Coronavirus live updates: Pelosi signals disagreement on massive relief package

This is CNBC’s 24-hour blog covering all the latest news on the coronavirus outbreak. All times below are in Eastern time. This live blog will be updated throughout the day as the news breaks.

  • Global cases: More than 311,000
  • Global deaths: At least 13,407
  • U.S. cases: At least 26,747
  • U.S. deaths: At least 340

The data above was compiled by Johns Hopkins University. 

Pelosi signals disagreement over relief package: ‘From my standpoint, we’re apart’

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaks to the media during her weekly briefing March 12, 2020 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.

Nicholas Kamm | AFP | Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi signaled that she’s not on board with the Senate stimulus plan in negotiations to combat economic damage from the coronavirus pandemic.

“From my standpoint, we’re apart,” Pelosi told reporters in the Capitol when asked if she expects there to be a deal today.

Pelosi said there’s no bipartisan deal at this point, but that Democratic congressional leaders will be prepping their own legislation. “It’s on the Senate side now because that’s their deadline for a vote,” she said, “but we’ll be introducing our own bill and hopefully it’ll be compatible with what they discussed on the Senate.”

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer told reporters that “we need a bill that puts workers first, not corporations.” He declined to say if he supports the bill.

The stimulus package under negotiation will likely total more than $2 trillion, according to estimates from White House Economic Advisor Larry Kudlow. The Senate has been under pressure to finish a plan with the House and administration as quickly as possible.

Lawmakers this weekend are pushing to meet the Trump administration’s deadline for finishing the deal by Monday. There will be a 3 p.m. ET procedural vote on the Phase III bill later in the day. —Emma Newburger

1:23 pm: Germany bans meetings of more than two people in public

Germany tightened curbs on social interaction, including a ban on public meetings of more than two people, to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

“The great aim is to gain time in the fight against the virus,” Chancellor Angela Merkel told a press briefing.

For at least the next two weeks, people will not be allowed to form groups of more than two in public unless they live together in the same household or the gathering is work-related, she added.

As part of a bundle of stricter rules, restaurants can only offer takeaway services and hairdressers and beauty, massage and tattoo parlors must close. —Reuters

1:19 pm: Spanish opera singer Plácido Domingo tests positive

Spanish opera singer Plácido Domingo says he has become infected with the coronavirus.

The 79-year-old Domingo said in a post on his personal Facebook account that, “I feel it is my moral duty to announce to you that I have tested positive.”

The tenor says he and his family are in self-isolation and that he is feeling well despite having fever and a cough. —Associated Press

1:03 pm: FedEx CEO says he is not expecting to seek federal aid, or resort to layoffs

FedEx CEO Fred Smith said he doubts the company will be seeking any federal aid since business has increased amid the coronavirus pandemic. The company is also not expecting any layoffs, Smith said.

Forecasts indicate that as many as 3 million people will have filed for unemployment by next week. 

“Our people are working very heavily on both the business-to-business side, moving things for hospitals and diagnostic labs, picking up specimens and getting them into the various locations where they can be tested,” Smith said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

FedEx, one of the largest shipping and logistics companies in the country, has seen delivery service demand surge as more Americans are shut in at home. Smith said there are “massive efforts” underway in facilities to socially distance employees and provide supplies like gloves and antiseptic swabs.

“We’re doing absolutely everything we can, cleaning our facilities prolifically,” he said.

Truckers and warehouse workers at FedEx and rival UPS are continuing to show up to work, even with coronavirus symptoms, out of fear of retaliation or punishment if they don’t, according to a New York Times report. —Emma Newburger

12:10 pm: Africa gets emergency medical supplies from China’s Jack Ma

Founder and former chairman of Alibaba Group Jack Ma attends the ‘Ma Yun Rural Teachers Prize’ awards show on January 21, 2018 in Sanya, Hainan province, China.

Wang HE | Getty Images

Africa has received a much-needed coronavirus care package from Chinese billionaire Jack Ma.

A cargo flight containing more than 6 million medical items arrived Sunday in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa. The supplies from Ma, the founder of China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba, will be distributed to African countries in need of supplies to battle the spreading COVID-19 pandemic.

An Ethiopian Airlines cargo flight from Guangzhou, China arrived with 5.4 million face masks, 1.08 million testing kits, 40,000 sets of protective clothing and 60,000 protective face shields, according to Ethiopian officials and the Jack Ma Foundation.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed last week pledged to distribute the supplies to other countries in Africa. Ma has sent similar shipments of medical supplies to countries in Asia, Europe, North America, and Latin America. —Associated Press

11:59 am: New York state has more cases than France or South Korea as infections soar to 15,168

New York state now has more coronavirus cases than France or South Korea as the number of confirmed infections soared to 15,168, according to new data released by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

The outbreak across the state is the worst in the United States. New York now has more COVID-19 cases than several countries struggling to manage their own caseloads, including France, South Korea, Switzerland, and the U.K., according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Within the U.S., Washington state has the next highest number of cases at 1,647 followed by California with 1,518, according to a chart Cuomo presented at a press conference in Albany. —Dawn Kopecki

11:49 am: Air pollution falls as outbreak slows travel, but scientists warn of longer-term threat

The coronavirus pandemic is shutting down entire countries across the world, causing a significant decline in air pollution in major cities as heads of state implement stricter quarantines and travel restrictions.

The unintended air pollution declines from the virus outbreak are just temporary, experts say.

But the pandemic’s unintended climate impact offers a glimpse into how countries and corporations are equipped to handle the slower-moving but destructive climate change crisis. So far, researchers warn that the world is ill-prepared. 

“As for the environmental benefits we see from the slowdown of day-to-day life and economic activity in terms of improving air quality and other slight benefits, it’s a good sign that our ecosystems are somewhat resilient if we don’t completely destroy them,” said Peter Gleick, a climate scientist and founder of the Pacific Institute in Berkeley, California. “But it would be nice if we could improve our environment without having to cripple our economy,” he added. —Emma Newburger

11:43 am: NY Gov. Cuomo says state to start clinical drug trial, authorizes temporary hospitals

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaks during his daily news conference amid the coronavirus outbreak on March 20, 2020 in New York City.

Bennett Raglin | Getty Images

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he’s asked the federal government to nationalize the purchase of medical equipment and has signed off on several locations to build temporary hospitals to treat coronavirus patients across the state, which is the hardest hit in the U.S.

Cuomo said the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will build temporary hospitals in Stony Brook, Westbury, Westchester, New York, and the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City, which will contain four federal hospitals with 250 beds each.

New York state is also running a clinical trial beginning Tuesday of a treatment regimen of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin, two drugs that doctors in Africa and elsewhere say they’ve seen good results in fighting the virus.

Cuomo said the federal government needs to nationalize the purchase of needed medical supplies, adding that the shortage of personal protective gear like masks and life-saving equipment like respirators is leading to price gouging. Masks that used to cost 85 cents are now $7, “why because I’m competing against other states,” he said. —Dawn Kopecki

11:31 am: Merck to supply NYC health-care and front-line workers with 500,000 surgical masks

Merck said it will supply New York City with a half-million masks to address the severe shortage of health-care supplies.

“In response to the urgent need for personal protective equipment for health-care workers and other front-line responders battling the COVID-19 pandemic,” the drugmaker will be providing 500,000 masks, a company spokesperson told CNBC.

Merck specified that the masks are surgical masks, not N95 respirators. —Meg Tirrell

11:22 am: Companies should keep as many people employed as possible, Gary Cohn says 

Gary Cohn, former chief economic adviser to President Donald Trump

Getty Images

Companies should keep as many people employed and on payroll as possible amid the pandemic, former White House economic advisor Gary Cohn said. He said that the economy will eventually bounce back and people should be able to return to work immediately rather than having to go through the re-hiring process.
“It would be a shame if we let people go, terminated them, put them on unemployment and then had to try to rehire them once we restarted the economy,” Cohn said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”
The coronavirus crisis will likely result in layoffs on a scale that the U.S. has never seen before, with Bank of America forecasting that as of next week a total of 3 million people will have filed for unemployment. The numbers are expected to be so bad that the Trump administration has asked state officials to delay releasing precise figures.
Financing packages to help the economy recover from the pandemic would be worth $4 trillion, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Sunday. Part of that would include efforts between the Treasury and the Federal Reserve to provide liquidity to businesses. —Emma Newburger

10:45 am: FEMA unclear about mask quantity and distribution

FEMA administrator Pete Gaynor did not offer a solid timeline for when the national stockpile of masks will be distributed or give a number for how many masks are currently being shipped.

“We are shipping all those supplies to all the demands, to all the asks from the governors every day,” Gaynor said on ABC News’ “This Week.”

He said that there are still masks in the national stockpile, but that FEMA is prepared to “go to zero” to meet demand. He cited New York, Washington state, and California as critical hotspots where masks are being sent. —Hannah Miller

10:20 am: Illinois governor says states are competing for supplies — ‘It’s a Wild West out there’

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, alongside other lawmakers and stakeholders, announces a major step forward to legalize cannabis, at Black United Fund of Illinois, on Saturday May 4, 2019. The bill also looks to expunge thousands of class-4 felony marijuana convictions. (Abel Uribe/Chicago Tribune/TNS via Getty Images)

Abel Uribe | Tribune News Service | Getty Images

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said the state only received a fraction of supplies requested from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The shortage of supplies continues to result in states and countries compete against each other for critical personal protective equipment in the open market.

“This should have been a coordinated effort by the federal government…It’s a Wild West out there…Indeed we’re overpaying for PPE because of that competition,” Pritzker said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

The governor also mentioned that there should have been a national stay at home order. Pritzker said he instituted one for his state because he has to protect the 12.7 million people that live in Illinois.

“It will work…Unless we tell people to stay home and to stop interacting in the way that they were, we’re going to see…tens of thousands of more deaths,” Pritzker said. —Alexandria White

10:08 am: Mnuchin working with Fed to provide $4 trillion in liquidity, trying to reach a deal today with Congress

Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin said the administration is working with the Federal Reserve to offer up to $4 trillion in liquidity financing that can be used to support the economy.

“We can lever up to $4 trillion to help everything from small businesses to big businesses to get through the next 90 to 120 days,” Mnuchin said on Fox News Sunday.

Mnuchin also said the administration is trying to reach a deal with Congress today regarding an economic relief package that could top $1.8 trillion. Highlights of the package include small business retention loans that would give businesses two weeks of cash flow, a direct deposit for Americans with the average deposit being $3,000 for a family of four and enhanced unemployment insurance for people laid off because of the coronavirus.

Hospitals would also receive approximately $110 billion in aid, according to Mnuchin. —Hannah Miller

About Covid19 signs are seen at the Times Square in New York City, United States on March 20, 2020.

Tayfun Coskun | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

9:25 am: Virus outbreak in NYC will worsen, de Blasio says 

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said the coronavirus pandemic will worsen in the next few months and urged the federal government to employ the U.S. military to help combat the outbreak. 

“The president will not lift a finger to help his hometown. … I can’t be blunt enough: If the president does not act, people will die who could have lived otherwise,” the mayor said on NBC News’ “Meet the Press.” 

The mayor said that ventilators produced anywhere in the country should be sent to New York within the next 10 days. The state has become the most affected area in the country and is seeing a surge in cases every day.

 A bulk of the cases are in New York City, which now accounts for about one-third of all cases in the country.

“Our federal government needs to be in this fight rather than on the sidelines,” de Blasio said. —Emma Newburger 

8:39 am: Airlines tell Congress they need cash coronavirus aid or thousands will be furloughed

U.S. airlines on Saturday warned they will have to furlough workers unless Congress approves a $58 billion aid package that includes grants, not only loans, as the industry reels from the impact of coronavirus.

Senate Republicans last week proposed legislation that included a $58 billion in aid for passenger and cargo carriers, but in the form of loans airlines would later have to repay.

“Time is running out,” wrote the CEOs of SouthwestDeltaAlaskaAmericanUnitedJetBlueHawaiianUPS Airlines and FedEx, and their lobbying group, Airlines for America, to congressional leaders. It was one in a series of grim messages from airline chiefs and labor unions this week about the abrupt collapse in bookings that coronavirus caused and the potential toll on workers. “Unless worker payroll protection grants are passed immediately, many of us will be forced to take draconian measures such as furloughs.”

U.S. airlines employ close to 750,000 people and airlines are now shrinking their international networks to the smallest in decades, cutting thousands of domestic flights, parking hundreds of jets and urging employees to take unpaid leave, in a bid to save cash as demand crumbles. —Leslie Josephs

7:42 am: Fed’s Bullard says shutdown is not a recession but an investment in survival

James Bullard

Olivia Michael | CNBC

In normal times massive unemployment and a collapse in economic output would be tragic.

This time, as the coronavirus cloisters millions of Americans and shuts down the U.S. economy, it should instead be saluted as an investment in public health that lays the groundwork for a rapid rebound.

That is the view of St. Louis Federal Reserve President James Bullard, who argues that a potential $2.5 trillion hit coming to the economy is both necessary and manageable if officials move fast and keep it simple. It may seem an unconventional view in a moment of global anxiety, but Bullard argues the shutdown measures now being rolled out are essential to shortening the course of the pandemic.

They must also be coupled with massive federal government support to sustain the population through its coming isolation and prime the economy to pick up where it left off.

To Bullard, that means: Match any lost wages. Match any lost business. No questions asked. —Reuters

6:51 am: Spain’s death toll passes 1,700, cases exceed 28,000

Spain’s death toll rose to 1,720 from a previous count of 1,326, according to multiple media reports citing the most recent health data, which also reported cases at 28,572 from a previous tally of 24,926. Spain is currently under a nationwide lockdown. 

Spain’s prime minister is seeking to extend the country’s 15-day state of emergency, first declared on March 14, for a further 15 days to stem the spread of the coronavirus outbreak, which is the second-worst in Europe. 

4:48 am: UK receives new ventilator prototypes, housing minister says

Manufacturing of new ventilators should start “quickly,” U.K. Housing Minister Robert Jenrick said Sunday, discussing the first of the new ventilator prototypes the country has received to help its health services fight the coronavirus pandemic. 

“We’ve been overwhelmed with offers of support. There’s now a number of manufacturers who are working with us,”  Jenrick told Sky News in an interview Sunday. There are currently 13,000 ventilators available for use by the country’s National Health Service, he said, but stressed that more are needed.

Read CNBC’s coverage from CNBC’s Asia-Pacific and Europe teams overnight here: Spain death toll passes 1,700, India begins curfew

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