House passes emergency spending, California governor declares state of emergency


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  • Global cases: More than 95,000, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
  • Global deaths: At least 3,250, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
  • US cases: At least 138, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
  • US deaths: At least 11, according to the CDC and state health officials.

5:26 pm: Campbell Soup is increasing production to prepare for coronavirus demand

Campbell Soup CEO Mark Clouse said Wednesday that the company is increasing soup production in response to the coronavirus outbreak. “We made the decision last week to up production in certain areas where we’re using a little bit the analogy of weather or natural disasters,” Clouse said on CNBC’s “Closing Bell.” “Where do we see demand coming in a greater rate? And we’ve upped that level of production to be able to maximize our inventory to be prepared for whatever unfolds here.” Consumers, particularly those closest to virus clusters, have been stockpiling canned soup and other shelf-stable foods as more cases of the disease are reported in the U.S. Hand sanitizer and cleaning supplies have also seen their sales surge, presenting a problem for grocery stores and retailers, who may be unprepared by the sudden swing in demand. — Lucas

5:15 pm: DHS employee tests positive for coronavirus

A Department of Homeland Security employee has tested positive for the coronavirus, DHS press secretary Heather Swift said in a statement Wednesday. “Late last night, DHS headquarters was alerted to a situation where one of our contracted medical professionals conducting screenings at LAX international airport had tested positive for COVID-19,” the statement said. “This individual is currently under self-quarantine at home with mild symptoms and under medical supervision. Their immediate family is also under home quarantine.” – Bhattacharjee

5 pm: NIH official questioned about WHO mortality rate

NIH official Dr. Anthony Fauci told lawmakers the mortality rate for COVID-19 could change depending on how many people ultimately fall ill and die from the virus. World health officials said Tuesday that the current mortality rate was around 3.4%, significantly higher than previous estimates. “As a group, it’s going to depend completely on what the factor of asymptomatic cases are,” he said, adding the more asympotmatic cases, the lower the mortality rate. “What we’re hearing right now on a recent call from the WHO this morning is that there aren’t as many asymptomatic cases as we think, which made them elevate, I think, what their mortality is,” he said. “I’m torn. If we get enough data to have a big [numerator] it’s gonna be bad news for us.” — Hirsch, Higgins

4:53 pm: House passes $8.3 billion emergency spending plan

The House passed a sweeping bill allocating more than $8 billion in emergency funds to combat the spread of the deadly coronavirus.

The funding package, which provides more than $3 billion in vaccine research and $2.2 billion in prevention and preparedness efforts, was unveiled hours earlier following days of negotiations on Capitol Hill.

The emergency coronavirus bill will head to the Senate, where leaders there hope they can quickly bring it to a vote. If the bill passes that chamber, it will move to the Oval Office desk of President Donald Trump, who is expected to sign it. — Breuninger 

4:40 pm: Leave your reusable Starbucks cups at home

After moving its annual shareholder meeting to a virtual-only setting, Starbucks published an open letter outlining other precautions being taken as coronavirus cases continue to spread. It’s increasing the frequency of sanitizing and cleaning at all its company-operated stores to help prevent the spread of germs and pausing the use of personal cups and “for here” ware in stores. Starbucks says it’s also put in place procedures for how to report and support team members that may say they’ve been impacted by the virus, including steps for closing stores, if needed. The coffee giant has restricted all business-related air travel both domestic and international through March 31, and modified or postponed large meetings at offices in the U.S. and Canada. Read the full memo here. — Kate Rogers

4:34 pm: US should give China leeway in implementing trade deal, Republican senator says

Washington needs to give China some leeway in implementing a phase one trade deal given a downturn in the Chinese economy caused by the fast-spreading coronavirus, U.S. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley said.

Grassley, R.-Iowa, told Reuters in an interview that he saw no evidence that China intended to try to escape its commitments under the trade deal to sharply increase its purchases of U.S. farm goods, manufactured products, energy and services.

But the coronavirus could require some adjustments and would likely delay the start of negotiations on a phase two trade agreement, he said.China’s moves to reduce some tariffs on U.S. goods and allow U.S. inspections of their food showed they were acting in “good faith,” Grassley added. — Reuters

3:55 pm: New York confirms 5 new cases

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo confirmed five new COVID-19 cases in the state — hours after he said that a family in Westchester was infected with the virus, bringing the state’s total to 11.

The cases all stem from a Westchester lawyer who worked in Manhattan and is in critical condition in New York Presbyterian Hospital, Cuomo said.

His family is ill and he infected a friend of his who then passed it on to his wife, two sons and a daughter, Cuomo said. The children all attend the West Torah Academy, which is located in White Plains, NY, according to its website. — Lovelace, Higgins-Dunn, Feuer

3:48 pm: Purell bottles, elbow bumps and webcasts at business conference

At a two-day UBS consumer and retail industry conference that kicked off in Boston, there are numerous bottles of Purell on tables and some attendees traded elbow bumps instead of handshakes. Walmart Chief Financial Officer Brett Biggs, Best Buy CEO Corie Barry and Wayfair CEO Niraj Shah are among the big names on the agenda.

No conference speakers canceled, but UBS managing director and retail analyst Michael Lasser said some attendees traveling from Europe didn’t attend due to coronavirus-related travel restrictions. UBS added a speaker: Dr. David Sidebottom, director of infectious disease at Lowell General Hospital. And one company, eyewear retailer National Vision, presented via webcast instead of in-person. Its Chief Financial Officer Patrick Moore remotely addressed investors and executives from a conference room table set up with a laptop, bottle of water and a giant bottle of hand sanitizer. — Repko

National Vision’s Chief Financial Officer Patrick Moore presented via webcast instead of in-person.

Melissa Repko | CNBC

3:33 pm: Grocery stockpiling is most severe near coronavirus clusters—then there’s Colorado

Colorado has yet to report any cases of the new coronavirus in the state, yet consumers there are already stockpiling more powdered milk and cans of soup than in Washington state, where at least nine people have died due to the virus.

But Coloradans aren’t the only ones stocking up on canned goods and cleaning supplies.

Hand sanitizer sales have skyrocketed 619% nationwide in the week ending March 1, according to data from marketing firm Catalina, which compared the sales of 33 products to the same period a year ago. Disinfecting cleaners and wipes have seen their sales more than double. Grocery store and retailers are trying to prevent shortages from “panic buying as more cases of the virus are confirmed in the United States. — Lucas

2:52 pm: United cutting flights in April amid coronavirus outbreak, slowing demand

United Airlines announced deep cuts to its schedule next month amid the global coronavirus outbreak and slowing demand. 

The airline will cut international flights by 20% and domestic flights by 10%. Some wide-body planes will be parked, the company said.

Airlines around the world have cut back on itineraries as COVID-19 hamstrings travel. The viral outbreak, which originated in China, has spread to more than 5 continents. — Josephs, LeBeau

2:43 pm: Italy orders sporting events to take place without fans

All sporting events in Italy will take place without fans present for at least the next month due to the virus outbreak in the country, the Italian government announced.

That will likely see Italian soccer league resume in full this weekend after the calendar was pushed back a week.

Italy is the epicenter of Europe’s coronavirus outbreak. More than 100 people have died and more than 3,000 have been infected with COVID-19.

The Italian government issued a new decree on Wednesday evening, with measures it hopes will help contain the spread of the virus. — Associated Press

2:40 pm: Saudi Arabia announces second coronavirus case

Saudi Arabia said the second coronavirus case for a Saudi national came from Iran through Bahrain, the health ministry announced in a statement published by the state news agency. The statement added that the second coronavirus case didn’t disclose at the border he was coming from Iran, and was in company with the first case reported on Monday. The ministry confirmed that the new case is currently quarantined in hospital and all the people who interacted with him have been tested and the results will be announced once completed. — Reuters

A tourist wearing face masks visits the Colosseum area on February 24, 2020 in Rome, Italy.

Antonio Masiello | Getty Images

2:35 pm: California announces state’s first death

Local health officials in California announced Wednesday the state’s first COVID-19 death, bringing U.S. fatalities to at least 11.

“We extend our deepest condolences to the loved ones of this patient,” Placer County Health Officer Dr. Aimee Sisson said. “While we have expected more cases, this death is an unfortunate milestone in our efforts to fight this disease, and one that we never wanted to see.” — Feuer

2:05 pm: HHS clarifies US has about 1% of face masks needed for ‘full-blown’ pandemic

The Department of Health and Human Services clarified that the United States has about 1%, not 10%, of the required respirator masks that would be needed for medical professionals if the COVID-19 outbreak were to erupt into a pandemic here. The agency said its pandemic planning assumptions estimate the U.S. health-care system will need up to 3.5 billion N95 respirator masks over a year. The Strategic National Stockpile, the nation’s emergency stockpile of drugs and medical supplies, currently holds approximately 12 million medical-grade N95 respirator masks and 30 million surgical face masks, according to an HHS spokesperson. That’s a small fraction of the masks need in a pandemic scenario. —Lovelace

1:41 pm: Vice President Pence plans to visit Washington state

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said he plans to bring a White House team to visit Washington state to meet with Gov. Jay Inslee in response to the coronavirus outbreak in the state. A spokesperson for Pence confirmed his visit will start Thursday in Olympia, Washington. At least nine people have died from the coronavirus in Washington state and at least 27 are infected. —Higgins-Dunn

12:55 pm: Japan temporarily closes F-35 fighter jet facility, Pentagon says

Work at an F-35 fighter jet facility in Japan has paused for a week amid concerns over the coronavirus outbreak, according to a Pentagon official. The F-35 fighter, the Pentagon’s most expensive weapons program, is manufactured by Lockheed Martin in Ft. Worth, Texas. International program partners assembly their versions of the aircraft at FACO, or final assembly and check out facilities, in Italy and in Japan.”In Japan, I believe they shut down the FACO for a week,” Ellen Lord, the Pentagon’s top weapons buyer, told reporters at a defense conference in Washington. Lord added that F-35 deliveries were not impacted. A Lockheed Martin representative did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment. —Macias

A person wears a face mask as a precaution against coronavirus in New York, on March 2, 2020.

Tayfun Coskun | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

12:25 pm: Lawmakers strike deal on $8.3 billion in emergency coronavirus funding

U.S. lawmakers agreed to an $8.3 billion emergency funding package to address the spread of the deadly coronavirus. Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby announced the deal in a press release. ”This should not be about politics; this is about doing our job to protect the American people from a potential pandemic,” said Shelby, an Alabama Republican. Senate leaders originally said the price tag was $7.8 billion, but House Democrats added $500 million in funding for tele-health services that wasn’t factored in to the final amount. —Breuninger 

12:20 pm: Italy death toll rises

The death toll in Italy has risen by 28 over the past 24 hours to 107, the Civil Protection Agency said on Wednesday, with the contagion showing little sign of slowing. The accumulative number of cases in the country, which has been hardest hit by the virus in Europe, totaled almost 3,090, up from 2,502 on Tuesday. The head of the agency said that of those originally infected, 276 had fully recovered versus 160 the day before. —Reuters

11:59 am: IMF announces $50 billion program for coronavirus relief

International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva announced a $50 billion aid package to help fight the coronavirus. Georgieva said on CNBC’s “Squawk Alley” that the money is available “immediately.” 

Georgieva said earlier Wednesday at an event in Washington, D.C. that, “We are faced with a generalized weakening in demand, and that goes through confidence and through spillover channels, including trade and tourism, commodity prices, tightened financial conditions.”

“They call for an additional policy response to support demand and ensure an adequate supply of credit,” she added. —Pound

11:52 am: CDC ups US case count to 129, including those under investigation

The CDC on Wednesday reported 129 cases of coronavirus in the country, which includes cases reported by individual states that were yet to be confirmed by the agency. The latest number represents an increase of seven confirmed cases, and 13 more cases under investigation. Cases detected among former passengers on the Diamond Princess cruise ship rose to 46 from CDC’s count of 45 as of Monday, while three cases were detected in citizens repatriated from Wuhan, China. —Reuters with contribution from CNBC

11:47 am: LA county declares emergency 

Los Angeles-area officials declared an emergency, saying they’ve discovered six new coronavirus cases in the county over the last 48 hours. ”I want to reiterate that this is not a response rooted in panic,” Kathryn Barger, chairwoman of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, said at a press conference. —Feuer

Medics transport a man on a stretcher into an ambulance at the Life Care Center of Kirkland, a long-term care facility linked to several confirmed coronavirus cases, in Kirkland, Washington, U.S. March 3, 2020.

David Ryder | Reuters

11:23 am: Sony Pictures temporarily closes European offices

In an internal memo sent to employees, Sony Pictures said it would be closing its offices in London, Paris and Gdynia, Poland for the rest of the week after one of its London employees may have been exposed to coronavirus. “The health and well-being of our employees is of the utmost importance,” the company said in the memo. “We thought it was important to share with you that one of our London employees may have been exposed to coronavirus COVID-19 given recent travels to an affected area. Out of an abundance of caution, the London, Paris and Gdynia offices will be closed for the remainder of the week, and employees should work from home.” —Whitten

11:02 am: Starbucks cancels in-person annual shareholders meeting in Seattle

10:47 am: Credit card travel insurance may not cover canceled trips over outbreak fears

Credit card travel insurance has a lot of quirks when it comes to what is and what isn’t covered. In most cases, travel insurance covers prepaid, non-refundable travel expenses including passenger fares, tours and hotels. Precautionary cancellations aren’t likely to be covered. So if you cancel your vacation because you’re worried about potentially catching COVID-19, there is a slim chance your credit card travel insurance will provide reimbursement. —White

10:27 am: New York confirms family of four all test positive for coronavirus as state cases climb

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo confirmed that a family of four and their neighbor have all tested positive for the coronavirus, bringing the number of cases in the state to at least six. The father is at New York Presbyterian Hospital and in critical condition, the NYC Health Department said Tuesday. The family lives in Westchester County; the father works at the Manhattan law firm Lewis and Garbuz, P.C., the health department said Tuesday. Both of his children attend school in the city. His son attends Yeshiva University (see 9:33 a.m. update below) while his daughter goes to SAR Academy and High School in the Bronx. SAR Academy voluntarily closed Tuesday as a precautionary measure. —Feuer

9:33 am: New York City college student tests positive for coronavirus, marking the state’s third case

A New York City college student tested positive the coronavirus, bringing the total number of cases in the state to three. Yeshiva University in New York City said it canceled all classes on one of its Manhattan campuses after one of its students contracted COVID-19. ”We are taking every precaution by canceling all classes on Wilf Campus in Washington Heights,” the university said in a statement. “This precautionary step will allow us to work with city agencies and other professionals to best prepare our campus and ensure the uncompromised safety of our students, faculty and staff.” While the school didn’t identify the student, New York City health officials said Tuesday that a patient being treated for the coronavirus at Presbyterian Hospital had two children, one of them was a boy who attends Yeshiva University. —Feuer

Indian People queue up at a COVID screening center at Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital,(RML) after a case emerged in Delhi causing a panic situation in Delhi India, 04 March 2020.

Imtiyaz Khan | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

9:05 am: Abercrombie & Fitch temporarily closes offices in Shanghai and stores in mainland China, Milan

Mall-based apparel retailer Abercrombie & Fitch said it has temporarily shut its Shanghai regional home office, in addition to its stores in mainland China and those in and around Milan. It said it has also put into place global travel restrictions for its workers, due to the outbreak. The company says the Asia-Pacific region made up less than 10% of its fiscal 2019 net sales and that its manufacturing exposure to China was 22% in fiscal 2019, down from 36% in 2018. The company said it is planning for “potential disruption of product deliveries across the global supply chain,” because of the outbreak. It said it has seen, and expects to continue to see, hits to sales and profits in the Asia-Pacific region and in stores across Europe and North America. Abercrombie is calling for 2020 net sales to be flat to up 2%, with same-store sales down low-single digits. —Thomas

8:39 am: Italy orders schools to close for two weeks

The Italian government has ordered schools nationwide to close for the next two weeks to limit the spread of the coronavirus, but the country’s education minister says a final decision on the closure not yet been confirmed, according to Italian media reports. State-run RAI, the ANSA and LaPresse news agencies reported that Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte had agreed on the closure during a cabinet meeting. But Education Minister Lucia Azzolina told reporters that nothing is final yet. Italy has seen its virus caseload explode since the first positive test was registered in northern Lombardy on Feb. 19. Since then, more than 2,500 people in Italy have tested positive, and 79 have died. Italy is the epicenter of Europe’s outbreak. —Associated Press

7:51 am: Chinese scientists identify two strains of the coronavirus

Researchers in China have found two different strains of the new coronavirus circulating in Asia. In a preliminary study published Tuesday, scientists at Peking University’s School of Life Sciences and the Institut Pasteur of Shanghai found that a more aggressive type of the new coronavirus had accounted for roughly 70% of analyzed strains, while 30% had been linked to a less aggressive type. The more aggressive type of virus was found to be prevalent in the early stages of the outbreak in Wuhan — the Chinese city where COVID-19 was first detected late last year. But, the frequency of this type of virus has since decreased from early January, the scientists said. —Meredith

7:26 am: Italy considers nationwide school closures

Italy’s government is weighing whether to close the nation’s schools, according to the domestic media, as the authorities struggle to contain the spread of the coronavirus. The closures could start from Thursday or at the latest, Monday, and could last for 15 days, La Repubblica reported. It said the government was meeting in Palazzo Chigi, the official meeting place of the Council of Ministers, to decide on the action. It added that Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte could make an announcement later Wednesday. Earlier in the day, Italy had the dubious honor of being the the worst-affected country from the coronavirus outside Asia, having overtaken Iran in terms of the number of deaths and infections from the virus. —Ellyatt

7:03 am: Iran cancels Friday prayers in major cities as death toll rises

An Iranian woman wearing a mask walks past a mural displaying her national flag in Tehran on March 4, 2020.


Friday prayers have been canceled across all provincial capitals amid Iran’s growing coronavirus outbreak, state television said, according to The Associated  Press. The suspension of religious services on Friday, Islam’s main day of worship, comes amid a rise in the death toll from the coronavirus to 92 people in Iran, and concerns over the possible spread of the virus among government ministers. —Ellyatt

6:32 am: Iran has 92 coronavirus deaths, 2,922 infections, health ministry says

Iran has published its latest coronavirus data, stating that 92 people have died in Iran from the new coronavirus and 2,922 have been infected, Health Ministry spokesman Kianush Jahanpur announced on state TV, Reuters reported. —Reuters

5:26 am: China’s passenger car sales fall 80% in February as demand drops

Passenger car retail sales in China, the world’s biggest auto market, fell 80% in February because of the coronavirus epidemic, one of the country’s industry associations said, Reuters reported. The China Passenger Car Association said in a statement that China’s overall passenger car sales dropped 80%, without giving a full sales figure for the month. “Dealers returned to work gradually in the first three weeks of February and their showroom traffic is very low,” CPCA said, adding it expects February’s sales drop will be the steepest of this year. —Ellyatt

4:05 am: German cases continue to rise

The total number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany has risen to 240, from 196 cases on Tuesday according to the RKI health institute. North Rhine-Westphalia is the worst affected state with 111 cases; the capital Berlin has six cases. —Ellyatt

Read CNBC’s coverage from the Asia-Pacific overnight: China car sales fall 80%; cases globally pass 93,000

CNBC’s Amanda MaciasKevin BreuningerJesse PoundSarah WhittenAmelia LucasLauren Thomas, Sam MeredithYen Nee LeeChristine Wang, Holly Ellyatt, Riya Bhattacharjee, Kate Rogers and Reuters contributed to this report. 

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