Russia’s total coronavirus cases surpass 335,000, Patrick Ewing hospitalized


More than 5.2 million people in the world have contracted the coronavirus, which has spread to at least 188 countries and regions world-wide. The global death toll currently stands at 337,572, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. 

Brazil on Saturday briefly had the second-highest number of reported cases in the world — after the United States — until Russia gave updated numbers that put its total back above Brazil’s. Latin America’s most populous nation now has more than 330,000 cases and more than 21,000 reported deaths, data compiled by Johns Hopkins showed.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, in a CNBC interview Friday, said now is the time to reopen the economy, but states should still take “very significant precautions” with social distancing. States continue to chart a path forward, reopening nonessential businesses and easing restrictions on movement. Even the hardest-hit states in the country, New York and New Jersey, are reopening beaches for Memorial Day weekend.

The coverage on this live blog has ended — but for up-to-the-minute coverage on the coronavirus, visit the live blog from CNBC’s U.S. team.

  • Global cases: More than 5.2 million
  • Global deaths: At least 338,232
  • Countries with the most cases: United States (more than 1.6 million), Russia (335,882), Brazil (330,890), United Kingdom (255,544), Spain (234,824)

The data above was compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

The head of China’s disease control center ‘accepts’ criticism over virus response

11:50 am (London time) — Gao Fu, the director of China’s disease control and prevention center, has said it is “very normal” that there was criticism of the country’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak, according to reports.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of China’s annual meeting of parliament, Reuters cited Fu as saying he accepted the criticism, whilst also defending Beijing’s response.

“With such a large epidemic in China and the world, it is very normal to receive criticism from the public,” he said, Reuters reported. “We accept them with humility.”

Beijing has been accused by a number of countries of not reporting the emergence of the coronavirus quickly enough. The Covid-19 outbreak began in China in late 2019.

However, although Gao said that China’s disease control and prevention center should improve the way it reports outbreaks, he stressed that the country’s response was “good” compared with some other nation’s. — Katrina Bishop

Russia reports more than 9,000 new cases

4:04 pm (Singapore time) — Russia’s total number of novel coronavirus cases climbed to 335,882, Reuters said on Saturday, as the country documented 9,434 new cases of infection.

Russia’s health authorities reported 139 new deaths. The total number of dead in Russia has reached 3,388, Reuters reported. —Ted Kemp

U.S. says Beijing is blocking American carriers from flying to China

2:15 pm (Singapore time) – U.S. airlines, such as Delta Air Lines and United Airlines, want to resume passenger flight services to China, but Beijing is making it impossible for them to do so, according to Reuters. That’s despite the fact that Chinese airlines are still flying to the U.S. during the coronavirus outbreak, the report said. 

In a statement seen by Reuters, the U.S. Transportation Department said it “protested this situation to the Chinese authorities, repeatedly objecting to China’s failure to let U.S. carriers fully exercise their rights and to the denial to U.S. carriers of their right to compete on a fair and equal basis with Chinese carriers.”

It reportedly called the situation “critical.” —Joanna Tan

Hertz files for bankruptcy in the U.S.

10:55 am (Singapore time) – U.S. car rental giant Hertz filed for bankruptcy protection late Friday, after days of seeking to negotiate its massive debt with creditors. The coronavirus pandemic has dried up demand for car rentals, dealing a serious blow to the company and prompting Hertz to lay off at least 10,000 staff across North America.

“The impact of COVID-19 on travel demand was sudden and dramatic, causing an abrupt decline in the Company’s revenue and future bookings,” Hertz said in a statement. The company quickly took action to place the health and safety of its staff, and eliminated non-essential expenditure to preserve liquidity, it said.

“However, uncertainty remains as to when revenue will return and when the used-car market will fully re-open for sales, which necessitated today’s action.” —Joanna Tan

Brazil is the world’s second-worst hit country

8:23 am (Singapore time) – Brazil now has the second-highest number of reported cases in the world after overtaking Russia, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. remains the country with the most number of reported cases.

Aerial view of an area at the Nossa Senhora Aparecida cemetery where new graves have been dug in Manaus, Brazil, on May 22, 2020 amid the novel Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.

Michael Dantas | AFP | Getty Images

Brazil saw a spike in the number of cases this week. The South American country now has 330,890 confirmed cases and  21,048 fatalities, Hopkins data shows. The World Health Organization warned that South America has become a new epicenter for the global pandemic. —Joanna Tan

Former NBA star Patrick Ewing tests positive for coronavirus

7:25 am (Singapore time) – Basketball legend Patrick Ewing has been hospitalized after being diagnosed with Covid-19, a statement from Georgetown Athletics said. The Hall of Fame basketball player, who is currently head coach at Georgetown University, is being isolated at a local hospital, the statement said.

“I want to share that I have tested positive for COVID-19. The virus is serious and should not be taken lightly,” Ewing said. ”Now more than ever, I want to thank the healthcare workers and everyone on the front lines. I’ll be fine and we will all get through this.” —Joanna Tan

States lift recreation restrictions ahead of Memorial Day

Woman take in the sun on the beach at Long Beach, New York May 22, 2020, as people get started on the Memorial Day weekend.

Timothy A. Clary | AFP via Getty Images

3:43 pm ET — Both Alabama and Texas lifted major restrictions on recreational opportunities ahead of Memorial Day weekend. Alabama reopened entertainment venues like theaters, bowling alleys and arcades. Texas allowed rodeos, bowling alleys, bingo halls, skating rinks, aquariums and other spaces to reopen. Bars in the state were allowed to reopen at 25% capacity as well. For more on states’ reopening progress, click here. —Hannah Miller

Trump demands that states let houses or worship reopen

3:37 pm ET — President Trump demanded that governors reopen churches, synagogues and mosques “right now,” and threatened to “override” state leaders’ restrictions if they do not do so by the weekend.

Trump, in a surprise announcement from the White House briefing room, said it was an “injustice” that some state leaders have allowed “liquor stores and abortion clinics” to stay open amid the Covid-19 pandemic while closing houses of worship. The comments marked Trump’s latest attempt to ramp up the political stakes surrounding the country’s coronavirus recovery efforts.

“The governors need to do the right thing and allow these very important essential places of faith to open right now, for this weekend,” Trump said. “If they don’t do it, I will override the governors.” 

But it’s far from clear if Trump has the authority to do so, as the White House has only released guidelines for states and regional leaders to follow as they combat the disease. —Kevin Breuninger

San Francisco summer camps to open under certain restrictions

3:29 pm ET — San Francisco summer camps and programs can open June 15, Mayor London Breed announced. However, all public and private summer camps must have specific safety protocols in place, including capacity limitations, temperature screenings and enhanced sanitizing procedures. 

“It won’t be like the summer we’re used to,” Breed said at a press briefing.

Camps and programs must prioritize space for children whose parents work at businesses that are allowed to operate under the city’s health order as well as those who are low-income. The camps are allowed to serve campers aged 6 to 17 from June 15 to August 17. —Hannah Miller 

South America has become a ‘new epicenter,’ WHO says

2:43 pm ET — Roughly 6 months after the coronavirus emerged in Wuhan, China, South America has become a new epicenter of the global pandemic, the World Health Organization said.

WHO officials noted that most cases in South America are being reported in Brazil, where urban areas like Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo have reported surges in cases. However, on a per capita basis, the virus is infecting more people in the rural Amazonas state, Mike Ryan, executive director of the WHO’s emergencies program, said.

Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, head of the WHO’s emerging diseases and zoonosis unit, said the outbreak underscores the need to protect at-risk people who have underlying conditions and limited access to health care. —Will Feuer

Georgia issues safety guidelines for film sets as crews gear up to resume production

New York auto show canceled 

Ian Callum and the Jaguar I-Pace accept the award for the 2019 World Car Award at the New York Auto Show in New York on April 17th, 2019.

Adam Jeffery | CNBC

2:31 pm ET — Organizers of the 2020 New York auto show canceled the event, previously set to be held in August at the Javits Convention Center in New York City. The convention center is being used as a temporary hospital as coronavirus patients crowd medical centers. The 2020 auto show had previously been postponed from April to August, but will now be canceled entirely. The next event is scheduled for April 2021. —Sara Salinas

Hospitals fear patients won’t feel comfortable returning for care

2:17 pm ET — Hospital systems have been able to resume elective surgeries and other procedures, but challenges remain in helping patients feel comfortable enough to come back in. Medical facilities are implementing safety measures like scanning visitors’ temperatures, distributing coronavirus symptom questionnaires and spacing out waiting room chairs under social-distancing guidelines, CNBC’s Bertha Coombs reports. The new protocol is helpful in giving patients a sense of security that could prevent them from delaying vital medical care. —Hannah Miller

Potential vaccine developed in China triggers immune response in early-stage trial, study says

2:05 pm ET — A coronavirus vaccine candidate developed in China appeared to produce neutralizing antibodies in dozens of patients participating in an early-stage clinical trial, according to results published in The Lancet. Researchers believe that developing this type of antibodies could be an important step in acquiring immunity to the virus, CNBC’s Berkeley Lovelace reports. However, the research team responsible for the study warned that the early results should be interpreted cautiously. —Hannah Miller

Gottlieb says ‘some semblance of normalcy’ possible in summer with precautions

2:00 pm ET — Dr. Scott Gottlieb told CNBC he believes if Americans are careful this summer, “we can take a breather and get back to some semblance of normalcy.”

Gottlieb did warn about complacency heading into the fall, though, “when the risk is going to be very different.”

The former FDA chief said on “Squawk Box” that must still take precautions, including going to the store less, practicing good hygiene when out and reducing the size of one’s social circle. 

“Any place you’re in an indoor setting and you’re in contact with people for a sustained period of time, that is the conditions under which this spread,” said Gottlieb, who is a CNBC contributor and sits on the boards of Pfizer and biotech company Illumina. —Kevin Stankiewicz

Travel expected to look quite different this summer

1:26 pm ET — With summer approaching, small businesses that rely on tourism are hoping Americans will still be willing to travel, despite the pandemic.

Even with low travel numbers expected for the Memorial Day holiday, hotels are still gearing up for the season with new policies that include enhanced disinfecting and requiring guests to wear masks, CNBC’s Jessica Golden and Contessa Brewer report.

Travel companies like Airbnb and are also seeing changing travel trends that include increased interest in cabins and resorts that people can drive to. —Hannah Miller

Fauci says ‘now is the time’ to reopen the economy

1:18 pm ET — White House health advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci told CNBC’s Meg Tirrell that states staying closed for too long due to the coronavirus could end up causing “irreparable damage.”

He said the U.S. had to institute severe measures because Covid-19 cases were exploding. “But now is the time, depending upon where you are and what your situation is, to begin to seriously look at reopening the economy, reopening the country to try to get back to some degree of normal.”

Fauci warned members of Congress last week that the U.S. could face even more “suffering and death” from the coronavirus if some states rush to reopen businesses too early. It could also hinder states “on the road to try to get back to an economic recovery,” he testified at a hearing before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions on May 12. — Berkeley Lovelace Jr.

New daily coronavirus cases in New York now lower than beginning of the outbreak, governor says

1:02 pm ET — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said there were 225 new Covid-19 cases on Thursday, based on a three-day rolling average, which is at a “level now that is lower than we first began.”

While only a single daily figure, the number of new infections has been on a steady decline across the state, which at its peak reported more than 3,100 new cases daily. The state reported an additional 109 deaths on Thursday, which “has been stubborn on its way down,” Cuomo said.

The state has started to implement its phased reopening plan in some regions that have met seven health metrics, such as declining hospitalizations and new cases, as well as sufficient hospital bed and testing capacity. He said the Long Island and the mid-Hudson regions could begin reopening next week if deaths continue to decrease and sufficient contact tracing is implemented. —Noah Higgins-Dunn

Coronavirus patients treated with Trump-touted hydroxychloroquine more likely to die, study finds

12:51 pm ET — Hospitalized Covid-19 patients who took hydroxychloroquine had a 34% higher risk of death than those who were not treated with it, according to a study published in The Lancet.

President Donald Trump has been taking the malaria drug daily despite warnings from the Food and Drug Administration.

CNBC’s Berkeley Lovelace reports that the study looked at more than 96,000 patients at 671 hospitals around the world. It also found that patients treated with hydroxychloroquine had a 137% increased risk of developing serious heart arrhythmia. —Hannah Miller

White House starts to embrace idea of sending out more relief money

President Donald Trump speaks during a bill signing ceremony for H.R. 748, the CARES Act in the Oval Office of the White House on March 27, 2020 in Washington, DC.

Erin Schaff | Pool | Getty Images

12:33 pm ET – The Trump administration is starting to sound a lot more comfortable with pushing out another round of coronavirus relief money.

In the past two days, President Donald Trump and two of his economic advisors – Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Kevin Hassett – indicated they think another rescue bill is likely. Trump said the government could take “one more nice shot” at a stimulus. 

As tens of millions of Americans lose their paychecks, both Democrats and the White House appear to support another round of direct payments. Other issues, including state and municipal aid, the extension of an enhanced unemployment benefit and liability protections for businesses, could prove more difficult to resolve if the major parties negotiate another bill.

Formal talks on fiscal relief between the administration and Congress are stalled. The House will convene for only part of next week, while the Senate will not return until June 1. —Jacob Pramuk

Homeowners who didn’t initially need mortgage bailouts are now relying on them

12:18 pm ET — A large number of homeowners who entered into mortgage forbearance programs didn’t initially need bailouts, but now they do, according to data from Black Knight.

In April, nearly half of those in forbearance still made their monthly mortgage payments, but as of May 19, just 21% had paid, CNBC’s Diana Olick reports.

These figures could lead to a sharp increase in the national delinquency rate in May. —Hannah Miller

‘Definite signs of the recovery’ in health care, Medtronic CEO says

12:06 pm ET — Medtronic CEO Geoff Martha said activity in the U.S. health-care sector is seeing a “snapback” as cities and states lift restrictions on nonessential health procedures.

“We’re seeing definite signs of the recovery happen right now,” Martha said on “Squawk Alley.” “It’s going to vary by location. It’s going to vary by therapy.”

Many hospitals around the country suspended elective procedures at the beginning of the pandemic to preserve space and personal protective equipment for the fight against Covid-19. The loss of revenue from those procedures has led many hospitals to lay off staff members.

Medtronic reported its most recent earnings on Thursday, showing a revenue decline of 26% year-over-year. —Jesse Pound

Pandemic disrupts routine vaccination services, putting 80 million children at risk

11:50 am ET —At least 80 million infants could be at risk of getting life-threatening diseases as the pandemic disrupts routine immunizations in countries around the world, according to data from global health experts.

Of the 129 countries reporting data to global health officials, 53% indicated that routine childhood immunization services were moderately to severely disrupted or were totally suspended from March to April.

Many countries have also suspended vaccination campaigns intended to prevent other diseases such as cholera, measles, meningitis, polio, tetanus, typhoid and yellow fever, due to risk of Covid-19 transmission, they said. Campaigns for polio and measles have been hit the hardest, with measles campaigns suspended in 27 countries and polio campaigns put on hold in 38 countries, according to the report. —Hannah Miller, Noah Higgins-Dunn

Some retailers, restaurants see spending bounce from stimulus checks

Customers rush to purchase toilet paper at a Target store during the panic shopping. People stock up on food and personal hygiene products in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Paul Hennessy | Echoes Wire | Barcroft Media via Getty Images

11:28 am ET — Companies from Walmart to Wendy‘s say they got a bounce in April as Americans received stimulus checks from the federal government, but some cautioned the higher levels of spending may not last.

In earnings calls this week, the CEOs of Walmart, Target and Best Buy spoke about an uptick on spending as customers had extra money in their pockets. Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said more people bought discretionary items, such as sporting goods, toys and TVs. Best Buy CEO Corie Barry said it saw a bump in gaming, computing and small appliances. 

Even as companies described the stimulus’ effect, they were hesitant to forecast future sales and spending patterns. And some research indicates that many Americans have put the money in savings or already used it. —Melissa Repko, Lauren Feiner

Midwest virus spread grows

Vaccine could be ready by December, Fauci says

10:08 am ET — The White House’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, stands by the timeline that a vaccine could be ready as early as December. Fauci first said in January that a vaccine could be ready in 12 to 18 months and he doubled down on Friday, telling NPR the “schedule is still intact.”

Fauci cautioned, however, that it’s difficult to estimate timelines for vaccines and it’s “never a promise.” The U.S. government has partnered with biotech company Moderna to fast-track the development of its vaccine. Fauci said regulators are not compromising on safety or “scientific integrity” to accelerate the development of the vaccine candidate. “The risk is to the investment,” he said, not to the patient. —Will Feuer

Restaurants set up tables in streets and parking lots to ease the pain of coronavirus restrictions

Forbici Modern Italian’s temporary outdoor dining tent in Tampa, Florida.

Forbici Modern Italian

9:52 am ET — From Tampa to Cincinnati to Boston, cities across the U.S. are making it easier for restaurants to set up outdoor dining to soften the economic blow from the coronavirus.

Jeff Gigante, co-owner of Forbici Modern Italian in Tampa, said the Florida city’s program has been “a life saver for us.” Capacity restrictions, while meant to make social distancing easier, are challenging in the already-low-margin restaurant business. Expanding tables to streets, sidewalks and parking lots is one way to add capacity while still complying with public-health rules.

“If we’re going to continue our great renaissance as a city, we’re going to have to open up more streets and public space to restaurants or … they’re not going to survive,” said Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley. —Kevin Stankiewicz 

U.S. automakers grapple with newly diagnosed coronavirus cases among returning workers

9:46 am ET — As auto manufacturers reopen, they are dealing with production interruptions when employees become sick with the coronavirus. At least three employees at Ford Motor plants in Illinois and Michigan tested positive for Covid-19 this week, prompting temporary factory shutdowns for deep cleaning, CNBC’s Michael Wayland reports.

Even as factories implement safety measures like requiring employees to wear face masks and undergo temperature checks, they can’t dictate what employees do outside of work and are not yet reliant on mass testing to screen workers. —Hannah Miller 

Stocks are flat as Wall Street grapples with rising U.S.-China tensions, virus vaccine hopes

9:36 am ET — Stocks opened along the flatline as tensions between China and the U.S. offset increasing optimism for a potential coronavirus vaccine. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 18 points, or less than 0.1%. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite also traded marginally lower.

Read updates on stock market activity from CNBC’s Fred Imbert. —Melodie Warner

Biden says he would make Covid-19 vaccine free for everyone in U.S.

9:00 am ET — Apparent 2020 Democratic nominee Joe Biden said on CNBC that if he were president, a coronavirus vaccine would be free for everyone in the United States.

“I tell you what, if one is found, I would make sure that every single person in America is able to get a vaccine, period, without any cost,” Biden told “Squawk Box.”

“And I would do the same thing with testing right now.” The former vice president couched the health-care stance in economic terms, contrasting himself with President Donald Trump, who is pushing states to quickly reopen their economies.

“All this talk about reopening — people aren’t going to open until they have the confidence to know that if they gather together, they’re not going to get sick,” Biden said.

Trump said last week that he was “looking at” the possibility of making an eventual coronavirus vaccine available free of charge. —Kevin Breuninger

New cases soar in Africa 

Moderna shares rise following Fauci’s comments on Covid-19 vaccine data 

Oxford recruiting for expanded human trials of vaccine candidate

7:06 am ET — AstraZeneca and Oxford University have announced plans to move their vaccine candidate to human trials and have already started to recruit up to 10,260 adults and children for the next phase of trials, the university said.

On Thursday, AstraZeneca announced it received about $1.2 billion in funding from the U.S. Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority to accelerate development of the potential vaccine. Human trials began last month with over 1,000 volunteers in the south of England. No trial data has been released.

The university said it’s now recruiting for a phase two trial, which will include older adults and children, to assess if the immune response varies in different age demographics. The phase three trial will assess how well the vaccine actually defends against infection from the coronavirus.

“The speed at which this new vaccine has advanced into late-stage clinical trials is testament to Oxford’s ground-breaking scientific research,” AstraZeneca executive Mene Pangalos said. —Will Feuer

India reports biggest one-day increase in cases 

Migrant labourers stand in a queue for medical checkup after reaching quarantine center at their hometown Allahabad during Government imposed nationwide lockdown as a prventive measure against the COVID-19 corona virus in Allahabad, India on April 27, 2020.

Ritesh Shukla | NurPhoto via Getty Images

7:00 am ET — India’s health ministry reported the country recorded its highest single-day spike of new infections since the pandemic began.

The country of approximately 1.3 billion people reported a total of over 118,000 cases on Friday, a roughly 5% increase from Thursday’s figures.

To date, India has recorded 3,583 fatalities due to the virus, according to the health ministry. —Sam Meredith

Read CNBC’s previous coronavirus live coverage here: Russia reports record daily jump in deaths; Soros warns EU may not survive

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