen,” de Blasio said. “Absolutely unacceptable. Let’s be clear about this.”
New York City’s mortuaries, cemeteries, crematories and morgues have been overwhelmed by the casualties of the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed almost five times as many New Yorkers in two months as the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. —William Feuer, Jasmine Kim
11:15 am: NBA team execs, agents call on the league to cancel the rest of the season
A view of the empty AmericanAirlines Arena before the start of an NBA basketball regular season game between the Miami Heat and the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday, March 11, 2020 in Miami.
David Santiago | Miami Herald | Getty Images
Even though the current NBA season is still technically suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic, its return this year seems less and less likely with each passing day. Team executives are starting to feel the pressure, frustrated with the lack of information from the league and pushing for an outright cancellation of the season so everyone can focus on safely resuming play next season.
NBA team executives and players’ agents spoke to CNBC in recent weeks about the challenges in resuming play. They said team owners are concerned with liability issues and are conflicted about whether or not to give up on the current season. The individuals spoke on condition of anonymity as they aren’t authorized to discuss league matters publicly.
Billions of dollars are on the line if the NBA can’t rescue its season. NBA teams split the roughly $2 billion per year in national TV money the NBA receives from ESPN and Turner Sports. But clubs also gain revenue from local media deals with Regional Sports Networks. —Jabari Young
11:05 am: McDonald’s says this quarter’s same-store sales will be worse
McDonald’s is expecting steeper same-store sales declines in the second quarter as international restaurant closures due to the coronavirus pandemic continue to weigh down sales. McDonald’s global same-store sales shrank 3.4% in the first three months of the year after plunging 22% in March.
“Looking at comparable sales, we expect the second quarter as a whole to be significantly worse than what we experienced for the full month of March,” CEO Chris Kempczinski told analysts on the conference call.
More than half of restaurants in McDonald’s international operated markets segment, which includes France and Australia, are closed. Four countries in the segment — the United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, and France — have closed down restaurants entirely to slow the spread of the virus. In April, the segment’s same-store sales are down about 70%. —Amelia Lucas
10:57 am: US wind industry installed over 1,800 megawatts in Q1, but the outbreak remains a risk
The first quarter of 2020 saw the U.S. wind industry install more than 1,800 megawatts (MW) of new capacity, a report from the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) has revealed. According to the AWEA’s report, 11 new projects with a total capacity of 1,821 MW commenced operations in the first three months of the year.
The AWEA noted that this represented more than double the installations compared with the first quarter in 2019, AWEA said in a statement issued Wednesday.
While there are clear positives in the report – which also said construction activity hit a new record in the first three months of the year – the coronavirus is casting a shadow over the sector. Citing its own analysis from March, the trade association said an estimated 25 gigawatts of planned projects – which represent $35 billion in investments – were at risk. —Anmar Frangoul
10:32 am: Tyson temporarily closes Nebraska beef plant for cleaning
Tyson Foods said it was temporarily suspending operations at a large Nebraska beef processing that serves as the largest employer for neighboring Sioux City, Iowa, after a surge of coronavirus cases in the area. Tyson said it would close the Dakota City plant Friday through Monday to perform a deep cleaning of the facility.
State health officials in recent days have reported hundreds of new coronavirus cases in both Nebraska’s Dakota County, where the plant is located, and Woodbury County, Iowa, where Sioux City is located. Tyson previously disclosed that some workers at the plant had tested positive for the virus, but it has not said how many. The Arkansas-based company said it was screening Dakota City employees for the virus this week with the help of the Nebraska National Guard.
The Dakota City facility is one of the largest beef processing plants in the country, employing about 4,300 people. The move follows recent closures of other meat processing facilities across the country due the coronavirus, which spreads rapidly among workers who often stand shoulder to shoulder on production lines. —Associated Press
10:30 am: Denmark says virus spread has not accelerated since reopening began
Nyhavn in Copenhagen, Denmark
Kun Tawan | Twenty20
The spread of Covid-19 in Denmark has not accelerated since the country began a gradual loosening of restrictions in mid-April, the State Serum Institute, which is responsible for preparedness against infectious diseases, said.
The so-called R rate, which shows the average number of infections one person with the virus causes, has increased slightly in the past two weeks but remains below 1.0, the institute said.
“However, there are no signs that the COVID-19 epidemic is accelerating,” it said. —Reuters
10:20 am: ‘The lasagna guys’ collected $1.26 million to feed NYC’s hospital workers
Restaurateur Luca Di Pietro and his team have become known as the “lasagna guys” among New York City’s frontline workers. That’s because Di Pietro and his team have helped deliver more than 64,000 meals to health-care workers amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The lasagna is always a big hit,” Di Pietro, 50, who is the owner of owner Tarallucci e Vino restaurant group in Manhattan and now the founder of Feed the Frontlines NYC, told CNBC Make It. “It puts a smile on my face. It’s hard times…at least they get to eat something good. To think the food has been brought by and prepared by New Yorkers is a morale boost for frontline workers.”
Di Pietro started Feed the Frontlines NYC, a for-profit initiative, to raise funds for his restaurant, Tarallucci e Vino, and other local restaurants. It also provides hospital hospital workers in the country’s hardest hit city with free and delicious food. So far the initiative has raised over $1.26 million in donation to pay for meals, and its success has even inspired others to create their own Feed the Frontlines initiatives in other cities.
Beyond feeding local hospital workers fighting the pandemic, Feed the Frontlines has helped keep participating restaurants alive and their workers employed. —Taylor Locke
10:01 am: Mike Pence touring Mayo Clinic without a mask ‘sets an example of recklessness,’ says Jim Cramer
Vice President Mike Pence visits with lab physicians and techs while touring Mayo Clinic facilities supporting coronavirus disease (COVID-19) research and treatment in Rochester, Minnesota, U.S., April 28, 2020.
Nicholas Pfosi | Reuters
“Until we get this under control, we can’t have the vice president of the United States go to the Mayo Clinic without a mask because that sets an example of recklessness,” Cramer said on CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street.”
Cramer’s commentary on Pence came as the “Mad Money” host praised Costco for its new policy, starting Monday, that requires all shoppers to wear a face covering in its stores. Costco already requires its employees to wear masks.
“I think this will be the standard of care two weeks from now,” Cramer said, predicting people won’t be going anywhere without a mask. —Matthew J. Belvedere
9:33 am: Dow drops more than 200 points to end April after more dismal economic data
Stocks fell on the last day of April, as investors digested another round of dismal economic data along with the latest batch of major tech earnings.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average traded down 252 points, or 1%. The S&P 500 slid 0.7%. The Nasdaq Composite chopped around the flatline in early trading.
The Labor Department said another 3.84 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week, bringing the six-week total to more than 30 million. U.S. consumer spending also dropped 7.5% in March on a year-over-year basis. —Fred Imbert, Thomas Franck
9:26 am: Elon Musk’s F-bomb rant against lockdowns reflects ‘growing sentiment,’ says Dr. Scott Gottlieb
“I think that reflects a growing sentiment in this country where that’s going to tug against what the governors have to do,” Gottlieb said on “Squawk Box.” “They have tough decisions to face this month.”
Late Wednesday, Musk lashed out, even dropping the F-bomb, on the electric vehicle maker’s earnings call, saying that lockdowns meant to help slow the spread of the coronavirus are “fascist.” He also said the orders amounted to “forcibly imprisoning people in their homes against all their constitutional rights.”
A number of states across the country, such as Georgia, Colorado and Tennessee, have recently eased up on some of the coronavirus-related business restrictions. Other states, such as Ohio, have announced details of a phased reopening to begin in May. —Kevin Stankiewicz
Disclosure: Scott Gottlieb is a CNBC contributor and is a member of the boards of Pfizer and biotech company Illumina.
9:01 am: How states are reopening businesses and lifting coronavirus restrictions
Across the country, states have shut down businesses and ordered people to work from home if they can and stay indoors as much as possible to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
However, with cases beginning to level off, states are looking to jump-start economies hit hard by the virus. Millions of Americans who have been put out of work by lockdown efforts are also eager to get back in the workforce.
Governors have taken different tactics in developing plans to loosen stay-at-home orders, each taking different paths in removing social-distancing restrictions. States in the Northeast, Midwest and West Coast have formed coalitions to usher in a regional recovery. Other states have faced criticism for already allowing nonessential businesses to resume in-person operations. Some governors have yet to release any sort of reopening plan.
Here is a rundown of how every state in the U.S. has responded to Covid-19 in terms of lifting restrictions on citizens and businesses. This list will be updated each day with new developments. —Hannah Miller
8:53 am: New cases reported daily by region
8:50 am: How Mercedes-Benz reopened an Alabama auto plant
Mercedes-Benz reopened its U.S. plant this week in Alabama, becoming one of the first manufacturers to resume operations since the coronavirus pandemic halted auto production across the country last month.
Daimler, which owns Mercedes-Benz, said it took “robust and best practice safety measures” to ensure that the reopening of the plant was safe for its 4,200 workers who produce the Mercedes-Benz GLE, GL and GLE Coupe SUVs.
New protocols to reduce the spread of the virus include the mandatory wearing of face masks, temperature checks at entry and separation of employees in break rooms, cafes and common areas.
Only one of the plant’s three shifts of workers was initially called back Monday as the plant ramps up production and the safety measures are implemented. —Michael Wayland
8:42 am: US weekly jobless claims hit 3.84 million, topping 30 million over the last 6 weeks
First-time filings for unemployment insurance hit 3.84 million last week as the wave of economic pain continues, though the worst appears to be in the past. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones had been expecting 3.5 million.
Jobless claims for the week ended April 25 came in at the lowest level since March 21 but bring the rolling six-week total to 30.3 million as part of the worst employment crisis in U.S. history. Claims hit a record 6.87 million for the week of March 28 and have declined each week since then.
The surge in unemployment has come amid efforts to contain the coronavirus spread. While some states and municipalities have begun to bring their respective economies back online, much of the key U.S. infrastructure remains locked down. —Jeff Cox
8:31 am: The latest on US hot spots
8:30 am: Energy demand is set to see record drop this year
The International Energy Agency said it expects global energy demand to plunge this year in what the Paris-based agency called the biggest drop since World War II.
With roughly 4.2 billion people around the world subject to some form of lockdown in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus, the IEA is forecasting a 6% decline in energy demand for the year. In absolute terms this is the largest on record. Percentage wise, it’s the steepest decline in 70 years.
The demand hit from the pandemic is expected to be seven times greater than the decline in the aftermath of the financial crisis in 2008.
“In absolute terms, the decline is unprecedented — the equivalent of losing the entire energy demand of India, the world’s third largest energy consumer,” the agency’s Global Energy Report said. —Pippa Stevens
8:22 am: Macy’s plans to have all stores reopened in 6 weeks
8:18 am: Gov. Newsom expected to close all California beaches
Thousands of beach-goers enjoy a warm, sunny day at the beach amid state-mandated stay-at-home and social distancing mandate to stave off the coronavirus pandemic in Huntington Beach, CA, on April 25, 2020.
Allen J. Schaben | Los Angeles | Getty Images
The California Police Chiefs Association told members in an email Wednesday that Gov. Gavin Newsom will announce Thursday that all beaches would be closed as of Friday to prevent the kind of crowding seen over the weekend, when warm weather prompted thousands to flock to the Orange County coastline.
State parks are also expected to be closed.
The email, which appeared to include a memo, was confirmed to NBC News by two law enforcement sources. —NBC News
8:09 am: Quarterly results reveal pressure
A handful of quarterly reports from major U.S. companies revealed pressured resulting from the coronavirus pandemic. Here’s who offered updates Thursday morning.
Disclosure: Comcast owns NBCUniversal, parent company of CNBC.
7:08 am: Prada has gradually resumed production, will use antibody tests
Victor Sokolowicz | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Italy’s Prada said it had gradually resujmed production in several sites across Italy after almost two months of lockdown imposed to contain the spread of coronavirus.
The fashion company said it had reopened its industrial sites in Tuscany on April 20 and those in the central regions of Umbria, Marche and the northern region of Veneto — one of the hardest-hit areas — after that.
It said some workshops in its Milan headquarters were also back at work. The group said it implemented a full range of security measures for its staff, including a double-screening method for staff and the use of antibody tests. —Reuters
7:01 am: UK researchers should know by July if vaccine is effective
Live samples in test tubes are held in a container Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow, Scotland, on April 22, 2020.
Andrew Milligan | WPA Pool | Getty Images
The U.K. will know by July whether its Covid-19 vaccine is effective, pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca said.
The company said it has partnered with Oxford University to help develop and distribute the vaccine being researched by the Jenner Institute and Oxford Vaccine Group. Under the agreement, AstraZeneca would be responsible for the worldwide manufacturing and supply of Oxford’s vaccine, which entered phase one clinical trials last week.
AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot told BBC Radio 4′s “Today” show that the company would know within months whether the coronavirus vaccine was effective.
“By June, July we will already have a very good idea of the direction of travel in terms of its potential efficacy,” he said. —Chloe Taylor
5:44 am: Japan is preparing to extend emergency for about a month
Japan is preparing to extend its state of emergency for about a month, government sources told Reuters. It was originally set to end next Wednesday.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told parliament he will consult infectious disease experts on whether to extend the emergency, which he declared on April 7 for seven prefectures including Tokyo. The meeting will take place on Friday, the economy minister said. —Holly Ellyatt
5:32 am: Spain’s daily death toll falls to lowest in nearly six weeks
A nurse and a firefighter talking are seen in the Villalba General Hospital on April 05, 2020 in Madrid, Spain.
The number of new coronavirus-related deaths in Spain fell to 268, its health ministry said, marking the lowest tally in nearly six weeks, Reuters reported.
The total number of deaths rose to 24,543 on Thursday, up from 24,275 on the previous day, the ministry said. The total number of cases in Spain now stands at 213,435, up 1,309 from the previous day. —Holly Ellyatt
5:15 am: Sweden had no lockdown but the economic damage could be just as bad
People walk at Strandvagen in Stockholm on March 28, 2020, during the the new coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. – Sweden, which has stayed open for business with a softer approach to curbing the COVID-19 spread than most of Europe, on March 27, 2020 limited gatherings to 50 people, down from 500.
Sweden has attracted global attention for not imposing a full lockdown, as seen in most of Europe, to contain the coronavirus pandemic.
Nonetheless, data released from the country’s central bank and a leading Swedish think tank show that the economy will be just as badly hit as its European neighbors.
Sweden’s central bank, the Riksbank, gave two possible scenarios for the economic outlook in 2020 that “depend on how long the spread of infection continues and on how long the restrictions implemented to slow it down are in place.” Both possible scenarios are bleak.
In the first scenario, gross domestic product contracts by 6.9% in 2020 before rebounding to grow by 4.6% in 2021. In the more negative prediction, GDP could contract by 9.7% and a recovery could be slower with the economy growing 1.7% in 2021.
In both predictions, unemployment will rise and could reach 10.1% in 2020 in the worst-case scenario, up from 7.2% currently. —Holly Ellyatt
Read CNBC’s coverage from CNBC’s Asia-Pacific and Europe teams overnight here: Euro zone economy sinks; Spain’s daily deaths at lowest tally in nearly 6 weeks.