Apple, Google release contact tracing technology

Sara Salinas,Matthew J. Belvedere,Holly Ellyatt

Sectors of the U.S. economy are starting to show signs of a rebound, with more retailers reporting strong quarterly sales and weekly mortgage applications pointing to a remarkable recovery in the housing market. Wall Street later Wednesday got a more detailed look at the Federal Reserve’s most recent decision, with the release of the central bank’s meeting minutes. The Fed has rolled out historic aid and lending programs in an effort to prop up the economy. 

This is CNBC’s live blog covering all the latest news on the coronavirus outbreak. This blog will be updated throughout the day as the news breaks. 

Global cases: More than 4.93 millionGlobal deaths: At least 324,240U.S. cases: More than 1.53 million U.S. deaths: At least 92,128

The data above was compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Trump administration purchases mask-cleaning machines that may damage masks

2:38 pm — After President Donald Trump pressured the Food and Drug Administration to waive certain rules, his administration was able to purchase mask-cleaning machines in a deal that ballooned from a $60 million price tag to one with a ceiling of $600 million.

Not only did the deal costs explode, but the cleaning process used by the machines to sanitize the masks may actually damage them and prevent them from being reused.The machines were supposed to allow masks to be reused up to 20 times through sanitizing treatments. However, scientists and nurses say that masks cleaned by the machines began to degrade after two or three treatments, putting them at risk.

“They keep saying these recycled masks are still safe after all these cycles, but we don’t know that,” said a nurse in Pennsylvania, whose hospital has used the machines. “What we do know is that there are not enough masks for medical workers and there are very real consequences if we get sick.” —Hannah Miller

Here are 8 new, in-demand jobs created by the pandemicGlobal daily cases increased by most ever, WHO says

2:24 ET pm — Countries around the world collectively reported more new cases to the WHO in the past 24 hours than ever before, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said. Most new infections are coming from the Americas, followed by Europe and the Middle East, according to data compiled by the WHO. However, the virus could be spreading unknown in parts of the world with limited testing capacity and health care infrastructure. —Will Feuer

Apple and Google release digital contact tracing technology

2:21 pm ET — Apple and Google’s contact tracing system has launched in iOS and Android updates. Apple and Google won’t make the actual contact tracing apps — government health bodies will.

Alabama, North Dakota and South Carolina are the first states to commit publicly to using the system in the United States.The technology is designed to slow the spread of coronavirus by tracking who a person has been in close contact with, using Bluetooth processed on the device, instead of GPS location tracking and central databases. But whether users adopt the apps remains an open question: The more phones that opt-in to the system, the more successfully it can detect how the virus spreads. —Kif Leswing

Antibody testing shows coronavirus is still spreading in low-income, minority communities in NYC 

1:55 pm ET — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that the coronavirus is still spreading through New York City’s low-income, predominantly minority communities when compared with the general population.

According to results from approximately 8,000 antibody tests conducted by Northwell Health in New York City, Bronx had the highest percentage of positive tests at 34%. Meanwhile, New York City overall had a positive rate of nearly 20%. The state partnered with faith-based communities in lower-income, predominantly minority communities to conduct the antibody testing, which found that 27% of people in the group tested positive.”The spread is continuing in those communities and that’s where the new cases are coming from,” Cuomo said. “What we’re seeing in New York City is going to be true across the state.” —Jasmine Kim

With surge in online sales, Walmart speeds along launch of new smartphone app

1:40 pm ET — As more customers shop online during the pandemic, Walmart sped along the launch of a new smartphone app to make those purchases easier and nudge shoppers towards adding higher margin items to their virtual baskets. 

The big-box retailer’s e-commerce sales jumped by 74% in the first quarter, as customers flocked to Walmart for everything from pasta sauce to bicycles. The company said it’s attracting new customers who are trying online services like curbside pickup for the first time.Before the pandemic, Walmart planned to combine its two apps to blend together groceries and general merchandise, such as home decor and fashion. It decided to launch that app  this week — about six months ahead of schedule, said Janey Whiteside, Walmart’s chief customer officer.She said the app includes a feature that’s become popular during the pandemic: Walmart Pay. It allows customers to check out without having to touch a screen at the register. —Melissa Repko

Trump pulling funds from WHO may hurt emergency program

In this photo illustration the World Health Organization Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus is seen on a screen of pc and a coronavirus image displayed on a screen of a smartphone in Kiev, Ukraine.

Pavlo Gonchar | SOPA Images | Getty Images

1:22 pm ET — President Donald Trump permanently pulling U.S. funds from the World Health Organization could hurt the agency’s emergency programs for poor nations, WHO officials warned.

The agency’s budget is already “very, very small” at about $2.3 billion a year, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.

Most funding from the United States goes directly out to the program that helps “some of the most vulnerable people in the world,” Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of WHO’s health emergencies program, told reporters.

The WHO’s funding runs in two-year budget cycles. For the 2018 and 2019 funding cycle, the U.S. paid a $237 million required assessment as well as an additional $656 million in voluntary contributions to the agency, averaging $446 million a year and representing about 14.67% of the WHO’s total budget, according to spokesman Tarik Jasarevic. —Berkeley Lovelace Jr.

Ricky Sandler says herd immunity is the best way to ease ‘civil unrest’ from pandemic restrictions

1:08 pm ET — Hedge fund executive Ricky Sandler has told his associates that he’s now in favor of herd immunity as a way to combat the coronavirus.

In a letter to friends, Sandler, who lost billions at the start of social distancing protocols, argues that the tactic will be the best way to avoid “civil unrest.”

“With proper coordination, I can envision Artists hosting virus relief concerts where young and healthy people go and hopefully get the virus and then the antibodies which allow them to donate blood to be used as a treatment or a prophylactic,” Sandler wrote.

Faculty at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health made a case against that approach in April.

“For less severe diseases, this approach might be reasonable. But the situation for SARS-CoV-2 is very different: COVID-19 carries a much higher risk of severe disease and even death,” two Johns Hopkins staffers wrote. —Brian Schwartz

How PVH is managing shopping experience as its stores reopen

12:55 pm ET — PVH, owner of Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger, is offering customers face masks upon entry to its stores, as well as putting returned clothes in quarantine for a few days, CEO Manny Chirico told CNBC. 

It’s all part of what Chirico called “a brave new world” for retail during the coronavirus pandemic. 

“It looks like the consumers really want to come back and shop, and we have to just manage this whole process,” he told CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”  —Kevin Stankiewicz

Workers at reopened Ford plant test positive for Covid-19

A Ford Motor employee inspects the all-new 2020 Ford Explorer before it rolls of the line to ensure quality for our customers.


12:40 pm ET — Ford Motor closed and then reopened its Chicago assembly plant twice in less than 24 hours after two workers tested positive for Covid-19, the company confirmed.

The plant, according to the company, reopened Wednesday after work areas were deep cleaned and disinfected.

The brief closures on separate shifts Tuesday are the first-known type of incidents since Detroit automakers started reopening their large North American assembly plants on Monday. The plants were shuttered in March for employee safety and to lower the potential spread of the virus.

Ford said the employees did not contract the coronavirus while at work, citing the incubation time of the virus.

Ford and other automakers reopening plants have implemented stringent protocols to assist in lowering the chance of spreading the disease, as well as protocols such as pre-work questionnaires and temperature screenings to identify those who may be at higher risk of contracting Covid-19. —Michael Wayland

United’s new CEO doesn’t expect a full recovery in travel demand without a vaccine

Passengers, some wearing masks and protective gear, queue for their flight at Terminal 1 of John F. Kennedy Airport (JFK) amid the novel coronavirus pandemic on May 13, 2020 in Queens, New York.

Johannes Eisele | AFP via Getty Images

12:10 pm ET — United Airlines’ new CEO Scott Kirby reiterated that the airline is seeing a slight uptick in demand from a low-point last month but the recovery won’t be immediate.

“I think we have a gradual recovery, but the full recovery probably doesn’t happen until we get to a vaccine. So we are preparing United to go through a time of depressed demand, pretty significantly depressed demand for a long period of time so that we make sure we are here and as soon as the vaccine is in place that we can bounce back quickly” Kirby told CNBC’s Squawk Box.

TSA data show the number of people passing through U.S. airport checkpoints is down more than 91% from a year ago.

United on Wednesday announced it is working with Clorox and the Cleveland Clinic on guidelines for cleaning protocols and social distancing measures for passengers.

Kirby, who has been United’s president since August 2016, said he’s hopeful the carrier can negotiate pay or other changes with labor unions that represent more than 80% of United’s 96,000 employees, to avoid layoffs this fall. —Leslie Josephs

How scammers are targeting Americans during the pandemic

12:02 pm ET — Nearly 50,000 Covid-19 related scams were reported to the Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Sentinel Network as of this week. The scams netted more than $35 million according to the same report. 

It appears the coronavirus shutdown has created the perfect environment for scammers to thrive. “We are working with our children and homeschooling. We’re sharing devices with our children. We’re trying to juggle work and family. But to a hacker, we are their day job,” said Adam Levin, co-founder of and founder of CyberScout. 

The new schemes include fake offers for expedited stimulus checks, bogus healthcare claims, pretend IRS agents and exploiting Zoom to learn your private information. Almost every scam will be designed to get either your money or your personal information according to Levin. —Robert Exley, Jr.

At least 68 grocery workers have died from Covid-19, union says

11:46 am ET — The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union said that at least 68 grocery workers who were members of the union have died after contracting Covid-19.

The deaths were heavily concentrated in the New Jersey and New York area.

Marc Perrone, international president of UFCW, said that grocery workers’ deaths have slowed down, but noted that the union does not have statistics for nonunion grocery stores.

The union is pushing for grocery stores to continue hazard pay for workers and to better enforce mandates about wearing masks while in stores. Kroger, for example, ended its hourly pay increase and will give workers bonuses instead. —Amelia Lucas

Dallas Fed president pushes for help to state and local governments

11:36 am ET — Congress and the Federal Reserve may need to do more to help the economy, with specific attention needed to cash-strapped state and local governments, Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan told CNBC.

“My guess is we are going to need to do more,” the central bank official said. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell told a Senate panel Tuesday that the bulk of the additional rescue funds may need to come from Capitol Hill, and he also specifically mentioned help needed to prevent layoffs of local and state government workers. —Jeff Cox

New York City sees ‘striking’ decline in children’s vaccinations, mayor says

A nurse demonstrates how a measles vaccine is administered at the Orange County Health Department on May 6, 2019 in Orlando, Florida.

Paul Hennessy | NurPhoto | Getty Images

11:15 am ET — New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said that children’s vaccinations have seen a “striking” decline in recent months, declining 63% for all children in the city when compared with the same period of time last year, as families stay home and doctors’ offices remain closed for routine visits because of Covid-19.

De Blasio said the number of administered vaccine doses has declined a “shocking” 91% for children over the age of 2 years old.

“This is essential work, getting your child vaccinated is essential work. Getting your child vaccinated is a reason to leave your home,” he said. —Noah Higgins-Dunn

Most Americans who lost jobs describe layoffs as temporary, but those jobs may be gone for good

10:46 am ET — Since the coronavirus crisis took hold in mid-March, the number of people forced out of work has exploded. The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits has risen to nearly 36.5 million, the biggest loss in U.S. history. 

But while 78% of out of work individuals describe themselves as temporarily laid off, new research suggests for many the job losses will be permanent, CNBC’s Rahel Solomon reports. The University of Chicago’s Becker Friedman Institute estimates 42%, or about 11.6 million, of all jobs lost through April 25 due to the coronavirus will be gone for good.

“The current crisis may be so severe that the fraction of temporary layoffs that become permanent ends up being much larger than the historical evidence would suggest,” co-author Jose Maria Barrero said in an email. —Terri Cullen

Remote learning could be here to stay

Robert Schachter, a parent of an NYC public high school student and a college student, bought bridge tables so his kids could have space for remote learning while schools were closed due to the coronavirus.

Robert Schachter

10:32 am ET — The coronavirus crisis laid bare how ill-prepared most schools were when it came to remote learning. Now, a growing number of schools are committed to adopting a “hybrid” model to education in and outside the classroom going forward.

Students will likely see smaller classes and staggered scheduling, which could include alternating days of the week or times of the day, to help limit the number of people physically present in a building at any time That means kids will spend much less time in brick-and-mortar classrooms in the years ahead.

“Despite the clamor and the complaints about it, remote learning is going to be here to stay,” said Mayssoun Bydon, founder and managing partner of The Institute for High Learning, or IHL Prep, an educational consulting firm. —Jessica Dickler

As U.S. reopens, companies brace for a flood of workplace lawsuits

10:24 am ET — States are gearing up to slowly reopen their economies and companies of all sizes, especially small businesses, are worried about the liability risks.

“There is no playbook for this,” said Harold Kim, president of the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform. “Litigation is particularly damaging to Main Street because the level of potential damages can close down your doors.” He anticipates a surge in worker liability lawsuits as coronavirus infection rates tick up.

Recognizing the issue there is bipartisan debate on federal and state levels to limit liability. Most of the proposals focus on limiting liability from customers. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said liability protections for doctors and businesses are the top priority for GOP leaders: “No bill will pass without it,” he said speaking Tuesday on CNBC.

Anticipating the coming flood of suits, employers are developing workplace safety precautions including additional cleaning measures, conducting temperature checks of workers and requiring that all employees wear masks or other face coverings at work. —Lori Ioannou

Coca-Cola CEO says he expects a ‘U’-shaped economic recovery

9:44 am ET — Coca-Cola CEO James Quincey said he’s expecting a long road to recovery for the economy. “The economic impact of the lockdown is just starting to begin,” Quincey said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”

Countries around the world are easing shelter-at-home orders and letting businesses gradually open. But Quincey said he’s forecasting a “U”- or “extended U”-shaped recovery rather than one shaped like a “V,” where the economy quickly snaps back to pre-crisis activity.

Coke is still seeing declining demand in May, compared to a year ago. Restaurants, movie theaters and other away-from-home occasions accounted for half of its revenue before the crisis. —Amelia Lucas

Dow jumps more than 300 points, lifted in part by solid retail earningsLowe’s sales soar, led by growth in online sales

9:10 am ET — Lowe’s reported better-than-expected earnings that saw online sales grow 80% in the first quarter, CEO Marvin Ellison said in a statement.

The pandemic hit in the midst of the company’s turnaround plan that includes a revamping of its website.

Lowe’s kept its stores open as essential retailers as the coronavirus kept most brick-and-mortars closed through the beginning of Spring, the home improvement industry’s busiest time of the year. However, the company limited capacity in its stores and rolled out curbside pickup for online customers. —William Feuer

The latest hot spots of new U.S. cases CDC publishes 60-page document of guidelines for reopening 

9:02 am ET — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released 60 pages of guidance for reopening schools, mass transit and non-essential businesses. The plan outlines a “three-phased approach” for reducing social distancing measures and proposes the use of six “gating” indicators to assess when to move through another phase.

The health agency warned that some amount of community mitigation will be necessary until a vaccine or effective drug for Covid-19 is widely available. The document comes as the CDC has remained largely quiet on the coronavirus, which has infected more than 1.5 million people in the United States. Agency officials haven’t held a coronavirus-related briefing in more than two months. —Berkeley Lovelace Jr. 

Voters in swing states are divided on coronavirus 

8:20 am ET — Swing state voters are divided along party lines over the coronavirus pandemic and whether a second wave is likely to hit the country, according to a CNBC/Change Research poll. 

Democrat and Republican voters in Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — all key electoral states — disagree about the country’s trajectory in fighting the virus, and about who would be to blame if the U.S. did see a resurgence, the poll found. Those surveyed were also divided along partisan lines about whether they were wearing masks or eating out. Read more on the poll results from CNBC’s Tucker Higgins. —Sara Salinas

Strong retail sales continue with report from Target

A cyclist wearing a protective mask passes the future site of a Target Corp. store in Chicago, Illinois, U.S., on Thursday, May 7, 2020.

Christopher Dilts | Bloomberg | Getty Images

7:43 am ET — Target continued a strong week of retail earnings reports, posting quarterly sales growth of 10.8%. 

Target saw a surge in online orders. Sales at brick-and-mortar stores open at least 12 months rose just 0.9% during the quarter on an annual basis. Online sales, in contrast, soared 141%. —Sara Salinas

Iconic New York steakhouse to start delivery and accept credit cards for first time

People walk past the Peter Luger steakhouse in New York City.

Getty Images

7:16 am ET — Peter Luger Steak House in Brooklyn is now offering delivery for the first time in its more than 130-year history. To make that happen, the iconic restaurant has partnered with delivery app Caviar, owned by Square. In another first, the steakhouse will accept credit cards.

“To best serve our customers, delivery was the best option for us,” General Manager David Berson told CNBC’s “Worldwide Exchange.” “As far as the best safety practice, credit cards only was the clear choice to us.”

Peter Luger’s dining room remains closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. In addition to delivery, customers can order and pickup at the Brooklyn location. —Matthew Belvedere 

Germany will tighten rules on meat processing plants after coronavirus outbreaks

6:38 am ET — Germany has tightened up rules on meat processing plants, government sources told Reuters, after some coronavirus outbreaks in the country were linked to the food sector.

New rules agreed upon will ban the subcontracting of meatpacking work through agencies, meaning that people working in the processing facilities will have to be employed by the company itself, a move that will likely push up wage costs for the industry.

The majority of workers in the meat production industry are migrants, with many coming from Romania. More than 600 coronavirus cases have reportedly been among plant workers, government sources told Reuters. –Holly Ellyatt

Read CNBC’s previous coronavirus live coverage here: Brazil records largest single-day spike in cases; Russia’s top 300,000

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