Coronavirus live updates: JHU director warns May 1 too soon to reopen, UK PM Johnson discharged

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 1.8 million
  • Global deaths: At least 112,241
  • US cases: More than 532,300
  • US deaths: At least 21,418 

The data above was compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

1:13 pm: Italy’s daily death tally lowest since March 19

Deaths from the COVID-19 epidemic in Italy rose by 431, down from 619 the day before, and the number of new cases slowed to 4,092 from a previous 4,694. The tally of deaths was the lowest daily rise since March 19.

The total death toll since the outbreak came to light on Feb. 21 rose to 19,899, the Civil Protection Agency said, the second highest in the world after that of the United States. The number of officially confirmed cases climbed to 156,363, the third highest global tally behind those of the United States and Spain. —Reuters

12:49 pm: Head of Mexico’s main stock exchange dies after testing positive for coronavirus

The president of the board of Mexico’s main stock exchange, Jaime Ruiz Sacristan, died on Sunday, according to a statement from the exchange, Reuters reported.

Ruiz Sacristan tested positive of the novel coronavirus in mid-March although the immediate cause of his death is unclear; the exchange had earlier said that he was showing no symptoms. 

A spokesman for the exchange did not immediately respond to a request from Reuters for comment. —Reuters  

12:32 pm: Fed’s Neel Kashkari says coronavirus economic recovery ‘could be a long, hard road’ 

Minneapolis Federal Reserve President Neel Kashkari said he expects the path to economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic will be a “long, hard road,” pouring cold water on hopes for a “V-shaped” rebound.

Kashkari, who oversaw the Troubled Asset Relief Program that the U.S. implemented in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, said on CBS’ “Face The Nation” that expectations for a sharp, speedy recovery seem too optimistic.

“It would be wonderful if some new therapy were developed in the next couple months,” Kashkari said. “Then potentially we would have a V-shaped recovery” – a phrase describing a steep market decline followed by a galloping rally.

But “barring some health-care miracle like that, it seems we’re going to have various phases of rolling flare ups,” Kashkari said, with “different parts of the economy turning back on, maybe turning back off again.” —Kevin Breuninger 

12:25 pm: Smithfield shutting U.S. pork plant indefinitely, warns of meat shortages during pandemic 

Smithfield Foods, the world’s biggest pork processor, said it will shut its Sioux Falls, S.D., plant indefinitely due to a rash of coronavirus cases among employees and warned the country was moving “perilously close to the edge” in supplies for grocers, Reuters reported.

Slaughterhouse shutdowns are disrupting the U.S. food supply chain, crimping availability of meat at retail stores and leaving farmers without outlets for their livestock.

Smithfield extended the closure of its Sioux Falls plant after initially saying it would idle temporarily for cleaning. The facility is one of the nation’s largest pork processing facilities, representing 4% to 5% of U.S. pork production, according to the company. —Reuters 

12:21 pm: Fauci: Earlier social distancing measures ‘obviously’ would have saved more lives 

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious diseases expert, said that earlier efforts to stop the spread of coronavirus in the U.S. “obviously” could have saved lives but top health officials faced “a lot of pushback about shutting things down.”

Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, was responding on CNN’s “State of the Union” to a New York Times report stating that President Donald Trump’s top public health officials concluded by the third week of February that they should recommend to the president a new approach to COVID-19, which included social distancing steps. But, according to The Times, the White House “focused instead on messaging and crucial additional weeks went by before their views were reluctantly accepted by the president — time when the virus spread largely unimpeded.”

“We look at it from a pure health standpoint,” Fauci told CNN. “We make a recommendation. Often, the recommendation is taken. Sometimes, it’s not. But … it is what it is. We are where we are right now.” 

“Again, it’s the ‘what would have, what could have’,” Fauci added when asked if lives could’ve been spared had social distancing been implemented weeks earlier. “It’s very difficult to go back and say that. I mean, obviously, you could logically say, that if you had a process that was ongoing, and you started mitigation earlier, you could have saved lives. Obviously, no one is going to deny that. But what goes into those kinds of decisions is complicated.” —NBC News 

12:08 pm: Canada coronavirus deaths rise by more than 12% to 674 

The number of people killed by the coronavirus in Canada rose by more than 12% to 674 in a day, official data posted by the public health agency showed. 

By 11:00 eastern time (1500 GMT), the total number of those diagnosed with the coronavirus had risen to 23,719. The respective figures at the same time on Saturday were 600 deaths and 22,559 positive diagnoses. —Reuters 

12:05 pm: New York Governor Cuomo says 758 people died from coronavirus in last 24 hours 

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said 758 people died from the coronavirus in New York during the last 24 hours. The state has had more than 750 deaths each day for the last several days. A total of 9,385 people have died in the state as of Saturday.

The number of people who are in intensive care units and receiving intubations is up slightly, and total hospitalizations also increased to 18,700, the governor said. The rate of hospitalization continues to fall as the state begins to slow the spread of the virus.

The governor said he will sign an executive order on Sunday that directs employers of essential businesses to provide workers with a free cloth or surgical face masks to wear when they are interacting with the public. —Emma Newburger 

11:28 am: WHO envoy says coronavirus ‘will stalk the human race for a long time to come’ 

The special envoy to the World Health Organization doesn’t expect the coronavirus to disappear entirely until a vaccine is developed. 

“We think it’s going to be a virus that stalks the human race for quite a long time to come until we can all have a vaccine to protect us,” Dr. David Nabarro, a representative for the WHO, told NBC’s “Meet the Press.” 

Nabarro was asked what the United States should expect in the fall from the coronavirus as countries around the world continue to struggle with overcoming the pandemic. 

“There will be small outbreaks that will emerge sporadically and they will break through our defenses,” he added. —Brian Schwartz  

11:15 am: May 1 will be too soon to reopen the country, says a Johns Hopkins University director

Dr. Tom Inglesby, director of the Center for Health Security at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, told Chris Wallace on Fox News that it will be too soon to reopen the country on May 1.  

He said parts of the country may be able to reopen in May if there is enough testing available and if the number of cases plateau.

“It’s important to know that the U.S. has more cases than any country in the world and no country has reopened all together in the way that is being considered.” 

He added that when social-distancing restrictions are eased, “we need to be very careful. Because if we’re not careful, we’ll recreate the conditions that existed back in early March.” —Melodie Warner 

10:54 am: Mark Cuban says economic recovery to be slower than expected by Trump

Mark Cuban told Chris Wallace on Fox News that he doesn’t expect a V-shape economic recovery as predicted by President Donald J. Trump. 

“I think it’s going to be slower,” the entrepreneur and owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks said.

“People are not going to feel confident right off the bat. There’s going to be a lot of trepidation. That concern is going to lead to people holding back in spending money,” Cuban said.

On the subject of reopening businesses by May 1, Cuban said, “When the scientists say it’s safe for my employees to come back to work, that’s when I’ll feel confident enough to let them go back to work.” —Melodie Warner

9:30 am: Fauci expresses ‘cautious optimism’ coronavirus outbreak is slowing, US could start reopening in May

White House health advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci expressed “cautious optimism” that the deadly coronavirus outbreak is slowing down in the U.S., and said that parts of the country may start to reopen as soon as May.

Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, warned on CNN’s “State of the Union” that the entire country won’t suddenly turn back on like a “light switch.” But there are “indications” that some of the metrics used to gauge the crisis “are starting to level off” in some areas, he said.

Asked when parts of the U.S. could start to relax some of their strict social-distancing measures, Fauci said that the process could probably start “at least in some ways, maybe next month.” —Kevin Breuninger

9:20 am: England’s coronavirus death toll rises by 657 to 9,594

The death toll from the novel coronavirus in English hospitals rose by 657 to 9,594, officials said. Of the 657, there were 42 patients aged between 30 and 98 who had no known underlying health condition.

Figures for the whole of the U.K. were expected to be published later on Sunday. —Reuters 

9:06 am: Spain’s coronavirus death toll rose for the first time in three days

Spain’s coronavirus death toll rose for the first time in three days, as some businesses prepared to reopen under an easing of the country’s strict lockdown regime. 

A total of 619 people died over the past 24 hours, health ministry data showed, bringing the cumulative toll to 16,972. Confirmed cases increased by around 2.6% to 166,019. —Reuters 

8:53 am: UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson discharged from hospital

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves 10 Downing Street for PMQs at the House of Commons on 25 March, 2020 in London, England.

Wiktor Szymanowicz | NurPhoto | Getty Images

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