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NY, Illinois governors warn states compete for supplies

Closed Chicago Theatre is seen in Chicago, Illinois, on March 21, 2020.


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. 

11:59 pm: 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 on Sunday.

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 Southwest, Delta, Alaska, American, United, JetBlue, Hawaiian, UPS 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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